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No letter from René between September 2 & 9.

Fortunately, we can get some important news – and local reactions to it – from Philip Westdahl‘s journal entry on September 8, 1943


            What news! It came while I was on my ward and even my sickest patients shouted for joy – all but one poor chap still unconscious on his 5th day following a cerebral contusion. The Italian prisoners working in the hospital waved their brooms and mops in the air and wanted to hug and kiss us.

              Beyond the hospital grounds in the adjoining streets the Sicilians are singing and dancing and caressing each other. The Italian prisoners in their tents in the hospital courtyard have assembled in a great circle and are singing beautiful and gay Italian folks songs at the top of their voices. The old organ grinder in yon village street is grinding at double-time. The air is filled with music and laughter and there is happiness in hearts that have long forgotten the true meaning of happiness.  

            As for ourselves, we have long ago learned not to be too optimistic about interpreting good news, but this has been a great boost to our spirits and a cause for such speculation as to its consequences. We cannot help but join in the laughter and happiness.


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