"We have to start all over again.
Treat each other differently.
Tell the truth and
don't make up stories."
Nildo Fedele Menin was born on July 6th, 1924, in Camisano Vicentino, near the northern city of Vicenza. His parents, Luigi Menin and Rosa Margherita Menegon, were both farmers.
In 1933, when he was just nine years old, his family moved to Littoria (now called Latina) for the Reclamation of the Pontine Marshes.
Even in the unhealthy atmosphere of the Pontine marshes, where thousands of reclaimers fell victim to malaria, Nildo spent a happy childhood leading a community and country life. He put much effort into getting his primary school diploma doing two school years in one, while helping his family by taking care of their livestock.
In 1940, when he was 16 years old, Nildo was called up for military service, and he moved to the town of Gaeta. Two years later, he decided to attempt a military career and enlisted in the Carabinieri. In July 1943 he took up service in Rome, in the Barracks in Castro Pretorio. He was assigned the task of instructor for the assembly of weapons.
The armistice was declared on September 8th, 1943. In the chaotic days of Mussolini’s arrest and the escape of Badoglio, Nildo and his fellow comrades had to defend the city of Rome from Nazi’s fury.
On the morning of October 7th, 1943, he was summoned to the barracks together with his comrades, where they were ambushed and handed over to the Nazis.
THE YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT
Nildo and his entire battalion, as well as 800 thousand other Italians, were loaded on trains bound for Germany.
After 15 days, the convoy stopped at Moosburg, on Stalag 7-A, a prison camp used for sorting out prisoners.
For two long years, Nildo was forced into hard labor by the Nazi regime, as an Italian Military Internee. During that time, he wrote a diary.
In April 1945, thanks to the arrival of the Allied Forces in Munich, Nildo managed to escape the camp and hoped to return to Italy as soon as he could, but he was instead enlisted in the American army on public order duty, and stayed in Germany for another two months.
In July 1945 he began his journey home. Nildo started a new life back in Italy. He stayed with the Carabinieri until 1947 when, tired of the military life, he decided to go on leave. He reinvented himself by practicing various professions: insurer, mediator of disputes between individuals, cloth merchant.
He married Valeria, the girl who patiently waited for him for two years during the war, in 1948. They were together until the end.
In 1960 he worked for the surveillance team of the new nuclear plant in Latina, and held onto the job until his retirement.
Nildo always had a passion for the sea and fishing, so he decided to buy a boat called Little Rock, that would be his trusted companion for over 40 years.
In 2017 he was awarded the honor of Cavaliere Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. It is the first recognition for his service. For the first time, Nildo found the strength to remember his imprisonment years and started telling his story to Simone, his nephew, who later on decided to make a documentary about his grandfather.
"I was a boy too,
a long time ago."