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Memories of Jewish Life: From Italy to Jerusalem, 1918-1960

Overview

In this lyrical memoir, translated for the first time into English, noted Jewish historian, author, translator, and activist Augusto Segre not only recounts his rich life experiences but also evokes the changing world of Italian Jewry in the twentieth century. Raised in the traditional Jewish community of Casale Monferrato in the former ghetto, Segre depicts the changes wrought on his people by emancipation, fascism, world wars, and the Holocaust.
Segre was a vocal opponent of ...
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Lincoln 2008 Hardcover 640 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Brand new book. MEMOIRS. In this lyrical memoir, translated for the first time into English, noted Jewish historian, ... author, translator, and activist Augusto Segre not only recounts his rich life experiences but also evokes the changing world of Italian Jewry in the twentieth century. Raised in the traditional Jewish community of Casale Monferrato in the former ghetto, Segre depicts the changes wrought on his people by emancipation, fascism, world wars, and the Holocaust. Segre was a vocal opponent of Italian fascism and a combatant in Italy's partisan war against the Nazis. With the help of Italian peasants, he and his family spent eighteen months evading German and Italian fascist soldiers during the German occupation of Italy. Segre also was an ardent Zionist who helped refugees escape to Israel and ultimately immigrated himself in 1979. He spent three months in Israel in 1948, chronicling Israel's War of Independence. With an ethnographic e Read more Show Less

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Overview

In this lyrical memoir, translated for the first time into English, noted Jewish historian, author, translator, and activist Augusto Segre not only recounts his rich life experiences but also evokes the changing world of Italian Jewry in the twentieth century. Raised in the traditional Jewish community of Casale Monferrato in the former ghetto, Segre depicts the changes wrought on his people by emancipation, fascism, world wars, and the Holocaust.
Segre was a vocal opponent of Italian fascism and a combatant in Italy’s partisan war against the Nazis. With the help of Italian peasants, he and his family spent eighteen months evading German and Italian fascist soldiers during the German occupation of Italy. Segre also was an ardent Zionist who helped refugees escape to Israel and ultimately immigrated himself in 1979.  He spent three months in Israel in 1948, chronicling Israel’s War of Independence. With an ethnographic eye, Segre interweaves his own memories with those of his rabbi father and uses newspapers, public documents, and letters to reveal the shared emotions and moods of a people and the impact the greatest events in European and Jewish history had on them all. The trend of Italian Jews toward assimilation was evident in Segre’s time, and an awareness of it pervades this work. Memories of Jewish Life provides a rare glimpse into a traditional, religious and vibrant working-class Jewish community that no longer exists.
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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
"In this beautifully written book, newly translated into English, Augusto Segre recounts his life experiences with insight, philosophy, and gracefully told anecdotes. . . . The traditional religious and vibrant working-class Jewish community that Segre describes, alas, no longer exists but will live forever in the pages of this wonderful book."—Jewish Book World
National Jewish Post & Opinion

"Segre’s fascinating narrative enables us to understand some things about the Italian Jewish community, especially its horrible experiences just before and during World War II. Our understanding of and appreciation for Italian Jews are greatly enhanced by this fine book."—Morton I. Teicher, National Jewish Post & Opinion

— Morton I. Teicher

Shofar

"The oral, conversational style of the original Italian has been masterfully rendered by Siporin’s translated prose, and readers will delight in the discovery that this important book, which sheds light on a little known community and a very dark chapter in Italy’s past, proves moreover to be a most enjoyable reading experience as the memoirs of an individual become the collective history of an entire community."—Rachele Longo Lavorato, Shofar

— Rachele Longo Lavorato

National Jewish Post & Opinion - Morton I. Teicher
"Segre's fascinating narrative enables us to understand some things about the Italian Jewish community, especially its horrible experiences just before and during World War II. Our understanding of and appreciation for Italian Jews are greatly enhanced by this fine book."—Morton I. Teicher, National Jewish Post & Opinion
Shofar - Rachele Longo Lavorato
"The oral, conversational style of the original Italian has been masterfully rendered by Siporin's translated prose, and readers will delight in the discovery that this important book, which sheds light on a little known community and a very dark chapter in Italy's past, proves moreover to be a most enjoyable reading experience as the memoirs of an individual become the collective history of an entire community."—Rachele Longo Lavorato, Shofar
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803213784
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 542
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Augusto Segre (1915–86) was born in the northern Italian town of Casale Monferrato and died a citizen of Israel. He was a professor at the Italian Rabbinical College and the Lateran Pontifical University and authored nine books. Steve Siporin is a professor of folklore at Utah State University. He is the author of American Folk Masters: The National Heritage Fellows.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Maps

1 Once Upon a Time 1

2 The Rabbi's Family 30

3 It's Not Always Easy to Become a Rabbi 52

4 The Community Council 62

5 First Experiences 72

6 Casalese Anti-Zionism 87

7 Jewish Festivals and Solemnities 101

8 Community and Family Life 114

9 Farewell Visit 125

10 Rome, Friends, and Teachers 138

11 Jewish Rome 163

12 Students and Politicians 175

13 From Police Stations to the Secretaryship of the Union 191

14 The Racial Campaign Breaks Out 201

15 Dante Lattes Leaves 213

16 Working with Raffaele Cantoni 222

17 Who Leaves and Who Stays 234

18 I Return Home 248

19 Asti and Moncalvo 266

20 Commuter 280

21 The Nazi Invasion 292

22 Partisan Life 309

23 April 25 333

24 The Prisoner Emerling 343

25 Toward a Normal Life 353

26 Return to Rome 365

27 The State of Israel Is Reborn 381

28 New Activities of the Zionist Federation 390

29 Sailing for Israel 400

30 Israel at War 409

31 A Happy Encounter 431

32 The Slansky Case 439

33 Life Goes On 442

Notes 451

Glossary 485

References 493

Index 499

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