Browse Items (215 total)

  • Tags: civil defence

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Charly Pfeifer recounts his experiences of the bombing of Betzdorf an der Sieg, a small town not far from the Ruhr. He explains the strategic importance of the city, due to the presence of locomotive works. He recounts taking shelter from the bombs…

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Rob Carter was born in the village of Scampton and reminisces about his life on the land before the war. He recounts the foundation of RAF Dunholme Lodge, which his house overlooked. During the war, he served in the Auxiliary Fire Service. He was…

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Gerda Gentner (b. 1934) recalls the first bombing of Dresden on 7 October 1944. Gerda describes how she unsuccessfully tried to persuade a young boy to take shelter with her in the basement and reminisces her feeling when she knew that he had died…

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Brigitte Terboven (b. 1930) recalls the bombing of Essen and the dropping of an air mine by a British bomber which was trying to evade a German night fighter. The bomb hit the ground about 20 meters from her home which collapsed like a house of…

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Jörg Funfoff (b. 1942) recounts the experience of being a young boy at Heiligensee, a Berlin suburb; on the flying path of approaching bombers. Narrates how he was the first to hear the bombers approaching before they are in sight (a fact he was…

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Jaun Schauerte (b. 1936) recalls rushing to the shelter with a suitcase and a bag pack. Remembers one night when his grandmother fell under the heavy weight of the rucksack and nobody stopped to help her. Recalls the Bremen bombing, while he was…

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Margarete Meyer (b. 1936) describes the 13 February 1945 Dresden bombing and recounts how her mother reacted to the alarm. She rushed to the shelter and took some belongings, including what she thought was her confirmation dress. Explains how her…

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Inge Heinrich (b. 1922) describes the bombing of the Berlin borough of Kreuzberg and recounts how she had dreamt of being buried alive under the rubble but surviving in the end. Tells of how the patent agency building, in which she was working, was…

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Christoph Wagner Brausewetter (b. 1929) recounts the hardships civilians endured inside a shelter, the risks involved and the fact they spent there more time there than at home. Maintains that the worst year was 1943, when aircraft were no longer…

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Two men of the Unione Nazionale Protezione Antiaerea are in the foreground running. One of them is pointing to the sky with his left arm, whilst the other soldier is holding on to his helmet with his right hand. The buildings around are engulfed in…

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People are held back outside the gate of a walled yard as a trolley carrying an unexploded bomb is pulled by five men, four dressed in green and one in a white shirt with the colours of the Italian flag. A young boy has climbed a column just outside…

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Members of the Unione Nazionale Protezione Antiaerea are clearing the rubble and debris of a severely damaged terraced building. Another broken wall is visible on the right of the picture. A woman and a young girl are stopped by one of the men on the…

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Helga Cent-Velden (b. 1926) recounts her life in Berlin under constant threat of bombing. Describes how her father tried to locate a suitable air raid shelter for the family and especially how he ruled out the Shell House because of a canal running…

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Luciana Cella Guffanti (b. 1932) describes the role played by officers of the Unione Nazionale Protezione Antiaerea during the bombings of Milan, especially when they had to persuade reluctant people to go to the shelters. She describes an occasion …

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Carlo Bertolo (b. 1939) remembers a bombing of Turin when incendiaries were dropped. Recalls how one of them hit his house, but it was stopped by a trunk full of clothes before it could reach the shelter.

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Marino Ferrari recalls his early life as an engineer at Pavia arsenal, and later in Catanzaro and Verona. Describes his life as an Italian military internee in East Prussia, working in different lumberyards. Speaks with affection of the German…

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Alessandra Rivalta recalls her early life, first as member of Opera Nazionale Balilla then as an undergraduate student at the faculty of humanities. Describes the start of the war, early anti-aircraft precautions and wartime life: food shortage,…

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Paola Giorgina Pasini provides details of her early life in a family of agricultural workers and compares favourably their condition with those living in urban areas. Recalls the ominous sight of target indicators and flares, and remembers Pippo…

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Paolo Bottani recalls wartime memories of a working-class family in Milan. Describes the widespread enthusiasm for the declaration of war, followed by a relatively calm period. Mentions alarms as greeted initially with joy because classes stopped and…

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Lucia Muratori recalls her early life in Bologna in the family of a well-off foundry owner. Stresses that she had less traumatic war experiences compared to many other people at that time, the only disturbing episode being eye-witnessing the killing…

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Fausta Maggioni recalls memories of her wartime life in Milan. She describes a sizeable shelter reinforced with wooden props, a little bag with the few valuables she had always to bring along, as well as the many duties of her father as warden, who…

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Teresa Messali gives a brief account of her pre-war life with her large family in a farmhouse near Bergamo. She mentions Pippo; describes the pressing need to find shelter during the bombings and stresses how she frequently resorted to ditches.…

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Luigia Colussi (b. 1925) gives a short account of her wartime life and describes how she persuaded German troops to release her father. Stresses the contrast between the attitude of adults (who prayed and were generally worried by the situation) and…

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Mafalda De Luca (b. 1939) recalls how her father moved to Fiume during the D’Annunzio occupation, where he met her mother. Remembers the blackout curtains at the windows and mentions underground shelters. Gives a brief account of a small bomb (or a…

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Carla Griva (b. 1935) describes different attitudes and various coping strategies of people inside a shelter in Turin: reciting the rosary, putting their hands over their ears to avoid listening, storytelling, and asking children to practice…
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