Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism” as Want to Read:
Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A profoundly moving history of Italy’s Jews under the shadow of the Holocaust, told through the lives of five Jewish Italian families: the Ovazzas of Turin, who prospered under Mussolini and whose patriarch became a prominent fascist; the Foas of Turin, whose children included both an antifascist activist and a Fascist Party member; the Di Verolis of Rome, who struggled fo ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Picador (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Benevolence and Betrayal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Benevolence and Betrayal

The Italians by Luigi BarziniI Malavoglia by Giovanni VergaThe Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di LampedusaThe Betrothed by Alessandro ManzoniHistory Of The Italian People by Giulano Procacci
Best books about Italy
15th out of 73 books — 22 voters
A Room with a View by E.M. ForsterThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoUnder the Tuscan Sun by Frances MayesThe Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Reading Italy
194th out of 369 books — 113 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 276)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Different cities and districts in Italy during the 1930's and 1940's all seem to have had greatly varying numbers of Jewish populations. Multiplied by so many various class and/or work occupation status. And the reactions and complicated levels of anti-fascism as varied, as well. So this is researched history with literally hundreds of documented characters within 5 family groups and their lives and outcomes during these years. It is a difficult read, it does not read as a novel. Turin so differ ...more
Walking around Rome you occasionally notice small brass squares embedded in the sidewalk, each one engraved with the name of an Italian Jew who was sent to Auschwitz. In some cases entire families including babies were deported and killed. This story is horrifying but fairly well-known.

Benevolence and Betrayal goes beyond the familiar horror into the more complex nature of the experience of Italian Jews, who were (and are) deeply assimilated into Italian society, and reluctant to believe that t
Joan Brown
Feb 19, 2008 Joan Brown rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Joan by: Kelly Hicks
Fascinating book. At first I felt a bit like I was reading a textbook, but, especially with the later families and with the updates on these families at the end, I feel that I know the people, though as always I stand in awe of their bravery. I can't imagine risks like this - the hiding and running from, or risking the dangers of providing sanctuary for...The wealth of primary source research made this come alive. The letters and diaries and reported conversations are those of real people, not j ...more
This book provides fantastic insight into the plight of Italian Jews during the Holocaust. I found it especially poignant to read while living in Italy, so close to many of the events. The fate of Jews during this period was not cut and dry and neither was the response on the part of the Italian government. I was most impressed to learn the pivotal role played by the Catholic leadership in Genoa (where we currently reside), who worked alongside the Jewish underground to rescue thousands of Jews. ...more
Carol Simon
Excellent non-fictional discussion of five extended Italian families under Fascism, with a detailed and fascinating explanation of historical trends, currents, etc. Well-written, easy to follow and well documented.
Kelly Hicks
First Stille book I read, and I was totally hooked. Such a compelling history of these families. I had no idea of the details of Italian Jewish families under fascism, usually because Hitler and Nazism takes center stage. I learned so much about the historical situation of the Jews in Italy--starting in Roman times and up through WWII.
Iain McNab
I was led to this through Bassani's beautiful novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. This history of five Italian Jewish families under fascism fleshes out much of the historical background to the novel and is equally moving on the personal tragedies.
Not always "easy reading" but a solid exploration of how Italy moved from a place where Jews were at home to a place where they were at risk during WWII. Alexander Stille is an American journalist with a historical bent.
Sep 25, 2007 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This book sheds light on the little-covered WWII experiences of Italian Jewish families. It is a great book - I had a hard time putting it down and didn't want it to end.
Danielle Fogerty
Fantastic book about Italian Jews during WW2 a subject I haven't read alot about. I would reccomend this book to anyone interested in the Holocaust
heartbreaking / fascinating stories of Italian Jews in WWII Italy.
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as half-read
Shelves: jew, italy
Got up to pg. 210. Good but not in the mood
Joanna Pirtle
Joanna Pirtle marked it as to-read
Sep 30, 2015
Jenny Horvath
Jenny Horvath marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2015
Amy marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2015
Robin Y
Robin Y marked it as to-read
Sep 21, 2015
Kareemah marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2015
Suzanne marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2015
Nikki Robinson
Nikki Robinson marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2015
Deborah marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2015
Chelsea marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2015
Sanket marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2015
Laura added it
Aug 19, 2015
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2015
Hanna Cooper
Hanna Cooper marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2015
Elizabeth Fowler
Elizabeth Fowler marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2015
Uncle marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Holocaust 1 2 Mar 10, 2013 04:14PM  
  • Kasztner's Train: The True Story of Rezso Kaztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust
  • They Dared Return: An Epic Story of Jewish Refugees Who Escaped Nazi Germany, But Returned for Vengeance
  • Naples '44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy
  • Hannah Senesh, Her Life and Diary
  • Country of Ash: A Jewish Doctor in Poland, 1939-1945
  • Conversations with Elie Wiesel
  • The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany
  • Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz: An Essay in Historical Interpretation
  • Miriam's Kitchen
  • Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
  • The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport:  A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival
  • We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust
  • Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews
  • Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death
  • The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home
  • The Joys of Yiddish
  • The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust
Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic The Future of the Past The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi The Force of Things: A Marriage in War and Peace Citizen Berlusconi: vita e imprese

Share This Book