Memories of Jewish Life: From Italy to Jerusalem, 1918-1960

By Augusto Segre; Steve Siporin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Working with Raffaele Cantoni

DURING 1939 I HAD many occasions to accompany the young and the not-so-young to the ports of embarkation or to the train stations. This work needed to be done, but the opportunities to leave and to act were always fewer. A lot of doors were closed—those of the many Communities that did not want to have anything more to do with “dangerous” elements (who were even requested not to appear in their offices anymore) and also those of quite a few families, some of whom had even succeeded in discovering that they were of the “Aryan race.” The young people who themselves were willing to do something were getting to be fewer and fewer, either because, in the meantime, they had left or because they were stopped by their own families, who didn’t want them “getting themselves into trouble.” But the problems grew and became graver and more urgent every day. In this long night of human bewilderment and moral undoing I am compelled, here, to recall those persons who never hesitated to offer us their sympathetic help and those homes where we were welcomed like one’s children, at any hour of the day or night, with joy and affection, and where a bed and something to eat could always be found. Of course it’s not possible to remember all of them, but I must mention Rav Castelbolognesi and his family in Milano, Rav Nissim and his family in Padova, Rav Toaff and his family in Livorno, the Morpurgo family in Padova, Franca Muggia and Angelo Fano and their respective families in Venice, together with Giorgio Rossi and his mother in the Lido of Venice.

The work now becomes concentrated on the training of young adults and teenagers—two hakhsharòth (at San Marco and at Orciano, in Tus-

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