He explains that Italian Jews had such strong feelings of belonging to Italy and the House of Savoy that many grew angry when their young people became Zionists. The Zionist attachment, however, helped many of them escape to Palestine in the war period, especially groups of orphaned children that Segre sent to a kibbutz in Palestine; he met them ten years later, newly married with children of their own on their kibbutz. Zionism also fostered a partisan mentality that served them, including Segre, well during the Nazi invasion of Italy; Segre’s family spent eighteen months in the hills among the peasants, evading German and Italian Fascist soldiers.
Segre interweaves his memories with those of his rabbifather, and also uses newspapers, public documents, and letters to reveal the emotions and moods of the people and the times. The traditional religious and vibrant working-class Jewish community that Segre describes, alas, no longer exists but will live forever in the pages of this wonderful book. Index, notes, reference.