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In Hiding – Italy

The SS went to [Mother Maria Agnese's] convent and said “We heard there are Jews here.” This little woman put her crucifix to the face of the SS & said 'In this place there are only children of God. He died for you as well.' The man clicked his heels & left.

Another thing, there was a carob field – a carob tree, in the grounds. And the carob was the only sweet – the only sweet food we had for all that time. To have one of the carobs was – oh! – glorious, absolutely.

[A German army chaplain] adopted the orphanage. He brought food to us. That terrible black bread the Germans had. I don’t know what they made it but, it was terrible but good to eat cause it filled you up. Took a week to digest the blooming thing.

The memories are hunger, all the time. The cold. Lots of children had blisters in their fingers. But hunger is a great healer in many respects, because when you’re hungry, all you think about is food. The only great thing in abundance was the warmth of the nuns.

There was a whole network of the people of good will. There was such a thing. You know, goodness came out as well. The two extremes came out. Evil & goodness.

One of the women that was taken [by fascists from a convent where she was hiding] said: 'Please tell my husband & my son that at 6 o’clock every day I’ll think of them.' And that was it.

We ran away in the dark. The only thing my mother wanted to take was the photographs of the family, which was a crazy thing, because you know the weight with those photographs. My father had already organised before to have all his Jewish books–he had some valuable books, in proper big cases–to be buried somewhere, so that he could either recuperate them later or that they would be buried so it would be all right from a religious point of view. My father grabbed [an amulet] when we were going out. On this nail, he grabbed that & took it away. Something my Uncle Fernando had given my parents when they got married. It said: ‘Omnipotent. Bless us and maintain us.’ And so obviously, to take it away, has worked out!

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