University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Innsbruck, February 4, 1983

The Repeated Declaration of Loyalty

U.S. Vice President George Bush repeated the American declaration of loyalty at the Berlin Wall. Bush assured that the United States would defend Europe under any circumstances. Europe and America depend on each other and are inseparable from each other. In view of the national elections in the Federal Republic, in which the defense of Europe is a key campaign issue, this recent assurance of the American preparedness for defense is of significance that cannot be overlooked. The upcoming national elections for the Bundestag are inasmuch of importance as they could set the course for the future transatlantic cooperation.

Florence, [End of February], 1983

The Terror on the Streets

Also at this time of the year, when the slopes of the Apennines are still covered with snow, the stream of tourists in Florence is nonetheless moving from the Piazza della Signoria over the Ponte Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. The interest of the visitors stays focused as ever on the familiar sights and art treasures of singular beauty. But in contrast to previous years, passers-by fearfully hold their handbags close to their bodies to protect themselves against raids by juvenile gangs. It happens every day that a tourist is assaulted and being plundered. Crime is festering and terror rules in these narrow alleys and ancient walls.

As an Explanation

[During the semester break in February 1983, my wife and I took a short side-trip from Innsbruck to Florence. When, on a Sunday morning, we strolled unsuspectingly across the Ponte Vecchio in the direction of the Palazzo Pitti, my wife’s handbag was snatched from her arm. It contained our passports and travel money. At the police station of the Carabinieri, we were shown a heap of handbags in a corner, which had been found, emptied in the streets and parks of the city. It was vividly demonstrated that we were not the only victims of such assaults.]

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