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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • Laundry, Casablanca, September 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • These facilities appear to have been constructed specifically for this purpose and were in constant use. Some of the ladies appeared to be doing wash that was for commercial purposes: very large quantities; batches had to be kept separate from one...
    • 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...
    • 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...
    • Camel pulling irrigation lift, Casablanca, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • The camel is truly the all-purpose animal, here turning the pump on an irrigation post in Morocco. His entire life would be spent walking in this circle, bringing up water from one level to a higher one. An attendant in the shack would not be...
    • 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.
    • Village of Bou Saada, Algeria, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • The city of Bou Saada, about one hundred miles southeast of Algiers. The population during my stay was nearly 100-percent Arabic, with a few French Foreign Legion forces in the area. Probably because of the Foreign Legion, the city was best known...
    • 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...
    • 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.
    • Traveling entertainer, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • This traveling entertainer in a small village near Biskra played music on the drum you see here, as well as on various horns hidden beneath his costume. These men would travel across the desert from one market to another making a meager living with...
    • 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...
    • 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...
    • 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.
    • Another view of the leaning tower of Pisa, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The leaning tower of Pisa as seen through an archway which shows the angle of the lean against the vertical archway. A few buildings in this area were destroyed -- in fact, one directly adjacent to the tower was badly damaged -- but the tower...
    • St. Peter's, Rome, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The famous basilica designed by Giacomo della Porta, pictured here shortly after the breakthrough at Anzio. Thousands of American soldiers came here on their way north in pursuit of the retreating German forces. It was not uncommon to see entire...
    • 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.
    • St. Peter's, Rome, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The famous basilica designed by Giacomo della Porta, shortly after the breakthrough at Anzio. Thousands of American soldiers came here on their way north in pursuit of the retreating German forces. It was not uncommon to see entire military...

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