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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • Tracer trails from anti-aircraft fire over Naples, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • A composite print of anti aircraft tracer fire over Naples. While not subjected to bombing runs, the port was a frequent subject of night photography by the German forces. They always knew just how high they needed to fly to avoid the...
    • 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.
    • Biskra, Algeria, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • At the market in Biskra medicine men plied their ancient craft. This particular individual was applying a mix of ostrich shell, salt and lizard oil to a little girl's eye, swollen from conjunctivitis. She screamed in agony and but sat still so she...
    • 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...
    • Untitled - the lady wine seller of Benevento

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Benevento was famous for its wine and thus a favorite spot for soldiers. In Southern Italy, Benevento was popular with soldiers from shortly after Italy was invaded until the Axis powers surrendered. This lady was a good wine seller; she had two...
    • 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.
    • 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...
    • 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...
    • 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.
    • Naples, Spring 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • Naples, Spring 1944, after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. One of the world's most beautiful cities, Naples was a mix of very old residential and fairly modern apartment structures, each built to afford a view of the magnificent harbor.
    • 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...
    • Little girl, Italian Alps, 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • One of the children placed by her 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...
    • Traveling story-teller, Bou Saada, Algeria, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • People of the desert had no modern communication at all. There was no electricity in the small villages, no newspapers or magazines, and very little contact with the outside world. They had heard about radio but none had ever heard a radio. In this...
    • 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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