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Sculpture Memorializes Nazi Victims

August 18, 1994|CHARLES HILLINGER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Rolling Hills sculptor Lucy Bradanovic Agid has donated her latest work to the residents of the tiny Italian mountain village of St. Anna of Stazzema.

The bronze piece, which was cast from clay, commemorates the 50th anniversary Aug. 12 of the slaughter of 560 men, women and children by Nazi troops in the village. Titled "Let There Be Peace On Earth," the sculpture has five figures clinging together, arms wrapped around draped bodies, faces looking skyward.

The figures in the piece are looking upward for a better world, Agid said. "They are in circular movement, arms around each other, holding the world together in harmony."

Agid, 65, learned of the massacre while on an annual monthlong visit to nearby Pietrasanta with her husband, Herb, in May. "I was so moved by the enormity of the brutality of the killings that it was just something I had to do."

The 25-inch-tall sculpture will be displayed at the St. Anna Village Museum.

St. Anna Mayor Gian Pietro Lorenzoni invited Agid to be a guest at the anniversary commemoration of the slaughter.

German SS troops were camped in the village in 1944 during World War II. One day villagers posted flyers in the church piazza proclaiming: "Unite against the Nazis. Do not obey the orders of the barbaric Germans any longer."

The Nazi soldiers burned the village to the ground and ordered the villagers to march single file in columns. As they marched by, the soldiers killed them with bursts of machine gun fire.

In the church piazza, 132 corpses, 32 of them children, were left to rot. Today a plaque in the piazza lists the names and ages of the 560 victims whose remains are interred at the base of a stone tower.

The history of the area captivated her, Agid said.

For 10 years, she has devoted a month each year in Pietrasanta, carving in marble.

"Pietrasanta is a gathering place for artists from around the world. Going there is like dying and going to heaven. Everything is there. The stone to carve. Studios. The history," Agid said.

The sculptor grew up in San Pedro. Her father was a fisherman from the island of Vis in Yugoslavia.

Agid, who graduated from San Pedro High School in 1948, earned tuition for the Otis Art Institute by packing sardines and tuna in San Pedro canneries.

"I knew from the time I was in 4th grade I would be an artist," she said. Since then she has sculpted, first in clay and the past 10 years in marble. Her studio is in the old Doaks Aircraft Factory in Torrance.

Her creations bring $500 to $20,000 and have been exhibited from Southern California to Paris.

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