GERMANY WILL FIGHT UNTIL THE LAST... ITALIAN.
The sunlight had burst through the morning mist bathing the courtyard in warmth. Waves of anxiety lingered from the torment of the last week, but as Lilia closed her eyes and basked in the rays, the fragrance of the autumn earth filled her senses with calm. She was gathering fallen leaves and raking them into a massive mound. Giovanni helped his sister by loading the foliage into the wheelbarrow for their mother who used it as mulch to protect the garden from early morning frost.
If Papa were here, Lilia thought, we’d be jumping in these leaves. She let out a deep sigh.
All at once, Lilia and her brother saw objects floating far up in the sky, glittering in the light. They were coming from the direction of the river.
‘‘Mama, look! Can we go see what it is?” To Maria, it appeared harmless enough, and the village seemed rather tranquil after days of fright amid all the commotion.
‘‘Okay, but stay together and don’t be too long!”
Lilia and Giovanni ran down the street, and other children excitedly joined in the quest. What were these twinkling things? Hightailing it past the church and skipping through the wheatfields, they witnessed what appeared to be, long, metal-like strips falling in hundreds to the ground, interspersed with larger sheets of paper. The children squealed as they ran in circles with their arms in the air, leaping up to grab handfuls of silver ribbons, which drifted around them like snowflakes.
‘‘Giovanni! We can tie these together and weave them into belts and bracelets!” Lilia screamed with delight, her face aglow with enthusiasm.
‘‘What about these bigger papers?” Giovanni held one in his hand—it was a yellowish color with writing printed on it.
‘‘Nah, just the pretty silver ones!”
Giovanni released the leaflet to the ground with the others, leaving his muddy footprint on it as he ran off with Lilia to bring their newly found treasures home. Within the manifesto’s lengthy message were these words,
“Why are you dying for Hitler? No one asked you if you wanted this war. But they sent you to die. They told you: ‘Believe, obey, fight.’ Why? For who? How long? Germany will fight until the last…Italian.”