From Publishers Weekly
Published after Sonnino's death in 1999, this haunting memoir recounts the story of her Italian Jewish family, including her parents and five siblings, who perished in the Holocaust. In spare, beautifully translated language, Sonnino details her life in Genoa prior to 1938, when the racial laws went into effect. Within a lower-middle-class environment, her parents and siblings were "lambs, good people, ready to suffer many wrongs rather than be stained by a single one, eager to make as little noise as possible and occupy the least space possible on this earth." In 1943, when the Germans arrived in Italy, the Sonninos hid in mountain villages, but were betrayed, arrested and, in 1944, sent to Auschwitz. The author's account of the last night they spent together is eloquent. Her parents and two of her brothers were killed in the gas chambers. Sonnino watched her sister, Bice, succumb to dysentery at the Braunschweig concentration camp after the two were incarcerated at the Bergen-Belsen camp. After the war the author spent five years in rehabilitation centers and sanitariums and returned to Genoa in 1950. She married, raised two children and penned this searing testimony for her family in 1960. B&w photos. (Nov.)
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The author and her Genoese Jewish family--her parents, three brothers, and two sisters--were arrested in Italy by Fascist police in October 1944 and deported to Auschwitz. She was the only survivor, and she was later sent to Bergen-Belsen and Braunschweig. Sonnino returned to Genoa in 1950 at the age of 28. In 1960, she wrote down the events of her life during the war, "solely for the benefit of her daughters," and she died in 1999. The book chronicles how the family left their home in 1943 and spent a year in hiding and flight that ended after they were denounced and captured. David Denby postulates in the book's foreword that Sonnino survived because she was strong and also lucky because she didn't become ill. He also theorizes that the family's determination to stick together may have hastened their destruction. This stunning memoir is one of the most amazing stories to come to light. It is a valuable find and a crucial document from the history of the Holocaust. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved