Maria Rosaria Oliveri del Castillo

(We are very grateful to Rita Pasqualini, who was Maria’s Italian-English interpreter during her story capture session. Rita features in this portrait holding a photograph of Maria)

During the Second World War I was in Rome with no food, no water. I don’t remember being frightened; when you’re starving you don’t care. When the Germans were leaving Rome the Americans shot everyone in uniform, so Italians that didn’t have civilian clothes were buying them from Jews for 5 lire to disguise themselves.

One time I was lucky enough to have some money and I managed to buy two eggs on the black market. I was happy and was holding them to my chest while walking, when some Mussolini followers were shot right in front of me - including a young boy. I startled and the eggs broke against my chest. I was in shock and someone took me to a bar to settle me. But I was most sad about my broken eggs. Such were the times.