Reader's Comments

All comment for A Child al Confino are valid also for A Gift From the Enemy as they are the same book from two different publishers.

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Hello, Enrico.

We met two weeks ago, at the Repair Café. Right after, I went to the library and found your book, which I just finished reading. What a heartfelt and moving memoir! I learned a lot from reading it, and from the extraordinary tale of your very special parents. Thank you, for helping me at the Repair Café, and for sharing your experiences in this book.

All the best,

Hello Mr. Lamet, I just read your book and enjoyed it from beginning to end. I felt for each of your characters and loved how you walked us through the different countries. I felt as though I came along for the ride.

One thing I was disappointed in was Pietro's hostility towards America. Did he forget that America set him free? I couldn't help but wonder how many Americans died so he could live free.

They lived through a time that caused unspeakable pain in their lives...may they all rest in peace.


Just finished your lovely book. I can't thank you enough.

Bob Messina

Forgot to leave my e-address:

Dear Mr Lamet, I just finished to read "A child al Confino". I am truly touched and glad at the same time to be reminded that many people had to died in order for us to have a more stable and comfortable life today. Thank you for a wonderful book. I am from Mazara del Vallo (now living in Norway) and I am very courious to know more about Pietro Russo. I had an uncle with the same name. It was an extremely gentle gest of you to bring him back to his own home town. I'll be back in Mazara in 3 weeks time and would love to bring some flowers to Pietro on your behalf. Can you tell me more about him and his family?

Hi again, Mr Lamet
I left my comment yesterday and inadvertently did not leave a name or email address just in case you wanted to reply. My name is Rick Wolberg, and my email address is: I apologize for not identifying myself. I also would like to remark that in Jewish halacha (law), it is a serious sin to be jealous of another person. However, there is one exception to that. If you are jealous of another's scholarship, that is acceptable because it is a healthy jealousy that can inspire you to strive for perfection in spiritual areas. With that said and done, I am very jealous of your artistic genius and your brilliance. You are certainly a credit to your people and to humanity. Best regards. R.Wolberg

Hi Mr.Lamet,
I read your very interesting article (excerpt) on "Jews in the Performing Arts." I'm sure you would want to know of an inaccuracy. You wrote: "Kol Nidre, the most moving prayer sung at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in which the Jew begs God to spare his life in the coming year despite all the sins he has committed." The Kol Nidre prayer has absolutely nothing to do with begging God to spare our life. The Kol Nidre is not even a prayer; It is a (legal) declaration asking that any vows we make in the coming year be retroactively annulled. I hope you don't mind me making that correction.

Hello Mr. Lamet,
I bought your book when you came to the Italian cultural center at Pope Generoso in Tuckahoe, New York. You had a wonderful and heart-felt presentation about your confinement in Ospadeletto.
I am a high school teacher and one of our units of study is memoir. My students were mesmerized as I read excerpts from your story. Your memoir was fascinating. You were able to grasp the voice of the 11-year-boy who is forced to leave all he has known without really understanding why. Your curiosity and drive was truly inspiring.
I am so happy to have met you and to have read your memoir.
Estrella Quinonez
My email

Tanti complimenti, signor Lamet per il suo libro.Grazie, perchè con la sua testimonianza ci ricorda ancora la tragedia della guerra e del razzismo con tutto quello che ne è derivato. Nessuno deve dimenticare, e chi come lei ha vissuto in prima persona quelle esperienze, ha il dovere di raccontarle, affinchè, di generazione in generazione, non si perda mai la memoria. Mi ha incuriosito molto il paese di Ospedaletto d'Alpinolo, di cui non ero a conoscenza.Oltre ad aver avuto tante persone che le hanno voluto bene e l'hanno aiutata, ha avuto una grande madre. Belle le sue parole quando le dice di imparare più cose possibili, perchè quelle nessuno mai avrebbe potuto portargliele via.
Grazie ancora per aver condiviso con noi un pezzo della sua vita.
Con amicizia Mirella

complimenti con il suo racconto mi ha fatto capire come sia stato difficile vivere in quel periodo e cosa si provava essere confinati io ho soltanto 35 anni e con il suo racconto ho imparato un pezzo di storia che nn conoscevo come il confino.
p.s. se tutte le mamme di questo mondo fossero come la sua avremmo di certo un mondo migliore.
le auguro un mondo di bene e le chiedo scusa da italiano x quello che ha dovuto passare.
con affetto carlo

Caro Enrico ho letto il tuo bellissimo libro fa commuovere certo passare tutto ciò che hai tu condiviso in quei tempi per noi oggi deve essere una tragedia mi piace tanto tua madre nei suoi comportamenti cosi decisi ma sempre perfetti.

I just finished your book, A Child al Confino this morning. I was completely engrossed in your story and prayed (really) that your mom and Pietro would have a happy end together. Your mother really was the one who saved your life! I would have loved to meet her--amazing woman. And I loved you and Pietro, too. You were/are a good, good son. As you describe Pietro, I would have fallen for him, too. (I am also a single mother of one son) I do believe that your story would become an epic length academy award winning movie if Spielburg did it. Have you talked to him? You can probably contact the Shoah Project and reach him that way.
I am Sicilian on my mother's side and I wish someone would write about what was happening down there. Did you ever become religious? It is not too late, if no. Eric, you are a fantastic storyteller and I wish you and yours well.
Nina Cardenas

Thanks to all who left messages. If you asked a question, but left no name, sorry.

Sehr geehrter Herr Lamet,
da Sie meines Wissens nach sehr gut deutsch sprechen, mache ich es mir einfach und schreibe in meiner Mutersprache.
Ich beende gerade die italienische Übersetzung Ihres Buches und bin berührt und, sofern man das bei dieser Thematik sagen kann, begeistert. Gerade Deutsche meiner Generation (ich bin 33) wurden und werden von Kindheit an mit den Grausamkeiten der Shoah konfrontiert. Ihr Buch gibt in wunderbaren leisen und klaren Tönen einen sehr menschlichen und eindringlichen Einblick in das, was die Vertreibungen für Kinder und Erwachsene bedeuteten.
Ein herrliches Buch, bei dem auch Ihre Übersetzerin phantastische Arbeit geleistet hat. Planen Sie eine Übersetzung ins Deutsche? Werden Sie Ihr Buch einmal persönlich in Europa vorstellen?
Herzlichste Grüße aus Bielefeld, Deutschland
Silvia Scheffler

Congratulations, Eric. You've brought alive the characters of intelligent people shining even in difficult times, and the European's daily war-time life which I always want to learn about. More important, it helps me, a born-Chinese who has many queries about international politics and religion conflicts, understand the history in a more enjoyable and relaxing way than most textbooks. I thank you for your good work! Wish I would be able to do something useful for future generations in a similar way some day. Belinda from New York

Oops, I forgot my name
Rossana from: not far from via Aniello Falcone

Enrico, I've just read the Italian translation of ' A child al confino', it took me only a weekend to finish it. It's beautiful, you really deserve a prize!

I love your book, A Child, Al Confino. It really touched me so much...--Vivian

Eric - I work in a library and just opened the book, A Child al Confino. Reading the flap I saw the wise words your mother said to you. I wish she could know how those words are being passed on to touch thousands of others. Bless you, Karen

I read your book and was uplifted and inspired by it. I believe you should get the Pulitzer Prize for it. I had the pleasure of meeting you and your wife and have posted our meeting on Youtube at

All the Best, in peace and reconciliation,
Nicola DeMarco
Riverdale, New York

Any references to A GIFT FROM THE ENEMY refer to the first printing of my book. Now, republished by Adams Media, it is the same book with a few added photos and a list of the iterned during the period 1940/43. The only thing that has changed is the title.

"A Gift from the Enemy" is truly a book worth reading. It is a heartfelt and heart rending story told by a young boy of his war time internment in fascist italy. Unlike most wartime stories, this one is different and captivating. Most of us are aware of the Nazi death camps, but this is a completely different picture told with with and humor. One really has to read the book. It s an easy read and difficult to put down once you get started. The vivid depiction of life in an Italian village in war-time Italy and the life of the many people interned here is great and fascinating. I recommend this book to one and all. Fred Mazda ( 610-353-2669 )
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"A Gift from the Enemy" is a vivid and compelling true story of a mother and son who endured the horrors of World War 11 as prisoners in Italy. A must read for those ready to learn about the power of a mother's love. H. G. Superintendent Of Schools, Ret.; Educational Advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush
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Dear Mr. Lamet: I came upon your book "Gift From The Enemy" at the library. It intrigued me, so I borrowed it and promptly read it. It is absolutely fascinating.
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Today, I finally finished your book and thoroughly enjoyed reading your account of your life as a child during the war. How you were able to remember and share with crispness and vividness the details of your emotional trauma and your physical experiences you encountered imparted a view that most people don't read about, that of the lens of the war as seen by a young boy. Thank you for writing and sharing your book.
C. Pozen, Florida


Hi! I just finished the book you published "A Gift from the Enemy" by Eric Lamet and I adored it. Please let the author know I am so glad he took the time to write this fine book and give us his very unusual story. Thanks,

P.T.L. Instructor MDC Homestead

From: Phil C., Hinsdale, MA. Sent: Sun 11/4/2007 11:09 PM
To: Library SU Press
Subject: Eric Lamet

Please get word to Mr Eric Lamet that I feel his book, "A Gift from the Enemy" is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read. And I have read many stories of WW II in my 71 years. I was stationed in Munich for two years after the war, and studied the psychology of the Nazi era. Mr Lamet is a wonderful person to bring us this story.

Thank you.
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"Sylvan" (Pittsfield,MA) I loved the book for the amazing story, the author's memory and a mother's love and devotion for her son. It is a book of survival in very difficult times. Though written about the Holocaust period this is not about the Holocaust. The details are amazing and the writing allows me to step into the picture. A work covering an unknown chapter of WW II history.

Not your average Holocaust memoir, July 17, 2007 "East Coast Mayor" (Gainesville, FL) - This is a refreshing World War II memoir set in Italy throughout the war. It is not a bloated specific history of the time nor an overly mellodramatic personal experience. A Gift From the Enemy is a touching beautiful day in the life piece of a boy caught in a world beyond his control. Escaping Austria in 1938, Eric, a boy of just 8, fled with his mother, finally ending up in an internment camp in Ospedaletto, Italy due to his religion. Seen through his eyes there is a general naivity capturing the boy's wonder amidst terror. Vivid memories, relationships, and characters tell the story of his family, friends, and fellow internees. As a result you sometimes forget what you are reading is a memoir, but without being too preachy, the reason for why these people were brought together never dissapears. Underneath it all however, is the tale of a boy becoming a man under circumstances some of us could have never dreamed. Recommended for all including young adults, great primary source for a people's history.
Marshall A. Glasser
Excellent review of a "good read" as Larry King would say this book is perfect especially for young readers since it is written from a youngster's perspective, but anyone can enjoy this well written memoir.
The following comment is from an unknown reader.

Sept. 7, 2207
Eric, I wanted to let you know that I recently finished your book, and must tell you that I enjoyed it very much. You managed to make me angry for what the Nazi's did to the world, you made me smile about your relationship with your mother, and made me sad to think of what war can do to the lives of individuals as well as families. Your book shed light for me on another aspect of the war that I had never thought about. We always see the extremes, we always hear about the atrocities; but we seldom reflect on how pervasive the invasion of war really is. Your recollections of events where captivatingly and made me want to keep reading. And vivid enough to transport the reader to daily life of war torn Italy. Thank you for sharing your story; nicely done!

August 27, 2007

Eric, Before Debbie and I and the kids left for vacation I bought a bunch of books for the trip including A Gift from the Enemy. You have written a very touching story with vivid details from this miserable time in history. Despite its somber topic, I found it a very enjoyable memoir. Frankly, the very first chapter may have been the most powerful for me. You described very well the alarming speed with which you can go from an established member of society in Vienna, operating a hotel to a deportee allowed just a suitcase, no jewelry and the indignity of being stripped searched. You also do a good job in describing the 180- degree turn of your housekeeper. The chapters on the German Occupation of Ospedaletto and the move to Montevergine were gripping with their anxious moments. In between, you show how very human and decent some people can be even in such trying times. It seems pretty clear that the townspeople, and even the officials, had no patience for the Fascist government. I also noticed that many villagers were surprised that you were Jewish, having never seen a Jew. But, then they still treated you with respect. Similarly there seemed to be a genuine sharing of what little goods and food were available. Naturally I did find it a little alarming that you managed to befriend both the Italian and the German army. But even there, individual soldiers did not seem to carry the company line. In fact, the German soldier even knew you were Jewish. Despite that, I agree with your mother. It certainly wasn’t worth the piece of chocolate to hob-nob with these guys. The part about your father was troublesome for me. I can’t envision this poor guy surviving the holocaust, the Russians, the Nazis, Siberia, injury, etc. and end up losing your mother. That had to be heart-breaking for him. I also wonder what his reaction was during and after your reunion meeting at the train station. I think it is a real credit to you Eric to have kept in touch with “both your dads.” You also solved two mysteries for me, but created a third. I had always wondered how refugees knew where to go. For instance, when the train arrived in Milan; now, what do you do? I hadn’t realized how active and successful the underground was. The second mystery was I never could figure out (until now) why you didn’t spell your name with an “h”. The new mystery: You speak of surviving by the packages that Pietro sent. With everything rationed, how did he get those items? Finally, the book made me smile when you referred to the Éclair. I have been there several times myself. I believe it was on W 72nd St. I couldn’t understand why my parents would schlep through traffic and parking woes to go from Queens to the Éclair just for some cake or strudel. But, of course, now it is obvious. The place was full of “their people”. It is no surprise that it is the location where your mom was reunited with her friend Bertl. You put a lot of effort into this narrative. Thanks for a good read. Regards to Cookie. Barry
Caro Enrico
sono Pirozziello Gennaro. Mi è molto piaciuto vedere tutto cio' sull'intenet e mi devo congrutulare con te da questa descrizione mi sembra un ottimo libro e che avra' sicuramente un ottimo successo.Auguri .auguri.auguri. Vorrei sapere solo una cosa da te la traduzione in Italiano verrà fatta oppure no??Grazie e di nuovo tanti auguri, Gennaro

Kirkus Review