"What has kept me alive are my father's words: You must live, Sami. Hang in there."

"On the heels of Memorial Day, Walter Veltroni tells the very young a story not to be forgotten: that of a child who was deported to a death camp. And who as an adult understood why he had to tell it."- Robinson

Sami Modiano is only eight years old when he is expelled from school. He lives in Rhodes, then an Italian territory, where he attends elementary school, which he loves. The teacher gives him no reasons, just tells him to go home to his father who will explain everything. From that day Sami stops being a child and becomes a Jew. With his father and sisters he experiences with difficulty the restrictions of the racial laws, which arrived on the island without warning, until the rounding up of the entire Jewish community by deception on July 23, 1944. Sami and his family are loaded onto a merchant ship and from Athens onto a train. A month-long journey in inhumane conditions to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. In a very short time he loses what he holds most dear in the world: his father and sister Lucia, with whom he had managed to keep in touch by exchanging morsels of bread from his daily ration. Twice he is selected by camp doctors and is miraculously saved, as well as surviving the final march and escape of the Nazis from the camp with the prisoners because he was believed dead. In the house where he finds refuge and is picked up by the Soviets on January 27, 1945, he meets Primo Levi and Piero Terracina. Of the entire Jewish community of Rhodes, he was among only twenty-five people who managed to save themselves. In 2005, he found the strength to return to Auschwitz, accompanied by a class of boys and then Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, and became a witness to the Shoah. His story came to the general public in 2018 thanks to the docufilm Everything Before These Eyes shot by Veltroni himself.

Details +

Publication date: 21.01.2021
Publisher: Feltrinelli

Editions +
Sami, o rapaz que sobreviveu a Auschwitz Bertrand
19 January 2023
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