Monte Cassino

Having exhausted the library service of travel docos on Italy, I resorted to watching a documentary about WW2 and the allied soldiers fighting the German soldiers in central Italy, particularly Monte Cassino. I was shocked to hear a New Zealander was attributed with having given the call to have the ancient monastery, (built approx 529AD), bombed thinking the Germans were using it strategically.

montecassino

On further reading, I found an anecdote where an Italian monk had spat at the feet of a New Zealand monk decades later due to this historical disaster, (the Germans, it transpired had not utilized the monastery, respecting its historical importance). I can understand his contempt for what turned out to be an entirely unnecessary destruction.

Should we carry this shame as a nation at the destruction of such a precious historic treasure even several generations since?

On the other hand, our beautiful young, clever men, including a Maori battalion went to the other side of the world to support our allied brothers and sisters and did their very best, many dying on these foreign lands.

soldiers

I wonder what the general Italian perception is of New Zealanders and the tiny part we have played in their vast and complex history?

soldiers 2

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