George Perrone


George Perrone is a first-generation Italian-American. His parents came from the community of Matera in southern Italy. As he grew into adulthood, Perrone learned about the role his Matera relatives played in the resistance movement during World War II. This included skirmishes that drove the Germans out of Matera on Sept. 20, 1943. One relative, an uncle who was a priest, helped Jews escape from Austria into Italy; for this, he was executed by the Germans.



Matera, Italy. The tower in the background was used by the Germans.


Matera, Italy


The tower in Matera, Italy, used by the Germans to shoot at members of the resistance.


Father Mirabene, executed by the Germans for helping Jews escape into Austria.

Agnes Paglia


Agnes Paglia was born in Ripa, Abruzzo District, in central Italy. Her mother, a widow, was unable to care for Agnes and her sister, Maria, so they were sent to an orphanage run by nuns in 1939, when war had just broken out. They stayed in the orphanage throughout the war. Agnes remembers the German soldiers stationed in the area, and one in particular who begged the nuns to hide him and turn him over to the advancing American forces. She also remembered how happy they all were when the Americans came. In 1955, she left Italy on the Andrea Doria and was married two years later.

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