Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fiorello's Fascinating Sister

Here's something I didn't know: The mother of New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was Jewish, and his sister—born in Greenwich Village in 1881—was interned by the Nazis. The memoir Gemma LaGuardia Gluck wrote after her return to the United States in 1947 has been re-released 46 years after its first publication. It sounds like a great read for biography buffs.

While Gluck details her time at the Ravensbruck women's concentration camp with great clarity — she is believed to be the only American-born woman interned by the Nazis — the book is about more than that. Her life spanned the great wave of immigration to the United States in the 1880s to the presidency of John F. Kennedy. She grew up in New York City and the Old West, later led a cosmopolitan life in Budapest and lived her last years in a municipal housing project in Long Island City, Queens, built during her brother's term as mayor of New York City. [Link]

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