LINDA GANZINI AUTHOR
Love. Resilience. Legacy. These are the lessons my mother taught me in her struggles through poverty and the horrors of World War II. Lilia reads like a novel or scenes from a movie. This coming-of-age book provides a window onto a period of known history but also reveals an eye-opening account into the tragedies of genocide suffered by northern Italy at the hands of war.
Over the years, I have listened to my mother revisit the daggers that penetrated her heart so long ago, and I’ve watched as tears pooled before her. Opening the door to a harrowing past was initially a struggle for her but ultimately proved to be cathartic. In reliving her difficult childhood, other memories also surfaced…beautiful memories that had been shrouded by pain but yearned to be remembered.
My mother is brimming with incredible and often devastating stories, and yet she harbors no hatred for those who caused her family so much hardship. She is proof that one can heal through horrific cultural traumas. However, we must keep in mind the legacy of 20th-century wars, which still haunt us today.
I spent many summers growing up with my grandparents in the heart of the sweet hamlet of Mussons—a quaint Northern Italian village. Sitting with my Nonni, I listened as they painted for me the hardships my family endured throughout their lives. Even as a child, I could feel the sadness and grief of their past, especially with my grandmother, whose eyes spoke worlds of suffering.
My mother lost two brothers in the war, one to the Russian front, and one fell victim to the Nazi regime. Despite the darkness thrust upon my mother as a child, she never gave up believing the depth of her love would heal her family from layers of loss and despair. Stories like this one don’t often make it to the big screen. But it’s important to preserve the legacy of the lessons gathered by the people who came before us.
In May 2018, I accepted an invitation to the 73rd anniversary of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp liberation in Germany. There were 600 people from 20 countries attending. I journeyed to this remote camp to pay my respects to my uncle and countless others who faced an unimaginable, unjustly fate. I felt my heart tear open, but this sobering experience called upon me to honor his life and my mother's fond memories. I left those grounds forever changed with a profound deepening of my words as I wrote them in my book. For more on my Flossenbürg experience, see my blog.
This book is one of the most important endeavors and creative expressions in my lifetime. There are many facets of the war people know little to nothing about, so we need to keep telling these stories. In sharing the history of the ones that came before us, we honor them, learn from them, and help create a world where their dreams of love and family are kept alive.
In the early years, Linda developed her creative expression through singing, art, and writing. She received a scholarship to art college and embarked on an adventurous journey abroad as an international graphic designer.
Throughout her career, Linda continued to pursue her passions, gaining global recognition as a vocalist and artist, and Linda’s love for the language of words shaped her life in unexpected ways by giving birth to a new journey—her debut novel, Lilia. Linda continues to share her captivating works of “heart” in the place she calls home, Los Angeles, California, her canvas, and source of creative inspiration. Visit the author at: lindaganziniauthor.com and connect on Instagram @lindaganzini.
Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, Germany
Flossenbürg Book of Prisoners