Giovanni Doretta, born March 14, 1921 of Italian parents in Paris. He lived in Paris until 1935, when his parents returned to Italy to work the family farm. He was drafted on Jan. 21, 1941 and trained on World War 1-era artillery as a part of the elite Alpini Cuneense division. In August 1942 his unit was sent to the Russian front in the Ukraine. When they arrived at Izium new orders from the German High Command meant that they had to march 300km to Stalingrad. They fought in the bitter cold, dressed only in summer uniforms, until forced to surrender to the Russians on Jan. 27, 1943. The prisoners were put on a train for the Ural Mountains and during the journey a typhoid epidemic broke out; only 10 of the 80 soldiers in his car survived. He was then sent to Moscow to work in a factory, and later, to guard German prisoners of war. He was repatriated on April 1, 1946.
© Jonathan Alpeyrie