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Well, Nazism came to an end, or so it would seem, and so did fascism; but I am still waiting for the pope to say something serious.

Instead what does he do; he asks for forgiveness for things of a thousand years ago! You had better not record anything of what I have said in this last part…. One last thing, that is perhaps something connected with your poetic sense, that mobility with which you were able to face even fearful situations: I would really think so, I am not… I mean to say… apart from having found something to do to earn a living, having a bit… of relation with the rest of society that would not be forced, without difficulties, so as to be able to carry on struggling.

What I actually mean to say is that I haven't changed even a little, and that I still interpret things in the very same way as I did on that 28th of February at 5. Nevertheless, I must admit that I had spent the fifteen years precedent to this turning point in other commitments. But even though these were less political by nature, I had, all the same, carried them out with the same verve and using the same interpretations, that's it.

I was one who would never give in on liberty: By then there were… thunderstorms, but not even these could stop me. And my mother would say, 'how irresponsible you really are! Of course afterwards my mother would be forced to walk right up to the banks of the Brenta looking for me. Nobody will believe you if you tell them that I wasn't even six years old them, but the truth is that I was able to make my own choices long before.

It was a personal war, let's put it this way: I have always been at war. So, there we are… do you have some other question? Virginia Gattegno , cittadina italiana, ha quindici anni e vive nella comunità ebraica di Rodi all'avvento delle leggi razziali. Pochi anni dopo, la deportazione ad Auschwitz. Virginia Gattegno, an Italian citizen, has fifteen years old and lives in the Jewish community of Rhodes to the advent of the racial laws.

A few years later, the deportation to Auschwitz. We all know what the Holocaust was, but probably few have had the opportunity to hear him describe so vividly and "close". What words of Virginia give us, after all these years, are the eyes and innocence, the bitter awareness of the then-girlfriend, but also the strength and irrepressible spirit of the woman of today, the survivor. Allora, lei se ritiene opportuno magari fare una piccola introduzione, magari a partire dalla guerra….

E dunque la guerra è stata dichiarata tre anni dopo Dunque, facciamo il conto: Dunque dal 23 al quaran Beh dipende dal mese, io sono nata a fine luglio. Comunque quello certo è il periodo Dopo ho dato gli esami privatamente, negli anni successivi ho potuto insegnare nella scuola ebraica locale dove mio padre era stato direttore fino alla sua morte, è morto giovane, a 50 anni nel suo letto: Diciamo che non abbiamo avuto riscontri, nessuno che abbia detto qualcosa, che ci abbia insultato o che so io, tanto è vero che poi quando è arrivato il momento della deportazione siamo stati, come posso dire, non eravamo assolutamente preparati perché non avevamo avuto segni di ostilità dalla gente del posto anche perché vivevamo fra di noi.

Da quei pochi greci che bazzicavano per il quartiere o dai soldati italiani che bazzicavano il quartiere ebraico, non abbiamo avuto nessuna reazione negativa Se posso arrivare direttamente al momento della deportazione, posso dire che è stata Ci hanno fatto sapere che dovevamo presentarci donne bambini e vecchi, altrimenti avrebbero ucciso gli uomini e ovviamente ci siamo consegnati tutti come pecore al macello, senza la possibilità di salvezza, a parte che non si poteva scappare: Per cui non avevamo capacità neanche di lamentarci, a parte che se ci lamentavamo ci arrivava il resto.

Ecco, questa è una cosa che si è fissata nella memoria: Il viaggio è stato orribile. Eravamo ammassati nella stiva con pochissimi viveri anzi non so addirittura se ce ne abbiano dati o se avevamo ancora qualcosa con noi.

Durante il tragitto sono morte ovviamente altre persone, perché eravamo chiusi, in numero non so precisamente ma 70 80 per Insomma in pratica non ci si poteva sdraiare, facevamo a turno per sdraiarci. Io non ho fatto in tempo neanche a voltarmi a dire "ciao mamma", non so, qualche cosa, non ho più visto nessuno. Sono rimasta per fortuna con una mia sorella, quasi coetanea, con la quale ho vissuto fino agli ultimi giorni di Auschwitz.

Ecco, questo molto alla grossa. Se volete fare una pausa, forse possiamo pensare un momento come proseguire. Andiamo a flusso, tanto non abbiamo problemi.

Il rendersi conto della situazione fino a che punto era? Quasi nulla, siamo stati precipitati in un girone infernale, una cosa che è difficile da descrivere perché sembrava Dunque la mossa successiva è stata di mettersi in questa stanza dove erano raccolti stracci di gente che era passata per di là, e bene o male ci siamo rivestite, ma Non ricordo nello spazio di quante ore o giorni siano successe queste cose, le vedo come dei flash successivi.

Ci hanno marcato con il numero, e da quel momento siamo entrati a far parte della schiera di questi non-esseri umani. Non abbiamo più sentito il nostro nome, da quel momento. È iniziata la vita nei campi, il lavoro forzato, la fame, le botte, e tutto il resto che potete immaginare.

Comunque a me mi hanno beccato subito per lavorare, ho cominciato a pelar patate e a far la guardia agli altri più mo È curioso come in ogni circostanza per quanto drammatica ci sia sempre lo spunto umoristico: Quindi complessivamente un anno giusto, perché ho compiuto i 21 anni andando e i 22 tornando.

Sa eravamo giovani, lo slancio vitale era ancora forte malgrado tutto quindi Siamo arrivate a Roma grazie a Dio, pieni di scabbia, che era il minimo che ci potesse capitare. E siamo state aiutate da un ragazzo siciliano, che negli intervalli I dettagli poi sono infiniti. Abbiamo incontrato una volta una colonna di ebrei che stavano partendo per la Palestina, avevano un po' di provviste e ci hanno dato del pane e un po' di marmellata qualcosa, insomma in qualche modo ci siamo nutrite.

E siamo arrivate a Roma. Adesso le dico una cosa incredibile: Ce ne siamo rese conto solo gli ultimissimi tempi. In un certo senso ci ha risparmiato un bel po' di angosce. Comunque le abbiamo viste dopo le Vogliamo fare una pausa? Non so come devo proseguire No, tanto bisogna tener conto che in capo a qualche settimana eravamo già degli scheletri, quindi non avevamo più né forme né faccia di donne, pelate, senza più seno né niente, proprio Alcune che sembravano in migliori condizioni fisiche, anche perché avevano potuto mangiare, magari di famiglie più abbienti, che potevano comprare al mercato nero, sono morte in pochissimo tempo; io e mia sorella che eravamo già due spaghetti, chissà perché ci siamo salvate, questo è uno dei misteri di Auschwitz Che cosa ci abbia aiutato non lo so Infatti quando sono stati aperti i reticolati la prima grande soddisfazione era stata uscire e rientrare liberamente.

Ditemi voi se devo parlare ancora di Auschwitz perché Auschwitz è una cosa enorme che Le due figlie sono state battezzate, mi sono occupata io della loro educazione religiosa, poi sono riuscita a portarle fino alla cresima, dopo di che sono sparite dal cristianesimo Io volevo tornare alla sua famiglia La mamma, mia nonna, la madre di mio padre, due fratelli uno di 18 e uno di 4 anni e mia sorella.

Non parlo di parenti più lontani, la famiglia stretta. Sua mamma e i suoi fratelli Questo un po' alla volta, la realtà si è imposta un po' alla volta, poi qualcuno mi ha detto proprio di mio fratello, quello grande che è morto in una miniera Se mi fate qualche domanda mi aiutate Ma, dopo il ritorno da Auschwitz, allora lei è andata a Roma da parenti… la fede, o la fiducia Poi in Africa pochissime relazioni, pochissime proprio, ho fatto una vita molto isolata.

Diciamo che dopo la morte di mio marito, io avevo 40 anni appena, ho ricominciato ad insegnare, e credo che il contatto con i bambini sia stato faticosissimo, perché non Molti dei miei ex alunni mi ricordano e dicono che sono stati gli anni più belli, io non credo di essere stata un gran che come insegnante, ma mi sono detta che i miei alunni non avrebbero sofferto di oppressione, di repressione, probabilmente "mi son fatta criticà", no, senza probabilmente, mi sono fatta criticare, perché non potevo accettare il ruolo autoritario e non è una cosa da niente conciliare quel po' di autorità che è necessaria con la libertà degli alunni.

Intanto me la son dovuta studiare io la storia! Dopo evidentemente si attaccava con la storia vera e propria; ma insomma a livello elementare, non è che ho potuto insegnare un gran che. Gli ho dato tanta libertà. Adesso sono uomini e donne naturalmente. Chi è disposto ad imparare, chi no se la butta dietro le spalle. Non so, altrove purtroppo le cose vanno male.

Perché mi ha salvato la vita? Perché mi ha aiutato a vivere, mi ha dato gioia nei momenti buoni e mi ha sostenuto nei momenti più brutti quando forse era più facile morire che vivere. Un episodio non posso Credo che per me la morte sia soprattutto la fine delle emozioni estetiche, il resto non mi interessa; le mie figlie sono grandi, sono ben avviate tutte due, e non hanno bisogno di me, sono piuttosto io ad aver bisogno di loro casomai.

Che cosa mi lascio dietro? Loro sono gli unici che si sono salvati. È stato molto emozionante tornare a Rodi che è bellissima. Emozionante e triste perché camminavo in mezzo ai fantasmi praticamente. La guerra, nonostante sia stata una cosa tragica per lei, le ha potuto insegnare qualcosa? Mi ha insegnato che esiste il male purtroppo, e che dobbiamo comunque lottare. E poi il fatto di esercitare la bontà, anche quella è un modo di combattere.

Che purtroppo io mi metto nei pasticci per aiutare la gente, non ho imparato a difendermi, è strano eh? Ma in un certo senso nel mio piccolo ho creato una rete di comunicazioni. Se ho lasciato qualche seme qua e là, penso di aver fatto la mia parte insomma, nel mondo. Ogni tanto mi dico "le mie girls". Io sarei anche contento di questa testimonianza che ha un aspetto Ana volevi aggiungere qualcosa?

Volevo purtroppo tornare alla guerra. Mentre ero nel campo? Solo di essere fuori da quel reticolato. What was your degree of awareness with regards to the situation?

At what point were you aware of what was going to happen…? At almost no point at all! The train had come to a dead end. There was that famous arch of cast iron which said, "work is liberty" - the ultimate insult!

And immediately, it was evening by now, we were pulled out of the wagons by the men of the SS, who shrieked away at us at the top their voices. We were all thrown out of the wagons and separated, there and then, immediately. So we were divided up at once; immediately cast into this "Dante style" atmosphere, something that went well beyond every imagination, I would say. Therefore there was no… the only thing I did hear was the shrill screaming of a mother whose little daughter had been forcefully torn away from her arms.

And then they immediately led us off into a shanty, where we were all completely stripped naked, the men and the women together. We were shaved clean from head to toe - I will leave out the details - right in front of men. Then we were taken to a room where I can't remember whether it was then that they gave us a shower.

It would have seemed as if they had given us a clean shave just because we were infested by lice - which might have then been interpreted as a sanitary measure. In reality, however, this was nothing less than the beginning of a process leading to the total annulment of the human person: For better or for worse, we were then able to dress up again, even if… with completely insufficient clothing, and, more still, with our heads shaved.

It was still summer, but not long after this came the Polish autumn, which… well, it was cold. And being bare footed, our feet, in fact, got frost-bitten. And at this point… no, hold on, I was skipping the moment in which we were tattooed on the arm. I don't really remember how long, in terms of hours and days, it might have taken for all these things to happen.

I only see them coming in a succession of flashes. And so they marked with numbers, and from that moment onwards we became part of that array of non-human beings; just numbers! Starting from that moment, we never heard our names again. The life in the camps had begun: At the end of January the Russians arrived. There is a very beautiful description of this in Primo Levi's book, which I advice you all to read, and that I always carry with me whenever I go to talk with the youth.

It describes the arrival of the Russian soldiers in a marvellous style. By the way, the first to arrive was actually a reconnaissance platoon, and just before… Oh! I was forgetting to… there would be… my sister and I had in a way been able to, let's say, save ourselves because, with frost-bitten feet, they had exonerated us from work and put us up in a so-called hospital shanty, where we practically did nothing.

It seems to me they must have medicated my feet, which were covered with sores, and so it was here that we had practically waited for the end. By the time the Russians arrived we were already starving, because the Nazis, taking along with them most of the people who were in the camp, had fled a few days earlier. As for us, they didn't… they either did not have the time, or decided to leave us behind simply because we were unable to walk, I just don't know… Nevertheless, we spent those days before the arrival of the Russians literally dying, one person after another… Being physically better than my sister, I would go out into the freezing Polish winter, and search around the camp for some leftover on which we could somehow survive.

This went on until the greater part of the Russians arrived and were then able to get the kitchens functioning again. Slowly we all began to rebuild our strength and… Anyhow, as for me I was immediately picked out and assigned to the task of peeling potatoes and caring for those who were closer to dy… closer to dying than I myself was; I mean to say the sick. It is curious to note how one is always able to find a comical cue amidst all sorts of circumstances, no matter how dramatic.

And so it happened that a Yugoslavian lady and myself were assigned the night-time responsibility of keeping watch over these dormitories in which the survivors slept. I did… I would sleep during the first part of the night, and would then be woken up by the Yugoslavian lady who would take my place in bed.

Unluckily for us, however, we were completely unable to understand one another, and therefore each time she would simply throw me out of bed by shouting at me, "hey fascist! Who knows what the poor thing must have gone through back home in her country? She was thoroughly convinced that since I was Italian, then I should also have been a fascist; and, try as I could, I was never able to explain to her that even though I was Italian, I really was an interned Jew rather than a fascist.

Ultimately, there wasn't anything more I could do to defend myself against this lady, absolutely nothing. And so this little tragicomedy was repeated over and over again with every single night…!

As time passed, I slowly began to put on weight. We spent about six more months with the Russians - which therefore brings us to a total of exactly one year because I turned twenty-one on the way there, and twenty-two on the way back. The journey back proved to be yet another of these tragicomic things. I could even just as well write about it, but simply prefer to remind you that Primo Levi's "La Tregua" comes quite near to the type of experience that we ourselves had… As you know, by then we were young and still full of vitality, in spite of all that had happened.

So… even though the return journey was very hard, very difficult and without anything to eat, we still managed all the same. Thank God, at last we were able to get to Rome. We were filled with scabies; but this was really the least among the things that could have happened to us.

During the journey we were helped by a boy from Sicily, who, during the intervals… this train, in fact, would stop every now and then, and nobody knew where, when, or for how long this was going to be. We therefore took advantage of this, and each time it seemed that the break… the stopover would be long enough, we would rush to… to the toilet and refresh ourselves a little bit.

It happened that on one of these occasions we actually would never have caught the train again if we had stayed just a second longer. Luckily we managed to clutch our fingers tight onto the side of the last wagon, and with a helping hand from… Salvatore, who reached out and pulled us up over the stockade, we were able to arrive safely in Italy.

As for the details, these are really infinite. Once we came across a column of Jews who were departing for Palestine. They were carrying food with them, and so they gave us some bread and some marmalade; and, well, somehow we were then able to eat something. Besides, Salvatore would sneak into the nearby fields to steal something, bringing back to us apples as well as potatoes, which we would then cook under the train: But, all the same, he was able to let us finally enjoy those apples that we hadn't seen for a whole year, even though they had a sour taste since they were still raw, but this as well is yet another of those tragicomedies!

Eventually we arrived in Rome. We did not go back to Rhodes - I am referring to my sister and myself - because there was neither something nor somebody waiting for us there anymore. In Rome we still had some relatives, who we hoped we would find still alive. At the end we did find them, and this marks the beginning of another story altogether. Well, that really was a rhetorical question… what I mean to say is, were you aware of this situation…?

Now I will tell you something quite incredible: Well, we really did become aware of the crematories, even owing to the stench they emanated and the fires that could be seen. But I really didn't think that the gas chambers would exist; to me it seemed like something that went well beyond every human imagination that… nevertheless, it was this that eventually saved us from ending up being terrorised. Actually, the others who were with us were constantly scared to death since they couldn't know when, but still were sure that sooner or later it would be their turn.

In fact, very often they would talk us into believing they were taking us to the shower rooms; but the truth is that these shower rooms were actually the gas chambers.

We realised this only in the very last moments. In some ways we had been spared from a great deal of anguish. Anyhow, we did see them with our own eyes after the… both the crematories and the gas chambers; we only discovered their existence afterwards.

As a woman inside the concentration camp… how, that is to say… how did you interpret your… your personality? Because, I mean to say, the men… in one way or another…. Not at all; even because it must always be kept in mind that after only a few weeks, we really were nothing but skeletons, and, as a result, we had neither a female body form nor face. We were skin headed, and had neither breasts nor anything; just… It took more time for some, less for others. I myself was already thin, and came out of the camp weighing roughly about thirty-five kilos I think.

So, as you can see, even our feminine characteristics had disappeared; perhaps having been the lesser defended than the others, I do not know… some women; and I am telling you the plain truth, there were some: Naturally, we had remained with the women and, as for the men, we never ever saw them again.

There were some that seemed to be physically fitter because they had been able to eat. With all probability, they must have belonged to families that were better off and, therefore, had in the meantime been able to purchase food on the black market.

Well, these all died in a very short time - whereas my sister and I, who were already as thin as spaghettis, were able to survive, and nobody knows why. This is one of the mysteries of Auschwitz… the doomed and the survivors; without any one knowing why… I wonder what it is that would have helped us… the fact that we were very young in the first place, that is to say, as far as I am concerned.

For someone else it was even religion, perhaps trusting in some god, I wouldn't know. I for one never prayed at Auschwitz, I was never able to. Perhaps the only form of prayer that I actually expressed was the desire that I didn't want to die in there, covered with mud, darkness and horror, but outside!

In fact when the gates were finally thrown open, the first great satisfaction was being able to freely come out and go in again. Do tell me yourself if I should still go on talking about Auschwitz: Tell me why one shouldn't any longer be able to pray after Auschwitz, or…. No, what I would say is that… I was brought up the Jewish way, even though on very approximate terms, I would say, but certainly not by fundamentalists. Not really very observ… observance of all the principal feasts was kept, but nothing further than this.

What we did have was the awareness of being Jews since we were treated in a different way. But, personally, I don't believe I was a very religious person even then; and from this point of view, I wouldn't say it was Auschwitz that made me lose my faith.

Let's say this is rather owed to the fact that in the course of life the things that I see don't make me think that God would exist. Perhaps he does exist, but is not what we would imagine him to be. I don't even pray: I don't pray for myself even because I keep saying, "if he does exist, why should he care about me at all; and why not about the child who is dying of hunger, of thirst, or from some sickness; why must I ask for something for myself; how is all this possible?

Well, I cannot consider myself atheist, certainly not. I do appreciate certain Jewish traditions. According to me the "Sabbath", for example, is a very important aspect, even though I am not all that observant. I sincerely think this is one of the pillars of Judaism: I find this one of the most wonderful ideas of the Jewish heritage, but as for the other things "I quite don't agree", that's it.

I chanced to be born a Jew; and have two daughters, who, according to Jewish law, would be Jews as well, having been born of a Jewish mother. But still I got married to a Catholic and had a mixed matrimony; are you interested that I would continue?

My two daughters were baptised, and I personally took care of their religious upbringing. By doing so I managed to accompany them up to their confirmation; after which they simply decided to abandon the Christian faith… every now and then I even feel guilty about it because I keep saying to myself, "but, seriously…!

Naturally, apart from this they also did a catechism course at school, which I imagine is what must have eventually forced them to quit… completely, that is to say…. I would like to get back to your family… you departed together with your mother…. With my mother, my grandmother, who is my father's mother, two brothers, one eighteen years old and the other four, and my sister - I am not talking about distant relatives, only the exclusive family.

Dad, as I said before, had died of pneumonia - at that time people died of pneumonia - at the age of fifty-one. His is the only family tomb that I have, and in fact as soon as it was possible for me - after forty-three years I think - I went to Rhodes to visit my father's tomb and the places where we had lived….

Your Mum and your brothers… how did you get to know they weren't alive any more: It happened gradually; the truth took shape bit by bit, and at the end I was told about my brother, the elder one, directly by somebody. He died in a mine… on the eve of our liberation… this, perhaps, is the thing I have wept over longest… the children and the elderly had been killed immediately, and so this hadn't left any more problems to face… Then I also have some relatives in Salonika, and in Italy… Amongst the ones in Salonika I know that many were deported… from among my own in Italy nobody… should we have a break, or would you prefer to give me some orientation yourself…?

You would help me if you could ask me a few questions…. You have talked about faith in God from both the Jewish and the Christian point of view. But, nevertheless, after returning from Auschwitz you then went to your relatives in Rome… your faith or your trust… I don't know, your attitude towards the people you encountered; I mean to say, these people who were neither Germans nor fascists. What kind of approach did you have towards the people with whom you found yourself beginning to get in touch?

Oh, well, at the beginning I hardly made any contacts at all. I must confess that… I went through a couple of episodes… while we were strolling about in Rome I heard someone say, 'not enough of them must have been killed', and this is one of the reas… the very fact that around us we would still be able to hear such incre… such incredulity and hostility combined together: I believe this must have then hindered me, as well as many other survivors, from speaking up for a good number of years, or better still, for years and years; and not even to my very own daughters!

Well, at the end a more favourable moment, in which everybody seemed a little bit more awake, did arrive. And after an entire generation had passed, people started to realise that the last of the survivors were actually already on their way, and that it was time to gather their testimonials.

This is how this other experience of mine was born. I began to go around in schools, to those in which I was invited. Many schools, and a few radio and television interviews too; but personally what I enjoyed most was talking with the kids. I had been a primary school teacher, and perhaps this helped me in creating a contact with children.

Generally speaking, I must say I lived a very isolated life: What a pity - even the good people like them! There is nothing one could say about it. I led a very solitary life. Let's say that following the death of my husband, I was only forty years old then, I started to teach again, and I believe that getting in touch with the kids for me must have been a very difficult thing because I wasn't… young any more nor had the teaching experience any longer.

Nevertheless, this is still what gives me the greatest satisfaction: Just yesterday I met… I saw a young dark haired lady approaching me: Personally, I don't believe I really was that good as a teacher, but had sworn to myself that my pupils would never become victims of oppression or repression.

Probably, I had become "the subject of criticism. I simply let myself become acquainted with being criticised because I did not accept to play an authoritarian role. Well, you surely would know how difficult it is to reconcile that little dose of necessary authority with the liberty of the pupils. Maybe… it's such a pity that at the moment in which I felt professionally ready… I had acquired knowledge through experience and had been able to develop… I had developed my own methodology, which would really have suited me, and which, perhaps, was even ahead of its time.

Unfortunately I was forced to leave at the age of sixty-two: I had done only twenty years - must I continue? I had finished with a class in their fifth year, and would have had to start all over again with a group in their first year. I feared I never would have made it. Dealing with a first year class was too cumbersome, and I had already reached a certain age. Then came the idea of abandoning them when they were only halfway through - I decided it was time to retire.

I had been granted… let's call it, or rather, fortunately, let's say, a war pension, which then helped me to integrate my own. This is what I lived on, and what I used for bringing up my little daughters. To begin with, I myself was the first person who needed to study history! I will tell you that these were primary school kids; well, you know the story. The children would begin their course in Primary Three, starting from their personal history: The aim was to help the child to understand that the life of every single person was marked by happenings, and that this is what history is all about.

Evidently after this the teaching of History proper was then undertaken. Anyhow, I really don't think I was able to teach all that much at primary level. Nevertheless, one of my former pupils says that while he was in High School he encountered, and was able to recall, one of the History lessons I had done; but he then also adds, 'yours was better, your lesson was far better! I had always granted them a lot of freedom. And now they are all men and women, quite obviously.

But, talking from your own experience, Madam, do you think History really teaches us something: This only applies to whoever is willing to learn something: The existence of revisionists, after all, is a well proven reality… even if one wouldn't really know how they do it. History would have to teach something, this is true, but perhaps too much success in avoiding to repeat the same mistakes only leads to committing errors of yet another type, more or less like it happens even in the life of individuals.

You know whom the experts in this are, don't you? They are the very people who have already committed all sorts of mistakes; and this entitles them to still continue committing others. I would hope that at least certain lessons might have been learnt. I am sure, however, that democracy in Europe has by now a very solid foundation; well, at least in a united Europe. I don't know, elsewhere things are not good at all, unfortunately. As it were, music has been part of my life all through, even though the means at disposal were quite few.

I can remember that when I still was a little girl we had a dozen of records, and that when we gathered together in the evenings we would then listen to some music: Nevertheless I developed an evident passion there and then, and this has accompanied me through all my life. Music, after all, is just like the sea: Similarly, one cannot simply say, "well, now that I possess three hundred records I can stop. This year has been the year for ethnic music, in a particular way, I mean to say.

How did it save my life? Well, because it helped me to live: Well, is there a specific episode; are you able to describe into details an example that was particular? I suppose that for me death would, above all, correspond to the end of esthetical emotions: I am simply not interested in all the rest.

My daughters are now grown-ups, and well into making headway in life the both of them. They don't need me and, if not for anything, it is I who on the contrary need them. What is it that I would have to leave behind? I could go along on my way without having to worry about anything. Well, I should love it if I could carry some music with me, even though I know "one is not allowed to": When I finally managed to return there I was overwhelmed by the joy of being able to see her again.

I crossed… I practically found myself at home, except for the fact that there were no more Jews in this place that once used to be the Jewish neighbourhood. There were Greeks instead, and the Jewish population had simply disappeared; with the exception, I believe, of a couple of families who were Turks by nationality, and who had been saved from deportation by the intervention of the Consul or some Turkish authority - given that Turkey had remained neutral - which had made it impossible for anybody to touch them.

These were the only ones who had survived. It was very touching experience for me to go back to Rhodes, which is really a very beautiful city. I was taken up by joy, but at the same time filled with sadness, given that I was practically walking amongst ghosts. Ivo Fantato si è arruolato a 17 anni nell'esercito italiano, e durante la guerra ha partecipato a numerose azioni di guerra pilotando un aereo da bombardamento.

I racconti dei suoi voli sull'Africa settentrionale e sul Mediterraneo sono avventurosi e trasmettono in pieno il senso di pericolo e di fragilità provato in quelle missioni, ma anche la tremenda violenza della guerra aerea. Ho detto all'equipaggio "andiamo" Ivo Fantato enlisted at age 17 in the Italian army, and during the war has taken part in numerous acts of war flying a plane bombing. The stories of his flights over the Mediterranean and North Africa are adventurous and transmit the full sense of danger and vulnerability felt in those missions, but also the terrible violence of the air war.

I told the crew" go " Quali cose che lei ha vissuto vorrebbe venissero conosciute dalle persone, dai ragazzi, dai giovani… in questa intervista? Per quanto riguarda poi la formazione del carattere dei giovani, penso sarebbe bene che pensassero che chi ha fatto la guerra ha fatto dei grandi sacrifici per fare il proprio dovere. E li ha fatti volentieri, li deve aver fatti volentieri nonostante questi sacrifici abbiano comportato pericoli per tanta gente, pericolo per tante persone, ma la guerra se si deve fare, perché si deve fare, bisogna farla.

E questa guerra, queste cose brutte che si devono fare, devono essere fatte con forte volontà, in maniera che abbiano questi sacrifici, queste fatiche, queste cose, facciano raggiungere lo scopo per cui vengono fatte. Dopo non lo so Dopo, durante la guerra, ho completato, sia aumentando le ore di volo, sia aumentando le occasioni che potevano capitare durante questi voli. Durante la guerra poi ho perfezionato la mia diciamo capacità di pilota e mi sono capitate, specialmente durante la guerra, durante certi voli di azione di guerra, mi sono capitati dei casi particolari, come più o meno a tutti quanti sono capitati chi in un modo chi in un altro Dopo non so cosa possa interessare per questa intervista….

Tanti fatti mi sono capitati, siccome io appartenevo Ho fatto la guerra appartenendo al X stormo da bombardamento terrestre, che ha operato sulle zone Ci racconti qualche episodio particolare, qualche azione particolare.

Per esempio io i primi tempi appartenevo al X In quelle condizioni avrei potuto, anzi forse dovuto, sarei stato giustificatissimo, cercare di rientrare alla base, scaricare le bombe in pieno mare e poi cercare di raggiungere la base di partenza oppure qualche atterraggio di fortuna sulla costa cirenaica o egiziana.

Ho deciso di andare sul convoglio e cercare di scaricare le bombe che avevo a bordo. Si vedevano traccianti, perché tutte le scariche di mitragliera avevano le loro traccianti, tutti questi scoppi di granate eccetera.

Adesso non è che io racconti questo per darmi delle arie, per carità, perché io proprio non sono il tipo, mai fatto queste cose, ma insomma dato che me lo chiedete, è giusto che i giovani abbiano a sapere che cosa hanno fatto i loro genitori o i loro nonni e che cosa vuol dire fare la guerra, anche se è una cosa brutta ma che purtroppo se si deve fare, si deve fare.

Quante volte uno si dispera perché dice "non ce la faccio ad andare avanti, non riesco a fare questa cosa, non riesco a Questo lo dico per esperienza personale. Dopo non so cosa potrei aggiungere, per aggiungere qualcosa dovrei parlare sempre di queste cose qua, successe a me Volevo farle una domanda: Cercavano di venire con me sia perché davo sicurezza, sia perché dicevano che con me imparavano certe cose che non riuscivano a imparare con altri piloti.

Penso di essermela meritata Quando faccio il giudizio di altre persone e quando faccio il giudizio di me stesso, non mi fido tanto di quello che mi dicono: Io per fortuna, devo dire per fortuna, non ho mai avuto un incidente di volo, sono sempre riuscito, grazie al caso, alla fortuna, e penso anche al merito mio in parte, non ho mai avuto un incidente di volo.

Credo che un poco di merito fosse anche mio, oltre che della fortuna. Insomma per dire, adesso non è che voglia esagerare per Erano felici di venire con me, ma come erano felici di venire con me, erano felici anche di andare con altri piloti, mica ero solamente io, anche con altri piloti che davano loro fiducia, che avevano le qualità per dare fiducia.

Magari anche con dei momenti difficili, avrà anche visto cadere degli aerei immagino Di questi 5 capi equipaggio, dopo un poco di tempo sono rimasto solo io, perché, uno adesso uno dopo, sono tutti stati abbattuti; ma mica solamente loro, loro e tanti altri Un altro volo diciamo un pochino azzardato, tipo quello che ho raccontato prima, è stato una volta che siamo partiti sempre da Elkmimi, una formazione di 5 aeroplani per fare un bombardamento su Marsa Matruk; Marsa Matruk era sulla costa settentrionale Immenso, tutte baracche, tutti depositi Io potevo anche rientrare, perché affrontare tutta la caccia che stava sempre di scorta in alto e bastava che uno si avvicinasse per essere preso dalla caccia e Perché i rischi erano il giorno e la notte in aria e per terra, e non ci si faceva più caso, insomma era roba di ordinaria amministrazione.

E allora che cosa ho fatto io? Che cosa era successo? Era successo che un apparecchio della caccia inglese che era di scorta in alto, visto questo aeroplano che si avvicinava, si è buttato in picchiata, ci ha raggiunti Dopo poco ho cominciato a chiedermi: Questo qua la prima scarica gli era andata male, è passata sotto, la seconda scarica è andata male, gli è passata sopra, e dico "adesso arriva la terza scarica e questa qua mi becca".

Che il nostro mitragliere, capito che quello là stando nel punto morto aveva tutta la comodità per abbatterci, ha svitato il fungo limitatore di tiro, e ha azzardato di scaricare la nostra mitragliera nel triangolo dei piani di coda.

E anche quella volta ho scaricato le bombe, con tutto il putiferio della contraerea eccetera Illeso, la controcalamita mi mandava via le scariche delle mitragliere e delle granate e sono riuscito ad andare fuori, sono riuscito ad andare a casa tranquillo beato.

Quello è uno dei fatti. Come dicevo erano molti i piloti che cercavano, che facevano di tutto per venire con me per imparare o perché erano giovani più di me, non avevano esperienza Insomma avevano qualche cosa, a loro detta, avevano qualcosa da imparare da me che non riuscivano a imparare con nessun altro.

Riposo per modo di dire, comunque lontano dalla guerra. Al momento di staccarmi, coi motori in moto Appena decollati in formazione di coppia, vedo che il capo pattuglia non guadagna quota, non guadagna velocità, anzi ne perde. Io riduco, riduco, riduco, ma a un certo punto rischiavo di andare in stallo.

Ha fatto un atterraggio di fortuna senza carrello, e si è incendiato. Ho attraversato la Cirenaica, stavo passando il golfo della Sirce, a un centinaio di chilometri dalla costa, quando a un certo punto vedo uscire il segnale di incendio del motore di sinistra. Si sente odore di bruciato, e allora subito allarme. Io adesso a raccontarla impiego minuti ma questa cosa succede in attimi ecco, controllo il motore di sinistra, nessun segno di niente, non vedo fumo non vedo niente, tutto funzionava bene, sembra, gli strumenti funzionano bene, il motorista anche lui a controllare e insomma E allora, il comandante della nave a quei tempi, adesso è cambiato Ho puntato subito verso la costa della Sirce, in picchiata, per vedere se riuscivo a fare un atterraggio di fortuna.

Dopo ho ripreso ancora la rotta e sono andato via, ma si figuri che cosa si pensava noi a bordo, specialmente quel poverino che era di fianco a me, che doveva essere a bordo di quello che era caduto prima Ho messo in atto questa piccola frase ed è grazie anche a questo credo che oggi sono ancora qua e non mi è successo quello che mi poteva succedere. Beh, finita la guerra ho vissuto Comunque, finita la guerra, naturalmente dispiaciuto perché era andata a finire male, sono andato a casa e ho atteso, ho atteso di essere richiamato in servizio.

Mi hanno richiamato, hanno, come si dice, esaminato il mio comportamento prima della guerra e anche durante la guerra, non solo come pilota ma anche con tutta la realtà della guerra, a casa e coi partigiani. Nessuno ha avuto mai niente da dire su quello che ho fatto io, evidentemente il mio comportamento è stato quello che doveva essere. E allora ho detto "no, vado in pensione". Le automobili di adesso uno va, fa i tagliandi regolarmente e va avanti sempre, e non succede mai che uno si ferma per strada e viene rimorchiato perché si è fermato il motore.

E questo succedeva spesso prima della guerra, si volava con aeroplani vecchi, perché erano pochi, sollecitati troppo eccetera, ma anche dopo insomma era una roba normale che succedessero delle avarie. Adesso non succede mai. Comunque lei era praticamente bombardiere e non caccia, quindi voi non andavate Era chiamato il "gobbo maledetto" dagli inglesi per i disastri che portava quando faceva i bombardamenti, e per quelli che provocava ai loro caccia quando venivamo attaccati.

Altre cose che voleva sapere di questo aeroplano? Un ultimo episodio, tanto per concludere, perché questi episodi dal vero in genere sono cose difficili da sentire Vuole che le racconti un bombardamento fatto su Malta? Gli altri persi, morti.

I resti del nostro e i resti del loro stormo siamo andati a Viterbo, per ricostituire il nuovo X stormo. Ma questo momento tremendo, perché era tremendo trattandosi di vita o di morte, è durato quei pochi secondi impiegati dalle bombe sganciate dal mio aeroplano per arrivare fino a terra, perché una di queste bombe è andata proprio a colpire quel faro.

Questo non vuol dire essere bravi, questo vuol dire essere stati fortunati. Benissimo la ringraziamo tantissimo, è stata una fortuna Si dice "la fortuna arride agli audaci", infatti se uno comincia ad aver paura basta, è finito, uno comincia ad aver paura, e quello è destinato a sparire. Quando non eravate in volo, nei momenti di pausa che precedevano o seguivano le azioni, il pensiero dove andava? Ai compagni, alla famiglia, ad altre battaglie No, no, il nostro pensiero era tutto concentrato.

Could you please narrate to us yet another war episode? You could perhaps try to include even the difficult moments - you probably will have seen planes falling out of the sky I should imagine…. Well, yes, in fact I did: Of these five officials, in a very short while, I was the only one that remained, because they had all been shot down, one plane after another; and I don't mean to say they were the only ones, but they, and many others…. Another of the missions that, I would say, was rather a fool's errand and similar to the one I previously narrated, was one of those days in which we took off in a formation of five planes - always from Elkmimi - for a raid on Marsa Matruk.

Marsa Matruk was situated on the Northern coast… on the Egyptian coast… and was an immense depot centre for all the equipment and personnel that was used for supplying the entire North African group of English forces.

It was really huge: Well, on one of these days, the first of the five planes of our formation had to return to the base due to engine failure just after we had taken-off, and so our number dropped to four. After a while, another plane was forced to do the same, and, further on, this too was followed by yet another plane that had a mechanical failure… Well, for understandable reasons soon there were only two of us left.

Now, since one of the crew members of the plane that was flying in front of us was higher ranking than I myself would be, he automatically became the formation leader; head of the duo. However, when we had reached the point in which we were to turn right over Marsa Matruk, this other plane ran into engine problems as well - do you notice this strange coincidence?

Well, at times we had had as many as four planes, out of five, being affected by engine problems! And so this other plane had to turn back otherwise it would have gone straight into the drink!

No, they really couldn't have continued. Consequently, I now found myself left all alone: I could even have chosen to return to the base: And, it really took nothing more than the error of trying to get near for them to identify you and… lash you up for as long as they had the energy to do so.

After this, you still had the reaction of the anti-aircraft batteries against one single plane to cope with; that is, the firepower of the whole lot of anti-aircraft guns concentrated on just one single tiny target of a plane, instead of a large formation…!

It was, therefore, an enormously risky business; something that would have completely justified my having returned to the base if I had done so. But, nevertheless, having had to come this far, seeing that Marsa Matruk was right there below us at that precise moment, and knowing that I had the bombs: Because it was always risky, be it night or day, and no matter whether one was in the air or on the ground. And very soon nobody felt bothered about this any more - to put it in a nutshell, it was just ordinary business!

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Che cosa ci abbia aiutato non lo so This searchlight was truly bad news, because once it picked you out you already knew there wasn't anything more you could do… None of those who had ever been film porno gay francais massage naturiste var by it had then been able to escape from its powerful beam, even because it was manoeuvred by highly experienced personnel. Then the famous problems that occurred on the Eastern Front began - the problems with the Slavs who were trying to extend their penetration into Italy farther than Gorizia and Udine - and so I had to leave the place. Once we came across a column of Jews who were departing for Palestine. So what did I do then; I set course straight towards the target. Having released our load, we had nevertheless been picked out by this searchlight, and we therefore knew we had nothing else to do but wait for the burst from the fighter that was coming for us.

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You Are Leaving Pornhub. The page you're trying to access: Non fa parte di Pornhub. Continua verso il sito esterno Vai Indietro. This Link May be Unsafe. The page you are trying to access: So I came down onto the plains, moved on to Valdagno and, with false documents of identity, managed to travel to Liguria.

Then I went up the Ligurian Apennines with the Savona Brigade - I am not really sure of this name, but do recall that there was a commander from Savona. I presented my Curriculum Vitae, let's say, written… and was then taken in, but shortly after this discovered that a hundred thousand lice infested me!

There was no blanket with which to cover myself, and I only had one single change of light clothes. It was by now mid-November and I was upon the Lange; it was freezing cold, I fell sick.

Sores ran down all over my body, and in between these sores roamed a hundred thousand lice! I had to leave and come down, and luckily for me my mother and one of my brothers were in a place nearby, and therefore were able to receive me and to treat me, that's it. As soon as my sores had healed, on the 8th of March, I returned upon the Lange with the Third Brigade - West Lange, and became the courier of the brigade command.

The brigade commander was Mario, Mario Ferraro, who belonged to the First Division which was in its turn commanded by Bogliolo, and both of them came from the group of Mauri. We participated in a number of actions here. There was also Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, the lieutenant of the Carabinieri, who, once in a while, would send me around and about the place for his own orders.

I was renowned for my agility and speed among the woods, and for my physical resistance. Anyhow, at that point, practically at a certain moment, it was enough! We went back home, only that there wasn't a home anymore for many of us. One simply didn't know where to go… that's it.

As far as concerns, let's say, curriculum or matriculation paper, well, these are the places I have been to in my activity as a partisan, that's it. In the course of this long and complex ordeal experienced by a little boy of sixteen, which actually is the moment in which personal awareness assumes political significance or, in other words, becomes an individual clear-cut and lucid-minded commitment?

Well but… it all became clear at once: Not that I got carried away by the desire of giving commands to others; but when I did talk about freedom, about patriotism, about the enemy, about anti-fascism, I felt it all swelling up inside me. There was not a person with whom I could discuss these things since I was rather wild in character. I had been brought up in certain ways, even though I no longer had social ties with this context. But I did have political thoughts; that thought about freedom which can be summarised by the Christian precept, "don't do to others what you would not want others to do to you," or, "love your neighbour as you love yourself".

In other words, the relation between me and the entire social reality was ultimately based upon these principles here; even because I happened to have had a severe mother, from the Catholic aspect of it, and had been taught in a very incisive way about choosing between what is right and what is wrong - at least in things that did not go beyond ordinary comprehension, right?

However, all this had the effect of rendering everything so painstakingly difficult. I found myself making such choices and taking such decisions as, now looking back at the things I was able to do and considering the age I had then, would have taken the power of a thousand thunderbolts to achieve; a capacity of action backed by an enormous force. Try to figure it out for yourselves what it would mean to be moving around at such an age, with a curfew in force, with public executions taking place all over Italy, etc.

Departing from above Gemona and coming down right through the mountains, through the mopping-up operations, through… you could hear the fighting going on all around, you could see… it was a terrible thing when you approached a house: You should pass above the electric power station, but must absolutely make sure that you are not seen because there are German machine guns positioned above the power station.

And so I crawled down under the cover of a low wall, reached the road, crossed it and went up the slope of the opposite mountain. I can assure you it felt like a full charge at the enemy, so to say; and I was able to manage it quite smoothly, without anything going wrong. Then I spent the night at the lakes of Revin, and the following day the partisans of the place accompanied me the up to the foot of the Montello, descending to the bridge of Midollo after a distance of five or six kilometres.

Once we were there, they said to me, 'this is the point where you have to cross because right on the other side you will find the Montello. Climb straight up to the top, and go down the opposite slope. Where are you actually heading for? I was actually gazing away at the mountains in the horizon, towards Mount Grappa.

And very far away I was able to distinguish the Highlands of Asiago, at a distance of about forty or fifty kilometres. I began to cross the Piave, and, slowly by slowly, made my way across, manoeuvring myself between the shrubs. I went through the main stream of water and, reaching the opposite bank, found a canal - which exists to this day.

For a moment I was in the open, upon an embankment. Then down I went again: I waded across, almost carried away by the current, reached the other side and pulled myself up the embankment. Suddenly, I found myself face to face with a barrier, and a high one too: I didn't stop to think one second but simply hurdled myself across it. And it was only after I had landed on the other side that I became aware of those voices speaking in German: It was a German Command!

I knew I absolutely had to get out of there, and, even with those fence posts hooking inwards towards me, was able to prove my agility: Well, I managed to get out, and continued to hear them talking.

Probably none of them had even glanced in my direction; otherwise I wouldn't be seated here talking to you now. And so, if I am to say, these are the deeds I was carrying out around and about, even before I was seventeen years old. When I performed these actions I was always alone by myself, and had neither any ready made decisions nor a command, a place to go to, or even a shoulder to lean on for protection; nothing of all this!

So, up to this point… the thing that really gave me more motivation than everything else, this time from a political point of view and sentimentally speaking, is exactly what everybody is now saying, claiming that they were not aware of what the Germans were doing, that nobody knew anything about the concentration camps, and that they were not informed about the fate of the Jews.

How on earth could this be true when I myself was already hiding away Jews long before the 8th of September, or even before the 25th of July, helping them by person and providing them with food? If I knew these things, how possible is it that the Pope, the politicians and all the rest would not have known anything? From where else would I have acquired such information? As a matter of fact there was always someone… for example, when I arrived here from Carnia, I came along with three people who had been captured by the nazi and taken to Germany.

Luckily, these three had been able to escape and, fleeing across the mountains had arrived where our detachment was - the Monte Nereo Detachment, which belonged to the Liberty Battalion. And since they were originally from the area, we approached the town marching together. So there wasn't really anything like lack of news, since even I myself could get to know these things. Just imagine those who nowadays go about claiming they had no idea about what was taking place then; it's a way of doing politics that simply makes me laugh, right?

Of the… how could they, for example, say that we have equal status and we all fought for our fatherland? No, nothing of this is true: Let this be clear to the young as well as to the elderly, and without having to write books or things of the such. And this has always been self-explanatory for everyone; except that, for instance, someone like myself didn't obviously go about blowing his own trumpet or telling tales all over the place.

It is the first time in almost… how long… fifty five years, that I am now telling you this particular story, that's it. Moreover, I have even been able to add on a few, let's say, rather comical anecdotes about the war: I don't want this war to become a document of permit that would freely allow people to do whatever they desire.

One must always fight and achieve such kind of liberty, or things of this type, on a day to day basis. In spite of this, the discovery, and this is what becoming mature is all about, the sourest discovery of all for me to admit was the fact that each one of us really does have a bit of fascism inside us, and that the first battle we therefore have to win is against our own selves.

This explains all the egoism, and so forth, or else the desire of always appearing to be the strongest when faced by someone slightly more ignorant or weaker. On the contrary, I believe someone who really loves freedom should be respectful towards all. So far there hasn't been any organisation that has proved this to me, and I really don't know whether I will live long enough to see something. Once more returning to the Jews, I must confess my sense of guilt for what I did at the end of the war, perhaps a year or two after this, when I supplied them with a truckload of arms.

This happened during the period in which they were secretly migrating to Palestine by sea. Having read the Bible even when I was still a child, by the time it seemed to me that this return of the Jewish people to their place of origin, to their "genesis", was something sacrosanct. Today I don't believe in this anymore. I am convinced that politics must have poisoned even this return to the origins. There are two things I wanted to ask you: It is therefore this particular aspect that I would like you to explain, that is, what kind of relation did you have with the group, considering the absolute liberty of thought that accompanied your actions, and which to me would seem almost anarchical… in the positive sense of the term…?

In fact I myself have often declared having fought a war on my own. There was therefore a sufficient degree of anarchy from this point of view.

Nevertheless, going back to what I was saying before with regard to liberty, when I was in the group I was totally respectful towards the group; only that I instinctively tended to prefer moments and situations that had the effect of making me, let's say, rather more solitary.

Sentimentally speaking I would actually "navigate"; let's put it this way, I would "navigate" in certain situations… that, from this point of view, were even romantic, if you want: I wasn't actually a very learned person, just as I told you before; only that, being someone who could not stay put, I would go for those, say, the decisively more "mobile" points, if you want; just as if I had to interpret them…. I'll give you an example: A platoon of us was sent down to the plains.

We crossed the Tagliamento and headed for the grinding mill of Trasadisc. Well, in one way or the other the miller was able to supply us freely with thirty-five kilos of yellow corn flour. We had a rucksack with us which, by the time, was considered to be really special: Among us there were former members of the Alpine Corps belonging to the Julia, as well as people who had been to Russia, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece.

And since I was the skinniest of all, just try to imagine that I weighed only fifty-five kilos, so to say, these other people carried the rucksack. At a certain point I said, 'just let me have that rucksack. Well, you won't believe it, but even with thirty-five kilos of flour, I still got there half an hour earlier than those who weren't carrying anything. This is actually how I interpreted certain types of relations: I just didn't stop to think what was happening. And so when I arrived with the flour, the welcome they gave me was really something incredible.

It took them more or less a quarter of an hour to prepare the "polenta", which was then served on the stall door that had just been unhinged: And so we set to devouring our meal of the day, and it's quite amusing to recall that this had taken the peculiar form of the cauldron. As far as staying put in one place is concerned… I was on guard quite a number of times, but as far as remaining within the encampment without going out is concerned… for me it was really something unbearable.

But the commanders soon came to understand this, and therefore sent me to every corner of the world, as a result of which I was always running. Then the famous problems that occurred on the Eastern Front began - the problems with the Slavs who were trying to extend their penetration into Italy farther than Gorizia and Udine - and so I had to leave the place.

Since our group was a mixed one, the Garibaldini and us, some episodes of open contrast had already taken place between us.

This probably wasn't in itself anything more than a dialectical situation, even though at a certain point we did begin to look at each other in a rather unfriendly way. For me this was something… I paid a very dear price for it because I felt personally offended, from a certain point of view. As a declaration of principle, all of us were, in the first place, partisans fighting against fascism and nazism: However, the truth was that really very little was known about true politics here.

A majority of the soldiers, those who had arrived at the age of about twenty-five or twenty-six years, knew absolutely nothing about politics. Everything connected with this sphere had only been successively elaborated as a consequence of the choice made against the fascist rule of compulsory military service at the war front, rather than in the pursuit of ideals. I, for one, was instead inspired by ideals, but even then was aware that the others had much lesser than what I had: Only afterwards, as time passed, did the acquisition of awareness become a reality.

And even then, according to me the political aspect wasn't really made accessible to all. The fact is that there always exists a part for the people who command and another part for those who obey. Unfortunately this is how things always are: I am using the term, "unfortunately", because even with one's eyes and ears alone it is possible to get to know everything, but if one is not trained in the comprehension of the words or phrases that men exchange among themselves, then one can very easily remain unaware of what is actually taking place.

It is always necessary for one to understand… even just a single word, mingled with a certain way of doing things or with a particular action, no matter how little, has a very profound meaning in certain circumstances.

I was an expert in the interpretation of such things, but I would interpret them only for myself. I was somewhat like a dog that is so affectionately related to its master, and therefore always able to tell whenever the master intends to go out: This, of course, doesn't at all belong to a logical way of working things out, or else to something obtainable through simple dialectics.

Contrarily, it is something purely instinctive, even though the biggest problem remained that of being able to transform this into a collective benefit for all. There is one thing in which I am very interested, even due to the fact that it actually represents the aim of this work.

We are interested in this particular aspect, because what I am seeing here is really a testimonial that has a non-rhetorical relation with politics. Talking about memory, one often runs the risk of either drifting away into nostalgia, or else remaining dumbfounded.

On the contrary, the objective of this initiative, the recording of this testimonial, is to try to help the younger generations, against which we always complain bitterly because they don't know. I feel I must also add that they probably don't know simply because they haven't had a grandfather who could have told them; what I am talking about is this non-rhetorical thing that I hear in this narration.

Perhaps this really is the dimension that must… come to life. I feel proud of not getting involved in this kind of rhetoric, but still I don't really think that all this depends on the absence of a grandfather; probably it only does to a very small extent. I think it is a result of the lack of education in interpreting the signals that we continuously receive.

These signals are similar to the ones I first received during the war when I was very young, and, moreover, just a single sentence had been enough for me: Non the less, the signals do exist, and what I am really saying is that people should try to make an effort to understand that we were in a society in which it was easier to get killed than nowadays.

It was a pitiless society, that wouldn't forgive even a thing, and would ask for your head on a plate… So, what would happen was this: No, I don't think the youth can understand this. They are living in a world that has totally changed at the level of communicating, like… let's start from the beginning; subject number one: We belong to those who used to scrape the table for bits of bread, remember this?

Anything edible that could help in continuing to survive was good food: Now, just try to imagine with how many chances one would be able to speak to a youngster of today saying, 'are you aware that these things you now see all come from the things of the past? So what, if today we possess enormous powers to counteract nature, let's say, whenever we want? Personally, I have never even tried to narrate these things to the youth.

As far as freedom is concerned, I nevertheless feel it would be necessary for them to understand that some of the things being done today could have very serious consequences afterwards. This, of course, would really depend on their capacity to appreciate liberty.

If liberty only means the right to have fun and to wear fashionable attire, then this is not freedom from nothing, or almost nothing. True liberty is the freedom of thought, of action, of association; this is what really matters. These treasures are always kept hidden away from us by the mass media, by politics and by the authorities.

It would just be sufficient to disseminate the information about the two thousand million people in the world who are dying of hunger, whereas five hundred million people are, in the meantime, throwing away food; something really incredible. Well, a short while ago I declared that there is a fascist inside each one of us: Unfortunately, I am equally afraid to say that even the poor people who migrate in search of a place in which to a little bit better are motivated, in the beginning, by materialistic interest.

What is worse, however, is that they too should end up convincing themselves as being part of this; which is something really terrible. It would have been better to live in a different way. Personally I am one of those… look, I will tell you what I said to a Monsignor the other day. Well, Nazism came to an end, or so it would seem, and so did fascism; but I am still waiting for the pope to say something serious.

Instead what does he do; he asks for forgiveness for things of a thousand years ago! You had better not record anything of what I have said in this last part….

One last thing, that is perhaps something connected with your poetic sense, that mobility with which you were able to face even fearful situations: I would really think so, I am not… I mean to say… apart from having found something to do to earn a living, having a bit… of relation with the rest of society that would not be forced, without difficulties, so as to be able to carry on struggling.

What I actually mean to say is that I haven't changed even a little, and that I still interpret things in the very same way as I did on that 28th of February at 5.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I had spent the fifteen years precedent to this turning point in other commitments. But even though these were less political by nature, I had, all the same, carried them out with the same verve and using the same interpretations, that's it.

I was one who would never give in on liberty: By then there were… thunderstorms, but not even these could stop me. And my mother would say, 'how irresponsible you really are! Of course afterwards my mother would be forced to walk right up to the banks of the Brenta looking for me.

Nobody will believe you if you tell them that I wasn't even six years old them, but the truth is that I was able to make my own choices long before.

It was a personal war, let's put it this way: I have always been at war. So, there we are… do you have some other question? Virginia Gattegno , cittadina italiana, ha quindici anni e vive nella comunità ebraica di Rodi all'avvento delle leggi razziali. Pochi anni dopo, la deportazione ad Auschwitz. Virginia Gattegno, an Italian citizen, has fifteen years old and lives in the Jewish community of Rhodes to the advent of the racial laws. A few years later, the deportation to Auschwitz.

We all know what the Holocaust was, but probably few have had the opportunity to hear him describe so vividly and "close". What words of Virginia give us, after all these years, are the eyes and innocence, the bitter awareness of the then-girlfriend, but also the strength and irrepressible spirit of the woman of today, the survivor. Allora, lei se ritiene opportuno magari fare una piccola introduzione, magari a partire dalla guerra…. E dunque la guerra è stata dichiarata tre anni dopo Dunque, facciamo il conto: Dunque dal 23 al quaran Beh dipende dal mese, io sono nata a fine luglio.

Comunque quello certo è il periodo Dopo ho dato gli esami privatamente, negli anni successivi ho potuto insegnare nella scuola ebraica locale dove mio padre era stato direttore fino alla sua morte, è morto giovane, a 50 anni nel suo letto: Diciamo che non abbiamo avuto riscontri, nessuno che abbia detto qualcosa, che ci abbia insultato o che so io, tanto è vero che poi quando è arrivato il momento della deportazione siamo stati, come posso dire, non eravamo assolutamente preparati perché non avevamo avuto segni di ostilità dalla gente del posto anche perché vivevamo fra di noi.

Da quei pochi greci che bazzicavano per il quartiere o dai soldati italiani che bazzicavano il quartiere ebraico, non abbiamo avuto nessuna reazione negativa Se posso arrivare direttamente al momento della deportazione, posso dire che è stata Ci hanno fatto sapere che dovevamo presentarci donne bambini e vecchi, altrimenti avrebbero ucciso gli uomini e ovviamente ci siamo consegnati tutti come pecore al macello, senza la possibilità di salvezza, a parte che non si poteva scappare: Per cui non avevamo capacità neanche di lamentarci, a parte che se ci lamentavamo ci arrivava il resto.

Ecco, questa è una cosa che si è fissata nella memoria: Il viaggio è stato orribile. Eravamo ammassati nella stiva con pochissimi viveri anzi non so addirittura se ce ne abbiano dati o se avevamo ancora qualcosa con noi. Durante il tragitto sono morte ovviamente altre persone, perché eravamo chiusi, in numero non so precisamente ma 70 80 per Insomma in pratica non ci si poteva sdraiare, facevamo a turno per sdraiarci.

Io non ho fatto in tempo neanche a voltarmi a dire "ciao mamma", non so, qualche cosa, non ho più visto nessuno. Sono rimasta per fortuna con una mia sorella, quasi coetanea, con la quale ho vissuto fino agli ultimi giorni di Auschwitz.

Ecco, questo molto alla grossa. Se volete fare una pausa, forse possiamo pensare un momento come proseguire. Andiamo a flusso, tanto non abbiamo problemi. Il rendersi conto della situazione fino a che punto era?

Quasi nulla, siamo stati precipitati in un girone infernale, una cosa che è difficile da descrivere perché sembrava Dunque la mossa successiva è stata di mettersi in questa stanza dove erano raccolti stracci di gente che era passata per di là, e bene o male ci siamo rivestite, ma Non ricordo nello spazio di quante ore o giorni siano successe queste cose, le vedo come dei flash successivi.

Ci hanno marcato con il numero, e da quel momento siamo entrati a far parte della schiera di questi non-esseri umani. Non abbiamo più sentito il nostro nome, da quel momento. È iniziata la vita nei campi, il lavoro forzato, la fame, le botte, e tutto il resto che potete immaginare.

Comunque a me mi hanno beccato subito per lavorare, ho cominciato a pelar patate e a far la guardia agli altri più mo È curioso come in ogni circostanza per quanto drammatica ci sia sempre lo spunto umoristico: Quindi complessivamente un anno giusto, perché ho compiuto i 21 anni andando e i 22 tornando.

Sa eravamo giovani, lo slancio vitale era ancora forte malgrado tutto quindi Siamo arrivate a Roma grazie a Dio, pieni di scabbia, che era il minimo che ci potesse capitare. E siamo state aiutate da un ragazzo siciliano, che negli intervalli I dettagli poi sono infiniti. Abbiamo incontrato una volta una colonna di ebrei che stavano partendo per la Palestina, avevano un po' di provviste e ci hanno dato del pane e un po' di marmellata qualcosa, insomma in qualche modo ci siamo nutrite.

E siamo arrivate a Roma. Adesso le dico una cosa incredibile: Ce ne siamo rese conto solo gli ultimissimi tempi. In un certo senso ci ha risparmiato un bel po' di angosce. Comunque le abbiamo viste dopo le Vogliamo fare una pausa? Non so come devo proseguire No, tanto bisogna tener conto che in capo a qualche settimana eravamo già degli scheletri, quindi non avevamo più né forme né faccia di donne, pelate, senza più seno né niente, proprio Alcune che sembravano in migliori condizioni fisiche, anche perché avevano potuto mangiare, magari di famiglie più abbienti, che potevano comprare al mercato nero, sono morte in pochissimo tempo; io e mia sorella che eravamo già due spaghetti, chissà perché ci siamo salvate, questo è uno dei misteri di Auschwitz Che cosa ci abbia aiutato non lo so Infatti quando sono stati aperti i reticolati la prima grande soddisfazione era stata uscire e rientrare liberamente.

Ditemi voi se devo parlare ancora di Auschwitz perché Auschwitz è una cosa enorme che Le due figlie sono state battezzate, mi sono occupata io della loro educazione religiosa, poi sono riuscita a portarle fino alla cresima, dopo di che sono sparite dal cristianesimo Io volevo tornare alla sua famiglia La mamma, mia nonna, la madre di mio padre, due fratelli uno di 18 e uno di 4 anni e mia sorella. Non parlo di parenti più lontani, la famiglia stretta.

Sua mamma e i suoi fratelli Questo un po' alla volta, la realtà si è imposta un po' alla volta, poi qualcuno mi ha detto proprio di mio fratello, quello grande che è morto in una miniera Se mi fate qualche domanda mi aiutate Ma, dopo il ritorno da Auschwitz, allora lei è andata a Roma da parenti… la fede, o la fiducia Poi in Africa pochissime relazioni, pochissime proprio, ho fatto una vita molto isolata.

Diciamo che dopo la morte di mio marito, io avevo 40 anni appena, ho ricominciato ad insegnare, e credo che il contatto con i bambini sia stato faticosissimo, perché non Molti dei miei ex alunni mi ricordano e dicono che sono stati gli anni più belli, io non credo di essere stata un gran che come insegnante, ma mi sono detta che i miei alunni non avrebbero sofferto di oppressione, di repressione, probabilmente "mi son fatta criticà", no, senza probabilmente, mi sono fatta criticare, perché non potevo accettare il ruolo autoritario e non è una cosa da niente conciliare quel po' di autorità che è necessaria con la libertà degli alunni.

Intanto me la son dovuta studiare io la storia! Dopo evidentemente si attaccava con la storia vera e propria; ma insomma a livello elementare, non è che ho potuto insegnare un gran che. Gli ho dato tanta libertà. Adesso sono uomini e donne naturalmente. Chi è disposto ad imparare, chi no se la butta dietro le spalle. Non so, altrove purtroppo le cose vanno male. Perché mi ha salvato la vita? Perché mi ha aiutato a vivere, mi ha dato gioia nei momenti buoni e mi ha sostenuto nei momenti più brutti quando forse era più facile morire che vivere.

Un episodio non posso Credo che per me la morte sia soprattutto la fine delle emozioni estetiche, il resto non mi interessa; le mie figlie sono grandi, sono ben avviate tutte due, e non hanno bisogno di me, sono piuttosto io ad aver bisogno di loro casomai.

Che cosa mi lascio dietro? Loro sono gli unici che si sono salvati. È stato molto emozionante tornare a Rodi che è bellissima. Emozionante e triste perché camminavo in mezzo ai fantasmi praticamente. La guerra, nonostante sia stata una cosa tragica per lei, le ha potuto insegnare qualcosa? Mi ha insegnato che esiste il male purtroppo, e che dobbiamo comunque lottare.

E poi il fatto di esercitare la bontà, anche quella è un modo di combattere. Che purtroppo io mi metto nei pasticci per aiutare la gente, non ho imparato a difendermi, è strano eh? Ma in un certo senso nel mio piccolo ho creato una rete di comunicazioni. Se ho lasciato qualche seme qua e là, penso di aver fatto la mia parte insomma, nel mondo.

Ogni tanto mi dico "le mie girls". Io sarei anche contento di questa testimonianza che ha un aspetto Ana volevi aggiungere qualcosa? Volevo purtroppo tornare alla guerra. Mentre ero nel campo? Solo di essere fuori da quel reticolato. What was your degree of awareness with regards to the situation? At what point were you aware of what was going to happen…? At almost no point at all! The train had come to a dead end. There was that famous arch of cast iron which said, "work is liberty" - the ultimate insult!

And immediately, it was evening by now, we were pulled out of the wagons by the men of the SS, who shrieked away at us at the top their voices.

We were all thrown out of the wagons and separated, there and then, immediately. So we were divided up at once; immediately cast into this "Dante style" atmosphere, something that went well beyond every imagination, I would say. Therefore there was no… the only thing I did hear was the shrill screaming of a mother whose little daughter had been forcefully torn away from her arms.

And then they immediately led us off into a shanty, where we were all completely stripped naked, the men and the women together.

We were shaved clean from head to toe - I will leave out the details - right in front of men. Then we were taken to a room where I can't remember whether it was then that they gave us a shower. It would have seemed as if they had given us a clean shave just because we were infested by lice - which might have then been interpreted as a sanitary measure. In reality, however, this was nothing less than the beginning of a process leading to the total annulment of the human person: For better or for worse, we were then able to dress up again, even if… with completely insufficient clothing, and, more still, with our heads shaved.

It was still summer, but not long after this came the Polish autumn, which… well, it was cold. And being bare footed, our feet, in fact, got frost-bitten. And at this point… no, hold on, I was skipping the moment in which we were tattooed on the arm. I don't really remember how long, in terms of hours and days, it might have taken for all these things to happen.

I only see them coming in a succession of flashes. And so they marked with numbers, and from that moment onwards we became part of that array of non-human beings; just numbers! Starting from that moment, we never heard our names again. The life in the camps had begun: At the end of January the Russians arrived. There is a very beautiful description of this in Primo Levi's book, which I advice you all to read, and that I always carry with me whenever I go to talk with the youth.

It describes the arrival of the Russian soldiers in a marvellous style. By the way, the first to arrive was actually a reconnaissance platoon, and just before… Oh! I was forgetting to… there would be… my sister and I had in a way been able to, let's say, save ourselves because, with frost-bitten feet, they had exonerated us from work and put us up in a so-called hospital shanty, where we practically did nothing.

It seems to me they must have medicated my feet, which were covered with sores, and so it was here that we had practically waited for the end. By the time the Russians arrived we were already starving, because the Nazis, taking along with them most of the people who were in the camp, had fled a few days earlier.

As for us, they didn't… they either did not have the time, or decided to leave us behind simply because we were unable to walk, I just don't know… Nevertheless, we spent those days before the arrival of the Russians literally dying, one person after another… Being physically better than my sister, I would go out into the freezing Polish winter, and search around the camp for some leftover on which we could somehow survive.

This went on until the greater part of the Russians arrived and were then able to get the kitchens functioning again. Slowly we all began to rebuild our strength and… Anyhow, as for me I was immediately picked out and assigned to the task of peeling potatoes and caring for those who were closer to dy… closer to dying than I myself was; I mean to say the sick.

It is curious to note how one is always able to find a comical cue amidst all sorts of circumstances, no matter how dramatic. And so it happened that a Yugoslavian lady and myself were assigned the night-time responsibility of keeping watch over these dormitories in which the survivors slept.

I did… I would sleep during the first part of the night, and would then be woken up by the Yugoslavian lady who would take my place in bed. Unluckily for us, however, we were completely unable to understand one another, and therefore each time she would simply throw me out of bed by shouting at me, "hey fascist!

Who knows what the poor thing must have gone through back home in her country? She was thoroughly convinced that since I was Italian, then I should also have been a fascist; and, try as I could, I was never able to explain to her that even though I was Italian, I really was an interned Jew rather than a fascist. Ultimately, there wasn't anything more I could do to defend myself against this lady, absolutely nothing.

And so this little tragicomedy was repeated over and over again with every single night…! As time passed, I slowly began to put on weight. We spent about six more months with the Russians - which therefore brings us to a total of exactly one year because I turned twenty-one on the way there, and twenty-two on the way back. The journey back proved to be yet another of these tragicomic things.

I could even just as well write about it, but simply prefer to remind you that Primo Levi's "La Tregua" comes quite near to the type of experience that we ourselves had… As you know, by then we were young and still full of vitality, in spite of all that had happened.

So… even though the return journey was very hard, very difficult and without anything to eat, we still managed all the same. Thank God, at last we were able to get to Rome. We were filled with scabies; but this was really the least among the things that could have happened to us. During the journey we were helped by a boy from Sicily, who, during the intervals… this train, in fact, would stop every now and then, and nobody knew where, when, or for how long this was going to be.

We therefore took advantage of this, and each time it seemed that the break… the stopover would be long enough, we would rush to… to the toilet and refresh ourselves a little bit. It happened that on one of these occasions we actually would never have caught the train again if we had stayed just a second longer. Luckily we managed to clutch our fingers tight onto the side of the last wagon, and with a helping hand from… Salvatore, who reached out and pulled us up over the stockade, we were able to arrive safely in Italy.

As for the details, these are really infinite. Once we came across a column of Jews who were departing for Palestine. They were carrying food with them, and so they gave us some bread and some marmalade; and, well, somehow we were then able to eat something. Besides, Salvatore would sneak into the nearby fields to steal something, bringing back to us apples as well as potatoes, which we would then cook under the train: But, all the same, he was able to let us finally enjoy those apples that we hadn't seen for a whole year, even though they had a sour taste since they were still raw, but this as well is yet another of those tragicomedies!

Eventually we arrived in Rome. We did not go back to Rhodes - I am referring to my sister and myself - because there was neither something nor somebody waiting for us there anymore.

In Rome we still had some relatives, who we hoped we would find still alive. At the end we did find them, and this marks the beginning of another story altogether.

Well, that really was a rhetorical question… what I mean to say is, were you aware of this situation…? Now I will tell you something quite incredible: Well, we really did become aware of the crematories, even owing to the stench they emanated and the fires that could be seen. But I really didn't think that the gas chambers would exist; to me it seemed like something that went well beyond every human imagination that… nevertheless, it was this that eventually saved us from ending up being terrorised.

Actually, the others who were with us were constantly scared to death since they couldn't know when, but still were sure that sooner or later it would be their turn. In fact, very often they would talk us into believing they were taking us to the shower rooms; but the truth is that these shower rooms were actually the gas chambers. We realised this only in the very last moments. In some ways we had been spared from a great deal of anguish. Anyhow, we did see them with our own eyes after the… both the crematories and the gas chambers; we only discovered their existence afterwards.

As a woman inside the concentration camp… how, that is to say… how did you interpret your… your personality? Because, I mean to say, the men… in one way or another…. Not at all; even because it must always be kept in mind that after only a few weeks, we really were nothing but skeletons, and, as a result, we had neither a female body form nor face. We were skin headed, and had neither breasts nor anything; just… It took more time for some, less for others.

I myself was already thin, and came out of the camp weighing roughly about thirty-five kilos I think. So, as you can see, even our feminine characteristics had disappeared; perhaps having been the lesser defended than the others, I do not know… some women; and I am telling you the plain truth, there were some: Naturally, we had remained with the women and, as for the men, we never ever saw them again.

There were some that seemed to be physically fitter because they had been able to eat. With all probability, they must have belonged to families that were better off and, therefore, had in the meantime been able to purchase food on the black market.

Well, these all died in a very short time - whereas my sister and I, who were already as thin as spaghettis, were able to survive, and nobody knows why. This is one of the mysteries of Auschwitz… the doomed and the survivors; without any one knowing why… I wonder what it is that would have helped us… the fact that we were very young in the first place, that is to say, as far as I am concerned. For someone else it was even religion, perhaps trusting in some god, I wouldn't know. I for one never prayed at Auschwitz, I was never able to.

Perhaps the only form of prayer that I actually expressed was the desire that I didn't want to die in there, covered with mud, darkness and horror, but outside! In fact when the gates were finally thrown open, the first great satisfaction was being able to freely come out and go in again. Do tell me yourself if I should still go on talking about Auschwitz: Tell me why one shouldn't any longer be able to pray after Auschwitz, or….

No, what I would say is that… I was brought up the Jewish way, even though on very approximate terms, I would say, but certainly not by fundamentalists. Not really very observ… observance of all the principal feasts was kept, but nothing further than this.

What we did have was the awareness of being Jews since we were treated in a different way. But, personally, I don't believe I was a very religious person even then; and from this point of view, I wouldn't say it was Auschwitz that made me lose my faith. Let's say this is rather owed to the fact that in the course of life the things that I see don't make me think that God would exist.

Perhaps he does exist, but is not what we would imagine him to be. I don't even pray: I don't pray for myself even because I keep saying, "if he does exist, why should he care about me at all; and why not about the child who is dying of hunger, of thirst, or from some sickness; why must I ask for something for myself; how is all this possible?

Well, I cannot consider myself atheist, certainly not. I do appreciate certain Jewish traditions. According to me the "Sabbath", for example, is a very important aspect, even though I am not all that observant. I sincerely think this is one of the pillars of Judaism: I find this one of the most wonderful ideas of the Jewish heritage, but as for the other things "I quite don't agree", that's it.

I chanced to be born a Jew; and have two daughters, who, according to Jewish law, would be Jews as well, having been born of a Jewish mother. But still I got married to a Catholic and had a mixed matrimony; are you interested that I would continue? My two daughters were baptised, and I personally took care of their religious upbringing.

By doing so I managed to accompany them up to their confirmation; after which they simply decided to abandon the Christian faith… every now and then I even feel guilty about it because I keep saying to myself, "but, seriously…! Naturally, apart from this they also did a catechism course at school, which I imagine is what must have eventually forced them to quit… completely, that is to say….

I would like to get back to your family… you departed together with your mother…. With my mother, my grandmother, who is my father's mother, two brothers, one eighteen years old and the other four, and my sister - I am not talking about distant relatives, only the exclusive family.

Dad, as I said before, had died of pneumonia - at that time people died of pneumonia - at the age of fifty-one. His is the only family tomb that I have, and in fact as soon as it was possible for me - after forty-three years I think - I went to Rhodes to visit my father's tomb and the places where we had lived…. Your Mum and your brothers… how did you get to know they weren't alive any more: It happened gradually; the truth took shape bit by bit, and at the end I was told about my brother, the elder one, directly by somebody.

He died in a mine… on the eve of our liberation… this, perhaps, is the thing I have wept over longest… the children and the elderly had been killed immediately, and so this hadn't left any more problems to face… Then I also have some relatives in Salonika, and in Italy… Amongst the ones in Salonika I know that many were deported… from among my own in Italy nobody… should we have a break, or would you prefer to give me some orientation yourself…?

You would help me if you could ask me a few questions…. You have talked about faith in God from both the Jewish and the Christian point of view. But, nevertheless, after returning from Auschwitz you then went to your relatives in Rome… your faith or your trust… I don't know, your attitude towards the people you encountered; I mean to say, these people who were neither Germans nor fascists. What kind of approach did you have towards the people with whom you found yourself beginning to get in touch?

Oh, well, at the beginning I hardly made any contacts at all. I must confess that… I went through a couple of episodes… while we were strolling about in Rome I heard someone say, 'not enough of them must have been killed', and this is one of the reas… the very fact that around us we would still be able to hear such incre… such incredulity and hostility combined together: I believe this must have then hindered me, as well as many other survivors, from speaking up for a good number of years, or better still, for years and years; and not even to my very own daughters!

Well, at the end a more favourable moment, in which everybody seemed a little bit more awake, did arrive. And after an entire generation had passed, people started to realise that the last of the survivors were actually already on their way, and that it was time to gather their testimonials.

This is how this other experience of mine was born. I began to go around in schools, to those in which I was invited. Many schools, and a few radio and television interviews too; but personally what I enjoyed most was talking with the kids. I had been a primary school teacher, and perhaps this helped me in creating a contact with children. Generally speaking, I must say I lived a very isolated life: What a pity - even the good people like them!

There is nothing one could say about it. I led a very solitary life. Let's say that following the death of my husband, I was only forty years old then, I started to teach again, and I believe that getting in touch with the kids for me must have been a very difficult thing because I wasn't… young any more nor had the teaching experience any longer. Nevertheless, this is still what gives me the greatest satisfaction: Just yesterday I met… I saw a young dark haired lady approaching me: Personally, I don't believe I really was that good as a teacher, but had sworn to myself that my pupils would never become victims of oppression or repression.

Probably, I had become "the subject of criticism. I simply let myself become acquainted with being criticised because I did not accept to play an authoritarian role. Well, you surely would know how difficult it is to reconcile that little dose of necessary authority with the liberty of the pupils. Maybe… it's such a pity that at the moment in which I felt professionally ready… I had acquired knowledge through experience and had been able to develop… I had developed my own methodology, which would really have suited me, and which, perhaps, was even ahead of its time.

Unfortunately I was forced to leave at the age of sixty-two: I had done only twenty years - must I continue? I had finished with a class in their fifth year, and would have had to start all over again with a group in their first year.

I feared I never would have made it. Dealing with a first year class was too cumbersome, and I had already reached a certain age. Then came the idea of abandoning them when they were only halfway through - I decided it was time to retire. I had been granted… let's call it, or rather, fortunately, let's say, a war pension, which then helped me to integrate my own. This is what I lived on, and what I used for bringing up my little daughters.

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