Rina Moech’s plea

" Most Holy Father: I know about your solicitude and a goodness for the sad cases of the present war. Your heart is sensitive to the sorrows of others, so I present my humble and trusting request. I am a refugee from North Africa, where, when war was declared, I lived with my husband, a resident and commander of the 20th Artillery Regiment. I was ordered to be a refugee with my 2 young children and remained in Naples for 6 months when war was declared. I hoped that my husband would join me for a few hours between flights. But I had to flee from the without seeing him when the bombing began. I then came to my mother in Milan but I had to flee from this city with my children and my 71-year-old mother because of enemy attacks.

Meanwhile, my husband, after 8 months of bitter fighting, was made a prisoner on February 7, 1941. From Egypt he was sent to Palestine and finally to India where he remained for one year—Camp 11 of Bhopal in the centre of a very unhealthy region, sleeping on the ground in a tent during the long rain periods. He suffered 5 months of terrible arthritic and rheumatoid pain with other serious complications. He was then transported to Camp 26, at the foot of the Himalayas, where he still is stationed. It seems that conditions are a little better living in a hut.
I learned this from his companions in prison camps in India with whom, recently, I had occasion to speak in Rome. Even before the actual war broke out, my husband suffered from acute rheumatism. This condition worsened after being in the trenches of the 1915-18 war, where he fought for 42 months. His upper and lower limbs have been affected. He is in dire need of strict dietary and thermal care.
His repatriation would be a blessing, not only because he might possibly regain his health, but I would have a husband and father of my family, from which he has been away for so long. It is 3 years since I have seen my husband and he has been in prison for 2½ years. I am alone, having lost my father and my brother and I have only my two children and an old mother. If faith in God had not sustained me and if divine help had been missing, I do not know how I could have managed such sorrow and responsibility. Now I have a little hope in you, Most Holy Father, and I beg you to include the name of my husband to the International Medical Commission for India. It is a commission that visits and controls the eventual repatriation of Italian prisoners of war. My husband's exact address is: Colonel Fernando Moech, number 60851, Camp 26, 5/A section, India.
I assure you of my filial devotion and gratitude, your Holiness, with my prayers and those of my children, I prostrate myself at your feet and invoke your paternal blessing on my family and on everyone.  Devotedly, Rina Moech Benzoni,  Lago Maggiore, Novara,  July 7, 1943"