My name is Leone Sonnino, born in Rome June 24th, 1924. I come from a Jewish family who lived in the ghetto of Rome.
Question: When did you first realized that being Jew meant something special?
Answer: When, in 1938, the racial laws were promulgated in Italy by the Fascist regime led by Benito Mussolini. At that moment, I knew perfectly well what it meant to be a Jew in a foreign land. When these laws were promulgated, as it happened to the Jews in all countries occupied by the Nazi-Fascists, we lost all our rights. Later, in 1943, following the armistice with the Allied troops and the subsequent German occupation of Italy, I was forced to hide in the mountains to escape deportation to concentration camps. I met partisans, Americans and other Jews fleeing the cities. Since June 1944, with the liberation of Rome by the Allies I could return to Rome. In those days I met the boys of the Palestinian Brigade who were enlisted with the British army and contributed to the liberation of Rome. For me it was a joy to see young Jews which proudly showed the Star of David on their uniforms. A symbol that until a few days before was used to distinguish us from the others in order to be easily identified and caught.