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Melvin C. Shaffer World War II Photographs

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    • Berlin, late May 1945

    • 1945
    • Germany
    • This photograph of buildings near the Chancellery, on the Unter den Linden, shows the efficiency of both the population and the Russian forces that had cleared the streets for military traffic and for the delivery of essential goods to the...
    • 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...
    • The ruins of the Abbey at Monte Cassino, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The Abbey at Monte Cassino (the Abbazia di Montecassino), bombed into rubble by the Allied forces, only to make ideal cover for the German troops who rapidly re-entered the Abbey after the bombing. As a result, the Allies attempted again to "take"...
    • 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...
    • Village of Santa Cristina, Italian Alps, Summer 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • With the end of hostilities, the people here -- who had largely escaped the effects of the war -- were out doing their daily work again: farming; carving wood; and looking forward to the return of tourists to their picturesque village.
    • Patient with shrapnel wounds being x-rayed aboard the Hospital Ship

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • This soldier's wound, while probably not serious, was undoubtedly caused by an explosive weapon such as a grenade or mortar because of the multiple entry points to his body. Survival rates among soldiers wounded in this way were far higher than...
    • The Altare della Patria, Rome, 1944

    • 1944
    • Italy and Southern France
    • This monumental complex was finally completed by Mussolini, who transformed it from a dedication to the Italian "unknown soldiers" who died during the First World War into an egocentric expression of his pride in Italian military achievement.
    • 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...
    • Gasthof Zur, Italian Alps, 1945

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The Gasthof Zur in the Italian Alps near the village of Santa Cristina. Undamaged by war, it was open for business during the entire period of conflict. In July 1945 (my time there), it served good food and provided comfortable housing for anyone...
    • 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...
    • Fred Toelle at work

    • 1945
    • Italy and Southern France
    • The artist Fred Toelle, who painted the large murals depicted in this collection of photographs. Fred, a classical fine artist, was very slow and deliberate, making many sketches then a small-scale painting of each subject. His assignment was not...
    • Street scene in Medina, Algiers, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • The Medina, Algiers, Fall, 1943. These streets could be very busy: veiled women; pickpockets who could take off your underwear without you knowing it; prostitutes showing their wares through upper windows; nursing mothers everywhere; the smell of...
    • Sultan's palace, Rabat, Morocco, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A view inside the Palace of Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco, and September 1943. This palace was completely replaced by his son, King Hassan II (still Prince Moulay Hassan at this time), who died in 1999.
    • 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...
    • 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, 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • A view of the city of Algiers, December, 1943, taken from the El Biar section. An interesting custom prevailed here. On weekends, Jewish families would sit along the road with their eldest daughter pushed to the front. Mothers would call out to the...
    • Prayer tower, Rabat

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • This prayer tower, then situated on the outskirts of Rabat, was in use by a Mullah who rode a horse to its top on a roundabout staircase 5 times each day for the call to prayer. The structure -- also known as the tower of Hassan or Hassan tower --...
    • Unidentified café

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • Arab men enjoying tea at a sidewalk cafe, a very popular pastime for these folks who never seemed in a rush and always had plenty to talk about. On rare occasions when I had an interpreter available, he would assure me that they were not discussing...
    • Small girls in the Medina, Rabat, September 1943

    • 1943
    • North Africa
    • These are probably children of the Berber families who do not follow the Moslem custom of the veil and sequestering of the female. To the contrary; both men and women were outgoing, friendly, and clearly the backbone of the labor force in Morocco,...

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