- Finally, at least one heinous crime of WWII has been corrected.
In any war, you will, unfortunately, see brutality from all sides. But stealing a little girl’s birthday cake?
That’s just too much. Yet it’s exactly what U.S. soldiers did in Italy in 1945.
While fighting German troops in the village of San Pietro, unknown American soldiers came across a cake left on a farmhouse’s windowsill. Undoubtedly hungry and exhausted from combat, the soldiers declared the cake spoils of war and took it with them.
But that cake was supposed to be the centerpiece of Meri Mion’s 13th birthday celebration on the following day. Needless to say, the young Italian girl’s party mood was seriously spoiled.
No one still hasn’t received any disciplinary action for the crime. And although it’s likely that no one ever will, the U.S. Army has finally made amends.
Exactly 77 years to the date, on April 28, U.S. soldiers presented Mion with a new birthday cake to celebrate her 90th anniversary. At long last, this one mistake of the past has been corrected.
A Cake Lost to War
Let’s hop into our Oddee-brand time machine and travel back to the scene of the crime.
It’s April 28, 1945. The Second World War in Europe is nearing its end.
Only two days later, Adolf Hitler will commit suicide in his Berlin bunker, ending his twisted dream of a Thousand Year Reich. But for the time being, the war rages on.
The northern Italian city of Vicenza is currently contested. Troops from the 88th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army are engaged in hard fighting with their German counterparts.
Over the day, the fighting spills over to San Pietro, a small village some seven miles northeast of Vicenza. During their retreat, the Germans come across the farmhouse where Meri Mion lives with her family.
Her mother has baked a cake to celebrate her birthday the next day. She places it on the windowsill to let it cool.
But as they hear the machine guns go off near their farm, Mion and her mother rush to their house’s attic. They spend the rest of the day and the following night hiding from the fighting.
The next morning, the Germans are gone and American troops are advancing through San Pietro. But as Mion and her mother descend from the attic, they notice something is missing.
Just like the Germans, Mion’s birthday cake is gone. The U.S Army Garrison Italy confessed that it was most likely picked up by an American soldier.
Although that definitely put a damper on the party, Mion herself said she wasn’t too upset.
“I was surprised. But then I realized the American soldiers had taken it and it made me happy,” she told local media according to The Guardian.
‘A Wonderful Day’
Mion herself, despite having her party spoiled, apparently was ready to shrug and forget about the cake. Maybe she figured it was worth sacrificing one cake to have her town freed from Nazi occupation.
But somebody at the U.S. Garrison didn’t forget. And if you’d received the welcome that U.S. soldiers got in Vicenza, you probably wouldn’t either.
After the Germans left the town and the Americans entered, the locals were overjoyed. They welcomed their liberators with bottles of wine and fresh loaves of bread.
But the bread clearly didn’t satisfy one unknown soldier. To commemorate the 77th anniversary of the battle of Vicenza, the U.S. Garrison decided it was to atone for his misdeeds.
On April 28, the locals of Vicenza and soldiers from the Italian garrison were gathered at a park near the city center. During the festivities, Col. Matthew Gomlak, the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Italy, and Sgt. Peter Wallis presented Mion with a new cake in honor of her 90th birthday.
A video from the event shows the hundreds-strong crowd singing Happy Birthday to Mion in both Italian and English. Meanwhile, she wipes away tears.
Mion planned to share the strawberry and cream cake, adorned with a small basket of Easter eggs, with her family.
“I will eat the cake with my entire family, remembering a wonderful day that I will never forget,” she said.