Presents Black WWII Vet John Kitzmiller in Valley of Peace (Slovenia, 1957) Sun, Nov 21, 3pm

CHICAGO, Nov. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Valley of Peace (Dolina miru) is a 1956 Yugoslavian (Slovenian) war film directed by France Štiglic. John Kitzmiller received the Best Actor award for his role as Sgt. Jim at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival.


During WWII in Slovenia, two orphaned children seek the imaginary Valley of Peace. Along the way they run into a downed black American pilot who tries to protect them from the Germans until the Yugoslav Partisans can arrive. After escaping Nazi Soldiers, he finds the boy and girl standing in the middle of a river, scared and crying, neither daring to cross. The pilot cannot abandon the children even though they will reduce his chance of escaping. Both the Germans and the Slovenia partisans know that the pilot has survived. Who will find him first?

John Kitzmiller was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on December 4, 1913. During World War II, Kitzmiller served as an Army captain with the all-African American 92nd Infantry (Buffalo) Division which rebuilt bombed roads and bridges. He was one of the few black soldiers who chose to remain in Italy after the war rather than return to the racial situation in the United States. 

In the spring of 1946, Kitzmiller was spotted by film director Luigi Zampa and producer Carlo Ponti who liked the way he looked and laughed. They persuaded him to appear in Vivere in pace (To Live in Peace, 1947). Kitzmiller played an American GI who, along with a white American journalist, escapes capture by Germans and is sheltered by Italian farmers. The award-winning neorealist film was hailed internationally by critics who welcomed it as a refreshing antidote to Italy’s Fascist-era productions and as proof of the revival of Italian cinema.

Kitzmiller is most famous for his role as Quarrel in the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No. is a platform for the monthly screening and discussion series and streaming channel

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