Manuel Serrano in an undated photo. Courtesy of Marie Galarza-Ruiz.
Manuel and friends. Courtesy of Marie Galarza-Ruiz.
One of the most interesting Camp 59 POWs by far is Manuel Serrano—a young paratrooper of Puerto Rican descent from New York City’s Brooklyn borough.
Even during the war, Manuel gained recognition as a tough, colorful character when his exploits behind enemy lines in Italy were profiled in Yank magazine. See “The Partisan from Brooklyn.”
I was so pleased to hear recently from Marie Galarza-Ruiz, who shed further light on, and a glimpse into a tender side of, this enigmatic character.
Marie wrote, “Manuel Serrano was a very close friend of my parents, Ignacio and Maria Galarza, and our family.
“I can’t tell you how surprised I was to find the clipping of him on your site. I have the same clipping in a scrapbook I keep of him to this day. He was such a special man and I absolutely adored him. His military service record is incredible and a testament to his strength and courage.
“He also led a very interesting life after leaving the military. He had small parts in a few Hollywood movies and lived most of his life in Europe, where he married his wife Adrienne in France.”