Ten years after her return home from the lager, Piera Sonnino found the courage and the strength to tell the story of the extermination of her family by the Nazis' the tragedy of deportation, the death of her parents, her three brothers and two sisters in the concentration camps. Extraordinarily written, this account is strikingly accurate in bringing to life the methodical and relentless siege, the erosion of the freedoms and human dignity of the Italian Jews, from Mussolini's racial laws of 1938 to the final catastrophe of Auschwitz. In describing her arrival at the death camps, her writing dwells on the sea of mud, on a 'dimension that is completely contrary to all that which is human, a dimension that has even absorbed its own creators'. But the strength of her testimony rises from the mud, the personal diary becomes a universal voice that gives a name to that which cannot be expressed. Through her words, memory has the power to disarm this unspeakable evil.
PIERA SONNINO was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. She was later transferred to Bergen Belsen and Braunschweig. The sole survivor of a family of eight, she returned to Italy in 1950. She died in 1999. ANN GOLDSTEIN is an editor at the New Yorker. She has translated works by Roberto Calasso, Alessandro Baricco, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Aldo Buzzi. The recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award, she is the editor of the forthcoming collected works of Primo Levi. She lives in New York, USA.