"It Happened In Italy" written by Elizabeth Bettina is an eye-opening read on the history of the Jews in Italy. This is a part of World War II not usually presented, I never even thought of Jews being in Italy. This book will make you question, why Italy saved her Jews, and the rest of Europe didn't. This is also a very quick and enjoyable read that I would recommend to any history buff.
When you think of the Holocaust, you think of death and destruction. You think of life and light cruelly snuffed out. Innocence lost in streams of blood and shower chambers that kill instead of cleanse. Strict Nazi's with pencil-thin mustaches and blue eyes that pierce your soul. The Star of David fell from glory, yarmuckles and menorahs thrown to the ground to be trampled under steel-toed boots.When visiting family in Italy, Elizabeth Bettina was given a book that would change her life. The little book held a list of the people who had been interned in the village. Elizabeth was shattered - how could this little sleepy town in the back country have played such a big part in saving the Jewish people? Why hadn't she ever heard the story growing up?It Happened in Italy (Thomas Nelson) follows Elizabeth's strange journey as she collects the stories of the survivors and what happens when she takes them back to Italy. The story is beautiful. Brothers are reunited, family histories finally begin to make sense, and the Pope even makes a cameo. It took me a long time to wade through this book but it was well worth it.
Elizabeth Bettinas book, It Happened In Italy (Thomas Nelson) tells the story of Jews living in Italy during the time of the Holocaust. After learning that her Italian grandparents helped to save Jews in the small village Campagna, Bettina decided to further investigate what happened in Italy during World War II. As it turns out, many of the Jews escaped to Italy (one of the only countries that would accepted their visas) and were hidden in small villages such as, Campagna, saving 75%-80% of the Italian Jews.Through interviews with survivors, Bettina is able to use a casual conversational style that lures the reader into the lives of her subject. The first-person accounts add depth to the book as the real survivors and their protectors tell their own stories. The book is full of photographic evidence, such as marriage certificates and baptismal records that show not only that these people existed, but that they also lived.To think, while many other countries cringed in fear of the Nazis, the Italians fought back and protected the Jews in their midstand it all happened in Italy. This review is part of the Thomas Nelson Blog Reviewers Program.
I was delighted to receive this book that is beautiful both inside and out. I have read several books about the Holocaust and was please to have the opportunity to read this one. The book, as in the description, is filled with Elizabeths own journeys as she meets Walter Wolff, a Holocaust survivor who holds an incredible truth of how he and many other Jewish people were saved from the horrors thanks to the people of Italy.Walter is only the beginning, as Elizabeth unfolds this well written story she meets others who were also part of this group. Her amazing spirit and never give up attitude keep this book flowing at a great pace. I found myself anxious to see what was on each page as Elizabeth has filled it with documents of her research as well as many pictures of the time of the Holocaust.I could envision Elizabeths comparison of Campagna to the area the Von Traps traveled when escaping in the Sound of Music. Reading this gave me a whole new understanding to this movie and I may need to rent it again for this reason.This is a book that stays with you long after the final page is read. Elizabeth Bettina has captured an amazing piece of history that I for one, will hold onto deep within my heart.
When you think of the Holocaust, you are likely to conjure up horrific images of destruction of life and the genocide of the Jews. These are the images that come to my mind. In It Happened in Italy, Elizabeth Bettina creates a new quilted fabric to envision as she sews together chapter after chapter of stories of Jews who were treated with respect in small Italian towns during the war. While reading the book, I could feel her escalating excitement as she encountered more and more Holocaust survivors and surprisingly learned about how others risked punishment in order to do the right thing by treating Jews kindly.Bettina writes succinct chapters, detailing her meetings with the survivors and even her arranged meeting of honor with the pope. Its easy to comprehend her passion for Holocaust survivors. She writes, If I have learned one thing, it is that one never knows when an event can completely change your life, or at least add a very unexpected twist.Though I sensed the thrill Bettina experienced on her journey to connect survivors, I didnt fall in love with the writing style. I was however, deeply moved to study the dozens of photographs and documents in the book. Coupled with the accounts Bettina provided, the photographs enabled certain stories to come to life for me in a unique way. I was also grateful to read about something Id not been privy to before, those who decided to act against Hitlers wishes and by doing so, helped hundreds (194 mentioned in this book) of people live and have lives of impact.Ive enjoyed being able to select books to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers.