Erich Lifsch'tz, born May 27th, 1930, son of Markus Lifsch'tz and Carlotte Szyfra Brandwein endured 67 months---more than 2000 days---much of his childhood---running, hiding, trying to stay alive. From Vienna to Milan, Paris, Nice, to San Remo and Ospedaletto, we follow "Enrico" and his resourceful, loving and protective mother as they try not to become part of Hitler's hell.
The Lifsch'tzes, an affluent family, owned a hotel in Vienna. Life was filled with all the accoutrements of a privileged lifestyle. Fleeing from the enemy, Lamet describes how one day he turned from a pampered child into one on the run.
We feel "Mutti's" (his mother) courage and determination to keep her only child alive. The reader lives along with Enrico as he shares details of his lost childhood. We come to understand how he learned German, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish and English. Survival. We wish for a happily-ever-after, but we know it can't happen. Sanity intact and free at last, the gift of remaining alive is bittersweet.
I had the good fortune of meeting the author, Eric Lamet, a number of years ago. He's an upbeat and kindly gentleman who, in light of a lost childhood, could easily have been an embittered, angry human being.
His story is unique. If you have read many books about the Holocaust, you may question why you should read yet another one. The answer is, his is the only book ever written about Jews being in the internment camps of Italy. That alone, makes it a significant complement to our knowledge about World War II and a compelling read. Although the circumstances are tragic and sad, Lamet's ability to view life with humor separate his writing from thousands of others. Lamet shares that his mother was frequently asked how they managed to survive. "It was our sense of humor," she would reply.
The author explains that he wrote this book for his children; that they will better understand events that molded him into the man he became. In simple fashion, the author tells us how he survived Hitler's takeover and occupation of Europe. The twist is that he re-lives it for us through the eyes of the child that he was at that time. Surprisingly, Lamet writes without hate nor, wanting revenge.
Whether you view this book as history or human interest, it is a 'must-read'.