Louis Zamperini

Submitted by on Sep 1, 2015

Louis Zamperini.

Louis Silvi Zamperini (Eng. Louis Silvie Zamperini ; January 26, 1917, Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York, USA – July 2, 2014, Los Angeles, California , USA) – American distance runner, motivational speaker, a prisoner of war who survived after a stay in the camps of the Japanese empire.

The main character of the book by Laura Hillenbrand titled «Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption», and the same movie of Angelina Jolie.

  • Biography
    • Early Years
    • Sports career
      • At the Olympics
    • In war and in captivity
    • Follow the life
    • Death
  • Memory
  • Legacy
  • Awards
  • Notes
  • Links

Early Years

Louis Zamperini was born January 26, 1917 in Oleane (Eng.) Russian. Cattaraugus County in the district of New York, the son of Italian immigrants Anthony and Louise Zamperini Dossi. He had an older brother named Pete and two younger sisters, Virginia and Sylvia. In 1919 the family moved to the city of Torrance, California, where Louis went to high school (Eng.) Russian. Zamperini and his family did not speak in English, when they moved to California, which made him a target for bullies. Father Louis taught boxing for self-defense. Soon, he claimed that “beating to death of each of them … but it was so good at it that even began to relish the idea of ​​being a kind of addicted to it.”He later became a fight,”just to see that someone can keep up with me.”From minor gangster, he was”wandering teenager».

Sports career

To resist the ingress Louis in trouble, his older brother Pete has sent him to the team in running the school. In 1934, Zamperini set the world interscholastic record, running the mile in 4 minutes and 21.2 seconds in the preliminary meeting for the championship of the state (Eng.) Russian. The following week, he won the championship with the figure of 04: 27.8. This result helped him win a scholarship to the University of Southern California and eventually take place in the US Olympic team for the 5000 running meters in 1936 with a score equal to the level of world record holder Don Lash (Eng.) Russian. Thus, at 19 years old he became the youngest American in the discipline. While studying at the university, Zamperini was a member of «Kappa Sigma (Eng.) Russian. “And he lived in a frat house with his brother.

At the Olympic trials on the island of Randall, Zamperini finished in a draw with the champion “Don Leshom (Eng.) Russian. and received the right to participate in the Summer Olympics 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Zamperini told me that on the way to Europe”All the food was free. I was not the only one sweet roll, but about seven o’clock every morning, with bacon and eggs. My eyes were like saucers.”By the end of the trip, Zamperini, like most of the athletes on the ship, gained a lot of weight: in his case 12 pounds. Although weight gain did not do his best run, but it was necessary for his health, as in the heat of summer, he lost 14 pounds during training in New York.

Zamperini finished eighth in the women’s 5,000 meters at the Olympic Games (Eng.) Russian. but as he passed the final lap of the race in 56 seconds, Zamperini attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler insisted on a personal meeting, considered the most promising young runner. As talked about this Zamperini, Hitler shook his hand and said simply, “Oh, you’re a guy with a quick finish.”According to some reports, Zamperini climbed the flagpole during the Olympics and stole the Nazi flag. Two years later, in 1938, Zamperini set a national record run a mile in 4:08, despite the fact that competitors were trying to hurt his spikes. Zamperini was nicknamed”Torrensky tornado” and his record lasted 15 years. In 1940, Zamperini graduated from the University of Southern California and began working with a welding machine Aircraft Corporation «Lockheed». He was considered a leading candidate for a trip to the Summer Olympic Games of 1940 in Tokyo, which were canceled due to World War II.

In war and in captivity

First Lieutenant Zamperini inspects a hole in his bomber B-24 Liberator, made of Nauru, April 18, 1943.

In September 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Zamperini was enlisted in the Air Force of the US Army (Eng.) Russian. He was promoted to second lieutenant and was assigned to the Pacific island of Funafuti scorer bomber B-24 Liberator 372 Bomber Squadron (Eng.) Russian. 307th Bomb Group (Eng.) Russian. Seventh Air Force (Eng.) Russian. In April 1943, the plane was heavily damaged in the battle, after which they were given other B-24s «The Green Hornet», called among the pilots defective “flying brick”. On May 27, while searching for the downed B-25, mechanical problems caused the failure of two engines of four, and thus fall and the explosion of the aircraft in the ocean 850 miles west of Oahu, resulting in eight of the eleven people on board were killed.

The three survivors: he Zamperini, pilot Russell Allen “Phil”Phillips, was wounded in the head, and Francis”Mac” McNamara, tied two inflatable boat with small stocks of food and water, and climbed inside. During the voyage they had been drinking rainwater and eating raw small fish on a fishing hook lovivshuyusya that Zamperini made a sign of the post of lieutenant. Once they caught two albatrosses and ate them, reflecting constant attacks of sharks and nearly turned over during a storm. In order to somehow spend time Zamperini sang songs and talked to the smallest detail methods for preparing Italian dishes. They had been shot several times Japanese bombers, resulting in a punctured their raft, but no one was injured. McNamara died on day 33, after which the survivors buried his body in the sea.

July 12, the 47th day of the voyage, Zamperini and Phillips reached land, namely the Marshall Islands, were rescued by fishermen, handed them over to the Imperial Japanese Navy sailors. Phillips was sent to a camp, and Zamperini was kept in another – unregistered Ofuna POW camp (Eng.) Russian. near Yokohama, where over him in every way abused Mutsuhiro Watanabe (nicknamed «The Bird» – «Bird”), which was later included General Douglas MacArthur in the list of 40 most wanted war criminals in Japan. Contained in the same camp, Major Greg “Pappy”Boyington (Eng.) Russian. He describes in his book «Baa Baa Black Sheep» Zamperini and Italian recipes, which he told the prisoners. As it turned out, the US Zamperini was reported missing at sea, and then, after a year and a day after his disappearance, killed in combat. In June 1943, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Zamperini parents even sent an official telegram of condolence. When Zamperini finally after two years of captivity in August 1945, was released and returned home in September, he was greeted as a hero. Zamperini went down with the ship in Long Beach, California, where his family was waiting. He later admitted that”when I saw them and ran to my parents, my family, I just felt like I was back to life. You know, I was dead, and I came back to life. ” The retired from military service Zamperini came at the rank of Captain (Eng.) Russian.

Follow the life

In March 1946, he met Cynthia baratrume Epluayt, whom he married on May 20 of that year, and remained married until her death in 2001. Suffering from PTSD and alcoholism, almost divorced from his wife, with whom he had two children: son Lucas and daughter Cynthia, to avenge the hated “bird”Zamperini gained rebirth in Christianity after attending the procession, 1949 (Eng.) Russian. led by evangelist Billy Graham in Los Angeles. Graham later helped in the career of Louis Zamperini motivational speaker, and his wife Cynthia has played an important role in his walk to the meetings Graham. One of the most favorite topics Zamperini was”forgiveness”, and in October 1950 he went to Japan to testify and preach through an interpreter Fred Jarvis, as well as to visit many of his guards in the camp, to inform them that they have forgiven. Many of the war criminals who have committed terrible atrocities were in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. When arrived there Zamperini, a colonel ordered each prisoner to know him, to come forward and meet him again. Zamperini hugged each of them, explaining to them his Christian forgiveness, but they were somewhat surprised Zamperini sincere sympathy to those who once abused him. Most of them took copies of the New Testament, presented to them by the «Gideons International». Over the years, Louis Zamperini led an active life: teaching, working in real estate, skiing, jogging, mountain climbing and skateboarding.

In 1984, he made the Olympic torch Olympic Games 1984 in Los Angeles in the same “Coliseum (Eng.) Russian. “Which set records in his youth.

On his 81st birthday in January 1998, Zamperini took part in the Olympic torch relay for the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. While there, he tried to meet with his most cruel tormentor during the war, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, evade prosecution for war crimes, but he refused to see him. In Japan, Zamperini visited a memorial in honor of fallen soldiers in Naoetsu, saying:

It was very emotional for me to know what it was, what kind of people here have erected a memorial to prisoners of war. And when I remember 1945, when we left Naoetsu, it was such a terrible place in our minds, I could not look back. But when I left here today, believe me, I’ll look back, and I will never forget.

In March 2005, he came to Germany to visit the Olympic Stadium for the first time after he played there.

In 2004, in honor of Louis Zamperini was named Rugby Stadium Torrance High School. Zamperini went on to attend rugby matches and in 2009 became friends with quarterback Matt Barkley (Eng.) Russian. In October 2008, Zamperini was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (Eng.) Russian. in Chicago, Illinois. April 24, 2011 Zamperini received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities at the University of the Pacific aruz (Eng.) Russian. May 20, 2011 Zamperini was awarded Bryant University (Eng.) Russian.

At the end of July 2011 Zamperini won “Golden Heart” during the 68th Big Kappa Sigma conclave, held in the casino «Flamingo» in Las Vegas. June 7, 2012 Zamperini appeared on the television program The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Eng.) Russian. which he talked about his life as a whole, the 1936 Olympics, and the exploits of the war. He was supposed to be a great parade marshal roses appointed January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California.

In recent years, Zamperini lived in the Hollywood area of ​​Los Angeles.

Louis Zamperini, died of pneumonia July 2, 2014 at the age of 97 at his home in Los Angeles. He is survived by his daughter, Cynthia, his son Luke and grandchildren.

Director-General of the US Olympic Committee, Scott Blackmun said that “we are proud that among his many achievements and victories, Zamperini was an Olympian. His fighting spirit was a true representation of the US team, and our country, and in Berlin, and throughout his life. His presence will be missed. “Actress Angelina Jolie has admitted that”it is an indescribable loss. We are all grateful to Louis for how one acquaintance with him has enriched our lives. We will be very miss him. ” The company «Universal Pictures» it was noted that:

Coping with insurmountable difficulties at every turn of fate, the Olympic runner and World War II hero Louis Zamperini never give in to the call. Recently, he had to appear before the biggest challenge in life – pneumonia. After 40 days of struggle for life, he peacefully passed away surrounded by his family, leaving a story that touched so many people.

Louis ZamperiniLouis Zamperini
Louis ZamperiniLouis Zamperini
Louis ZamperiniLouis Zamperini

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