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Interview with Anthony A. Alaimo, March 4, 2005

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:11 - Introduction / Overview of Alaimo's life

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Partial Transcript: Campbell introduces Anthony Alaimo. Campbell summarizes Alaimo's early life, education, participation in World War II, and his tenure as a judge in the U.S. District Court (Southern District of Georgia)

00:03:22 - Early life and education

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Partial Transcript: But let's start at the beginning.

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo discusses his family's life in Italy and Argentina, and their subsequent immigration to the U.S. He reflects on his early life, his childhood hobbies, and his family's language and religion. Alaimo discusses both studying and working in college.

Keywords: Italy; Methodist; Ohio Northern University; immigration; religion

00:10:42 - Army pilot training and deployment

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Partial Transcript: 1940--so World War II was underway.

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo mentions his reasons for enlisting in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He also discusses his training as an army pilot, as well as his deployment to Europe. Alaimo describes his experience of piloting and the style of low-level flying practiced in the Army at the time.

Keywords: Air Corps; Pearl Harbor; WWII; World War II; draft; pilot training

00:16:52 - Bombing raid and POW capture

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Partial Transcript: Now, I think it was in May that the mission you were on...

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo recounts the events of a botched bombing raid and the evacuation of his aircraft. He reflects on his capture by a German patrol boat and his subsequent medical treatment and transfer to a prisoner-of-war camp. He recounts listening to BBC broadcast Allied news within the POW camp.

Keywords: Germany; Holland; Moosburg; North Sea; POW; Stalag Luft III; WWII; World War II; bomber pilot; bombing raid

00:28:19 - First escape attempt - "The Great Escape"

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Partial Transcript: There was a film called "The Great Escape" and you had a role in what became "The Great Escape," tell us about that.

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo recounts the construction of an escape tunnel at the Stalag Luft III prisoner-of-war camp. He discusses his role in helping create the tunnel and his transfer to another camp before the escape took place. Alaimo also comments on the fate of the prisoners who escaped and the repercussion of the escape attempt on prisoners in other camps. He discusses how these events were the basis of the movie "The Great Escape".

Keywords: POW; Stalag Luft III; The Great Escape; prison escape; prisoner of war camp; tunnel mining

00:37:15 - Repeated escape attempts

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Partial Transcript: Now after the people that escaped in the "Great Escape" experienced the fate that they did, did that take away your desire to escape?

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo reflects on his arduous experience of being transferred between POW camps and his impression of the Moorsburg camp. Alaimo also recounts his repeated attempts to escape from the camps and the punishment he received as a result.

Keywords: Moosburg; POW camp; escape attempt; prisoner of war

00:46:19 - Successful escape in Munich

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about that one. What happened then?

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo recounts his fourth escape attempt which turned out be successful. He reflects on his journey through Germany to Italy and eventually to the neutral Switzerland. Alaimo also reflects on help of Frenchmen and Italian partisans along the way. He also comments on his visit to the opera during his stay in Milan.

Keywords: Italian partisans; Italy; Milan; Switzerland; WWII; World War II; border crossing; neutrality

00:59:17 - Returning home after the war / Law school and law practice

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Partial Transcript: After the war you came back and got married to a young lady you had met in college.

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo reflects on his personal and professional life after the war. He discusses attending Emory Law School on the GI Bill and later working in the law practice of Reuben Garland. He discusses some notable cases during his Atlanta career and his subsequent move to Brunswick, Georgia.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Brunswick, Georgia; Emory Law School; Reuben Garland; Way Highsmith; law practice

01:08:01 - Work as judge / Prison reform cases

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Partial Transcript: When did you first become interested in being a judge and what accounted for that?

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo discusses his selection as judge to the Georgia Southern Court District. He also discusses his involvement in significant cases such as the Reedsville Prison reform case. He comments on his invitation to Atlanta to try a case involving the administration of the Atlanta airport.

Keywords: Atlanta airport case; Georgia State Prison; Guthrie v. Evans; Reidsville, Georgia; judge selection process; jury sequestering; prison reform; southern court district

01:17:12 - Reflection on judicial career / Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Now aside from the prison reform case and the Atlanta reform case, what would you say is the most interesting case you've had?

Segment Synopsis: Alaimo characterizes the types of cases he has participated in and discusses his personal preferences as well as hardships in trying cases. He discusses the streamlining of court procedure through the reform and creation of local laws. He comments on the nature of the jury system as well as on his participation as visiting judge in courts across the country.

Keywords: Speedy Trial Act; United States v. Booker; federal sentencing guidelines; local rule; naturalization