Straight Talk "It Happened in Italy" Review
It Happened in Italy by Elizabeth Bettina
Full disclosure, I’m Italian. My family, on both my father and mother’s side goes back for generations and generations of Italians marrying Italians. My mother’s side is primarily northern Italian, my father’s side primarily southern Italian. My maiden name was Pasquariello. My grandmother's name is on the wall at Ellis Island. I love my Italian heritage.
Having said that, I loved this book. It isn’t Shakespeare that I will grant you. But the story is as uplifting as a Frank Capra movie. How can a book about survivors of the Holocaust possibly be uplifting? The author, also an Italian American, sets out to visit the town of her roots, the Italian village her grandmother lived in, and from there a germ of an idea began. It was a story essentially untold and the author Elizabeth Bettina wanted to rectify this.
During World War II, many Italians in a number of Italian villages hid Jews and helped Jews avoid detection by the Nazis. Giovanni Palatucci is know by Italians as the “The Italian Schindler.” And he paid the ultimate price for helping as many as five thousand Jews survive the Nazi slaughter. He was executed for his heroic efforts.
The book chronicles the author’s work in putting the book together and in doing so she not only shares some of the stories of how Italians helped house, hide and take care of the Jews interned, but also the amazing stories, coincidences and reunions behind the scenes of researching the book.
The author also includes numerous documents and photographs so the reader is able to have many visuals of the people they will be reading about.
If you’re Italian, or know someone who is, if you are Jewish or know someone who is, if you’ve ever visited Italy, or simply wish to give a heart-warming gift to someone, this book is well worth the purchase price. This author also put together a very important part of history for us no matter what your background and in that respect, any lover of history would enjoy this book as well.