As Americans remember those who served their country on this Veterans Day, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a feature on World War II veterans sharing their stories for a collection of oral histories called An Honor to Serve. One of the stories comes from John Martino, a veteran who brought his accordion while landing on Omaha Beach, fought his way across Europe, and eventually captured Hitler’s accordion:
“Martino ‘captured’ Hitler’s Hohner accordion when the Nazi Reich was defeated in 1945. ‘I had about 21 accordions over there… A lot of them got shot up, and this is the only one that made it home with me. This thing is history. It has to be 85, 90 years old.’”
Martino still has the accordion — a Hohner Verdi IIIB that he found in Hitler’s mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden, Germany — which will be donated to the military museum at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.