- Contributed by
- Civic Centre, Bedford
- People in story:
- Teresa Thomason
- Location of story:
- Friuli Venezia Giulia- Italy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 June 2004
After the occupation of Udine by the Germans, my two brothers, myself and my fiance took refuge in the mountains, as I have already mentioned in "A Bedford Resident's Memories of Occupied Italy'. Spurred on by our mother we eventually returned to our town of Udine. I resumed my studies of German, my brothers kept a low profile whilst going to work.
As one of the students selected by my lecturers, I was assigned to work for the Deutche Barater for die Provinz of Friuli-Udine. My office was the Inspektorat. Every male in the town had to have some kind of permit. A tram could be stopped, the occupants had to get out and if the man had no permit the Germans might take them away or shoot them, according to the circumstances.
There were three girls in my office, most of whom were helping the young men coming through seeking a permit.
We had an officer in charge of us, we never mixed with the rest of them in the building. One day a Russian Officer came in with his daughter. It turned out he was in charge of the White Russian troops stationed in the nearby villages, especially in the Carnia Region.
I remember in turn three officers in our charge. They were fatherly, in their 60's, with sons on the Russian Front, they were good men.
At the time Italian men had to prove they were working, disabled or sick and had to have a permit which they obtained from the Deutche Berater and our office.
Sometimes they brought in their medical certificates, others just came in hoping we could help. And this we did. We would ask them what was wrong with them and they would say they had V.D. or T.B. or some other equally serious ailment.
We took chances but I know the officer in charge 'closed his eyes' and signed a permit. One particuilar officer, whom I remember with affection, had a rubber stamp made of his signature, so we were able to save quite a few men from my town As a result later there were quite a few proposals of marriage!!
However one of my colleagues was arrested by the Germans, but luckily for her the Allied Forces entered the town a few days later and she was freed. I can't remember her name but I know she was the daughter of the local manager of the Bank of Italy.
After the German departure we had to contend with the partisans who wanted to punish us for working with the enemy. Some girls had had their heads shaved and feathers stuck on.
My home had been bombed by the Americans and my family had found refuge in a farm on the outskirts of the town, which made me an easier target for the partisans. However, when they came, I went for them and told them to 'open their eyes'and see what we had achieved. At least a few sons were still at home with their mothers!
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