The Boy in the War Zone

After the bombing, a terrifying silence descended on the small town. The relief work had ended and few people could be seen in the streets. There was no sign of Germans in the vicinity. I was just hanging out in a courtyard close to the house when suddenly I caught sight of a soldier. He had a strange helmet and carried a short gun. From that and the uniform, I knew right away that he was an Ally. He smiled at me. “Liberation” had finally arrived. I learned soon enough that it was a New Zealander that liberated me. Just a few hours later we began to receive food from an Allied military truck. The first thing I ate was out of a tin can, a vegetable soup. It was accompanied by a soft white bread, hitherto unknown to us.

The following days were filled with excitement. I was free to roam near the via Flaminia where an incessant procession of tanks, trucks and jeeps was moving forward. I had made a few friends and together we explored the blockhouses along the road and in the fields. I found my toys there among piles of different kinds of ammunition. I quickly learned how to discharge the small bullets, shaking out the gun powder. With time I found a way to
discharge bigger bullets. The powder provided me with the material to make fireworks.

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