Category Archives: Family

New Details About Charles Morabito

A few step forward in my search for details about Charles Morabito, PoW 25084 at the Berga slave camp in Nazi Germany. Charles was very unfortunate, part of what might have been the very last group of American prisoners of war tortured/neglected and ultimately killed by the Nazis. As reported by the PBS, he was one of the few American victims of “Vernichtung durch Arbeit — the Nazi policy of physical destruction through labor“.

As of now, I believe Charles Morabito was killed while trying to escape, sometimes in March 1945.

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(1) I have now found this article in the New York Times: “CAPTIVE U.S. TROOPS BEATEN WITH PICKS; Survivor of German Camp Tells How He Put In Long Hours as Slave Laborer” from June 13, 1945. It contains the results of an interview with 20-year-old Daniel D .Steckler, survivor of Berga. He speaks of slave labor under appalling conditions, and of a total of around 350 dead between Feb 28 and Apr 18, 1945.

The article says the Americans had belonged to the 28th Division, fighting in Luxembourg.

(2) There is a Wikipedia entry for the U.S. 28th Infantry Division, but no mention of Berga in the World War II section. Also, that entry includes the 109th, 110th, 111th, and 112th Infantry Regiments for the 28th Division, whilst other sources indicate the 106th Regiment.

(3) Via the Jewish Virtual Library one can find the following 1994 book: “Forgotten Victims: Abandonment of Americans in Hitler’s Camps” by Mitchell G. Bard (Author). Interestingly, the Amazon UK site brings up next to that book, a work by Flint Whitlock entitled “Given Up for Dead: American GI’s in the Nazi Concentration Camp at Berga“.

I will try to source both books at my local library.

(4) Whitlock’s book is described with these words, providing more about the background of the whole Berga camp story:

This is the extraordinary and little-known story of American GIs taken prisoners at the Battle of the Bulge and forced into unspeakable slavery in the Nazi concentration camp at Berga. When thousands of American soldiers were captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, most were marched off to prisoner-of-war camps where they were relatively well-treated. A few hundred others, mainly Jewish, were marched off to the Nazi slave-labor camp at Berga-an-der-Elster, where many met an unspeakable fate. This is their story. For over three months, the soldiers worked under brutal, inhuman conditions, building tunnels in a mountainside for the German munitions industry. Many of them died. The others struggled to survive in a living nightmare. Strangely, when the war was over, many of the Americans who had survived Berga were required to sign a ‘security certificate’ which forbade them from ever disclosing the details of their imprisonment at Berga. Until recent years, what had happened to the American soldiers at Berga has been a closely guarded secret.

(5) Via “Look Inside“, it is possible to find references to “Morabido, Charles” for pages 156-159 (it is a misspelling…check out “Morabito” as written on Charles’ tomb’s cross; and his name in the prisoners’ list):

1. on Page 159:
” … escape was tied to Morabido’s “plundering” at the farm, and he explained the predicament to Bokanic. A German noncom “badgered Bokanic about knowing and escaping with Morabido”
2. on Page 158:
” … Bokanic dashed from the storeroom, out the gate, and ran for cover to wait for Morabido. Five minutes passed and then a shot rang out from the direction … ”
3. on Page 157:
“asked Bokanic where Morabido was and he said that Morabido went to milk a cow. Believe it! Soon, we heard the noise of cows mooing, then … ”
4. on Page 156:
” … known of the plan and, once Mark was at work in the tunnel, two GIs, Charles Morabido and another whose last name was Bokanic, approached him and said they … ”
5. from Index:
“xv, 25, 28 Morabido, Charles: 156-159 Moselle River, France: 68 Munk, Honzo: 140,176-177,179-180 Nabburg, Germany : 189 Nachtmandersheid, Luxembourg: 41 … “

(6) Those pages speak of an escape attempt, and Charles is described by fellow prisoner Joe Mark as a “devil-may-care soldier“, together with his friend ??? Bokanic, very much interested in having finally something to eat. For some reason he decided to milk a cow at a nearby farmhouse. At page 158 the book says Charles might have been shot by the farmer.

It was March 1945.

(7) It is very unfortunate that none of the four original documents displayed in the PBS site about Berga contains the entry about Charles Morabito. There is plenty of information in that site though. For now I have extracted the following map:

To Berga

The Future of Marriage

The future of the religious form of marriage is in the hands of the respective clerics and faithful people.

The future of civil marriage is to be placed away from the hands of the State, until it lasts. And for civil wedding to be eliminated.

What is the State for, in fact, but to manage conflict situations also within its own society?

If I establish a friendship with a neighbour, do I have to make that public in the Town Hall? Of course not. But if I start an argument with them, it may go as bad as to warrant the intervention of the Law (the Police, or even “just” a lawsuit).

And so it should and surely will be that there will be no hand at all of the State when two people want to live together: whilst the weakest component of the couple, if the love and friendship disappear, will only have to demonstrate the two were living “as husband and wife” (in Ancient Rome, more uxorio), for the Law to act in their defense.

Even if policies dictate incentives for couples, again all they should have to show is that they are a couple (perhaps, a stable couple in the second year of cohabitation)…how it all started, and if there was a ceremony with a mayoral representative mimicking the religious ritual, all that must surely be immaterial from the point of view of the individual’s rights.

The above will finally re-align legality and societal mores, now so completely at odds with each other. With the added bonus of further separating God and Mammon, as Somebody recommended to do a few years ago…

Remembering Charles Morabito, PoW 25084 at the Berga slave camp

It all started for me whilst reading the IHT, with a NARA photo of Charles Morabito’s then-grave at Berga:

Now I know Charles was a very unfortunate Prisoner of War, sent to a deadly slave camp in the last months of the war. The PBS pages about the documentary “BERGA: SOLDIERS oF ANOTHER WAR” list him as prisoner #25084, with rank PFC

He may have been of the 106th Infrantry Division, but it is not a given. I’m still looking for details

Petition to the EU Parliament – unfair, double-taxation of UK working families

Dear Committee on PetitionsI am an Italian citizen, in England since 1997, writing to you now to highlight the unfair treatment of working families, by the United Kingdom's tax system.

Since both I and my wife work (employees) for most of the week, to fulfill our natural aspiration to provide our son with the best possible conditions we decided early on to have him taken care of by a nanny, during day time.

We have strived to follow all rules and regulations. That means I am effectively the employer of my son's nanny, and I pay all her tax and national insurance contributions.

The unfairness of the system is in the fact that the money my nanny is paid with, comes out of my salary as full-time employee, in other words the nanny's _gross_ salary is money that has already been taxed .

Indeed, despite me being an employer, I do not have any right to detract the nanny's gross salary from my total income for tax purposes.

As the situation stands, that money is effectively taxed twice, as the nanny then has to pay income tax of her own.

This is a blatant case of the UK's Inland Revenue taking advantage of my situation as full-time employee to tax my income two times.

I repeat: I do not have any trouble in paying all contributions ought to the nanny, her national insurance, etc.

The system should be re-assessed, with for example a simple mechanism introduced, with the nanny's employer getting taxed on his/her gross salary MINUS the nanny's gross salary, and not regardless of it.

Unfortunately this is far beyond the means of the "little guy", if only because a legal fight with the mighty Inland Revenue would be long and costly.

But the fact that I don't want to risk the financial ruin of my family to fight this particular injustice, does not detract from the fact that thousands of UK families are taken advantage of by the current system.

Is there any way you can help redress the situation? Please do let me know