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 friends 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


This captivating saga and riveting true story takes the reader on an inspiring journey through a brave girl’s unwavering courage and a family’s bond and struggles to survive the cruelties of a fascist Italy during World War II and the Holocaust. 

​     Lilia brings alive the characteristics of a quaint Northern Italian village. It provides the reader insight into a forgotten piece of history while offering an eye-opening account of the little-known Italian genocide, as told through one girl’s experience and a family whose depth of heart overcomes a war tearing them apart.

      From a young age, Lilia resigns herself to a world penetrated by insurmountable misery. The burden of war, loneliness, and adult responsibilities rob Lilia of a carefree childhood. Witnessing her parents escape inconceivable challenges to stay alive during the Nazi occupation becomes Lilia’s greatest sorrow, one she makes the most heroic efforts to conceal. Ultimately, tragic loss dims the flame of Lilia’s belief in her future and her chance at freedom. How can they survive in the face of adversity? Will Lilia’s dreams rise above her scars? Just as her prayers feel unanswered, a seed of love ignites hope for the future, changing her destiny forever, leading her towards an unforgettable and inspiring triumph over tragedy.

      Lilia reminds us of the courage and resilience inherent in us and the potential it has to save not only our lives but heal our world. Where there is love, there is hope.

Lilia Ganzini — Kelowna. B.C. Canada

Left to right: Giovanni,

Lilia, Bruno and Riccardo Meneguzzi

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

Maria and Virginio Meneguzzi

Left to right: Virginio, Lilia, Maria, Riccardo and Bruno Meneguzzi


“Linda's writing is lyrical and film-like. She has something here that translates to gold dust and great storytelling. Her writing style is not flowery, nor overly embellished, but succinct and powerfully evocative. I'm excited to watch her journey as it evolves – one more string to her beautiful bow.”



Copyright © 2021 Linda Ganzini. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy.