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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 23, 2013 9:00am-10:01am EDT

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>> now on booktv, a former writer for national geographic magazine accounts of emergency landing at nazi occupied albania in 1943. this was the secret rescue. this is one our. >> hello, good evening. it is a pleasure to be here tonight. ..
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>> the nurses and medics were traveling from the headquarters on the island of sicily to italy in the north where their scheduled to pick up wounded and ill patients. near the front lines and transport them to more fully equipped hospitals around the mediterranean. bad weather had plagued the area for the past three days and patients have piled up your though the weather was sunny and clear when the plane took off that november day, the aircrafts and and can a violent storm pushed the plane off course. the flight crew managed to avoid dangerous water spouts that formed that they were distorted by the weather, lost communication with the station, their destination come and their instrument panel was malfunctioning. after several hours in there and not realizing across the
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adriatic ate said the best chance of survival was to land the plane. they saw an interview with german planes that look like they been abandoned at some head during the war. but when it attempted to land, the plane suddenly came to life and americans were under fire. the pilots quickly ascended the aircraft on defined themselves in the path of two german fighter place. the routine two-hour flight had turned into a five hour journey and the pilots were not dodging enemy planes without any weapons to defend themselves. they ducked in and out of clouds in attempt to evade the fighter planes and eventually found a small patch of land record between -- nestled between rugged mountains where they claim. as the crane went along the ground saturated with water to land your slowly sank in the mud until it's completely submerged. it brought the plane to a violent stop. the force and that the plane's nose in the marshy land and the fuselage hovered upright for a few seconds before falling to the ground and a belly flop.
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the crew chief was in the back of the plane and not buckled in as the others were, was severely injured in the crash. the passengers tried to get their bearings and eventually exited the plane to find they were surrounded by rugged terrain. within minutes the group of rough looking armed men dressed in homemade uniforms came out of the woods and surrounded them. this began the americans month-long journey, months long journey in which they face a barrage of life-threatening incidents, had very little food, and were forced to light at night with villagers were risking their lives to help them. during one german attack which occurred within a week of the crash landing, three of the nurses are separated. not knowing if the three women were alive or dead, the rest of the party had no choice but to wander through rugged terrain, tired, hungry and ill looking desperately for a way to escape. for weeks they were led through one village after another by albanian partisans who were members of a group in albania
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who found them food and shelter. at times the americans were not sure that you trust these partisans who seem to be using them as propaganda for the cause rather than helping them escape. meanwhile, the army air force scramble to find out what happened to the missing plane and its passengers. the army air force senate search planes throughout the mediterranean that there were no signs of them anywhere. the stranded americans quickly learned that albania was a small country about the size of maryland which had changed very little over the last several hundred years. german troops occupied albania after italy surrendered to the alicallies in september 1943 jut two months before, and thousands of abandoned italian troops, many of them would not survive the winter, still wandered the countryside. the americans also learned that tensions between to albanian resistant groups, the partisans come had erupted into civil war and that was as much as a threat to them as where the germans.
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after 22 days the american men and women finally located a british officer who escorted him to admissions can't. though the americans did know at the time, the man at the camp worked for the clandestine special operations executive which was churchill's secret army. as a we have been granted control over albania in 1942 when oss, the office of strategic services which is the american equivalent and soe carved the world into zones that would be good for the one or the other or shared by both. the majority of the british officers sent until they had received the same type of training as other soe officers but at soe schools in the middle east. so the basic coursework remained the same as those taught in britain. there were some specialty courses offered such as skiing and climbing, even mueller management adding school in lebanon. one officer found the mueller management class was the most useful course of a whole lot. instead of being in disguise
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like other soe officers, these men were uniforms i could withstand harsh conditions of the mountain caves from which they operated guerrilla warfare. some added local touches including curly slippers or fences. the first handful of soe men had arrived in april 1943 to help the resistance group fight the challenge. but to the men's growing frustration the resistance groups often seem more interested in killing one another than anything else. by october 19431 month before the americans crash landed, 20 for british special operations men were in the country and organize the nation's. all of which face constant danger. of the first 50 minutes into the country, 16 of them were eventually captured or killed. the british agreed, we're from three weeks of walking, then contacted soe headquarters in cairo who then relayed the information to american
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officials and the american that the party was safe in the care. os has had sent its first intel dangerous as the british just a few weeks earlier after setting up new headquarters in italy which is where the plane was originally headed. having been in nothing allow them to establish the vital communications like it would be critical in courting the desperate rescue mission no need. oss quickly devise a plan which involves him in an officer or to help get them out. that man would be lloyd smith. smith had been stationed in egypt for almost a year and have been promoted to captain when he was recruited by oss in cairo in early september 1943. a recruiter promised smith the excitement he great because his brother was headed overseas to serve as a pilot on the 26 bomber. smith later wrote unless i did something more exciting than ordinance, i would have trouble living with him after i got back home after the war.
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senator smith arrived at oss headquarters in italy, his commanding officer said to him, we have a priority job. how would you like to volunteer to get albania? at smith knew little of the train or language agreed to help the strength americans and bring into the post for evacuation which is a three-hour briefing under his belt. smith received his orders on november 30, and by the evening of december 2 he had made two attempts to cross the hundred i both. another port city. my second attempt had been canceled that day because of the discovery of chairman minds in the portuguese had to go back to the oss office to wade into the area was clear. he had just arrived when the germans unleashed a massive air attack on the harbor just three blocks away that would later be known as a second pearl harbor. smith was fortunate not to be heard, lee's 1000 people cling civilians were killed, countless were injured in 17 allied ships were destroyed.
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on smith's final attempt to reach the coast of albania, he took a british motor facing -- fishing vessel under the cover of darkness and warning the uniform of a captain as a downed pilot if the germans captured him. the treatment of a prisoner of war was far better than that of a spy, particularly with hitler's command order in place. the order demand that all allied men caught behind enemy lines be killed in italy, policy that violated international law. in charge of smith's boat was lieutenant jack care, a former dentist from california with the united states navy reserves who also served as chief of maritime unit in barre. it was only secretly delivering smith, he was also bringing in cash for the needed supplies, summit which eventually landed in the hands of the americans. around the 11th inning to capital was able to save the anchor have not off the albanian coast and the crew rode smith
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and supplies ashore. bring weapons and supplies into the country, and pass on intelligence and material. filled with lies and black scorpion there was a temper home of several personnel. an officer with mi6, britain's secret intelligence service as most to americans with the oss. the conditions were grim and the days long. one soe officers many faculty before wrote of his last two days, he said we were desperately ready to go for we are very rapidly running out of food and water. the mule that it carried the tide and for the week we were there this would only meet we ate. eke out monday by food. there was no water local and
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would have run out but for very fortunate storm one night. after that are only meager supply was what we could collect from bottles and rocks with a sponge. the situation had become worse when a local a beard and tried to convince the men he owned the cave and if they didn't a him a sovereign entity returned into the germans. after five days of waiting for information about the location of the american party to come over the wireless, smith decided he could discover on his own. with a .45 caliber handgun, a compass, a map and a shepherd to guide him, smith said that on his mission. while smith search for the americans, the so soe incarnatin with oss a sentiment to escort the americans to the coast for a seat evacuation the after days, the party left in hands of lieutenant gavan duffy, and thee sergeant. duffy who start your slight build and clark gable mustache gave him a distinguished appearance and made them look older than his 24 years, but the
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group along with sergeant bell, quiet baby faced young man with blonde hair from northland who would be the wireless operator. it was december 7, the second anniversary of the attack on pearl harbor. they spent days walking with little food and the americans were more exhausted and ill than they've ever been. on many december 20, the americans 43rd day in albania, they learned don't have to start backtracking because of nearby fighting between the germans and the partisans but it was too much for some concluding the american pilot asked bill to send a message on his behalf asked for air evacuation. cairo received the message and forwarded it to the army air force during the american scandal fo for several days in n villages hoping for an air rescue. with that i will read the prologue which takes place the morning of the attempted air evacuation. >> on a chilly overcast december day in 1943, gavin kerry does
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become a tough no-nonsense toy for your special operations lieutenant working for britain. through his the nights are some the cover of an albanian hillside and watched in frustration as waves of german troops and tanks moved through the steep and winding roads of account on the valley's other side. the town was perched high above an abandoned airfield where american rescue planes were scheduled to land that morning in a risky and dramatic mission to evacuate a group of stranded american men and women. the party had been missing for 50 days in paris about the treacherous winter landscape while evading capture by the nazis. as does he continue to watch activity across the valley, three german trucks and one armored car drove from the town and parked new the main road that ran in front of airfield. now he was certain it was too risky for the rescue planes. with no way for them to make it directly with the pilot, duffy's plan have been a signal that was safe to land by laying out
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parachute panels to make large ax on a few. now that the germans are moved in, there was nothing he do but wait with the others and watch. is party of exhausted and ill men and women, riddled with lies and worn out from weeks of traversing albania's rugged terrain while diluting the enemy, stood near duffy and his wireless operator as cold wind cut through their filthy, tattered uniforms and blasted their malnourished bodies. they were now so weak from hunger, sickness, and despair that the several miles they had walked from the village hideouts in the rugged mountains that morning to meet the plaintiff journey through slow and grueling journey. some of the men who would volunteer to help the duffy gives a prearranged signal to the planes nervously fingered their pieces the parachute. the others continued a silent vigil. then at half past nine, the sudden roar of multiple planes filled the air. second player, free lightning fighters nicknamed for detailed doubles by the german luftwaffe, flew solo over the airfield of
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the were group huddled in the hills, could see the pilots faces. a vickers wellington and one of britain's most famous and durable bombers, its mission guns poised for action, suddenly appeared as well and it does done if you're ready to cover for the c. 47th the public behind. not only would the americans coming for the rescue, so where the british. more twin engine p. 38 came in three until 21 planes filled the great state. the men and women stood transfixed by the huge display of air power. it was air power. and with most courses i did ever seen ever seen. none of them had expected so many planes, serving not duffy. they were amazed at the effort being made to save him but there is more affected by the stark reality that they couldn't submit the planes to land. with each passing second hopes of rescue word being shattered and their overcome with feelings that became inescapable. frustration, loneliness, and heartache. it would be many more days and many more obstacles to overcome
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before they have completed the mission and rescue 27 of the 30 americans. lloyd smith eventually located the party being led by soe duffy pic after smith had -- excuse me. after smith the search for a month and face life-threatening arches but as the highest-ranking author, smith would organize the group putting the slow and sick in front to allow them to set the pace and together they made an extraordinary push to get to the coast while avoiding german patrols. during and all the march to smith as the group to vote on whether but stop and rest adding a date to the journey, or keep going. the vote was unanimous, the american men and women would do whatever it took to escape. by the time they reached the coast from the party of 27 had walked more than 600 miles. weeks later, lloyd smith returned to albania to rescue the three nurses who had been trapped after a german attack. 27 year old, and record gunnery
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sergeant from ohio was his wireless operator. he had arrived in early january 1943 on the same boat as anthony coyle who was also working for soe. he traveled with smith along the run from the germans entering rescue efforts with three nurses to he sent the signal to italy with smith and nurses along with several albanian helpers arrived at the evacuation point from four months after the nurses first landed in the country. for his heroic efforts, lloyd smith was not made for distinguished service medal but was not awarded the distinction was crossed to his citation reads, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy during the period december 7-march 21, 1944. captain sisson resolute conduct in the face of great peril throughout an extended period and successful accomplishment of extremely houses and difficult mission exemplifies the finest
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traditions of the armed forces of the united states. soe officer duffy was awarded the military's cross in recognition of exemplary gallantry for his work in albania, including the rescue. of his journey with the americans, for the party until they behaved splendidly, especially the nurses. his courage and faith were a tonic to the people escorting them on what might've been quite a disastrous journey. itv should be paid to captain smith who did magnificent work. tribute should also be paid to the people in the villages through which we passed. most of them are extremely hospitable, even when a reprisal by the germans would be the price to be paid. the bravery and courage of these men and all those involved in the rescue was extraordinary, is what inspired me to write this story over the past two years. and now i'd like to switch a little bit and show you some of the photos that would bring the story to life.
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>> if we have a connection. >> [background sounds]
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[applause] >> all right. here, if you can -- can you see that okay? no. i'm not sure we can do that. so, the nurses and medics in the story were part of the medical air evacuation transports squad. they were from the 87th. that was an innovative new program that up and start in late 1942, and in the course of the war it transported over 1 million wounded and sick soldiers with only 46 time in flight. so it was revolutionary. in fact, 1945, journal of the
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army dwight d. eisenhower deemed air evacuation as important other medical innovations as world war ii including penicillin and sulfur drugs. okay. this is a photograph of the 87th. all the enlisted men as was the nurses. the group was made up of 90 personnel including 25 nurses. that included their head nurse as was 24 medics. they came from across the country and all received special training at bowman field which is in louisville, kentucky. while some of the medics had volunteered for service, of course others have been drafted. all of the nurses were volunteer force. and interesting note about the nurses, some have been stewardesses before the war and airlines required stewardesses to be nurses. so it was an easy transition for them to make.
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this is a photograph of harold hayes who, at the time of the crash of any was 21. 21 and today he is 91. he lives in medford, oregon, and work very closely with me on the story. he has an incredible memory which helped a lot, and very willing to share all of his experiences. he was one of 13 medics onboard the plane, all 12 of them were from the 807th but one is from the 802nd, he was catching a ride basically with the 807th to try to pick up a paycheck in barre, italy last night and ended up getting more than he bargained for. herald is actually the only living member of the group of 30 stranded americans still with us. this is a photograph of him showing me the route that they took throughout the. attract a lot of it.
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i used reports from the air force historical research agency as well as harold's memory and other reports us able to find through various archives to re-create most of the villages. i think we got all but three of them that they traveled i income and they went through dozens of villages during their time. these are some of the nurses who were involved in the crash landing. there were 13 nurses on board the plane, including all the ones in the photo. and what was interesting to me is to be part of the maets, they had to be between the ages of 21-36, weigh between one and five-135, instead between 62 and 72 inches tall. and the nurses ranged in age from 23-32 while the medics ranged in age 19-36. so there is a very wide range of ages. this is the flight crew. on the far left is the copilot
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and second from left is the pilot was actually only 22 at the time. he was the senior officer on board the plane. it just been promoted to first lieutenant a month before so he outranked everyone on the plane. next is a radio operator, and then on the far right is the crew chief, and he was the one who was injured in the plane come in the crash landing. this is a photograph of the sea 47, the type of plane they were in was a c. 53 which is very similar. the sea 47 was nicknamed the newburgh and is almost identical to the c. 53 except for the door. that was given. 50/50 three was designed specifically to carry paratroopers and true to the -- troop gliders. here is just a brief shot from that time period getting a sense
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of albanians rugged terrain. most of their the and looked a lot like this for the months that they were there. they came across a few towns but most of the time they were in villages. most of the homes in albania at the time lacked running water, did not have electricity and the main motive transportation was still mule. this is the town, one of the largest towns they passed through. it had a population of about 10,000, and this was actually the town honor for the morning the americans awoke to the german attack that forced 27 of them to flee for the lives. the other three nurses hit any home and ended up being stranded there for several extra months. this is in about 1945, and with him is his wife was actually
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still living today. she is 101 and lives in italy. unfortunately, he did help the americans, let into many miles of rugged terrain and found in food and shelter. but the americans were very suspicious of him at various times just because they felt like he was leading them away from the coast, their ultimate destination. and, in fact, kostaq stefa, after he parted ways with the americans, was tortured for several days when he returned to his hometown and was eventually executed for helping with the allies during the war. this is a telegram that was received, alerting he was missing because you can see it's very brief. it's hi says regret to inform yu report received states your son harold hayes music in the north african area since a november. if further details or other information i received, you will be promptly notified. his family ended up getting two
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of the telegrams in the course of the experience, and without any clear answers. this is the british officer, gavan duffy, receiving thank you cases from two of the nurses. when they were in the hospital where they were quarantined basically for several days while the military figured out what they did and didn't want them to say. this is the american officer, oss officer lloyd smith. and he is the one he returned to albania for the second nation on his own and retrieved the three nurses. this is a map that shows you exactly, the exact route. they started up here, the crash site is up here. they were trying to get here, but this is the way they were
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taken. when they were debriefed when they got back to italy from the intelligence officers told them that they probably traveled anywhere from 300 to 500 miles, but given the range of a double or triple that. and with that i will take any questions that anybody has. >> [inaudible] >> they were eventually taken briefly to italy, kept in barre and then allowed to transfer back to the headquarters but they were only there for a few days. and they actually thought that they would all be back together again in kentucky. they knew they probably wouldn't stay in italy in the mediterranean just because if they ever add another crash land they would be considered spies and shot immediately.
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so they all anticipated seeing each other again. what happened action with only a few of them ever got back and they're all same in different places and carried out the war. most of them were in the united states. one nurse went to france and serve their, but they wouldn't see each other again until they had a reunion in 1983. they had two reunions in the '80s. of course, not everyone was still living at that point. they already lost two in the group. >> according to the picture it since 1948 was executed for having collaborated with stefa. y. in 1940 and who did the execution? >> after the war, a partisan during the war as was stefa, became the dictator. and for unknown reasons he killed most of his friends as well as anyone who saw as a potential threat and that included anyone who had worked closely with allies. and we have done the same thing. i the picture in the book of him
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standing next to duffy was the british officer. so you know, why he did and the store is very sad that his wife, who is still with us, she begged for them to let him go. he had been in prison for several months and she finally been told he would not be executed, that he would serve 100 years or something like that. and so she baked a cake, after forking your time to deliberate for her to the cards as a thank you to and when he got there, the car stalled in that executed his father that morning. [inaudible] >> the partisans were economies. their rivals were the bk, they were anti-communist and anti-monarchist. so they were really basically fighting to see who would control albania after the war. >> did any of the team expressed regret that despite the growing experience they didn't get to
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work on their mission at all? did any get to participate in rescuing soldiers -- >> in the medical air evacuation? they had open doing it, they arrived in october that only had a month of their actual it by bk with interest. some of them ended up training, like some of the nurses and the training, so they trained the new flight nurses coming in. i think they felt like they were actually doing that in a different kind of way. but i know that some of them would've liked to have been there and avoided the whole albania situation. >> what prompted you to write this book? >> i was working on an article, another world war ii article for smithsonian magazine and i came across a historic newspaper article about the cannot. and i found it so intriguing because no one i've never heard the story before, but also year a lot of stories about downed airmen finding their way back. by the idea that there were 13
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women as part of this really interested me. i thought it change the dynamics of the group, and i wanted it exactly what they were doing when the plane crashed. so i started investigating it, and there were two memoirs written. one was by one of the nurses in 1999 when she was 85, she published her memoir. and then one of the medics who passed away in the '80s, his son found his father's long lost memoirs and self-published it. so i had those documents as well and then i started doing archival research. but what may be decide to pursue as the book is once i found harold hayes, the living survivor of the group, being able to ask someone all the questions that are not written in the memoirs or, you know, have come up in the research, and so much of what harold told me i was able to validate of information i could corroborate, it all proved to be true.
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so he has a very active in and he is very careful not to embellish them which is a very important thing to have in a source. >> did any of them marry each other? >> no, they didn't. that's a good question. the nurses were all secular tenets of the actually outranked most of the men who were enlisted men. -- second and 10 is the most interesting reaching this raise money after the nurses actually held relative rate which meant that though they were given a second lieutenant rank, their pay was half that of what a second lieutenant would make. so there was that officer or enlisted man break between them when they started, and so even though they're all in the 807th together, when they board the plane together that morning a lot of them were strangers. the nurses were friends with each other. the medics were friends with each other but there wasn't a lot of -- and so time went by when they're in a brainy, you know, a lot of, i think a lot of
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that was forgotten. that duffy was asked the question he was actually the first one to speak when they got back. they were all told not to say anything about what happened, and then the british officer actually ended up talking to the press. and someone asked about romance on the adventure and he said, if you had been there you would not that there was no romance. it was a grueling process, and they all, they didn't pay for weeks on end. >> did you encounter any resistance from the u.s. government wanted to tell the story, or do they insist you any, or were they not involved at all? >> they weren't really involved. i did meet with the u.s. embassy when i was in albania. actually, it was one of the highlights of the whole experience. harold wrote a letter of thanks to the albanian people that actually delivered to the albanian president when i went there. and it was covered in the media a lot, but the embassy sent someone to the meeting.
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i think, you know, the real reason it was kept secret during the war was to protect any downed airmen he would need rescuing. was also to protect the people that helped them. but then when communism took over, that was when everyone in the creek continued to hold our silence because they felt like they were still going to jeopardize those people, they will be executed if their names were known to help them. >> so it was declassified in after the war but they continued to protect -- >> correct. >> -- those people. >> did any of them have long-term health effects from their ordeal? either later in the life or the impact of them so they die to send? >> a good question. the crew chief was injured in the crash land, he actually continued to have lived for the rest o of his life. i talk to a lot of the children of the group, and some of them told me that their parents had
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tried unsuccessfully to get benefits for significant health problems they have had come and were not fortunate enough to do that. but most of them, heralded said his only fault was that he wouldn't eat cornbread which was there stable while they were there. [laughter] for probably 40 years. so he was very lucky. >> did the group offer any medical assistance to the natives as they're going through the village's? >> when the first crash landed they were at one village or a couple of days, and while a group of the men went back to burn the plane and because of the time of the crash land it was raining and they're also fearful of needing to get away, they knew the germans were close to the didn't think about what to do with the plane. when they went back the next day they decided to go back and burning it. so while they were doing that, some of the people were looked
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after by the nurses. according to a couple of articles i found and which the nurses were interviewed at later times, but it don't think they were doing a lot of that during their time there. i think they were really looking for help and the next place where they could find a place to sleep. harold told me that he is certain that the remaining days of the people who gave them food in the villages went without when he gave in because there is so little to share. so it's really extraordinary. here is a story to me, -- the heroes of the story are the soe and the oss, but also the albanian people. >> [inaudible] >> i've done a lot of articles on women spies during world war ii. that intrigue me. virginia hall is a fascinating. >> host: officer during that time. and i believe i was working on the piece at the time.
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[inaudible] >> smithsonian magazine online. i was there web editor. >> what about julia child's? >> cheese, honey, there's so many u.s. but, in fact, a lesson i spoke at the oss society's annual meeting. there's a surprising number of people who are still with those that were with the oss pic that was such an honor to be among the money, their stories are just incredible, and there are so many of them. a lot of them have been documented already, but, you know, with julia child's career is one of them. it's fascinating to me. >> hi, cate. i know your mother. i want to know something about your visit with the albanian president and how that went and how you were received and if it's not classified. [laughter] >> it's not. they were very gracious.
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i was actually in contact with the albanian embassy in d.c., and they recommended the former ambassador had a particular interest in the story but as i got in touch with him and he was actually want to arrange for the meeting with the president. but harold's letter was just so moving, and i think it meant so much to the president he would never heard the story either. and a lot of helping people have not heard the story picks i think albanian meeting was very interested in it. but it was a lovely meeting and i just, you know, as an author it may be feel like i was really having an impact, getting the story out there. so it was very meaningfumeaningfu l to me but everything was meaningful to harold. he actually wanted to travel with me to albania, and we ended up deciding it was just not, you know, his health isn't good enough for that. i sent in pictures i think he felt like he was almost there.
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>> so i trust he has read your manuscript now, and so what did he say to you about it? >> i actually was with him on the launch date of the book i felt like that was what important because we had worked so closely together, and this is primarily the story of these 30 people. i feel honored to have told it. he said and gave some remarks that day, he said that he learned a lot more than he ever knew about medical air evacuation. because i was able to supplement my research through the air force historical research agency and archives that he, living it, just didn't know. so that was fun to be able to share that with them. but i think also i first contacted him he wasn't sure how much interest they would be. and i think when he sees it and final book, you know, he's really proud of it. it's very meaningful to me.
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spent has the united states government ever recognize any of the albanians, formally recognized the albanian citizens? >> i don't believe they have. >> when was the launch of the book within? >> he lives in medford, oregon. it was in medford. he lives in a retirement community. >> [inaudible] spent okay. it's a beautiful area. >> were you able to get anything from the german side of it, like archives after the war of what the german army, how they were doing this? >> that's a great question that i was hoping i would find this incredible, you know, story of one officer going after the group and could really flush that out. i did i a researcher in germany. i don't speak german, to go to the archives, and he spent many days doing it. we found a few things. the germans did find the burned
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plane from which is interesting that you're not able to use anything from it which is great. it was exactly what the americans hoped would happen if they found it. we also know from the archives that in berat, there was a german soldier who was a prisoner of the partisans who was in berat and he actually reported back to his officer when he escaped from the partisans that he had seen americans in berat and saw them fleeing the attack. so that was interesting to me. how much the germans were actually pursuing the americans isn't completely clear from the archival record. >> kostaq stefa played a key role in securing shelter and everything. but why did the americans start to distrust him? what was he doing that lost their toughest? >> they knew they wanted to get to the coast.
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their plan was to find a bug that could take them all there. that was the best plan at the time. before they met up with the british. and they kept feeling like he was taking them to the east instead of west where the coast was, and every time they would talk about it and asking commute say oh, no, don't worry, don't worry. or, we have to come as a policy would not go into bk territory. so you would say that he was trying to avoid that. at one point when the group is on the run, the group is scattered on the attack, they separated into two groups, they hear some rumblings from one of the villagers saying, don't trust that man. i think that kind of put the seat and some of their minds, but, you know, i think ultimately he was doing everything he could to help them of also being a loyal partisan. for him it was taking the americans around. they really one of the american, the americans and british help
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them win the war, had a group of americans in their hands. so i think they thought why not use them as propaganda. yes. >> was he english-speaking? >> stefa? yes. the red cross had set up a school in a venue that was very prestigious that a handful of young men went to. for joy for the americanamerican s, stefa was one of them as well as the first man who greeted him when the plane crash landed. >> why did it take such a roundabout way to get to the coast? >> well, they were in the hands of the partisans and you're trusting them to guide them. so some of it was they were being led further away intentionally. i think some of it was that there was fun that would break out, and particularly once they met with the british and the british were guiding them to the coast, there were some germans fighting very close by with
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partisans and the british officer really wanted to get them as far away from that area as possible. so it was a mix of things. >> since the book takes place in europe, it involves different european countries, whatever, by the publishing companies. [inaudible] what do you think the recession be especially since britain was so heavily involved, and i guess albania, are they looking forward to the book? is even know it is coming out? >> we're hoping to get an albanian publisher. there seems to be a lot of interest from albanians at the beauty of com interfaces that you can find anyone on the internets was able to find a lot of the relatives of the partisans to cash in the partisans who help them. we're going to have a region in november of a lot of the families including the partisans. excuse me. so i think based on those
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families reactions and albania is a small country of 3 million to i think there's a lot of interest there. as well as in britain, but i don't know the specifics. >> the three nurses that were separated, and hiding in one of the houses, some germans aren't they were there but evidently they must not have reported it to the others. so can you comment on that part was evidently they didn't relay -- >> sure. the second is that the nurses were in the home in berat, german troops came in, two of them and saw them sitting in the basement. and the nurses actually never knew why they didn't report them. i was able to find a man who's just seven years old and living in the house at the time in
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berat, and he explained to me that his uncle, whom he lived with, was actually a winemaker and had a lot of local connections. [laughter] so when these of german soldiers came and he convinced them to look away and not report the women come and save their lives. in fact, that man actually still have the clock from the instrument panel from the original plane at the nurses had taken it and kept it with them, and just, when they made their escape, left it behind. he had kept it all these years. >> were you in helping we able to track the path that they took? >> yes. i spent some time in toronto which is the capital, which feels very modern. but if you go outside the
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capital into some of the villages i don't think i changed much since the americans were there in some ways. so we are aske as labeled by coe people who remembered the americans. we found the oldest people in the villages, and would ask questions, and some of them remembered, which was a real treat for me. they were so surprised that an american had showed up to ask them questions that it happened 70 years before, in a very small village. >> is there anyone single expense were held that stuck out the most, experience or memory? >> i think one of the hardest things for him was knowing that his family didn't know where he was, that they probably assumed he was dead. he was very emotional about that, whereas most of the other material he can talk about, whatever he talked to his family not knowing where he was, that
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was a very poignant thing for him. but he would come one little anecdote was, he started raining a lot about eating mashed potato pie. one of his meals, they are all fixated on food much of the time because they were so hungry. there were days when they had maybe a small piece of cornbread. that would be it. >> i would just like to thank you for writing this story. that era, and summit of them has to come and of the stories unknown that will go unknown without people like you bring it to everyone detention to what is next on your list? >> thanks. i have to figure that out. i'm researching some ideas right now that hope to do another book but i think that is one thing i really took away from this experience is that when i talk to very family -- toot to varios
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family members, they said i knew my mom or dad was there. i just never asked them questions are some of them were delighted i did the research to piece together this store because they have such a sketchy outline of what happened to the fun. others, to collect the children of the nurses who wrote the memoir, because she was writing the memoir an excellent travel to any together, they were able to talk a lot about it with your. i know they treasure those moments. so you know, it's a great thing to be able to talk to people and ask them the questions when you have -- [inaudible] >> they never really want to talk to them about it or come and they never, they know bits and pieces but you don't know whole story. and it's a story that needs to be told spent and i think that generation just didn't talk, you know, we talk about everything today. harold's daughters, i've met,
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did not know much about the story at all. and in the process of counties extraordinary because he's 91 and the e-mails become he scans pictures but i was very fortunate to have that. so we communicate are almost on a daily basis in addition to any visiting him in person several times. but, you know, getting the kind of information from them has just been really helpful and he started opening up about more of it now. >> outside of the mortuary of the only the only one who's really tackle this subject matter. >> correct. >> so that is a gem that only comes along once in a while. >> thank you. well, it was such a fascinating story to me, so i'm honored to have been able to tell and was delighted that so many of the family members open up, you know, and talk to me about, these are their loved ones and i took it very cities are in the process of writing the book that these are, you know, their parents, their grandparents, and
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i wanted to portray as accurately as possible. >> from start to finish, how long do this whole process of your book take? >> it took between, about a year and a half, two years. it was a bit rushed. but it was a fun experience. i really enjoyed it. >> did you have a publisher before you wrote this book who said they would publish its? >> i did a book proposal, so that i was working with an agent and we submitted the proposal to publishers and then little brown bobcat. and then i had the time to work on the book. that's typically what happens with nonfiction and fiction, and the book is complete and you submitted to publishers. >> did you have seed money to get ghost of? >> right, go to albania, exactly. [laughter] budget after the albania was on
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lonely planets 2011. i think the recommended as one of the best places to go because it is still very cheap but it's actually very beautiful. it's right on the mediterranean. we really had a nice time. the food is excellent. >> any other questions? >> when did the oss ewald into the cia? >> i believe that was in the '50s after the war there was a lot of talk about whether the oss should stay as one. it was her nation's first intelligence agency. whether it should stay as one agency or be divided into others, and i'm certain i'm not an expert on that, but i believe that's what happened. and i think, the oss societal a lot of people don't know what the oss is and i think it was such an important part of our countries history because they were really groundbreaking in what they did.
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>> i don't like to talk about this or not, but >> i hope so. >> who would star as harold? >> a good question. i have not spent a lot of time casting in my mind, but that would be a very fun thing to do. i do think it has movie potential. let's hope that happens. >> [inaudible] >> yes. i will be in d.c. speaking of politics and prose there, and then also speaking at the spy museum in d.c. this summer. a few other things lined up here and there. okay. thank you very much. really enjoyed it. [applause] >> and for more information visit the author's website,
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>> amy goodman come in your first book, the exception to the rulers, you write and you quote the "washington post," that amy goodman is the journalist as an invited guest. white the right that? >> well, we're not supposed to be a party to any party. we are journalists. there's a reason why our profession, journalism that is a little explicitly protected in the u.s. constitution. we are supposed to be the check and balance on power. >> in the book also, war and peace, life and death, that is the role of the media in a democratic society, to provide a forum for this discourse. to do anything less is a disservice to the servicemen and service women of this country. >> that's right. you know, i have just flown in from dinner where i was at the national conference on media reform, and when we flew into the airport, at denver airport
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that's where people hold up signs when you come out to pick you up. and as we were walking there were some soldiers there. they were going to be picking up the general the and as we walked by, they were waving, and i thought maybe agenda was behind because they have assigned for the general. it didn't look that way, way back and i thought i want to go back and talk to them. so we went back, and i said do you watch democracy now? and they said every day. and i said really? like he was but a basic, it's objective and you cover were. you know, it is not about whether you are for or against war. it's about covering the most serious decision a country can make the icy the media as a huge kitchen table that stretches across the globe, that we all sit around and debate and discuss the most important issues of the day. as you quoted there, war and become life-and-death, anything less than that is a disservice to the servicemen and women of
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this country. they can't have these debates on military bases. they rely on us in civilian society to have the discussions that lead to the decisions about whether they live or die. about whether they are sent to kill or be killed. anything less than that is a disservice to a democratic society. >> one of the recurring themes in your writing is the corporate media, as you call it. what is the corporate media, and what does it do or not the? >> well, that's what most people see on television almost gentle, not all, that's the whole. it's the channels, nbc, cbs, cnn, that break for the advertisers that turned to corporate support. i see the hope as public media, and media that is brought to you by the listeners and viewers who are deeply committed to independent information. when we cover war not brought to you by the weapons manufacturers. when we cover climate change not brought to you by the oil, gas, the coal companies, the nuclear
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companies. when we cover the health care debate in this country, ma not brought to you by big pharma, the drug companies or by the insurance industry, but brought the listeners and viewers by listeners and viewers who feel that information is power, that information is essential, it's the oxygen of democracy. >> back to the exception to the rulers, our moderate at discovery now! is to break the sound barrier. we call ourselves the exception to the rulers. we believe all media should be -- >> so often on the networks, we get this small circle of contents who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong. we go to the communities to talk to people in this country and around the world who are out the
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heart of the story. it's not always easy to find, but people since authentic voices. i think it's why so many young people are sent to discovery now! did with such a diverse audience in this country and around the world, ma because it's that sense of people knowing what to talk about because it talking from their own experience. i think that's the best kind of journalism. providing a forum for people to speak for themselves, providing a forum for people from different strata of society to debate and discuss with each other the critical issues. but hearing those voices of a great diversity of people, that is, the role of journalism in a democratic society. >> you can watch this and other programs online at you are watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs. weekdays feature live coverage of the u.s. senate to my
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weeknights watch keep up with policy this. and every week in the largest -- of his nonfiction authors and books and booktv. you can see past program to get our schedules at our website. you can join in the conversation on social media sites. .. it jewish-american woman who adopted. i arrived in the united states. on my way what i want to mention briefly about immigration and things of that purpose when i began to perhaps the first time in my life i began to question whether my own humanity was worthy as other people who live in western europe i had never questioned that before in my life and


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