Robert A. Newton of Hillsboro, Oregon, Corporal Robert A. Newton’s nephew (he was named for his uncle when Corporal Newton did not return from the war) had these additional comments concerning his uncle and the interview with Cesare Viozzi (see the previous post):
“The father of the house was Pietro Viozzi.
“My uncle taught himself Italian in the camp. I understand that they held such classes for each other. He wrote home and said that he was learning both Italian and German.
“My uncle planned to return to IU [Indiana University] to obtain his medical degree. His childhood friend, Robert Frie did obtain his medical degree from IU and established a long-term practice in San Pedro, California, among the shipyard workers and fishermen. When Doc Frie passed away in 1986, more than 1,000 people attended his funeral, many of them were babies he had delivered.
“When Doc Frie traveled to Santa Vittoria in 1964, the people told him that Roberto spoke Italian and taught them to play pinochle. The two Americans [Robert and Martin Majeski] also made wooden toys for the kids. I was told that the Papa Pietro treated them like sons, and they were anxious to help earn their keep by working on the farm. Sadly, the kindness and comfort of the family may have caused them to linger in the area longer than they should have. The escapees who kept moving survived for the most part. They were either immediately recaptured or made it farther south. As of March 1944, however, there was a general order to execute anyone found behind the lines, as well as any Italians who were helping the Allies. The Germans were basically fed up with partisan raids and behind the lines sabotage and ambushes.”
“Doc Frie was a medic in WWII, but was stationed stateside. In 1964, he and his wife Edie traveled to Italy with the Sons of Italy who were having some kind of convention in San Benedetto Del Tronto. Since it was not far from the general area where my uncle had been killed, Doc and his friend Tony Cruziani rented a car and headed up into the hill country. Doc had a topographic map which marked the approximate place where my uncle had been killed.
“As they approached a bridge, Doc told me that he felt in his spirit that ‘This is the place.’ He and Tony went into a nearby restaurant and asked the waitress if she knew anything of an American named Robert Newton who had been there during the war. (Tony spoke Italian). The waitress began to cry, saying “Roberto Newtoni, Roberto Newtoni.” It turns out that she was one of Pietro Viozzi’s daughters. She was 2 years of age when my uncle stayed with the family and he used to bounce her on her knee.
“Doc was a wonderful, compassionate man. He used to walk along the piers and wharfs, attending to the medical needs of the poor and homeless for free. He also made house calls for many years. They don’t make them like that anymore.”