Uncertain Refuge: Italy and the Jews during the Holocaust

Uncertain Refuge: Italy and the Jews during the Holocaust

Uncertain Refuge: Italy and the Jews during the Holocaust

Uncertain Refuge: Italy and the Jews during the Holocaust

Excerpt

In the mid-1980s the Italian journalist Nicola Caracciolo interviewed for a television documentary a wide array of survivors of the other World War II, the one Lucy Dawidowicz aptly called “the war against the Jews.” Many of those he interviewed were Italian Jews, though a significant number were not. Some of the latter were, instead, foreign Jews who had found their way into Italy as refugees from discrimination and persecution in their native countries; others were Jews living in the parts of southern France, Yugoslavia, Greece, and even Russia occupied by the Italian army during the war. Still others, a small and distinct group unto themselves, were non-Jews who had rescued or had overseen efforts to rescue Jews from the areas occupied by the German army, including most signally, after September 8, 1943—that terrible date to which these interviews recur time and again, like the antiphon to a dirge—in Italy itself. Among the Gentiles interviewed were priests, diplomats, and simple peasants in the countryside, north and south.

Caracciolo’s interviews were interspliced with newsreel footage and photographs taken from archives, with voice-over narration, portraying the domestic policies and foreign relations of the later part of the Fascist era as these bore upon the situation of the Jews. The live interviews with the witnesses and participants chosen by Caracciolo were conducted in Italian in Italy and in Israel; the fact that the one-time refugees could remember a language they had not used for forty years is more impressive to us, perhaps, than it was to Caracciolo and his team. The film, entitled Il coraggio e la pietà (Courage and Compassion)—a glance at the title of Marcel Ophuls’s documentary Le cha-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.