The men and women interviewed speak movingly about that grim period, many of them describing emotionally the last sight they had of their parents or other family members. Some interviews take place in Italian cities — Rome, Venice, Milan and Florence, in apartments or on the streets; others are conducted at Auschwitz itself. One woman recalls how next-door neighbors, who had been friends, simply ignored her family’s cries for help when Germans came to take them away. Another recalls how her family was turned away at the Swiss border, back into the clutches of the Germans. Many note they had never expected deportation, seeing themselves primarily as Italians, not Jews.
The cinematic technique for this moving record is modest, geared simply to the documentation of painful memories. Some of the material has been shot on video and transferred to film, and technical qualities are more than adequate.