Veteran Stories:
Stanley Scislowski

Army

  • Stan Scislowski 'cruising' Piccadilly Circus in London when a candid cameraman caught him by surprise -which is why his mouth is open, August 1945.

  • This pile of rubble had once been the hamlet of Montecchio, Italy, until the Germans levelled it to provide a clear field of fire, circa 1943.

  • The Orsogna sector of the Winter Line where Stan Scislowski spent the last two weeks of January 1944 holding the line.

  • Stan Scislowski standing before the Cross of Sacrifice in the Montecchio War Cemetary, May 1980

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"When you're in a hospital you feel like you've just been ripped away from your home. These fellows are your family"

Transcript

My name is Stan Scislowski. I was a private and I served in World War II.

I got hit by a grenade... two German grenades on Hill 204. It happened in Italy the last day of the last hour of August the 30th/31st when we were putting a counter-attack to take a hill back. Going up to make a bayonet charge on the top of the hill, one exploded just at my head and the other one at my feet. It left me pretty bloody. It looked worse than what it really was. I ended up in the hospital for two-and-half weeks.

I came from an ethnic background. Most of the fellows were Anglo-Saxon, a few French but we got to understand each other so much more. And all these little troubling things fell away once you got to know each other. You respected the person for what they were, not for what they came from. When you're in a hospital you feel like you've just been ripped away from your home. These fellows are your family.

I was a little more, I think, than anybody in my platoon, more conscious of the beautiful things of life, like history, hilltop towns and all that.

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