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Growing up, I spent many summers in the charming hamlet of Mussons, nestled in the heart of Italy. I fondly remember being seated beside my beloved grandparents, my Nonni, and listening, wide-eyed, to tales of struggle and resilience from their heart-wrenching past. As a young girl, I felt moved by their narratives, especially my grandmother’s. Her stories tinged with an unspeakable sadness; even her eyes spoke worlds of suffering. Little did I know those shared moments would profoundly shape my future, inspiring me to become the voice for my family’s poignant past, etching their journey into history through my book, “Lilia.”

 

Over the years, I documented my mother’s harrowing past as she revisited the daggers that penetrated her heart so long ago. In reliving her difficult childhood, I watched as tears pooled before her. And yet, through the darkness, other memories surfaced, beautiful ones shrouded by pain but yearning to be remembered. She proves one can heal through trauma with love, resilience, and letting go. 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 during the horrors of World War II.

 

My mother lost two brothers in the war, one to the Russian front, and the other fell victim to the Nazi regime. Despite the darkness thrust upon my mother as a child, the ravages of war never dampened her faith—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 preserving the legacy of the lessons gathered by the people who paved the way before us is essential. We must learn from them to create a better world and future while remembering the legacy of 20th-century wars, which still haunt us today. Stories like this matter now more than ever—so they are never repeated, and history is never forgotten. 

 

In April 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, unjust 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. See the full story here.

 

This book is being birthed at the right time, not only for cultural reasons but also in light of our present political climate. On a global scale, people are motivated by fear. We are afraid of our countrymen, fearful of immigration, and our neighbors. My mother was a young girl coming of age during a time when the world feared its future. Her struggles propel readers to make peace with their childhood scars, rediscover their voices, and live heroically and fearlessly. May my family’s story remind people of the real threat of history repeating. Through our shared stories, we can author a more peaceful future by taking responsibility for each chapter and creating a world free of hate—a safe world for our children.

“Lilia” has become a source of inspiration, moving the younger generation to share this book with their parents and grandparents. In the process, it is sparking meaningful conversation about our many life experiences and bringing people together across generational and other differences creating understanding and empathy.

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Meet Linda Ganzini, a creative maven who has been weaving her artistic gifts into the fabric of her existence from a tender age. Her journey began with a spark of raw talent for painting and singing, igniting an unstoppable pursuit of creativity that led to a career with international accolades and awards in graphic design.

 

Raised as a first-generation Italian Canadian, Linda’s life has been a captivating blend of cultures and experiences. Her summer vacations in Italy imbued her with an insatiable wanderlust, compelling her to explore life beyond borders in the United States and Europe. 

 

Linda’s portfolio, however, goes beyond art and travel. Her most profound passion lies in threading her mother’s life story narrative, giving a voice to the unheard, and crafting a legacy that transcends generations. Her award-winning masterpiece, LILIA, is a testament to this, capturing the essence of her family’s rich history in a beautifully penned tribute.

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