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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • Traditional Moslem women, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • These Moslem women were shopping on the main street of Algiers in October 1943. Most Algerian Moslem women wore the veil. They were not covered over the eyes and many made the most of decorating their beautiful dark eyes. They always seemed quite...
    • The Via S. Agata, San Gimignano

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • This Alpine community was used by the German forces as a rest area. It was also used by German and Austrian families as a shelter, yet it remained virtually untouched by the war. Fresh supplies of wood products, including decorative items and...
    • The stage of San Carlos opera, Naples, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The stage at the Teatro di San Carlo, Naples demonstrating simple staging made necessary by wartime scarcities. That said, talent was still in abundance.
    • Street in the Medina, Algiers, November 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • Narrow, dark, and restricting to traffic and commerce, a very high population density made these streets impassable and dangerous at times. Consequently, soldiers tended to visit and tour in the very early morning hours or (quickly) at the time of...
    • Rome, Mussolini's balcony, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The Palazzo Venezia, from which Mussolini made his infamous "Il Duce" speeches in the years prior to the war.
    • Park, Brunswickhaven, late May 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • These photographs, made in the town park of Braunschweig, are truly extraordinary in their depiction of the aftermath of war. This area, while not totally demolished, had been the center of a battle which controlled the approach to Berlin. Evidence...
    • Park, Brunswickhaven, Germany, May 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • These photographs, made in the town park of Braunschweig, are truly extraordinary in their depiction of the aftermath of war. This area, while not totally demolished, had been the center of a battle which controlled the approach to Berlin. Evidence...
    • Opera, Naples, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The stage at the Teatro di San Carlo, Naples demonstrating simple staging made necessary by wartime scarcities. That said, talent was still in abundance.
    • Olympic stadium, Berlin, 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • The 1936 Olympic Stadium. This was a rather moving visit for me, as I recalled listening to the radio broadcasts from the Olympics in 1936. We were all so proud of the Americans who made such a great showing at this event and I had all these...
    • 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...
    • 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...
    • Mt. Vesuvius eruption, Naples, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A view of Vesuvius from the western part of Naples, clearly showing the massive lava cloud spewing from the volcano's top. This photo, made near the beginning of the eruption, shows a southward flow of lava and a very high concentration of ash in...
    • Mt. Vesuvius at night, eruption of 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The fury of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was more apparent at night when lava flow could nearly always be seen, a pattern of outcroppings that changed nightly. Here the front is advancing towards Naples. This flow occurred irregularly...
    • Melvin Shaffer overlooking Pietramala, Italy, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Looking north from Pietramala towards the German lines just at the ridgeline near the top of this photo; the Germans were no doubt watching me, as they had observation points all along this range as well as made frequent sorties at night into the...
    • Maurice Manson and donkey with trash, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • This photograph made in the Medina, Algiers in the fall of 1943. The photograph shows a typical Medina scene -- a garbage donkey being observed by an American soldier, Corporal Maurice Manson. Streets in this and most native quarters in North...
    • Liberty ship, November 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The best sight of all: the rigging of a liberty ship on the way home. This ship had been used for hauling mules to Italy, said mules to be employed for ammunition carrying in the Apennines. The ship had during that year-long term of this...
    • Kassel, Germany, May 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • Within a few days of the end of the war, the city of Kassel was digging itself out. This was the most destroyed city I encountered. There were no useable buildings left. People had made entrances to cellars and were using them as housing. Water...
    • Homes in the countryside near Casablanca, September 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • Made of native materials, these homes provided cheap and effective protection from the mild climate of Morocco. The people lived with their animals, sharing housing, water and sometimes food. When cold at night, close proximity to animals provided...
    • Grand Cafe, the Medina, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • The Grand Café in the Medina, Algiers, a gathering place for locals and travelers alike. Food was served with tea but no wine. A similar café further on did serve wine but the Moslems avoided it and the clientele was made up almost exclusively of...

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