Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II
Edited with an introduction by Lawrence DiStasi. Foreward by Sandra M. Gilbert.
1942, the first full year of World War II for the United States, was a time of fear and uncertainty for Americans of Italian descent. Wartime regulations required that 600,000 Italian “resident aliens” carry photo-identity cards, restricted their freedom of movement, and forced an estimated 10,000 along the West Coast to relocate. Local police searched homes for guns, cameras, and shortwave radios. Within six months after war was declared, 1,500 Italian resident aliens were arrested for curfew, travel, and contraband violations, and some 250 were imprisoned in military camps for up to two years. Even some naturalized citizens had to leave their homes and businesses because the military decided that they were too dangerous to remain in strategic areas.
And then, no one talked about it. All but forgotten in the postwar years, obscured by the story of Japanese American internment, officially denied, and simply repressed as a disturbing and shameful memory, this secret story—una storia segreta—has only recently come to light. Una Storia Segreta presents the stories of these Americans, often in their own words.
Paper: 327 pp. B/w photos.