Anthony Valim ( 1919 – 2009 )
Anthony (Tony) Terra Valim was born on October 31, 1919 to a Portuguese dairy farmer in Gustine, CA. He graduated in 1938 and four years later entered the army to serve in World War II. He was trained in tank warfare and was sent to France as a light Tank driver to serve with General Patton’s 3rd Army, then becoming Sergeant and Tank Commander.
He spent a year between France, Germany, Belgium and Austria and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Offensive. His services were rewarded with several medals: the Bronze Star Medal EAME ribbon with three battle stars for Rhineland and Ardennes Alsace Campaigns, Good Conduct Medal, European Theater and French Medals, and La France RF Medal.
Close to war’s end, Valim and his tank crew drove up to the Neuschwanstein Castle, in Germany. They guarded the masterpieces that Hitler and the Nazis had stolen and stored inside the castle, while aiding to the Monuments Men’s painstaking work of safely relocating thousands of works of art. Pictures taken at Neuschwanstein Castle in May 1945 show Sgt. Valim with Monuments Man Capt. James Rorimer examining objects from the Rothschild collection or while carrying paintings down the steps of the castle under the Captain’s supervision. Thirty-eight years later, on occasion of a trip to Europe for his daughter’s wedding, Valim was able to walk once again through the corridors of what he called “his Castle”.
Upon his discharge from the Army on Oct 12,1945, Valim returned home and moved to Modesto, CA., with his wife and newborn son. After his retirement, he spent several years researching and publishing two family genealogy books, which are now contained in the Library of Congress. Valim was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Retail Clerks Retirees Club, Local Genealogy club, St. Stanislaus Parish. He passed away on January 4, 2009 at the age of 89 years old.