WW II freedom fighter Pino Lella

Apr 02, 2018 8166

BY: Jim DiStasio

The war came to Giuseppe “Pino” Lella right as he watched Fred Astaire dance with Ginger Rogers. It was the summer of 1943 and Lella, then 17 years old, was sitting next his brother, Mimmo, at a movie theater in his native Milan watching the cinematic duo twirl across the screen. For a brief moment, the war that had engulfed Europe and Nazi-occupied Italy was extinguished by pure Hollywood escapism.

Then reality came crashing down. First the projector eerily froze on the smiling faces of Rogers and Astaire. Moments later, an air raid siren echoed just outside and the crackle of anti-aircraft guns sent panicked moviegoers screaming from their seats into the chaos outside. Lella and his brother surged toward the exits right as Allied bombers dropped their deadly payload at the rear of the theater, tearing through the back wall and the once magical big screen, hurling pieces of debris toward the escaping throng, striking Lella on his cheek and drawing blood.

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SOURCE: http://www.franoi.com

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