Mrs. Teresa Thomason Galliussi Photograph taken in September 2005
- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mrs. Teresa Thomason Galliussi
- Location of story:
- Udine Province, Italy
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 31 January 2006
From an edited oral history interview with Mrs. Teresa Thomason Galliussi conducted by Jenny Ford on behalf of Bedford Museum.
See also ‘A Bedford Resident’s Memories of Occupied Italy’ by Mrs. Thomason Galliussi.
“My fiancé, he lived in Venice. He did all his musical studies there and he actually worked, he was Professor of Music, at one of the Opera Houses in Venice and his mother sang there as well, she had a very good operatic voice.
In the summer these musicians — either they worked in the Square of St.Mark at the Florin which is a café, a very noted café or they formed a small band and went around for dances and things like that. Or they went on the cruises. So one year he had a band or he was with a band because he was only a young kid and they came to Udine. They booked them all at the Moulin Rouge, which was opposite my house and it was a beer place. Beautiful, most elegant because they made the beer there and they had beautiful gardens and a beautiful ambience where they sold the beer and you could meet. You could have a Hungarian Goulash there because of course we had been under the Austrian-Hungarian Empire for 80 years I think. So he came there and the strange thing was that they played, oh what is the music, the music of the Thirties which was completely unheard of in my part of Italy because we still had the Viennese Waltz and Strauss and all of that. My grandfather with the Polka and the Mazurka and all of that but we never came across, well we would never listen, not even on the radio to the music with the saxophone and all the other instruments, to Jazz. Jazz, in my house it was totally taboo so this was all new.
So my uncle, my mother, my brothers, my uncle’s two children, they would take us to this place which as I say I saw from my window, I was sitting on my window and looking down and listening to them. We would book a table and we would all go there, grandparents the lot! It was very funny - it’s like talking of a hundred years ago! Then the Director, I can’t remember what his name was, somebody would say ‘I would like to dance with that girl’. ‘Alright’, so he would write down then he would come to my uncle and ask permission for me or my other cousin and so on to dance with this chap, he would point to him, and he said, ‘Yes or no’. It was ‘Yes’ mainly because I was young and crazy with wanting to dance. Anyway, he was obviously in the band and he used to smile at me and I used to smile at him.
We had a printing press and next to it was a café. He would come with his friends for a cup of coffee and I would go from there to my house which was in big building opposite this place and we got to know each other but I was very young. It was soon after my Dad had died. We got talking but of course there was no question of going out or anything like that but obviously he took a liking to me and he went to my uncle and asked for my hand in marriage! Obviously he couldn’t keep me yet and he would have to inform his mother and all of that but would he mind if this would happen? And my uncle said, ‘No, as long as you let me know what you are doing and everything’ to check him over. Then his mother came and she was quite pleased with us and the surroundings and me and we got engaged. But of course, engaged you could hardly say a peck on the cheek you know. But this went on and this is a sad story.
We’d got all the documents and we had to wait three weeks. Well, in the first week the Germans came in (summer 1943) so we went to the Priest and said, ‘Get us married because we intend to run away’ and you didn’t run away with a boyfriend in those days! OK my two brothers could keep their eyes on me like God only knows what but no, you wouldn’t. So he sent me to the Archbishop and the Archbishop refused. I went in singly, there was quite a queue and I went into his office and I asked and he said, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Look, if you can’t do it openly just marry us, give us your blessing, no need for papers or anything’ but I feel in those days I believed, I feel that I am right in front of God. No, he wouldn’t do it. So we wrote to the Pope, I’ve still got the letter — refused!
But the one thing I cannot forgive was that I was engaged to be married to a very clever man and we had already got all the documents at the Priests. We had such a fright one day, the Germans came into the village - this was at the beginning. Then we fled into the mountains. The people there hid us - where they had the hay but the front of the house was no wall, the front of the house here but up there no wall because they used to put the hay to dry and the maize to dry. So there we where in this bit of hay in hiding and we could hear everything the Germans were saying. My brothers and myself I must say we were a bit more stoic but my fiancé, he was terrified, I suppose being Jewish. He was a Catholic, his mother was a Catholic but the father had been a Jew and that was enough for the Germans you know, in fact I heard that he had been warned but I don’t know really.”
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