Trapped in Tuscany: Liberated by the Buffalo Soldiers

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Born in Boston, young Tullio Bertini was brought to Fascist Italy by his father, who wished to start a new life near Lucas, Tuscany. A heart attacked almost killed him, how-ever, and Tullio and his mother had to quickly learn rules of survival in a strange land. Matriculated in the local school system, Tullio was soon confronted with the brutal reality of a war which pitted his beloved America against his newly adopted country. The war got more brutal when German army soldiers commandeered Tullio’s town. But, in September 1944, he and his family were liberated by the 92nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Fifth Army, which was comprised entirely of black soldiers. Tullio returned to the United States in February 1946 with his mother and father and settled in San Francisco, where Tullio’s father died in 1946 from a fatal heart attack. Tullio, however, managed to graduate from high school, from San Mateo Junior College, and from San Francisco State College, having become a teacher, a school administrator and even elected Mayor of Millbrae, California.

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