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Italy is Special to me because it Represents my Roots

by Maria L. DiMeo
(Yonkers, NY (USA))


We continue with the story of my heritage.

As mentioned in my previous article, World War II broke out leading to consequences for my family -- both paternal and maternal.

Hitler and his troops invaded Italy in search of Mussolini. The Germans were attacking the small villages and taking the men and boys into their army. My paternal grandfather and other men of the village went into hiding -- from one farmhouse to another.

They would make a move when warned that the Germans were close. On his way to another location, my grandfather (a civilian), at 42 years of age, was shot down dead by the Germans.

My father at the time was 19 years old and serving in Rome as a Carabinieri. The murder of his father at the hands of the Germans had life changing consequence.

Being the eldest, he was sent home to his village to help his mother (my grandmother) care for her five youngest children. My father's dream of being part of the royal police were shattered.

Maria's reply: Thank you so much for sharing and I still feel so sad when I visit my own fathers cemetery and see all the graves from that period.

After the war there was such poverty in his village and the entire area that anyone who was still alive and was young enough to work had to leave to find work elsewhere. Many left for the United States, Australia, Canada, Argentina and Brazil.

Thankfully this region of Italy - the Veneto - later become very prosperous and many returned in the sixties. In fact from my fathers family of eight children every single one returned. The photo I have attached to the article is in my father's home town and remembers all those who left and never returned.

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