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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • 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...
    • Fortress Gate, Rabat, Morocco, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A fortress gate near Rabat in September 1943. Not associated with the Sultan's palace, this artifact stood alone on the desert. When in Morocco in 1996 I could not locate it and no one seemed to recognize the place from my photo.
    • Medicine salesman, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A medicine man in the Medina, Algiers, November 1943. His collection included antler, animal skin, snakeskin, ostrich egg and ostrich egg shell, dried lizard (a favorite among medicine men through the Moslem world at that time), roots, some spices...
    • 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...
    • Algiers Harbor, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A view of Algiers harbor with wartime shipping anchored and waiting to unload. Much of the war material for the African campaign came through this harbor. It was also a vital supply link in the battles of Sicily and Italy. [paragraph] The Germans...
    • Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, April 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A view of the harbor at Naples with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. A truly beautiful city, Naples was a nice retreat from assignments in the forward areas. This photo was made after the massive eruption of Vesuvius and clearly shows the newly...
    • Berlin, Unter den Linden, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • Along the Unter den Linden towards the Brandenburg Gate. The German civilians frequently walked and stared with an expression of agony and despair on their faces. While my German was limited I could frequently make out remarks such as,"Oh this was...
    • French woman bicycling through the invasion of Southern France, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • At the very height of the invasion of Southern France I was lying behind a sandbank, occasionally sticking my head up to take advantage of every photographic opportunity that might make itself available. On one occasion I glimpsed this French...
    • Berlin, early June 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • By early June the Berlin population was showing amazing resilience. A sports car was brought out, some buses were running and people were out in their "Sunday best." Their demeanor had also changed. They had some utility service restored; they had...
    • Italian children, Italian Alps, 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Children placed by their parents in a care center near the village of Santa Cristina in the Italian Alps. These children, mainly from affluent Italian and Austrian families, had been placed here for safekeeping in 1943 by parents whose whereabouts...
    • Well and washing ground, Casablanca, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • Clothes-washing was done both in streams and at the well. These ladies were busy with the family wash, showing great teamwork. One brought up the water while another scrubbed and beat the cloth. To dry the clothing, they simply laid it on the...
    • 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.
    • Berlin, parade ground, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • Films of Hitler's forces goose-stepping in this great plaza were very fresh in our minds as we strolled this entire area, talking about and reviewing what each of us remembered from those pre-war films of Nazi Germany. It was here that Hitler first...
    • Parade ground, Berlin, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • Films of Hitler's forces goose-stepping in this great plaza were very fresh in our minds as we strolled this entire area, talking about and reviewing what each of us remembered from those pre-war films of Nazi Germany. It was here that Hitler...
    • Algiers, Ferris wheel

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • In Algiers we frequently came across attempts by the locals to lead normal (i.e., peacetime) lives. This scene depicts a small Ferris wheel in one of the city's parks. Mostly it was hauling American soldiers around. A very unstable looking...

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