She Looked into her Father’s Eyes
by Cate Murway
“When I look in my father's eyes.
Then the light begins to shine
and I hear those ancient lullabies.
And as I watch this seedling grow,
feel my heart start to overflow.
Where do I find the words to say?”
“My father has died and I want to finally honor him for saving the people and bringing the weapons here to America,” Mary [Galione] Nahas, BHS class of 1975/Camden NJ Archway School of Nursing shared her initial reason for starting her book, “The Journey of Private Galione”. Her dad would have taken his story to the grave except for the deep bond between them. Historian Harold Dodson Mitchener, BHS ‘56/WCU ‘60/ Masters Program, College of N.J. said, “She was very dedicated to getting her father’s story and the importance of the story known.” His stories molded her and made her the person she is today. “When Private Galione found Camp Dora and the Pentagon learned that the Germans were making the world's first ballistic missiles in a concentration camp, the military objective changed to a diligent search for camps and weapons and the American confiscation of the ballistic missile was ordered. Private Galione's discovery saved the prisoners of Dora-Nordhausen and related camps, and changed the future of the United States and the world.”
Sergeant jet engine mechanic/industrial electrician John Charles Nahas, BHS ‘77 and BHS majorette Mary Galione originally met at a “Cherry’s” dance in the Northeast - she loved to disco! They also took bike treks on Haines Road to snack at the Golden Arches at McDonald’s [her mom didn’t really know about this]. Other endearing Borough memories include a variety of classic deli sandwiches at Danis’ Deli, sharing hand-tossed slices at Angelo’s Pizza and indulging in delicious mounds of O’Boyle’s ice cream. Easter shoes always came from Morty and Marlene Silverstein at Ballow’s Shoes! She nostalgically remembers hanging at the skating rink trying to skate or watching people practice and just carefree-ly walking the streets and buying candy at “Tommy’s Candy Store”. “Bristol was a fun place to grow up, everything was within walking distance, everything was right there!” She and her husband relocated to a brick rancher in “a shrimp colored evening sky” Reidsville, NC with his business Proctor & Gamble a dozen years ago, after their daughter, Veronica Marie Bersani graduated from BHS in 1995. Jefferson Avenue resident Veronica currently works for Catalent, [one of their clients is Proctor & Gamble], the leading provider of advanced technologies as well as development, and manufacturing and packaging services for pharmaceuticals. Their sons, both born in April [near the day her dad brought the soldiers back to Mittelbau Dora Concentration Camp and broke in] Daniel Michael ’05 and Michael John ’07 are Rockingham County H.S. grads and will have attended Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, NC. Aspiring Esquire, Daniel continues his education at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Michael is exploring and pursuing a career in computers.
Mary’s parents met at what she recalls being named “Fields’ Dance Hall” on Wood Street, currently the Dragon Moon Martial Arts Association. Her mom, Iole [changed to Viola] [Paoletti], BHS ‘39 tripped down the steps into John Galione’s arms. Her father had carried bushel baskets of tomatoes from King’s Farm to the farm market that was across the street from the dance hall at that time.
“How did I get here?
What have I done?”
As a young adult, Mary originally worked as a Lower Bucks Hospital Nurse and then for fiscal reasons, changed her career to electronics at Garry Electronics, founded in 1950. She wire wrapped the circuit boards for Patriot Missiles. The system has a remarkable goal: it is designed to detect, target and then destroy incoming enemy aircraft and cruise missiles (Scud missiles) and protect soldiers and civilians from a missile attack. The men she was working with were the “very Nazis that her father caused to be transferred to America, the ones involved with the V-2 missiles and the spacecrafts.” John Galione had beaten the Russians to the world's most advanced missile technology and changed world history!
Her livelihood also included advertising and writing freelance feature articles for the Bucks County Courier Times and the “The Family Life” column in the Reidsville Review, a newspaper, earliest known issue is September 19, 1899, currently published in association with Eden Daily News. Mary wrote about the incredible “Writing to Read” program started by Mary [Younglove] Gesualdi, Bishop Conwell ‘68/Trenton State‘77/ College of N.J Principalship ’85 at the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School that incorporates the speech capabilities of the personal computer to enable young students to hear the sounds and words they see on the screen and respond to spoken directions.
Much of her early work for “The Journey of Private Galione” was handwritten notes on yellow legal tablets she made in the The Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. She steadfastly professed that she “loves that library!”
“Bit by bit, I've realized
That's when I need them,
That's when I need my father's eyes”
Mary’s mother’s health started to fail and she and her father become enveloped in caring for her. John Galione told his daughter, “She looks worse than they did”. Then bits and pieces became memories. He cried with such agony and anguish as he shared his story with his gripped audience, Mary.
During World War II, Mittelbau Dora Concentration Camp housed the most top-secret factory in Germany. Deep in a labyrinth of dark underground caves running through the Harz Mountains, emaciated slave laborers from Buchenwald and other camps worked under the brutal Nazi guards, struggling to manufacture the world's first ballistic missile-a weapon for which the rest of the world had no defense!
Private John M. Galione discovered the camp, the secret tunnel that led to the underground factory where slave laborers were being forced by the Nazis to manufacture the world's first ballistic missile, the A-4/V-2 rocket on April 10, 1945. Private Galione walked over 100 miles diligently following the train tracks leading him directly into the secret tunnel. Just outside the tunnel, a train car was piled with corpses, slated for Buchenwald's crematorium. He returned with a Jeep and liberating troops from the U.S. 104th Infantry Division who proudly wore the Timberwolf shoulder insignia.
Mary painstakingly wrote the compelling historical account that reveals how a single unassuming hero soldier on a lone mission is also the most ignored unsung hero to come out of WWII.
Two years ago she had the opportunity to meet Charlie Lang, currently a New Jersey resident, one of the Jewish survivors of Mittelbau Dora's Nordhausen Death Camp. Mary explained, “He was one of the Romananian Jews thrown in the camps when he was a young teenager. He was first in Auschwitz, then Buchenwald, and then inside Nordhausen Death Camp, the restricted zone of Mittelbau Dora. It's the place where they dumped the slave laborers who had become too weak to manufacture the missiles and left them there to die a slow death from starvation and disease.”
From her web site, "In a few more days I would have died. John Galione and his fellow soldiers saved my life!"
-Michel Depierre, Dora Survivor
John Galione passed away on June 23, 1999, at the age of 80, following a 3-year fight with congestive heart failure. He received a military burial at Sunset Memorial Park in Feasterville where he rests beside his wife of 55 years, Viola.
“How could I lose him?
What did I try?
Bit by bit, I've realized
that he was here with me.”
Mary offered this history as her tribute to her father, “The Journey of Private Galione”.
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“My Father's Eyes” lyrics by Grammy Award winning Eric Patrick Clapton
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Sophie (Starzetsky) Nahas passed away Monday, March 21, 2011, at St. Mary's Hospital, Langhorne. She was 76.
Born Oct. 26, 1934, in Minersville, she was the daughter of the late William and Mary Starzetsky.
Sophie was a member of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Sheppon.
She was employed by the former Red Rope Paper Co.
Sophie enjoyed spending time with her family and was an avid casino goer.
She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Charles; one son, John Nahas and his wife, Mary, of North Carolina; three daughters, Sandy and her husband, Scott Gorewich of Levittown, Barbara and her husband, Jim Perugini, of Levittown, and Diane, and her husband, John Dicicco, of Norristown; two brothers, Michael Pepper of North Carolina and Anthony Pepper of Florida; ten grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Oravitz Home for Funerals, 40 N. Jardin St., Shenandoah, Pa, where friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, with Fr. Richard Bresinger, in St. Joseph's R.C. Church, Sheppton. Interment will be held privately and held at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donation's in Sophie's name may be sent to St. Mary's Medical Center Foundation, 1717 Langhorne-Newtown Road, Langhorne, PA 19047. Oravitz Home for Funerals,