The four Mortalese prisoners return

October 1944
The steelworks factory at Duisburg is completely flattened by Allied bombardment on 14th October as part of Operation Hurricane.  Rinaldo is taken to Bocholt to work on the front line, unloading ammunition and anti-tank mines, often under fire.  He is then taken to a Russian camp at Holzminden, near Hannover, where he spends the winter of 1944.

Early 1945
Rinaldo manages to escape thanks to his ability to speak French, German and English. He arrives back in Duisburg and finds work as an Italian volunteer in another steelworks.  He gets an identity card and food tokens.

25 March 1945
At 1 a.m., Anglo-American forces break through German lines and cross the Rhine, 6km away from Holten.  The Nazis lose control of the prison camp and the three Mortalese escape to a hiding place nearby. These are Angelantonio, Apollinare and Olimpio Forte (Eastbourne). 

26 March 1945
Allied forces advance quickly and break through German lines at Holten. The three Mortalese are taken by Allies to a safe area and are treated well.

April 1945
Rinaldo is liberated by American troops and works as an interpreter to german prisoners for the 82nd US Air Division for several months.

8 May 1945
Victory in Europe Day.  The Germans surrender and the war in Europe is officialy over.

August 1945
Rinaldo returns to Mortale, finds his mother unwell and learns of the death of his brother Paolino.  The British Embassy in Naples arranges repatriation for him and his mother back to Greenock, Scotland.

31 August 1945
The remaining three Mortalese begin their journey back from Germany.

7 September 1945
The three Mortalese arrive back in Mortale from Germany, after nearly two years away from home.

© 2011 Paul Forte

The four Mortalese, taken prisoner and sent to Germany, eventually return home.

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