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Oral history interview with Mario Bensasson

Oral History | Accession Number: 2009.370 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0562

Dr. Mario Bensasson, born on September 10, 1932 in Tunis, Tunisia, discusses his family who was part of the “grana,” the small number of Italian Jewish elite of Tunisia; how his father owned several large factories and was involved in exports; how his father had fought and was decorated for valor in the Italian Army during World War I; how his father was a friend of Angelo Donate, an Italian Jewish banker instrumental in saving Jews in Nice during World War II; having Jewish and non-Jewish friends in Tunisia; encountering antisemitism, but as part of a wealthy family, avoiding persecution and hunger during the war; how his family enjoyed a fine standard of living; his family’s move to the city of La Marsa when Tunis was bombed; his recollections of the day his father was called to report to the Germans at the synagogue; how his father’s citations and various medals he received during WW I impressed the German soldier on duty and he was allowed to return home; how Italian citizens, including Jews, were treated with favor during the German Occupation; how in contrast, after the Allies liberated Tunisia, his father was considered an “enemy” and interned as an Italian citizen; and his family’s departure in the late 1940s for France, where he wanted to study medicine but instead followed his father’s wishes to study law and political science.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mario Bensasson
Peggy Frankston
interview:  2009 April 23
1 digital file : MP3.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:23:22
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