1945 – WWII Photo Album with Public Hanging of Mussolini in Milan

WWII Photographs
Public Hanging of Mussolini in Milan
German Prisoners – Liberation of Paris
Italy and France
1945

Milan, Paris, 1940-1944. Album of photographs taken and compiled by a Private Wenn serving with the Central Mediterranean Force (C.M.F.) during the Second World War, featuring seven gruesome views of the public hanging of Benito Mussolini in Milan. Oblong 8vo. leather album measuring approximately 23 x 16 cm, two-tone patterned boards, gold satin pastedowns, string-tied cardstock leafs. Contains 31 gelatin silver print photographs mounted onto black cardstock leaves, including both snapshots and professional views, some with manuscript captions. Photographs vary in size, the smallest measuring approximately 9 x 6 cm, and the largest 14,5 x 10,5 cm. Wear to boards, creasing to the some photographs, otherwise internally in Very Good Condition with some dramatic war scenes.

This is the album of Private C. Wenn, no. 5680560, A.C.C. H.Q. Coy [Allied Control Commission (for Italy), Headquarters Company] of the Central Mediterranean Force, who compiled some fascinating, if not poignant, photographic views of the Second World War, in Italy and France. Wenn identified himself on the first leaf with his army portrait photograph, together with his name, home address, and credentials in manuscript.

Most graphic and rare in original print format, are the photographs of the corpses of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci, and other fascists hanged for public display in Piazzale Loreto, Milan, in 1945. Others corpses hung alongside were those of prominent leader of Fascist Italy Achille Starace, Italian Marxist revolutionary Nicola Bombacci, fascist politician journalist Alessandro Pavolini, and a man then labeled as “Gelormini” whom remains unidentified today. Images also show the battered bodies tossed on the ground after the macabre display, and civilians revelling in the event.

[On 26 April 1945, Mussolini and Petacci were both summarily shot, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra and were conducted by a partisan leader who used the nom de guerre of ‘Colonnello Valerio’. His true identity is unknown. Italian partisan and communist politician Walter Audisio claims to have performed the execution, although it has also been alleged that Luigi Longo may have pulled the trigger, he too, an Italian partisan and communist politician. The corpses were brought to Milan on 29 April 1945, for a large angry crowd to insult and physically abuse, and subsequently hung at a service station in Piazzale Loreto. When captured in Dongo, Lombardy, Mussolini was attempting an escape to the Alps.]

Two photographs show the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders bagpipe band practicing at the barracks in Milan.

Four photographs show German soldiers in France 1940, some performing sharpshooting exercises (captions December 1940) and others learning training with German tanks. A scene shows soldiers with their communications devices, positioned at the entrance of a dugout trench. Some of these views are captioned in manuscript in German to verso.

A series of professional photographs by the official French World War II press agency LAPI captures monumental battle scenes and devastating aftermath in the capital, the French Communist Party establishing a strong presence, and German soldiers made prisoners during the Liberation of Paris in August 1944. (L.A.P.I. stands for Les Actualités Photographiques Internationales)

Please Note:
Scenes of Battered Hung Corpses
Cannot be Shown Here

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