A profoundly moving history of Italy’s Jews under the shadow of the Holocaust, told through the lives of five Jewish Italian families: the Ovazzas of Turin, who prospered under Mussolini and whose patriarch became a prominent fascist; the Foas of Turin, whose children included both an antifascist activist and a Fascist Party member; the Di Verolis of Rome, who struggled for survival in the ghetto; the Teglios of Genoa, one of whom worked with the Catholic church to save hundreds of Jews; and the Schonheits of Ferrara, who were sent to Buchenwald and Ravensbruck. An extraordinary montage that resurrects a forgotten and tragic era.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Individual Holocaust stories of death or survival unsettle and jar if told by a fine writer. It is the minutiae of daily life, the details of courage and the machinations of betrayal which impress in Alexander Stille’s 1991 book describing the varied fates of five Italian Jewish families (from Turin, Genoa, Rome and Ferrara) under Mussolini’s Fascism, under its perverse racial laws of the late thirties and in 1943 when the Nazis and SS took over the country.
The author’s attention to detail, his depth of research, his structure and organization and his ability to tellingly present just the right anecdote which makes this superb history so compelling and so moving despite the obvious need to balance, and personalize, at least twenty names of victims, heroes and villains. Each family is localized, then described, then their lives are explained in the atmosphere of pre War fascist Italy. And, then their lives were destroyed; some survived, some escaped, some...
The book is very well documented. Through the stories of five Italian Jewish families under fascism Alexander Stille tells some of what occurred in Italy during the Second World War. It examines in detail and in an orderly manner Mussolini's attitude changes in relation to Italian Jews all along his government.
Reads more like a high school history book.
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