Army Vet, 97, Carries Photo of the Children He Saved in War for 77 Years, Meets Them Again

As a member of the United States Army, one man faced conflict and pain. In 1944 he saved three children, and he carried their picture in his wallet for decades. This year he saw them again in an emotional reunion. 

Army veteran Martin Adler carried many painful war memories and didn’t like to speak about his days serving in World War II. However, there was an exception. Adler loved to share one specific story. 

He told his family how he rescued a group of three Italian children that Nazis were holding up. In August this year, the former American soldier took a trip to Italy. The 97-year-old man always dreamed of seeing those children again, and he did.


Along with his wife and daughter, Adler reunited with the three kids he saved. They were in their 80s now, and it would be the first time they saw each other since 1944. Adler detailed the special moment. The war veteran expressed

“When they saw me after 77 years, they had a lot of love in their eyes, and so did I. We all cried. They’re grandparents and great-grandparents just like me.” 

Adler, who resides in Toby & Leon Sinai Residences in Boca Raton, Florida, was a private first-class soldier. He worked with heavy weapons in the 85th infantry division, D company. Despite the tough exterior, he had a soft heart.

Alder kept a small black-and-white photograph with him for 70 years. It featured the three Italian children alongside himself. He carried them with him wherever he went because they reminded him of his only happy war memory. 

During their recent reunion, Adler was overcome with emotion as he embraced Bruno, Mafalda, and Giuliana Naldi. The veteran handed them candy, something he did when they were kids.

Adler explained that he often thought of the kids and wondered if they survived the war. Finding out about their existence was a fantastic feeling. He said: “I believe it was destiny because it shows that we were all able to move forward.”

Their second meeting was a far cry from their first. Years ago, Adler found them terrified as they hid in a basket. The soldier heard them moving and pointed his machine gun in their direction, thinking it was a German. However, he held his fire. 

Adler’s daughter Rachelle Donley explained: “The basket was making noises and moving. My dad had his finger on the trigger … Because he hesitated, generations of people were born.

Adler then befriended the kids who were aged between three and six at the time. The veteran never imagined that he would see them again, but he did.

After the special reunion, Donley added that she had never seen her father so happy. Meeting the kids he saved and their extensive families meant the world to him. 

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