TheNewYorkTimes – The daughter of a World War II veteran used the internet to track down three children he was photographed with 77 years ago — after almost firing on them. On Monday, they finally met face to face.
BOLOGNA, Italy — The last time Martin Adler saw the three Naldi siblings in person, it was during World War II in the central Italian village of Cassano di Monterenzio, some 40 kilometers south of Bologna, during an Allied offensive.
Searching door-to-door for German soldiers in October, 1944, Mr. Adler, then a 20-year-old American private, and another soldier stumbled upon a large wicker container covered with a cloth in one house and were about to open fire after seeing it suddenly move.
Mr. Adler hesitated and a woman burst into the room screaming: “bambini, bambini” — “children, children” — and two girls and a boy popped out of what turned out to be a cradle. The two American soldiers lowered their rifles and laughed in relief. A photograph of Mr. Alder with the children immortalized the encounter.
On Monday, Mr. Adler, now 97, and the three Naldi “bambini” — Bruno, 83, Mafalda, 82, and Giuliana, 80 — met in person for the first time in 77 years at the Bologna airport, amid a boisterous scrum of local, national and international media.
Wearing a T-shirt with the photograph of him with the three children, Mr. Adler handed each Naldi a chocolate bar and said: “Bambini.” (If the Naldis, now grandparents and great-grandparents, objected to being called children, as they repeatedly were on Monday by just about everyone, they were too gracious to say).
“My heart is bursting,” said Mr. Adler. “Grazie, grazie,” he said, blowing kisses in front of a blown-up copy of the 1944 photograph.
US WWII veteran reunites with Italians he saved as children
BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) — For more than seven decades, Martin Adler treasured a black-and-white photo of himself as a young American soldier with a broad smile with three impeccably dressed Italian children he is credited with saving as the Nazis retreated northward in 1944. On Monday, the 97-year-old World War II veteran met the three siblings — now octogenarians themselves — in person for the first time since the war.
Adler held out his hand to grasp those of Bruno, Mafalda and Giuliana Naldi for the joyful reunion at Bologna’s airport after a 20-hour journey from Boca Raton, Florida. Then, just as he did as a 20-year-old soldier in their village of Monterenzio, he handed out bars of American chocolate. “Look at my smile,” Adler said of the long-awaited in-person reunion, made possible by the reach of social media. It was a happy ending to a story that could easily have been a tragedy.
Veteran, 96, finds Italian children he almost shot in war
TheTimes – An American Second World War veteran has been reunited with three Italian children whom he nearly shot in October 1944. Martin Adler, now 96, was advancing through the Apennine mountains in search of retreating Nazis when he and a fellow GI, John Bronsky, burst into a farmhouse in the hamlet of Monterenzio, near Bologna. The young soldier from the Bronx heard a noise coming from a wicker basket, suspected that Germans were hiding there and prepared to fire. Before he could pull the trigger, the children’s mother burst in, shouting “Bambini! Bambini!” Then Bruno, Mafalda and Giuliana Naldi, aged between three and six, emerged from the basket.
ANSA – Adler gives 80-year-old trio chocolate and a rose.
A 97-year-old former WWIII American soldier on Monday met in Bologna the 80-something former children he photographed after nearly killing them near the Emilian capital in 1944. The man, Martin Adler, met Bruno, Mafalda and Giuliana Naldi at Bologna Airport, greeted them warmly from his wheelchair and brought them some chocolate and a rose, wearing a t-shirt saying “Martin’s bambini, forever kids”. The former United States soldier managed to make contact with the three children he nearly killed during World War II after a successful search via social media last year. Adler, a native of the Bronx, entered a house in Monterenzio, near Bologna, with a companion of the 339th Infantry Regiment during the Italian campaign in October 1944. Once inside they heard sounds coming from a basket and they were ready to shoot as they thought German soldiers were hiding there.
Il soldato Usa, la linea Gotica e tre bimbi salvati: l’incontro dopo 77 anni
BolognaToday – Martin Adler torna in italia per incontrare chi salvò nell’ottobre ’44 a Monterenzio, in piena seconda guerra Mondiale.
Da protocollo, l’incontro dovrebbe tenersi al terminal Arrivi del Marconi di Bologna. Così, dopo 77 anni, l’ex soldato Usa Martin Adler si appresta a incontrare quei tre allora bambini (oggi nonni e bisnonni come lui), e cioè Bruno, Mafalda e Giuliana Naldi, salvati e fotografati nel lontano ottobre ’44, nei dintorni di Monterenzio.
L’appuntamento -e la storia che sta dietro- sono tutti come noto frutto di una fotografia e di uno scrittore -Matteo Incerti- che sulla vicenda ha anche scritto un libro “I bambini del soldato Martin” (Corsiero editore) e che lo scorso Natale ha fatto il giro del mondo.
E’ stato proprio Incerti lo scorso dicembre a rilanciare l’appello social della figlia dell’ex soldato e contribuire al ritrovamento di quelli che il quasi centenario chiama scherzosamente “i suoi bambini per sempre”.
“Questa volta non preparo il mio zaino per andare in guerra ma una bella valigia per un viaggio di pace, solidarietà e amicizia” ha dichiarato Adler, che atterrerà a Bologna alle 14.05 di lunedì 23 agosto, proveniente da Miami. Di qui con un fitto programma, è prevista la permanenza nell’appennino bolognese e toscano per alcuni giorni, poi Adler partirà alla volta di Roma e Napoli, per altre tappe del suo viaggio fino alla ripartenza dalla Capitale il 4 settembre.