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US Army ‘returns’ cake to Italian woman after stealing her 13th b'day cake 77 yrs ago during WW II

Meri Mion's mother had baked a cake and left it on the windowsill to cool which was then nicked by hungry US soldiers.

US Army ‘returns’ cake to Italian woman after stealing her 13th b'day cake 77 yrs ago during WW II
Image source: US Military

Meri Mion was just 13-years-old when the birthday cake her mother baked for her was stolen during World War II, in 1945. Her mother had left the cake by the windowsill to cool when some hungry American soldiers, who arrived in Italy during the final battles of World War II, helped themselves to the cake. In a pleasant turn of events, the US Army "returned" the cake during a ceremony in Vicenza, northwest of Venice. Meri Mion turned 90 on April 28. The members of the US army sang "Happy Birthday" to her in Italian and English. The ceremony was held to mark the anniversary of the day the 88th Infantry Division fought its way into the city on April 28, 1945, reported The Huffington Post.

US Military

Mion didn't expect the cake but has a vivid memory of the cake going missing. "I was surprised,” she told the local newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza, reported The Guardian. “But then I realized the American soldiers had taken it and it made me happy. It was a good end given everything they had done.” It was a large cream cake with strawberries and was garnished with a basket of mini Easter eggs. The cake was presented by Sergeant Peter Wallis and Colonel Matthew Gomlak, the garrison’s commander. Mion was seen wearing a navy floral dress and blazer, smiling from ear to ear. More than a hundred people including Italian and American soldiers, local officials, and residents gathered to celebrate the ceremony at Giardini Salvi, a garden in Vicenza with a duck pond and Palladian columns. “Her happiness turned into disappointment later when the resourceful American Soldiers made off with her birthday cake,” said Gomlak, according to a statement by the US Military.


Meri Mion got emotional and wiped away tears as she was handed the cake and they sang for her. “Buon 90 compleanno,” the icing on the cake read — “Happy 90th birthday.” On that day in 1945, Mion and her mother were hiding in the attic of their farm in the nearby village of San Pietro. Retreating German soldiers had fired on the house. April 28 was Mion's birthday and her mother baked a cake for her 13th birthday and left it on the windowsill to cool. Mion and her mother were unaware American soldiers were nearby. US military and German forces fought in the Vicenza area in 1945 with 19 American soldiers dying. Local people offered the troops bread and wine after the fight. “That warm welcome by the people of Vicenza continues to this day,” said Colonel Matthew Gomlak.

US Military

Italians welcomed the US army and offered them wine and bread. Some of the hungry army members couldn't resist when they saw a cake on the windowsill and invited themselves to a bite. Meri Mion finally knows for sure where her cake went after 77 years. Mion was stunned, exclaiming “Mama mia” on being presented with the cake and thanked the US army for "returning the cake." A small crowd featuring U.S. commanders and Italian officials sang “Happy Birthday” to Mion. “Tomorrow, we will eat that dessert, with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget,” said Mion.

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