My name is Franco Cesana. I was born in 1931 to a Jewish family living in Balongna, Italy.
Life From 1940-1944
When i was born, there had already been a fascist leader ruling Italy named Benito Mussolini. Although he was fascist, the Jews in Balogna lived safely for the time being. I went to public school when I was old enough, and my family was part of regular Italian society.
In about 1938, i was expelled from school because of anti-Semitic laws in Italy. The other Jewish children had to form a makeshift school at our synagogue. At the time i didn't understand what was so different about me and my friends that I had to be separated from them. My father died in 1939, and the rest of our family moved to Turin.
Germany invaded Italy after Mussolini was overthrown. My family needed to escape, so we hid in the mountains to avoid getting caught. I couldn't imagine what my other Jewish friends were going through. I joined the Justice and Liberty partisan group when I was 12, making me Italy's youngest Partisan.
Life while in hiding
I was on a scouting mission in the mountains for my family. I Heard a noise and turned around to realize that a Nazi was staring straight at me, the barrel of his gun pointed the same way as his cold eyes. I was paralyzed with fear. I was weak, and he pulled the trigger. My body was returned to my family on my 13th birthday.