Tag Archives: Charles J Morabito

Veteran’s Day: Story of Charles (and Anthony and Frank)

Since it’s Veteran’s Day in the USA, I am posting a recap of the story of Charles J Morabito, killed in the proximity of the Berga extermination camp in the last weeks of World War II, and whose temporary resting place appears in a relatively famous picture taken shortly after the war.

“A special area of the Berga cemetery was set aside for the bodies of 22 Americans, some of whom were buried in the same grave without coffins. The helmet of John Simcox displays the insignia of the 28th Division”. Charles’ helmet and cross are to the left. (NARA photo)

Plus I’ll mention brothers Anthony “Tony” F. Morabito and Frank A. Morabito, Purple Heart both of them, killed in action in December 1944 and February 1945 respectively and currently next to each other at the Épinal American Cemetery and Memorial, France.

I feel particularly attached to these stories having researched them for more than four years before being able to collate some information. BTW I have had the privilege to visit Tony and Frank in France and plan to go see Charles as soon as I can arrange a trip to his cemetery in Cuyahoga County, OH.

I will also travel one day to what remains in Berga.


Charles J. Morabito (1924-1945):

  • Born in 1924 (less probably, in 1916 or 1919) in Cuyahoga Falls, OH (Cleveland area)
  • Son of Santo “Sam” Morabito (Feb 16, 1889-Oct 26, 1975) and Mamie Foll (August 17, 1892-April 24, 1975)
  • Charles’ siblings: brother Frank (d. Oct 1969) , Frances Edith (d. 2004), Grace (March 22, 1930-Feb 8, 1931) and Tony Joseph (d. 1991)
  • Completed first year of high school
  • Listed as “semiskilled chauffeurs and drivers, bus, taxi, truck, and tractor” – somebody able to handle a motor vehicle
  • Last address in America: 9022 Kinsman Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
  • Enlisted at Camp Perry Lacarne in Cuyahoga County, OH on March 3, 1943, “for the rest of the war, plus six months” in the U.S. Army, Service #35050065
  • Probably assigned to the XVIII Infantry Division, Regiment 106, 109, 110, 111 or 112
  • Captured by the German army in December 1944 during the “Battle of the Ardenne”
  • Spent a few months in captivity in Bad Orb, near Frankfurt
  • Became prisoner of war #25084 in the enslavement and extermination camp in Berga, Germany around Feb 18, 1945 (less than three months before VE-day)

    Barracks in Berga, where 200 prisoners were cruelly cramped
  • Described by fellow prisoner Joe Mark as “reckless”
  • Escaped in March 1945, probably on the 15th. Was captured while milking a cow not far from the camp, a reckless act indeed but still done after having been starved for weeks (the cow, has it happens, made a noise)
  • Killed by his captors, probably shot on the spot with wooden bullets
  • After many vicissitudes, the survivors of Berga were freed on April 18 (or 23), 1945. Histomil has more details. There are also a NatGeo video and pictures.
  • Charles’ tomb in Berga (where the body was transferred after the camp was liberated) was photographed by NARA (see photo at the top of this post). In 2006, by pure chance that same picture got printed on the pages of the International Herald Tribune and that’s where I noticed it, kicking off all the search to collect this information
  • The body was returned to the U.S. around 1948
  • Charles’ funeral with family and friends was held Dec 14, 1948 at St. Anthony-St.Bridget Church (appropriately serving at the time also the Italian community from Cleveland’s Haymarket area

    Two views of the Church were Charles’ funeral was held
  • Chales was finally buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cuyahoga County 
  • He is there now with his mother and father. The following pictures were kindly taken for me by volunteers of the Find A Grave project:

Some details about the rest of the family (the whole Cuyahoga area in Ohio is full of people with surname “Morabito”):

  • Sister Frances married Anthony Giancola (d. 1990)
  • Brother Tony lived probably in 4538 Hunting Valley Lane, Brecksville, OH 44141 with his wife, J.A.
  • Descendants of Charles’ siblings: Anthony, Frances, Tina. Maybe Lisa A Morabito, daughter of Tony.
  • Probable relatives: Sebastiano and Carmela Morabito Prefiero, whose son Giuseppe was born Dec 7, 1908 and died Apr 12, 1912; and Giovanni (John) Morabito and Concetta A. Conti

And this is what I know of New-York-State born Anthony “Tony” F. Morabito (1921-Dec 4, 1944) and Frank A. Morabito (1920-Feb 20, 1945), both killed in action and thankfully resting next to each other:

  • Sons of Frank Anthony Morabito and Maria Nicola Salvatore.
  • Last US address: 161 West Avenue, Spencerport, Monroe County, NY
  • Tony enlisted on May 22, 1944 at Fort Dix, NJ. Service #42142051 in the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, U.S. Army
  • Frank enlisted on April 14, 1944 at Fort Dix, NJ. Service #56374374 in the 274th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division, U.S. Army
  • Both ranked Private First Class, noted as mechanics, single, without dependents.
  • Tony and Frank “died of wounds” during action in Germany and France respectively, only 11 weeks apart
  • They had at lest two brothers: Arthur Carmelo Morabito, veteran of WW II, Korea and Vietnam, retired a Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Air Force; and Joseph Bruno Morabito, veteran of WW II as a Tech. 5, 154th engineers and awarded four battle stars having seen combat in Peilelu, Saipan Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima.
  • This means their family might have had four siblings fighting in WWII at the same time 
  • Tony and Frank are buried next to each other in Épinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Vosges, Lorraine Region, France respectively in Plot A Row 36 Grave 51 and Plot A Row 36 Grave 50

Charles J Morabito – Aggiornamento con foto della lapide

Un piccolo aggiornamento nella storia di Charles J Morabito (1924-1945)

  • Nato nel 1924 (meno probabilmente 1916, o 1919) a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (zona di Cleveland)
  • Figlio di Santo “Sam” Morabito (16 Feb 1889-26 Ott 1975) e Mamie Foll (17 Ago 1892-24 Apr 1975)
  • Fratello di Frank (morto Ott 1969), Frances E(dith) (morta nel 2004), Grace (22 Mar 1930-8 Feb 1931), Tony J(oseph) (morto nel 1991)
  • Completato il primo anno delle superiori (High School)
  • Qualifica di “Semiskilled chauffeurs and drivers, bus, taxi, truck, and tractor” – conducente di automezzi
  • Ultimo indirizzo in America: 9022 Kinsman Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, OH (nella zona di Cleveland)
  • Arruolato al Camp Perry Lacarne a Cuyahoga County, Ohio il 3 marzo 1943, “per il resto della guerra, piu’ 6 mesi” nell’esercito USA con la matricola 35050065
  • Catturato dall’esercito tedesco nel dicembre 1944 durante la “Offensiva delle Ardenne”
  • Probabilmente assegnato alla XVIII Divisione di Fanteria, nel Reggimento 106, 109, 110, 111 o 112
  • Passa alcuni mesi in prigionia a Bad Orb, vicino Francoforte, con il numero 35050065.
  • Diventa prigioniero di guerra 25084 al Campo di schiavitu’ e sterminio di Berga dal 18 febbraio 1945
  • Descritto dal compagno di prigionia Joe Mark come “sconsiderato”
  • Tenta la fuga nel Marzo 1945, probabilmente il giorno 15. Viene catturato quando si ferma a mungere una mucca dopo settimane di stenti
  • Muore, probabilmente fucilato sul posto con proiettili di legno
  • I sopravvissuti vengono liberati dopo alterne vicende il 18 aprile 1945
  • La sua tomba a Berga viene fotografata per caso dal NARA. Nel 2006 quella foto verra’ stampata sulle pagine dell’IHT e notata da me
  • Il corpo rientra negli USA intorno al 1948
  • Il funerale con la famiglia e gli amici viene svolto il 14 dicembre 1948 alla St. Anthony-St. Bridget Church
  • Sepolto al Calvary Cemetery di Cuyahoga County

Piccoli dettagli sulla famiglia

  • La sorella Frances E ha sposato Anthony Giancola (morto nel 1990)
  • Il fratello Tony J viveva probabilmente a 4538 Hunting Valley Lane, Brecksville, OH 44141 con la moglie J A
  • Figli dei fratelli e della sorella: Anthony, Frances, Tina. Forse Lisa A Morabito, figlia di Tony J.
  • Probabile relazione di parentela con Sebastiano Morabito e Carmela Prefiero, il cui figlio Giuseppe è nato il 7 Dic 1908 e morto il 12 Apr 1912
  • Probabile relazione di parentela con Giovanni (John) Morabito e Concetta A Conti
  • Tutta la zona di Cuyahoga in Ohio è piena di persone con il cognome “Morabito”
Altre persone interessanti, trovate nel corso di queste ricerche:
  • Anthony F Morabito (New York 1921-Germania 4 Dic 1944) – morto per le ferite ricevute in guerra (#42142051, Private 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division). Premiato postumo con il Purple Heart. Sepolto a Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Epinal, Vosges, Lorraine Region, France, Plot A Row 36 Grave 51 accanto al fratello Frank A Morabito
  • Frank A Morabito (New York 1920-Francia 20 Feb 1945) – morto per la ferite ricevute in guerra (#42116164, Private First Class, 274th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division). Premiato postumo con il Purple Heart. Sepolto a Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Epinal, Vosges, Lorraine Region, France, Plot A Row 36 Grave 50 accanto al fratello Anthony F Morabito

Storia di Charles J Morabito

  • Nato nel 1924 (o 1916, o 1919) a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (zona di Cleveland)
  • Figlio di Sam e Mamie
  • Fratello di Frank, Anthony e Frances
  • Completato il primo anno delle superiori (High School)
  • Qualifica di “Semiskilled chauffeurs and drivers, bus, taxi, truck, and tractor” – conducente di automezzi
  • Ultimo indirizzo in America: 9022 Kinsman Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
  • Arruolato al Camp Perry Lacarne a Cuyahoga County, Ohio il 3 marzo 1943, “per il resto della guerra, piu’ 6 mesi” nell’esercito USA con la matricola 35050065
  • Catturato dall’esercito tedesco nel dicembre 1944 durante la “Offensiva delle Andenne”
  • Probabilmente assegnato alla XVIII Divisione di Fanteria, nel Reggimento 106, 109, 110, 111 o 112
  • Passa alcuni mesi in prigionia a Bad Orb, vicino Francoforte, con il numero 35050065.
  • Diventa prigioniero di guerra 25084 al Campo di schiavitu’ e sterminio di Berga dal 18 febbraio 1945
  • Descritto dal compagno di prigionia Joe Mark come “sconsiderato”
  • Tenta la fuga nel Marzo 1945, probabilmente il giorno 15. Viene catturato quando si ferma a mungere una mucca dopo settimane di stenti
  • Muore, probabilmente fucilato sul posto con proiettili di legno
  • I sopravvissuti vengono liberati dopo alterne vicende il 18 aprile 1945
  • La sua tomba a Berga viene fotografata per caso dal NARA. Nel 2006 quella foto verra’ stampata sulle pagine dell’IHT e notata da me
  • Il corpo rientra negli USA intorno al 1948
  • Il funerale con la famiglia e gli amici viene svolto il 14 dicembre 1948
  • Sepolto al Calvary Cemetery di Cuyahoga County

Mancano ancora molti “dettagli”….

Ciao Charles. Ti Ho Trovato.

After more than four years of research, I have finally found the resting place of Charles J Morabito (1919-1945), killed during an escape attempt from the Berga extermination camp, around one month before (some of) his fellow prisoners were liberated.

 

This has been quite an emotional event to say the least.