A blog from World War 2

November 26, 1943

I ran into Antonio Martulli, who worked at Carinola’s town hall, I gave him a ration card for two kilograms of bread.

December 6, 1943

Today, a woman who works at the Deutsch Kaiser Hotel, opposite the central train station of Munich (Munich has three train stations), came to our place of work. She talks to my boss, they look at me, then I load a crate of apples on her three-wheeled scooter and she leaves. Later, a man comes by, after speaking to the boss, he takes Donato Russo with him. He takes him to Lager B.M.W. to be the barber. I’m working here alone with a Romanian man, a German man named Otto, and some women. The cold weather is encroaching. When I can, I ask an Italian who speaks German to tell my boss that I’m very cold and would like to work somewhere indoors.

December 8, 1943

We’re unloading cabbages from the freight train onto the trucks when I slip and hurt my leg. Once the truck is loaded, we go back into the warehouse. As soon as the boss notices I’m injured, he calls in an Italian who speaks German. He asks if I want to go work at a hotel. I say yes. He picks up the phone and in a few hours a woman with a three-wheeled scooter shows up and takes me to the hotel.

December 9, 1943

The hotel is very big and over one hundred people work here. It’s across the street from the central train station. I’ve been assigned to work the dishwashing machine. I’m pleased with this job, but I wish I had news about my wife and my two small children, especially Marina who is only 8 months old. Yesterday, some men from Carinola told me that the men from Casale are working at a factory in Munich. They take the train to the central station and from there they take a tram to the factory. The hotel I work at is near this station, so every morning I wake up early and stand by the station’s exit loudly calling out the names of men from Casale: namely Agostino LaTorre and Ciccillo D’Angelo. It’s dark out, it’s about 6:00 in the morning. We quickly say hello because they have to catch the tram, they give me the address of the factory.

December 15, 1943

The hotel director calls me and says I have to go to the employment office. There, I’m told I can no longer work at the hotel but must go back to my old job. I show them my wounded leg, it hasn’t healed yet and is still scabbed. Upon seeing this, they give me some paperwork and send me to a factory. When I get to the factory I show them my wounded leg so they send me back to the employment office. There are dozens of people at typewriters in this office. They give me the name of another factory and insist on accompanying me. At this point, I realize they will not let me stay at the hotel job, so I give them the name of the factory where my fellow townsmen work. They quickly fill out the paperwork for this factory: Massimo Rockinger, Orleansstrasse #12.

December 16, 1943

Last night there was heavy bombing. We ran to the basement, the siren stopped after an hour.

December 17, 1943

I went to Rockinger Factory where Agostino La Torre, Ciccillo D’Angelo, Pasquale Traglia, and Mario Tutone work.  Mario is an evacuee from Naples, his family is staying with Filippo Trabucco, the blind man, in Casale.  When the men from Casale saw me they were very happy. I’m assigned to work at a machine that pierces sheets of iron. They have me watch for a few hours, then I start working. The job isn’t bad. At midday we eat lunch at a restaurant across the street from the factory, Agostino, Ciccillo, and I. Lunch is always the same: suppe and kartoffel, with not even a pinch of seasoning. Our pay is 70 pfennig an hour, which makes 40 Marks a week. We can’t buy anything. Not provisions, or clothes, or even a tin of shoeshine, so I go to the black market that is held on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Here, there are people of every nationality, wretches like me, some are even worse off. We do what we can to be understood and we buy some old rags to cover ourselves because it’s terribly cold. If you have a bread ration card, bread costs 36 pfennig a kilo, but at the black market, one bread ration card costs 4 Marks; a kilo of white bread costs 72 pfennig with a ration card, while at the black market it costs 40 Marks, an entire week’s pay! Since I live in Munich, I can often go to the market but my friends can’t because when they leave the factory they must take a tram to the station and then a train to where they live: Lager Fasanerie-Nord. Poor souls, they are worse off than I am because they are hungry, especially Ciccillo.

December 24, 1943

Christmas Eve, but this is no Christmas for me, just immense sadness. Yesterday I told Agostino to come see me in Munich and to bring a bag with him. Agostino arrived punctually. I take him with me along the road I used to walk when I worked for the produce merchant. On this road there are many shopkeepers to whom I gave bags of apples, pears, onion and whatnot. I’ve learned a few words of German so I tell these shopkeepers that tomorrow is Christmas and my friend doesn’t even have any bread to eat. So the shopkeepers give him white bread rolls, which are a treasure for Agostino. After walking the entire distance of three kilometers, Agostino’s bag is brimming with all of God’s bounties.

Christmas 1943

For me today is like any other day, a bleak day. I cannot keep back the tears when I think of my wife and my kids who are alone without my moral and material support- what despair!

New Year 1944

Today is another sad day like Christmas. I’d rather not remember the holidays, it’s nothing but suffering for me.

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