Sur­vivors praise town’s res­i­dents


IN GRUGLIASCO, near Turin, in north­ern Italy, a crowd of almost 100 peo­ple gath­ered ear­lier this month to com­mem­o­rate a for­got­ten chap­ter of the town’s Jewish his­tory.

A plaque was un­veiled on a for­mer psy­chi­atric hospital, known as Dis­placed Per­sons Camp 17, which housed some 2,000 Holo­caust sur­vivors.

The plaque shows a sepia pic­ture of eight tod­dlers, and four of those chil­dren — now pen­sion­ers — had re­turned to Grugliasco for the event. They could scarcely con­tain their emo­tion.

Feli­cia Wax had come from Is­rael. Her par­ents were two of the 70,000 Holo­caust sur­vivors who passed through Italy after the war. They had walked across the Alps to get here.

“My mother al­ways talked about Grugliasco,” said Mrs Wax, “and how, although their lives were hard, the Ital­ians shared ev­ery­thing with them. Com­ing here is like clos­ing the cir­cle in the story of our fam­ily.”

Peter Tan­nen­baum, a math­e­ma­ti­cian who now lives in Cal­i­for­nia, said his par­ents never talked about their life in wartime Bu­dapest, “but they al­ways talked about Grugliasco. They were very happy here and the ex­pe­ri­ence gave them the abil­ity to look for­ward to things again.”

Roberto Monta, the mayor of Grugliasco, said: “What hap­pened here after the war was a moral les­son. His­tory has to be a dynamic el­e­ment of the pre­sent.”

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