I (grandson) will be typing for my grandmother since she is unable to. Ask away!

EDIT: They were a group of 30 German soldiers under Nazi rule that occupied my house, not Nazi party members, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

PROOF: Here are some photos to hopefully provide some proof: http://imgur.com/a/q8Hhp The first is the farm house that the Germans occupied. The rest are photos of my grandmother's husband who was stationed in Caporeto, his regiment was Regimento 9 Alpini "Vicenza". He is also from Codroipo. I hope this helps.

UPDATE: My mom is scanning her old i.d. as we speak, hang tight, OP WILL DELIVER!

PROOF: Here is my grandmother's identification: http://imgur.com/WuHDX

UPDATE: Grandmother has gone to bed, she will answer more questions in the morning.

UPDATE: Grandmother is back for a bit to answer some more questions!

UPDATE: Thank you Reddit for all your kind words. My grandmother enjoyed sharing her story with you all.

Comments: 1361 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

geoluv513 karma

Hey its dad Brodo. I know a lot of people are asking you for proof Nonna my mother in law shared similar stories to my mother She was born In Rivignano Italy July 19, 1923 . My father is still alive and was a Bersaglieri. He was stationed in Africa . Brodo is telling the truth. He is my son and he is doing this for his Nonna (grandmother) He loves her and wants to share something very hard for her but a story that he wants to share with others. I took my family to the house in the photo in 2005. It was an unbelievable experience to see what our parents told us was in front of our eyes. Yo don't have to believe but it is a true story. My mother living in Rivignano had the same experience . Her uncle was a partisan who was pursued by the nazis and hid in a tree for several days. .Keep writing Brodo i may be far away from you but i know you are real.

Brodo_Swaggins280 karma

I can verify this is my dad :).

highbrowalcoholic483 karma

Please thank your grandmother profusely from me for doing an AMA. This is incredibly interesting.

Can you please describe what it was like when the Nazis first showed up? Did they present some semblance of 'officialdom,' papers and orders, or were they just insistent on occupying the farm because they were the invaders and they could? Where did she stay while the Nazis occupied the premises?

How did they treat her? What was the range of 'humanity' like? Were there some people "just doing their job" and others "complete monsters," and everything in between?

Brodo_Swaggins879 karma

When they first arrived it was the scariest part because they demanded to use our farm to house the soldiers. I don't know about papers, 5 of them showed up in a jeep and told us they were staying on our farm. They stayed in 2 bedrooms, the stables, and the attic. I stayed in my brothers bedroom, there were 13 of us in 2 bedrooms. They treated everyone very well. The commander made sure they were all respectful and kind to us, especially the children. They made us coffee every morning. There was definitely a range of humanity. The last day my mother cooked a meal (eel, polenta) and officers began to cry because they had to leave due to the Americans advancing.

makgzd208 karma

Was there a certain attachment between the German soldiers and your family? What I mean to say is even if you disagreed on the occupation, did you still find yourself seeing them as human beings with feelings? If you are familiar with the term 'Stockholm Syndrome', is that something that you believe you experienced (even though you weren't really captives)?

Brodo_Swaggins455 karma

Absolutely, the commander of the squad knew we were frightened and made sure all of his soldiers respected us at all times. I saw them as human beings with feelings, especially when a few of them started crying when they had to leave.

brewbrew435 karma

I cannot get my roma tomatoes to grow for the life of me. Any tips?

Brodo_Swaggins525 karma

When you plant them, make sure to put the roots almost sideways, plant them deep and lots of sun is needed.

supergrover2_0352 karma

What is the most important thing you learned from it that you want to tell your grandson?

Brodo_Swaggins713 karma

The most important thing I learned was that we are all human. They had families too and they didn't know if they were going to see them again. I told him, everyone is human.

t3hlulzkiller328 karma

Ciao! My family's farm was occupied by the nazis during ww2 as well! My grandfather used to tell me the most fascinating stories about it. The nazis treated them very well and even went as far to aide in farm work. I was told when the Americans came they pretty much massacred the small villages and towns killing civilians and killing off food supplies too (shooting livestock, burning crops) this was in frosinone, Italy. The town of ceccano

Brodo_Swaggins91 karma

This is very interesting. I hope this gets upvoted!

Vromrig274 karma

Did they demand some of your delicious milk?

Also was there any worry that Allied artillery or airstrikes would hit your farm?

Why did they end up vacating the farm?

Brodo_Swaggins210 karma

That was my biggest fear was airstrikes hitting our farm. They retreated when the Americans started to advance North.

Fluroblue251 karma

did they leave anything behind when they left?

Brodo_Swaggins458 karma

2 dogs which we kept.

vamesk181 karma

what breed of dogs were they?

Brodo_Swaggins217 karma

I do not know the breeds. One was grey long haired and one was white and brown short haired.

upvote_contraption239 karma

Sounds like they were generally respectful. Did you or anyone in your family develop a friendly relationship with any of them?

Brodo_Swaggins658 karma

I didn't but one time we could not find my sister (7 months old) and we found her in a room with one of the soldiers who was feeding her a candy. It turned out the soldier had a young daughter back home.

Citisol230 karma

Did the commanding officer speak Italian? How did you communicate with them if there was a language barrier?

Brodo_Swaggins326 karma

No but one of the soldiers who was also a tailor, spoke Italian and he translated for everyone.

FreightConductor226 karma

What did they do to your farm? Were they respectful of your land?

Brodo_Swaggins337 karma

They set up artillery and trucks. For the most part they were respectful but the trucks did damage the fields.

FreightConductor175 karma

How long were they there?

Brodo_Swaggins286 karma

3 months.

htalbot78123 karma

Greatest AMA I've ever read, thank you

Brodo_Swaggins131 karma

You are welcome!

Pistoffpolock211 karma

What was the scariest moment for you when this all happened to you?

Brodo_Swaggins410 karma

When they first came on a sunday. They came in with a Jeep and demanded 2 bedrooms, the stable and the attic. I didn't know what was happening, I was very frightened.

EDIT: Another scary moment was when I was in a field and heard American planes flying over me. I ran into a ditch and as I did, one of the planes dived really low, so low that I could see the face of the pilot. I could not tell if he was looking back at me but that was the most scared I have ever been in my life.

andreatjej143 karma

How old were you at the time and what were some of the significant changes/ impacts on your day-to-day life during the war

Brodo_Swaggins209 karma

I was 11 or 12 years old at the time. The biggest change was to be aware of everything since anything could happen at any moment.

Dudesan68 karma

If you were 11 during the 1940s, how old does that make your grandmother? Anyone who lives through that much shit gets my respect.

Brodo_Swaggins132 karma

She is 81.

maddoxpatt120 karma

Were they nice people? I mean they're Nazis sure but they can't all be evil. Did they treat you with respect and care?

Brodo_Swaggins275 karma

I apologize, they weren't Nazi's they were German soldiers under Nazi rule. Yes they were very respectful of my family, the commander made sure we were respected at all times.

Warlizard117 karma


Brodo_Swaggins92 karma

My grandmother does not wish to be photographed, is there any other way to provide proof?

I_Am_Not_An_Expert81 karma

Something to at least show proof of living there, passports, anything? You can censor sensitive stuff.

Brodo_Swaggins101 karma

She is staying at my house tonight and does not have her passport here, I am driving her back thursday night and will try to get that info and see if I can dig up some pictures/memorobilia.

EDIT: Photos of the farm house she lived in, her husband during the war, and her identification have been provided above. Hope this helps!

viperfreak96493 karma

did you ever help hide any jews? What did you have to do for the nazis and were they respectful in your home?

Brodo_Swaggins289 karma

No I did not hide any jews, I lived the northern town of Codroipo. Yes they were very respectful of my home. Every morning the commander had a meeting in the farm field, he told the soldiers to be kind to my family. In fact, one of the sergeants, picked up my sister and gave her a candy. They made us coffee every morning. During Christmas, they took one of our ducks and killed it. My mom was very mad but they cooked the duck for us for dinner. The next morning the commander scolded the 2 men who cooked the duck and made sure no one was to touch our livestock. Overall, they were very respectful.

perverse_imp112 karma

I am quite surprised at this. Thanks for doing this AMA.

Brodo_Swaggins194 karma


viperfreak96432 karma

wow. this is the side you dont really hear about. thanks for replying

Brodo_Swaggins43 karma

You are welcome.

LovefromCanada81 karma

What is your favourite kind of pasta?

Brodo_Swaggins151 karma

Pasta alfredo.

InfernalWedgie76 karma

Where was the farm located?

My husband's from Bologna. He makes a big deal about how his hometown was an anti-fascist stronghold. His recently-deceased grandfather collaborated with the Allies during WWII.

Brodo_Swaggins127 karma

In Northern Italy. I was too young to know what fascism was.

KrisB_1674 karma

During the occupation, I understand you mentioned they were respectful during their presence, but, were there any particularly scary moments where arguments may've taken place or other situations that might've startled your family (besides the killing of the duck, that is.)?

Thank you do much for taking the time for an AmA as well!

Brodo_Swaggins203 karma

Yes on new years eve they were drunk and brought a mule into our house and brought it up the stairs into one of the bedrooms. Looking back on it, it was funny but at the time we were extremely frightened.

3nd3rWiggins65 karma

This is so predictable... I'm sure most of the posters at this point are just trying to confirm what Hollywood has drilled into their little malleable minds. If your G'ma sees this, tell her I apologize for all the boring repeated questions... and (to the OP), I want you to know that it I know it more than a simple request to get her to do this for us, so thanks man. It was a cool thing you two did today.

Brodo_Swaggins115 karma

She says thank you. She is happy to tell people about her experiences, she is just afraid of what people might say about her on the internet.

Dangthesehavetobesma53 karma

Did you ever see any Allied troops?

Were they nice people?

If you did see any Allied troops, did they fight the German troops stationed on your property?

Brodo_Swaggins82 karma

I did not see any allied troops, the fighting that took place were airstrikes and German's firing artillery in response.

GameFreak432166 karma

How close to your home did bombs land?

Brodo_Swaggins133 karma

Approx. 500 metres.

Dangthesehavetobesma50 karma

Was anyone injured by the airstrikes? Did the airstrikes damage your property a lot?

Brodo_Swaggins99 karma

Yes there was a lot of damage from airstrikes. 2 neighbour farmers were hit by shrapnel. Thankfully my farm did not get hit.

Dangthesehavetobesma60 karma

Amazing. Thank you for doing this AMA.

Brodo_Swaggins75 karma

You are welcome.

jane-348 karma

how did you feel about some italians who have changed sides after noticing that they're in deep water?

my boyfriend asked this question, he studies history and is very interested in ww2.

greetings from austria, we have much respect for you answering these questions. i bet it isn't easy remembering these moments of your life!

Brodo_Swaggins69 karma

I was only 12 at the time I didn't think anything of it.

MrNadir48 karma

MY great-grandmother was killed in an American bombing raid (on an island off of Sicily Early in the war, but nonetheless). Were American bombers as much a threat or were they seen as liberators?

In other words, how were the Americans viewed during the war?

Brodo_Swaggins100 karma

That is hard for me to say, both Germans and Americans seemed threatening to our family, we did not want to take sides we just wanted to mind our own business and live in peace.

need201245 karma

Was there cooperation between the local farmers? Did you make any attempt or know of any attempt to get rid of the Nazis?

Edit: My dad/his family is from Rivignano. Do you know what it was like there as some of his family seemed to go through similar experiences?

Brodo_Swaggins51 karma

There was cooperation between local farmers, everyone would help with farming tasks. My daughter's husband's parents are from Rivignano. I imagine the experiences were the same, both were very small towns so when planes flew over it was probably over both towns.

helemaalbigT40 karma

How old were you at the time, and who lived with you in the house? How did this effect them and your relationship with them both during and after the war?

Brodo_Swaggins91 karma

I was 11 or 12. There was a total of 12 of us who lived in the house. Everyone was scared during the time, not because of the soldiers but because of the American's bombing our farms. My family was already very close but afterwards it made us much closer.

Frantic_Child39 karma

What was your opinion on the Jewish population at the time?

Thank you for doing this IAmA.

Brodo_Swaggins82 karma

I don't know, I don't really have one.

Good_WO_God39 karma

How many of them knew Italian? Did any of you know German?

Brodo_Swaggins58 karma

2 of them, a tailor and a marshall. None of my family knew Germna.

pemt35 karma

Did you get any souvenirs from them?

Brodo_Swaggins76 karma

2 dogs which we kept.

DontCryWolf33 karma


Brodo_Swaggins80 karma

Yes, we saw them as humans with feelings, they were afraid themselves, most of the soldiers had families and missed them greatly. The most important thing I learned is that everyone is human.

DiggDugg9233 karma

Did you, as an average Italian farmer, see the Germans/Nazis as allies? Or did you see them as an invading army, despite what ostensibly was an alliance between the two governments?

Brodo_Swaggins88 karma

No I did not see them as allies. I did see them as invaders because the invaded my home.

papadop32 karma

Was your grandmothers family fascists at the time? (Pro-Mussolini)

I think that would be important to know the honest truth --- because Germans did not treat everybody the same.

Brodo_Swaggins69 karma

No we were not fascists but we didn't hate Mussolini because he did a lot of good in our eyes. He gave money to families with more than 6 kids.

vikingpride1123 karma

do you like dogs or cats?

Brodo_Swaggins81 karma

I have one cat.

JonaldJohnson22 karma

What is your most memorable moment from the war? What is one thing you wish you could forget? When the German soldiers were occupying, did they ever share stories with you guys? Did you pick up any interesting intel?

Brodo_Swaggins82 karma

8 American planes were bombarding a passenger train in Codroipo(by mistake). When I crossed the field, one of the planes dived down so close to the ground that I could see the face of the pilot. That was the most frightening experience of the entire war. They didn't really share any stories with us.

Charlotteeee18 karma

So how do you feel about Nazis now?

Brodo_Swaggins38 karma

At the time I didn't know the difference. I feel indifferent.

Brodo_Swaggins28 karma

They were German soldiers under Nazi rule I apologize, I don't know hwo to fix the title. As for Nazi's, I did not know the difference at the time. I thought they were all Nazis.

Incesto13 karma

Do you know the name of the regiment(im sorry I do not know the correct term for the military structure) that these German soldiers were from? do you know what happened to any of them? was the any communication with them after they left, such as letters?

Brodo_Swaggins20 karma

No I do not know their regiment. There was no communication after they left, but a few of the soldiers cried when they left.

pemt13 karma

Did they stay right to the end of the war, or were they moved on earlier. Also, was the artillery ever fired from the farm. Thanks!

Brodo_Swaggins22 karma

No, they retreated when the Germans advanced, I don't remember the exact time. Every time American planes flew over they fired the artillery.

pikapp24511 karma

Did you have to wear facist uniforms? My grand parents did. They lived in agrigento and carfizzi

Brodo_Swaggins26 karma

Yes, when Mussolini came to town, all the children had to go home and change into their uniforms and form an "honor guard" at the side of the road.

vivereloud9 karma

My grandparents were in Italy at the time too, except the spoke mostly of French soldiers. They were children at the time but my grandpa was separated from his family and didn't see them again until the end of the war. I absolutely love hearing his stories [along with all these other wartime survivor's stories] they are absolutely remarkable.

Where is your grandmother from? Mine were in the Abruzzo region. What were her thoughts towards Mussolini? Propaganda? Was she left with the farm after the war?

As many have said before, thank your grandmother profusely. I know its difficult for my grandparents to talk about their wartime experiences sometimes. Thank you!

Brodo_Swaggins14 karma

I am from Codroipo, we did not hate Mussolini because he gave a lot to the working classes. We stayed on the farm after the war, but the crops were damaged by the trucks and artillery. You are welcome!

jpfrana7 karma

how did the fact that your farm was occupied by Germans during the war affect the way you felt you about Germans after the war?

Brodo_Swaggins11 karma

I felt the same after they left, I was just happy to have our house back.