Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Masao Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Masao Watanabe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-wmasao-01-0036

<Begin Segment 36>

TI: Earlier you gave credit to the Italian partisans. And I guess what I'm trying to understand is, during the war, Italy was actually aligned with Germany. And yet you had Italians helping the American soldiers. Why was this? What was, why were the Italians helping the American soldiers?

MW: I think they got pretty disenchanted with Mussolini. 'Cause, even after the war, they made a public spectacle out of the places where Mussolini and his mistress were hung, and, you know, things like that. But after the Arno River, I think they were pretty disenchanted with Germany and Italy, the combo. And even within the Italian army, there were divisions on the Fascists and the partisans. Well, basically philosophy. And we were fortunate to -- well, the partisans sought us out. [Laughs]

TI: Well, another question, I was just thinking about your Seattle experience working the market. You worked with Italians.

MW: With Italians? [Laughs]

TI: With Italians around. And then you're in Italy, and whether or not there were any, you know, sort of, thoughts that went through your mind as you thought about that.

MW: Not really. They were two different types of Italians. [Laughs] But I think, I think the association with the Italians here, or anywhere, made you not as foreign. You know, I felt a lot more comfortable, even if I saw 'em and they didn't speak like the Italian friends I had here. But I could cuss with the best of 'em, and you know, I just... I didn't have any problems. But, the thing is, they went so far as to house us in their houses before we went up. You know, they hid us. So, you know, there was a lot -- I don't think we could have done what we did without their help. Is that a good way of putting it?

TI: Yeah, that's good.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.