A blog from World War 2

The night of April 24, 1944

The siren goes off, I get up quickly and call for Mattiussi, he’s already getting dressed too. I ask him if he’s coming to the bunker with me and he says he’d rather go to the guesthouse basement. So I put on my coat and run out to the shelter, it’s already full. As soon as I get there I realize I left my wallet in my other coat, I try to go back out but all hell has broken loose so I can’t leave. While there, people of all ages come in with mattresses and clothes they managed to save from the fire, they throw them inside and run back out to save more things from their homes in flames. I also leave and run toward my room hoping to at least save my wallet with my ID and money, but unfortunately the guesthouse is a brazier of fire, it would have lasted longer if it had been made of hay! I carefully make my way back to the shelter which is 200 meters away. Along the way, everything is in flames, burned timber falls to the left and right, metal columns and steel beams fall from buildings onto the street. I have to be careful while running to not end up crushed. I go back inside of the shelter and wonder about Mattiussi- maybe he’s injured under the guesthouse’s rubble. After the robbery in the hotel last month, I had re-purchased everything I needed but now it’s all gone up in flames. I spend the rest of the night in the shelter. I have nowhere to go, no money, no ID, nothing to wear, only the clothes on my back! Since I didn’t have a suitcase, I wasn’t able to bring my belongings to the shelter and save them, but at least I’m still alive! When day comes I go outside, the shelter is even more crowded with people who lost their homes, they stay there with the few belongings they were able to salvage from the flames. Upon going outside, I see Mattiussi with his suitcases, he was able to save his belongings. He said he wasn’t able to enter my room because it was in flames. He tells me the guesthouse was hit by a huge firebomb and a fragmentation bomb, the place became a volcano within 10 minutes. He tells me it’s a miracle they’re still alive- they were entrapped by fire in the basement so they used pickaxes to break the wall into another shelter, hence saving their lives. At around 8:00 I leave to go to the factory. There isn’t a single tram running in all of Munich, for half a kilometer I see nothing but fire, smoke, and wreckage everywhere. I cannot continue ahead, the wind is blinding me, there are firemen everywhere trying to put out the flames, it’s a complete disaster. I turn around and go back to the shelter, at least I can breathe better there. I go outside at midday, there is still fire and smoke everywhere, but the wind has died down, with effort I manage to reach the factory but it too has been completely razed. The men from Casale didn’t come to Munich, there are no trains or trams. I go back to the shelter, I don’t know where to go. I have no money, no ID, and no home! I decide to go to Fasanerie-Nord. At 2:00 I start walking there, after three hours I arrive. As soon as my friends see me, they bombard me with questions. I briefly explain what happened and tell them I need to rest. They tell me they clearly saw the fires in Munich, they said it lit up the sky as if it were day. After three days the trains are running again, so we all go to work to clear the factory of rubble. Mattiussi and I go to various offices to get my disaster victim documents. We go see the landlady who has temporarily moved not too far away, and she signs our first disaster victim declaration papers.

1 Comment

  1. chef:

    Jesus, what an entry. It moved me deeply.

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