Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It Happened In Italy By Elizabeth Bettina
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. It’s easy to comprehend her passion for Holocaust survivors. She admits, “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 didn’t 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 I’d not been privy to before, those who decided to act against Hitler’s wishes and by doing so, helped hundreds (194 mentioned in this book) of people live and have lives of impact.
I’ve enjoyed being able to select books to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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