I was drawn to this postcard because it includes a pet goat, but what stories it contains. The children of the King and Queen of Italy, of the House of Savoy, circa 1907: Princess Yolanda, Princess Giovanna, Princess Mafalda, and the Prince of Piedmont, the future and final King of Italy, who in 1946 would reign for 34 days. Three of the four children would survive World War II, but not Mafalda, the child who smiled for her mother, and held her pet goat.
In 1925, Princess Mafalda married Prince Philipp of Hesse, Germany. In the war years to come, the marriage put Phillip in a position to act as an intermediary between the Fascist governments of Germany and Italy. However, during World War II, Adolf Hitler came to believe that Mafalda was working against him. In September of 1943, she traveled to Bulgaria to attend the funeral of her sister Giovanna’s husband, King Boris III. While there, she was told of Italy’s surrender to the Allies, that Phillip was under house-arrest in Bavaria, and that her children had been given sanctuary in the Vatican. The Gestapo arrested her, probably to keep her father, the King of Italy, from actively opposing Germany, and she was sent to Buchenwald. On 24 August 1944, the Allies bombed a munitions factory inside the concentration camp. Some 400 prisoners died and Mafalda was mortally wounded. As she was dying, she said to two other Italian inmates, “Remember me not as an Italian princess, but as an Italian sister.”
In 1995, the Italian post office honored Princess Mafalda with her image on a stamp.
And here’s one more postcard.