‘Life is Beautiful’, the beloved movie and Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, was inspired by Holocaust survivor Rubino Romeo Salmoni. Director Roberto Benigni read Rubino’s book, ‘In the End, I Beat Hitler’, based on his experiences as a survivor of Auschwitz, which inspired the movie.
An Italian Jew, Salmonì was born in Rome in 1920. He escaped the first mass arrests of Jews from the Roman Ghetto in October 1943, but was arrested by the Italian police in April 1944. After being imprisoned in Rome, he was moved to a camp in Fossoli and arrived at Auschwitz when he was 24. He was given the identification number A15810, and forced to work, facing severe starvation and cold. Salmonì and other prisoners in the camp were freed by Allied forces in 1945. Salmonì and was reunited with his parents, but tragically his brothers did not survive.
Salmoni writes in his book: “I came out of Auschwitz alive, I have a wonderful family, I celebrated my golden wedding anniversary, I have 12 splendid grandchildren– I think I can say I ruined Hitler’s plan for me.”
Contributor: Lauren Brinkman