77 Years Later, WWII Veteran Reunites with Siblings He Saved

A US veteran traveled to Italy to be reunited with three siblings who he almost shot — then, helped save their lives — during World War II. “He just lit up. It means everything to him.”

Martin Adler, 97, has held on to a black-and-white photo of himself as a young soldier with three well-dressed Italian children that he is credited with saving from the Nazis. On Aug. 23, seven decades later, Adler was reunited with the siblings.

In December, Adler’s daughter, Rachelle Adler Donley, told the story of her father’s wartime past on a Facebook page to help raise funds for the trip to Italy.

“While searching for hiding Germans, my father Martin Adler and John Bronsky (deceased), saw a large closed basket moving and making noise. No one came out even after they were warned,” says Donley’s Facebook post.

“It was just at that moment a woman came running into the room shouting ‘Children, children, children.’”

“She put her stomach against my father’s thomson sub machine gun. Then three small beautiful children emerged from that basket. They were just seconds away from a tragedy of taking young, innocent lives. Relieved and overcome with joy, my father hugged the children.”

Adler then asked to take a photo with the children. “Their mother agreed, but only after they changed into their Sunday best clothes. For seventy-seven years, Martin has cherished that photo and always wondered about them.”

Thanks to help from social media, Donley was able to locate the three “bambini.” They were living just miles from where Adler found them, in the northern region of Italy.

The three Naldi siblings welcomed Adler and are planning to spend time with him in their village. Adler will spend almost two weeks in Italy, visiting Bologna, Monterenzio, Florence, Rome and Naples. He enjoys drawing and will make drawings in each city he visits for charity.

Image source: CBS 12