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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • Captured vehicle used as mobile lab

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A captured German vehicle was converted into a mobile Medical Laboratory and used throughout the Italian campaign doing blood analysis and other lab work. Lou Breslow is on the left.
    • Craftsman, the Medina, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A craftsman working metal in the Medina, Algiers, November 1943. He is typical of the workers whose skill with simple tools could produce a gun, a sword or a spoon. They were completely essential members of their society; most of the things owned...
    • Near the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • A panorama near the Brandenburg Gate. I believe the domed building is the opera house. The opera made an astonishing effort to get back into production and before the end of May and even gave a performance of a Wagnerian opera which I was invited...
    • 99 Rue D'Isly, home for a few weeks, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A room in a private apartment at 99 Rue D'Isly, Algiers, that we were able to rent for a few weeks. Our commanding officer later discovered this flirtation with luxury and ordered us back to base. Typical of the time, this apartment belonged to a...
    • Farm caravan near Caserta, Italy, 1943

    • 1943
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A small caravan of wagons with hay and clover travel along to the farm from distant fields; late summer, 1943. To the northeast of the city of Caserta, located about 30 miles north of Naples, the land is rich and farming a major activity. While...
    • Caravan entering Biskra, December 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A traditional camel caravan moving into Biskra after a long journey from the southern edge of the Sahara. Measured distance is not a concept these caravans use; days to travel and time are the measure. A trip from Biskra to Bou Saada is 6 days if a...
    • Caravan, December 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A traditional camel caravan moving into Biskra after a long journey from the southern edge of the Sahara. Measured distance is not a concept these caravans use; days to travel and time are the measure. A trip from Biskra to Bou Saada is 6 days if a...
    • Shopkeeper in the Medina, Rabat, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A typical shopkeeper in the Medina, Rabat, 1943. He specialized in metal things and repairs to pots and pans etc. As with many of the people and places depicted in these photographs, I attempted to find specific things on a return trip to North...
    • Col. Edward "Pete" Churchill, Epinal, France, 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Colonel Edward "Pete" Churchill, Chief of Surgery for the Mediterranean Theater of operations is pictured here in Epinal, France during the final push across France and Southern Germany. Dr. Churchill, Professor of Surgery at Harvard and an...
    • Erecting tents for the 8th Evacuation Hospital

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Depicted here is just one of many moves this hospital made up the Italian Peninsula as the fighting progressed. A huge complex, it could nonetheless be picked up, transported, and then returned to operation within two days.
    • Elvira and Paul Showstack (seated)

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • From left to right: Richard Anderson; Melvin Shaffer; Elvira Showstack; Paul Showstack. Elvira and Paul were married in Naples in 1945. Elvira had successfully eluded the Nazis; she was one of the many who were in hiding in the Catacombs in Rome...
    • Soldier with shrapnel wounds, Southern France en route to Naples

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Here pictured on-board the "Shamrock", a United States hospital ship, a soldier with a severe laceration wound of his shoulder -- he was probably hit by artillery fire as he lay in a foxhole -- seems visibly glad that the action is over. Some of...
    • Opera house, Berlin, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • I believe this to be the opposite side of the opera house as shown previously. This is the exact condition of the building when the performance previously described was staged.
    • Attending the opera in Naples, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • It was not unusual to be at the "front" during the early part of the Italian campaign, only to retreat late in the day and return to Naples to attend the opera or engage in some other activity that had nothing to do with the war. On the morning of...
    • Caravan camel, Bou Saada, Algeria, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • My camel for the trip from Bou Saada to Biskra. A long trip over the desert is a true adventure. This one, traveling with a group of Bedouin, took 6 days.
    • Germany, near Nuremberg, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • On the autobahn between Nuremberg and Munich. Overlooking a bombed out bridge on the autobahn, Melvin Shaffer with camera and two helpers from a signal corps unit. They were on loan to me to photograph the Dachau concentration camp. One of the...
    • 8th Evacuation Hospital, Pietramala, Italy, Winter 1944 / 1945

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The 8th Evacuation Hospital -- manned by a unit from the University of Virginia -- at the Pietramala location, about 40 miles north of Florence. The photograph was made from atop a mountain to the west of the Hospital. The highway shown is one of...

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