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Oral history interview with Piera Bassi

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.274 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0274

Piera Levy Bassi, born on October 19, 1923 in Ferrara, Italy, describes her parents and three sisters; their upper-middle class family; attending a Jewish school for five grades and then finishing in a regular school until 9th grade when Mussolini ordered all Jewish schools closed in 1938; going to a teacher training program; taking her finals in Rome, Italy in 1941 and the separation of Jews and non-Jews during the test; the life of the Jewish community in Ferrara; the relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish community; the 1938 anti-Jewish laws; being afraid to speak against Mussolini; her father's experience in WWI; her fascist family; being in a fascist youth group and their activities and credo; the Jewish newspaper 'Israel', and 'Ade' the Jewish women organization; learning about Zionism; displaced persons camps supported by Mussolini; her family not leaving because her mother had cancer; food shortages when the war broke out; going to Rome; the German takeover; relatives being taken to Auschwitz; her family separating and hiding; being taken with her mother by bus to a large military school in the middle of Rome; passing as half Christians from Bologna and being allowed to leave; making fake IDs; reuniting with her father and sister; finding work tutoring children; the death of her mother in Rome in 1944 and her burial as a non-Jew, so they wouldn't be discovered; leaving Rome and the Americans arriving; the American soldiers provided; working in the PWD Treasury Department; services in the reopened synagogue in Rome; the reassertion of Jewish identity; joining a group planning to go to Palestine; the trip by boat to Israel; being stopped by the British and taken to Atlit and from there to Kibbutz Sede Eliyahu; getting married to her boyfriend from Italy; visiting Italy in 1948; the birth of her children; and the death of her father.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Piera Bassi
interview:  1996 February 01
6 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-08-03 11:26:24
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