Having been born near the end of World War II, I have heard of the horrible Nazi labor camps; the separation of families; the beatings; the starvation; the genocide of millions of Jewish people. But I had not heard of the humane internment camps in Italy.
The book’s author, Elizabeth Bettina, spent many of her childhood summers in Campagna, Italy, but never knew the important story that lay buried within the tiny, intimate community. She had never heard of the dramatic years of the Nazi regime and how it touched the lives of her relatives and friends. As an adult, she finds an intriguing photo of Jewish prisoners who are well-dressed and relativity happy, standing among a group of smiling people, a Catholic Bishop, and a police officer. The picture becomes the catalyst of the book.
This is a surprising and intriguing story that at times gave me “goose bumps” and made me smile. It is a story the author feels she was meant to write, one that had to be told. She has gone to a great effort to document the courage and friendship of the unheralded people of Italy, a people who risk their lives to protect the lives of their fellow man.