It Happened In Italy
By Elizabeth Bettina
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 978-1-5955-5102-3
380 Pages

Back Cover: One woman's discovery---and the incredible, unexpected journey it takes her on---of how her grandparent's small village of Campagna, Italy, helped save Jews during the Holocaust.

REVIEW: “Simple goodness triumphed over sophisticated evil…Walter, a survivor said this, “Italians were kind to us and were true examples of the basic principle, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself…it’s important for people to know there were good people during the war—people who risked all to help others survive—by telling my true story, perhaps it could help people in today’s world.”

I often wondered when I'd heard of Corrie Ten Boom and how her family hid Jews in their clock repair shop, if others did the same. Elizabeth Bettina was looking at her grandparents pictures and saw something that wasn’t quite right in her thinking—which prompted Elizabeth to ask her grandparents’ questions. Questions that opened a lot of amazing conversations, which lead to her discovery of the Italian camps in Campagna and how Jews were treated there.

Walter, a Jewish man that was transferred to Campagna, Italy, says living in the Italian camps saved his life. Germany had the death camps. Walter says, “It’s important to know what happened in Italy. We’ve been surprised that the Italians do not know what happened in their own back yards. If it were not for the many “Giovanni Palataca’s’ of Italy, who chose to listen to their own hearts instead of following orders of people who were crazy, well, none of us would have survived..”

Giovanni Palataca was the Italian version of the Shindler depicted in the movie Shindlers List. I’m so glad that I received a review copy of this book. It was exciting to go on this journey with Elizabeth as it took her places she never thought she’d be going and meeting the most extraordinary people. Inside this book were many photographs that depicted the conditions in the Italian camps proving what the survivors said was true. Here is one account of what Walter did in the camp, “I read, played cards, taught English, played the saxophone,” even played with the dog he was allowed to keep. Amazing! As the author says, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

I often wondered if people followed their hearts to help the hurting. Many didn’t agree with Hitler, that people should be killed just because they were a different religion. You’ll have to read this amazing story. You’ll be encouraged.

Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator


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