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Vittoria Janicki, WWII freedom fighter Aug. 8, 1927 -- July 24, 2007

Vittoria Janicki, a freedom fighter in Italy during World War II, died Tuesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. She was 79.

Mrs. Janicki was born in Paesana Torino, Italy, and attended high school and college in Saluzzo. She studied Intra-European business administration, earning the equivalent of a bachelor's degree, from the Institute of Education at Saluzzo.

Once World War II began, the former Vittoria Ferretti focused her energy on fighting Nazi forces in Italy. Though she was only 16, she worked with a small group of men and women known as partisans to destroy infrastructure and sabotage the Germans.

She always looked out for her family and neighbors, according to her husband, Marion Janicki, who noted that, despite being a freedom fighter, she saved a neighbor who worked for Italy's fascist government from the wrath of the partisans.

"She was quite brave," Janicki said.

After the war, she was honored for her efforts.

She also worked as an interpreter for the U.S. military and embassy, helping U.S. and British soldiers find housing in Italy. This was how she met her husband, he said. They married in 1956 and moved to Buffalo.

She became a U.S. citizen in 1960.

Mrs. Janicki worked at Woolworth's for a few years. She also worked as an assistant manager for a drugstore.

A committed volunteer, she helped others seeking U.S. citizenship to prepare for their exams.

Her husband said Mrs. Janicki enjoyed the weather and natural beauty of Buffalo, along with fishing, picking mushrooms and taking long walks.

"She said it was like being back home," he said.

Survivors in addition to her husband of 51 years include a son, Brian A.; a daughter, Marie C. Willgens; and a sister, Domenica Bonansea;

A private Mass of Christian Burial was offered Friday in St. Josaphat Catholic Church, William and Peoria streets, Cheektowaga.

[ERICKSON]

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