On September 8th, at age 92, Greta Friedman died. However, it will remain forever in the world memory as a young nurse of 21 years, in the arms of a jubilant sailor. It is she who is one of the most famous images in history: the kiss that marked the end of World War II, signed by the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in Life magazine.
The August 14th, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies and the news spread quickly in New York. Greta Friedman was an assistant dental and left work to see what was happening. She was walking through Times Square when it happened. “Suddenly a sailor grabbed me, the kiss was not quite a celebration act [the end of the war]. He did not have to retur to the Pacific front where he combated. He took me in his arms when saw me dressed as a nurse and was grateful to all the nurses There wasn’t something romantic, but a way of saying, ‘Thank God the war is over,’ ” Greta recalled later.
The sailor that kissed Greta Friedman was George Mendonsa, 22. Years later he also talked about the moment of the kiss: “I had gone with a friend to a show at Radio City Hall when everything stopped to anounce that the war was over, I went out, I was very happy, I saw a nurse and kissed her by pure joy.” A curiosity? The friend who had gone for a walk became his wife.
After the iconic kiss, Mendonsa and Zimmerman never saw – until a reunion in 2012. Over the years, several people said they were the true nurse and sailor, but an investigation of George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria took the doubts four years ago.
Greta Friedman was Austrian, Jewish and lost his parents in the Holocaust. Despite being dental assistant in 1945, she took an art course later. She married and had two children. In recent years, Greta Friedman exchanged Christmas cards with George.
Source: The New York Times
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