Italian civilians suffer as the struggle continues

Naples, September - October 1943: The twisted metal of a wrecked gantry crane destroyed by Germans, lying in Naples harbour.

He was chained up in the usual way, weeping desperately, clearly knowing what was coming. It took the judge minutes to find him guilty and sentence him to ten years. ‘What’s going to happen no my poor family?’ he shrieked. He was led away sobbing loudly. A sickening experience.




Germans crack down as Red Army gets closer

German machine gunner in the burning center of Zhitomir, Ukraine. Zhitomir was liberated by Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front at the end of 1943.

The overall feeling is that this time the Germans are unable to stop the Russian offensive. In the German administration and also the German military you can see complete chaos. Germany is already finished. Their might is breaking apart and the time for the end is near. This is an all-embracing feeling, but the people who are more realistic are still counting on very difficult days.




Polish resistance turns against the ‘German’ occupiers

From the very earliest days of their invasion of Poland, and then Russia, the Germans had adopted the most ruthless methods of dealing with anyone suspected of aiding the resistance.

We were in for a surprise: these German soldiers weren’t German. They had Asian features and black, silky hair. They were Russian—speaking Muslims, former Red Army soldiers who, after being captured on the Russian front, had volunteered to fight with the Germans rather than remain in POW camps. When we searched them, We found maps of our area and evidence that, the day before, they had carried out a raid on partisans not far from where we were.




Kusnezovo villagers murdered in ‘anti-partisan reprisals’

The results of an anti partisan operation earlier in 1943. Such exhibitions were intended to have a deterrent effect.

“Because,” said he, “you harboured partisans in your village.” But his words were untruthful because we had no partisans in the village and nobody took part in any partisan activities, since there was nobody left. Only old people and small children were left in the village, the village had never seen any partisans and did not know who these partisans were.




Nazis order murderous crackdown on all Poles

The shooting of Polish 'hostages' had begun four years earlier, now it became a widespread public practice.

They were clad in civilian clothes, and sometimes their hands were tied behind their backs. However, as the victims thus brought to the place of execution usually shouted ‘Down with Hitler’, ‘Long Live Poland’, ‘Down with the Germans’, and similar things, the Germans took steps to prevent the possibility of any such disturbances and began to fill their mouths with cement, or seal their lips with adhesive tape. The victims were brought from the ‘Pavwiac’ clad in shirts, or in clothes made out of paper.




The Allies welcomed as they enter Naples

Daimler scout car of 1st King's Dragoon Guards at the town hall in Naples, 1 October 1943.

They screamed in relief and in pure hysteria. In tens of thousands the dirty ragged children kept crying for biscuits and sweets. When we stopped the jeep we were immediately surrounded and overwhelmed. Thrusting hands plucked at our clothing.




Discovering the end of German occupation in the East

An elderly resident of a village burned down by Germans sitting by the ruins of his house. Ukraine, Region Tschernigow

Germans who had been withdrawn to the rear villages were searching for food from morning till night. They ate, drank alcohol and played cards. According to what prisoners said and [what was written in] letters found on dead German soldiers, the Germans considered themselves the representatives of a higher race forced to live in savage villages. They thought that in the wild eastern steppes one could throw culture aside.




Germans turn against former Allies and Italian civilians

A Sherman tank loaded with infantry is cheered by local people as it passes through Salerno, 10 September 1943.

So they stayed in shelters while the Germans stripped their homes of silver, linen, food, wine, and anything else of value they could find. The people cheered the troops as their liberators and they were bitter toward their former Allies. Unarmed Italian soldiers wandered about the streets or gathered to talk with British Tommies and exchange souvenirs.




Denmark defies Nazi Martial Law

German troops on the streets of Denmark, 29th August 1943.

Every strike is prohibited. Invitation to strike at the expense of the German Wehrmacht promotes the enemy and will be punished usually by death. Violation of the above rules will be punished by the German state courts. Against any violence, the gathering of crowds etc. ruthless use will be made ​​use of weapons …




A miraculous release from the Gestapo in Warsaw

Polish farmers killed by German forces in German-occupied Poland, 1943.

Three pretty girls, their heads erect, were sitting by me in the van. Their quiet dignity caught my attention. I started to share my joy with them, but they told me that they were to be executed. The Germans had found out that they belonged to the Underground Army. They were Krystyna (16), Barbara (17) and Irena (20). They told me about their fate so simply and openly that I did not know how to reply.