The simple and extraordinary story of Harry Shindler, a soldier who landed in 1944 in Anzio with the British army and who today, at the age of 96, spends his life hunting for the unresolved stories of the men who fell in Italy, has become a film.
A British veteran of the Italian campaign in the Second World War, and an active campaigner to recognize fallen servicemen and those who supported escaped prisoners and refugees, Harry has campaigned with distinction and dignity to remember those who served the Allied cause. Harry Shindler is a veteran of the 8th Army’s North African campaign, the landings at Anzio in 1944, the liberation of Rome and the subsequent Italian campaign. He published his memoirs of these experiences – Roma ricordi i suoi liberatori (2008) – and, since founding the Italy Star Association, of which he has been President, he has championed and led the research to identify, for their families, where fellow servicemen perished in battle. Harry has been responsible for many monuments to the fallen, notably Captain Eric Fletcher Waters and the four hundred Allied prisoners killed near Orvieto in 1944. He has also been an active campaigner to erect memorials to those who supported escaped prisoners of war and those persecuted by the Axis powers. These have included monuments to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, who. from the Vatican, is credited with saving six thousand five hundred lives, and to the American journalist/spy, Peter Tomkins.
Whenever Harry uncovers the identity of an unknown soldier, the "memory hunter" says: "Here, the war is over for him now".
The documentary, directed by Bruno Bigoni, is a visual testimony that reaches poetic intensity in the last of the stories, the one about Rogers Waters. "A case that I wanted to treat like the others, I was not interested in Pink Floyd in this context" explains Bigoni, "but it was extraordinary that Shindler discovered the story of Lieutenant Eric Fletcher Waters, killed by the Germans in Anzio, without knowing who the son was. A father that a son had long sought."
"Stories disappeared in the great hole of the World War. This documentary is designed to keep the memory alive, especially for young people today who only know the past in broad terms. I see the importance when I open the newspaper and see the fascist regurgitation every day, as if something had remained lit under the ashes".
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