During a tour to Italy in 1999 Barry Soutar conveys the story of an Italian soldier who lived at casa Della Cura near the towns of Forli and Faenza. C Company were tasked with capturing this and casas Pogliano and Baccarina on December 14th, 1944.
Barry Soutar: He and his brother were living in the house. He was an Italian soldier in the Italian army and he deserted, he deserted the army to go fight for the freedom of Italy. And he and his brother were in this house, the Germans came and they took him at gunpoint from out the front of the house …. They took him at gunpoint around the back of the house over here and he knew he was going to die, and he ran. He and his brother ran and they went and lived in the mountains for 8 months. The only thing he carried with him was a blanket and his clothes. And Jo and I were here, we told him that my uncle got killed just across the road trying to attack this house. And he told me, he under, he really felt very sorry for us and that he could understand, he could not understand how a Maori man would come from 14,000 miles away to save his house. He couldn’t understand how 55 years later another Maori man could come just to find his uncle. And he said, your uncle and 7 of his cousins lost their lives in his front lawn. And he said I want to tell you that 45 of my relatives and friends had their throats cut by the fascists, over here. And he said, so therefore he could understand the feelings that were going through us. I told him in January that in September I would come back with my family. And I just told him – here’s my family.
Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust