Friday, May 8, 2009

A Memory of Holocaust Survivors that Reads Like a Detective Story

Before reading this book, I had only heard the dreadful tales of Holocaust survivors from the German camps. Thanks to Elizabeth Bettina we now know that the Italian camps were humane and comfortable. It was heart warming to hear stories of Italians helping Jews survive the dreadful atrocities committed during World War II. I couldn't stop reading.

A book of story after story about the heroic actions of the Italians in the hill towns could quickly become boring unless the reader had a personal interest. However, this book reads like a detective story. Starting with the discovery of a surprising picture showing Jews picnicking in an Italian concentration camp, we follow Elizabeth Bettina and Vince Marmorale on a surprising journey as they trace the survivors from the camp in Campagna, home of Elizabeth's relatives. As the tales unfold and intertwine, the reader is pulled into the story wondering what will happen next. How many more people will find they're tied to each other through the camps in the Italy?

The book is filled with photos and documents validating the story. These in themselves are precious. I felt amazement along with the author, as person after person produced pictures and official papers documenting their story. It's still hard to believe how different the treatment of Jews in Italy was from that of Jews in Germany. It was a pleasure to read this wonderful story.

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