This is an exclusive immersive experience in addition to the normal Underground Valletta tours, which will be taking place daily between the 17th and 30th of November. It consists of a 15-minute immersive audio-visual experience structured as follows:
- Timeline of WWII events affecting Malta
- Shelter: Aerial warfare was initially introduced during the First World War. However, the use of air power as a weapon of terror started during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), when both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy tested their aircraft on enemy civilian populations. Their participation brought about the devastating aerial attack, the bombing of Guernica in 1937. This war was seen as a dress ‘rehearsal’ for a future war which soon become a reality with the outbreak of WWII. Germany used bombers and Stuka dive bombers to terrorise most of the European civilian populations that were invaded and forced to leave their homes. This military tactic, known as Blitzkrieg, was meant to force civilians into the streets, slowing the advancing armies against the German invasion. These civilians either sought refuge elsewhere or remained in their own villages, towns and cities, seeking shelter wherever they could.
Whole communities lived in these shelters, where they slept, cooked, ate, washed, prayed and even gave birth, especially during the early months of 1942 when Malta was partially bombed around the clock. Throughout this siege, the areas around the Grand Harbour were the prime targets for Axis bombers due to the dockyards and naval installations.
Valletta and the cities surrounding the southern harbour area were devastated by bombs, and numerous residential and historical buildings were demolished. The authorities asked harbour area residents to leave their homes and take refuge with family members living in rural areas away from the Grand Harbour and airfields.
- Famine: In addition to the danger of being killed or injured, the Maltese civilian population faced another hardship which remained etched in the memory of those who survived the siege of Malta: the suffering caused by hunger.
By October 1942, 100,000 people were queuing up for meals from the Victory Kitchen for lunch and dinner. The scarcity of food and consequent malnutrition had adverse effects on people’s health.
Throughout 1942, British convoys carrying supplies to Malta faced a very hazardous journey through the Mediterranean, being almost constantly under air attack.
- Resistance: The history of the Second World War is full of epic stories and episodes of heroic resistance, sometimes against exceptional odds. Throughout the war, one comes across various forms of resistance. Some countries were occupied by the Nazis. Thus, resistance became a matter of individual and personal choice.
On the other hand, some countries, such as Malta, resisted enemy occupation on a national rather than individual level. In April 1942, at the height of the blitz of Malta, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the Maltese population in recognition of their sacrifice, endurance, loyalty and resistance during the siege.
• For their own safety, children under 12 years cannot be admitted. Children who are 12-15 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
This project, funded by the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade through its Cultural Diplomacy Fund and by Heritage Malta, will shed light on three aspects that were common to the life of civilians in Malta and in the allied countries during World War II, notably shelter, famine and resistance.
It will illustrate Malta’s narrative of its unique experience owing to its geostrategic position, the hardship and destruction endured, and the resilience of civilians as they strived to survive and contribute towards attaining and restoring peace. This project highlights the allied countries’ continuous joint efforts during World War II and the role that Malta played in this regard.
This project aims to unite people from different countries through the shared experiences exhibited. This shall, in turn, enhance people-to-people connectedness and mutual understanding, which is at the core of Malta’s cultural diplomacy efforts.
For more information about the immersive experience click here.
WWII Experience: Shelter – Famine – Resistance
17 Nov 2022 - 30 Nov 2022
Daily: 10.00 am - 14.00 pm
The closest bus stop is 7 minutes by walk. Interested in getting here by public transport?Plan your journey