LILIA – A True Story of Love, Courage, and Survival in the Shadow of War.
"Memories of war and a stolen childhood still burn in my heart and tear at my soul. I was a young girl who was made to endure the unthinkable. During the occupation, German soldiers invaded our village – a known hideout for partisans. Spies acted as partisans by day and informants to the Nazis by night. Unable to trust anyone, we lived in silence so deafening it was torture. The darkest day of my life came when the Nazis took my brother. I felt helpless as the war tore our family apart. His last words to my mother: 'Mama, if I don't go now, they will kill us all.' I saw the pain in my mother's eyes. I felt her heart cry words she could never speak. Haunted by death, I prayed: 'God, let me grow up before I die.' Like the war, my life was senseless." – Lilia Ganzini, age 84
This captivating saga unveils the true story of how a brave girl's unwavering courage and love for her family help sustain their struggle to survive the atrocities of World War II. Just as Lilia's prayers feel unanswered, a seed of love ignites hope for her future, changing her destiny forever.
From four years of age, Lilia is forced to resign herself to a world penetrated by insurmountable misery. The burden of war, loneliness, and adult responsibilities rob Lilia of a carefree childhood. Denied her innocence, she loses faith, feeling her life is worthless. Witnessing her parents escape inconceivable challenges to stay alive during the Nazi occupation is Lilia's greatest sorrow, one she makes the most heroic efforts to conceal. Ultimately, the tragic loss of two of her brothers, one on the Russian front, and one to a German concentration camp dim the flame of Lilia's belief in her future.
This riveting tale provides the reader insight into a piece of forgotten history, and an eye-opening account of the Italian genocide, as told through the experience of one girl’s family, whose depth of heart overcomes a war tearing them apart. How can they survive in the face of adversity? Will Lilia's dreams rise above her scars? As she embarks on the road into adulthood, Lilia's destined path leads her towards an unforgettable, and inspiring triumph over tragedy.
Lilia Ganzini — Kelowna. B.C. Canada
"After securing my passport and a third-class ticket, I was set to leave my country behind for America on July 25, 1956 aboard the SS Andrea Doria luxury liner. Due to unexpected document delays, immigration moved up my departure date to March 3 on the Saturnia. July 25th, the Andrea Doria collided with MS Stockholm causing numerous casualties, making it one of history’s most tragic maritime disasters. The ship capsized and sank the following morning disappearing into the Atlantic. My life was spared that day. Destiny had a better plan for me." – Lilia
Left to right: Giovanni,
Lilia, Bruno and Riccardo Meneguzzi
Maria and Virginio Meneguzzi
Left to right: Virginio, Lilia, Maria, Riccardo and Bruno Meneguzzi
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