A Child al Confino: The True Story of a Jewish Boy and His Mother in Mussolini's Italy

A Child al Confino: The True Story of a Jewish Boy and His Mother in Mussolini's Italy

3.8 286
by Eric Lamet

Eric Lamet was only seven years old when the Nazis invaded Vienna - and changed his life and the lives of all European Jews forever. Five days after Hitler marches, Eric Lamet and his parents flee for their lives. His father goes back to his native Poland - and never returns. His mother hides out in Italy, on the run from place to place, taking her son deeper and


Eric Lamet was only seven years old when the Nazis invaded Vienna - and changed his life and the lives of all European Jews forever. Five days after Hitler marches, Eric Lamet and his parents flee for their lives. His father goes back to his native Poland - and never returns. His mother hides out in Italy, on the run from place to place, taking her son deeper and deeper into the mountains to avoid capture.

In this remarkable feat of memory and imagination, Lamet recreates the Italy he knew from the perspective of the scared and lonely child he once was. We not only see the hardships and terrors faced by foreign Jews in Fascist Italy, but also the friends Eric makes and his mother's valiant efforts to make a home for him.

In a style as original as his story, the author vividly recalls a dark time yet imbues his recollections with humor, humanity, and wit. Very few Holocaust memoirs address the plight of Jews sent into internal exile in Mussolini's Italy. Lamet offers a rare and historically important portrait, one you will not soon forget.

Product Details

Adams Media
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Eric Lamet - nee Erich Lifshutz - was born in Vienna in 1930. The son of Polish Jews, he fled to Italy with his family after the Germans invaded Austria. After World War II ended, Lamet settled in Naples, where he finished high school and attended the University of Naples. In 1950 the family moved to the United States, and Lamet went to the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia. Fluent in German, Italian, English, Spanish, and Yiddish, Lamet served as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department, taught Italian for several years, and became a successful businessman. After retiring as CEO of his own firm in 1992, he returned to his great love: singing opera and Neapolitan songs. Lamet has three children, two stepchildren, and seven granddaughters. He lives with his wife in Florida.

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Child Al Confino 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 288 reviews.
NDeMarco More than 1 year ago
This book should be translated into every language. It is a moving testimony to how human beings can overcome seemingly insurmountable hatred and violence. The author, Eric Lamet, was confined in a small village not far from where my own parents were born and raised in the time of Mussolini. Mr. Lamet describes both the horror of the Fascists as well as that of the poverty overwhelming everyone near him. Mr. Lamet demonstrates to the world that reconciliation, love, peace and truth are possible. We all have a great deal to learn from this story.
Michele Juda More than 1 year ago
Not sure about the reviewers who seemed to be looking for more suffering in this book or refer to it's "story line". This is not a "story", but a retelling of events that occured to the author as a child. His story is what it is and he never tries to compare what happened to him with what happened to those in concentration camps...in fact, he indicates in the prologue that he deserves no sympathy. I found this to be very eye opening regarding a part of WW II history I knew nothing about. It also spoke to me of the great strength women and mothers possess and the resiliency of children. I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a completely different view of the Holocaust and WW II, one that should be read and shared. While not all that well-written, the story touches on many significant moments in both Eric's life as well as that of the Italian community in which he spends most of the war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most stories we read about WWII are about the Holocaust and torture. A different story that tells about the people who were able to hide and avoid the Germans. They suffered in their own way, not knowing when and if they would see family again or if the war would end. They were mostly cut off from any information about the war so they lived daily not knowing what was happening outside of the behind the times town they were sent to. A book to read to understand how it was for the people that avoided being sent to the camps, certainly not all flowers and rainbows.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
I was not aware, before reading this book, of the Jews, and others in Italy, who had been exiled to small towns like Ospedaletto, most of whom were never sent to internment camps and certain death, who survived due to the kindness and compassion of the often illiterate, impoverished residents of those towns. The time is 1938 and the abuse of Jews is well under way. There are many in Europe, only too ready to take up the mantle of anti-Semitism. Those that disagreed were not tolerated. Often, they were consigned to the same fate as the Jews and other victims of Hitler's hateful racial laws. Those who stood by silently and said they had no idea about the atrocities, lied to their listeners and were complicit in the heinous behavior. It was impossible not to know that something terrible was occurring, even if one didn't know the specifics, even without any news of the outside world. When strangers keep arriving and disappearing, within your midst, you have to wonder why. Those who stand by silently today, ignoring the signs of the very same anti-Semitism, rising in a miasma of hate, growing and spreading in all directions, simply lie to themselves and leave the path of destruction open for other enemies to follow. Through the "child" eyes of Eric Lamet (born in 1930), we experience his terror and confusion as he is forced to leave Vienna and all those he loves, at the tender age of eight. What could he be expected to understand when subjected to a brutal body search? What could he deduce from his beloved servant's suddenly cold and cruel behavior toward him? How could he understand the random acts of unprovoked cruelty, encountered in the streets? He could not possibly fathom the nightmare that was to follow for the Jews, nor could he imagine a people, turned so inhumane with mass insanity, that they could stand by and not only let it happen, but participate in its fulfillment. I wondered if I could read this story without wanting to get up and shout invectives at all those Holocaust deniers, at all those who do not think Obama's incitement of the Middle East is naïve, and dangerous to the Jews, not only in Israel, but everywhere, even here in the United States. Hate thrives on ignorance and apathy. I am filled with a profound sadness for the lost souls of the Holocaust, for those, too, that survived, whose memory is even now being diminished and forgotten. I am filled with a profound fear of what new horror may come to pass in the future, for Jews everywhere, if our leaders do not solidly support their right to have independence and freedom and also, a Jewish homeland. Jews are a people, that people love to hate. Many of those that escaped came from well-to-do backgrounds, for who could gather the wherewithal to leave and resettle without ready money, without a certain amount of sophistication? Yet, overall, it was the kindness of strangers, moments of happenstance, which often meant the difference between life and death. For, after all, hardship was a given, but living was not. Reading this book did not reassure me, that in spite of all manner of suffering, Jews will survive as they always have done. Yet it definitely reinforced my ideas about their resilience and courage. Silence, in the face of injustice, makes one complicit in the process and enables it to spread. "Silence is not always golden".
shamrokz More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for anyone. Very well written. The things that people have had to suffer through throughout our history is shocking.My heart breaks for all the Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other good innocent people who suffered under the Nazi regime and to the millions who lost their loved ones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ok
JamesTorriani More than 1 year ago
This was a very moving and interesting book. I could not put this book down. It is the story of a boy, born in Vienna who flees Austria with his mother and they flee to several cities in Italy and France. After Mussolini made an aliance with Hitler, the author and other Jews are confined to a small village in southern Italy. After Italy surenders the Germans take over Italy and the authors life is in danger. Yet they are protected by the Italian people. The town police chief repeatedly tells the Nazis he will get back to them about any Jewsin town(Yet te Jewish people were required to regester and report daily) as a result of this all 46 Jews in this town survive the holocoast. The Catholic church likes to take credit for Jews that survived in Italy. The Italians protected the Jews because they were Italian not because they were nominal Catholics.
SuziRozi More than 1 year ago
Although the book looked interesting when I bought it, I never expected how good it really was. I knew nothing about the confining of Jewish and other select groups during the Fascist era in Italy (WWII), so I am enjoying this book on many levels. The writing is excellent, the story line smooth, and it's just fascinating. Wonderfully put together!
BalloonLady More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to read this book . . . but kept going back to it and got to a point where I couldn't put it down. In the middle I was thinking his story wasn't as horrific as many other Jews endured; his biggest complaint seemed to be boredom. But the more I read the more I felt for his families plight and was very moved by his story of the end of the war, reuniting with his father and the love his mother found while being interned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It's the first one I've read about what it was like to be Jewish but not in a concentration camp during that horrific time. It was something I'd never thought about before as all previous stories I'd read dealt with capture by the Nazis and the horrors of the camps.
scrappynana More than 1 year ago
I downloaded this book for free and found I couldn't put it down. The author made you feel everything he felt and witnessed. Highly recommend.
loriecountry More than 1 year ago
Every survivor of this horrible thing should write of their ordeal so we should NEVER forget and repeat this! It is a story of human struggle to survive through things that never should have happened.
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An interesting story through the eyes of a young boy about the Holocaust and the reighn of the Nazi monsters.
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RobinDfromPA More than 1 year ago
This book is strikigly different from other memoirs of victims of the Nazi holocaust. The author's experience in Italy is tragic in a more subtle way than the plight of so many Jews in the rest of Europe. And maybe it was that contrast that made it difficult for me to feel completely sympathetic to the author and his problems. In an era where most kids were growing up to quickly, I felt at times that the author was a bit whiny. The book is worth reading to get a better understanding of the different way the Italian government dealth with Hitler's policies, and the fascinating idea of confining Jews and political dissidents to remote areas where they could have no connection to the outside world.