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.”