Our Man in Italy: July 2015

Our Man in Italy
Harry Shindler MBE

Harry recently sent me the follow article to publish in the magazine because he feels strongly about the need to remember and remind the next generation “what it is all about”: –
Lest We Forget.
As times moves on events of this period can be ‘lost’ and the horror of what took place is gradually forgotten.
It’s not a case of ‘keep looking back’ but a matter of never forgetting and assuring that future generations know what happened out here. For if all is forgotten then the lads who ‘never made it’ died for nothing that cannot be allowed to happen.
So here are a few facts about what happened out here: –
In September 1944 Taramo, near where I now live, was freed before the Allied troops arrived. In Arcevia (Marche) 40 Partisans and 25 civilians were shot and in Monte Fortino 13 people were shot dead. S.Croce di Carpi, Leader of the Partisans in that area was shot, at Massa, the 10 members of the Baffe family were shot and their houses burned. At Ascoli Piceno, Adriano Cinelli waskilled, he was just 16. At La Storta, outside Rome, 14 people was taken from the SS Prison and shot as the German retreated.
It’s right that we remember these acts of barbarism, for by so doing, we remember ‘what it was all about’
Harry Shindler MBE
A New Campaign Start in Italy To Remember
During the Italian Campaign many of our chaps escaped from German POW Camps and were hidden, fed and protected by Italian families in the countryside, then they made their way to Rome … all roads led to Rome!
In Rome an Escape Line had been organised, those who ‘made it’ were found safe places to stay in and around the city, they were taken care of until they could be moved on.
One of the key figures in this dangerous activity was Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a soft spoke Irishman from Co. Kerry, it is said that without his activity there would not have been an Escape Line.
From his base in the Vatican City he saved more than 6,500 lives, Allied POW’s on the run, Jews, political activists, all sought by the German occupiers of Italy. There is no doubt the Germans would have eliminated him if they could have found him at work.
But whilst books have been written about him and his dangerous humanitarian work, and a monument has been erected in Ireland, there is no permanent record of what he did in the place where it all took place …. Rome.
This may change soon.
Proposals have been sent to the Irish Government and the Vatican with plans for a monument in the Vatican area where he did his work.
I shall be sending notes on progress …. As progress is made.
As we say in the ISA …. We do remember them.
Harry Shindler MBE
Editor’s notes: If you would like to know more about Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty then there is an excellent article about his life and work on the WIKIPEDIA website.