Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Second Life

On Saturday 31st March the Dante Alighieri Society of Auckland hosted the monthly coffee morning, and this month's speaker was our former president Prof. Alan Poletti. Alan officially launched his book, A Second Life - Aprica to salvation in Switzerland 1943just published in English (an Italian edition is on the way) to gathering of Dante members and friends. The books tells the story of an adventurous 1943 event: over 200 Jews were guided across the mountains to Switzerland from internment in the Valtellina, thereby cheating the gas chambers of Auschwitz. 

The books tells the story of the over 200 Jews who were guided across the mountains from Italy to Switzerland.

Alan Poletti presenting the book

Alan's Italan grandfather came from Villa di Tirano, a small comune right on the Swiss border. He first heard mention of this mass flight in the year 2000. A dozen years later after research in several national archives, much reading, much climbing of possible paths, help from many local people and much help from Vera Neufeld,  the book is published. Vera at the age of nine, was one of those who found safety in Switzerland over those mountains.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. What an inspiring story to come out of such tragedy! I'll look out for the book - it sounds fascinating!!!

    1. One of the survivors, Vera Neufeld, lives in Australia, she was a child when she crossed those mountains, and she did it again with the author and his wife when they were researching for the book. I don't think that the book is sold in Australia though, you need to go to the link and get it on the net.

  2. Che bel libro! Terrò d'occhio quando esce in italiano, mi interessano questi libri documentari e la forza di queste persone! Baci

  3. non sapevo niente di questa bellissima storia.
    a ben vedere ci sono state molte storie simili durante il nazismo, anche se purtroppo non abbastanza. persone coraggiose, che hanno saputo da che parte era il giusto e sono usciti con coraggio dalla zona grigia.
    grazie di questa testimonianza

  4. You are always finding interesting books Ale!


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