THE HEROES OF UNTERLUSS.

When I met one of the heroes of Unterluss, I was greatly impressed and fashinated by his words. I had in mind those events that I had only read on my History book, but that he had lived personally. Now I want to tell you that story. We have to know! Those events refer to the second World War, on 24 February 1945. A group of 44 officers of the Italian National Army were taken prisoners by the Germans. They were employed in German and Polish concentration camps.They had refused to collaborate with  the German officers. The Germans had chosen 21 soldiers of them threathening their immediate shooting. But the 44 Italian officers voluntereed in place of their companions. The Germans, deeply impressed by their gesture, decided to send them to reeducation at work. A lot of them were subjected to forced labour and to physical and mental tortures. Once arrived in the concentration camps, what awaited the IMI (Italian military Internships) were the bathroom, the disinfestation, the vaccinations and the filing. Each was then assigned a number to which they had to learn to answer in German in the endless daily appeals. Their home, as a rule, were wooden and brick shacks, built by prisoners rounded up in Europe after the invasion of Poland in 1939. The chances of survival were minimal in the Unterluss camp,  but they refused to submit to the Nazi forces.It is impossibile to imagine what were their feelings. The order to evacuate the camp arrived on 9 April, but six of them had alredy died. In order for their history not to be forgotten, the Gold Medal for Military Valor in Memory remains in memory of all Italians and was awarded on 19 November 1997 by the Italian President with the following motivation:”Military taken prisoner or civilian persecuted for political or racial reasons, interned in concentration camps,subjected to torture of all kinds, to flattery to convince him to collaborate with the enemy, never gave up, had no uncertainties,never went down to any compromise; to remain faithful to the honor of a soldier and a man”.

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Conti Gabriele

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