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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Literary Festival invites all to join in at 5 p.m. Dec. 9, with Simi Berman and Vincent Panella to discuss the late Leo Berman’s memoir, "The Story of a Jewish Boy."

To register for this online event, go to bit.ly/LitCocktail26

"The Story of a Jewish Boy" recounts the horrors and fleeting hopes of a boy and his family trying to survive the final days of World War II in Italy. Leo, at the age of 14, penned his diary, "Storia d’un Ragazzo Ebreo (Story of a Jewish Boy.)" As Berman tells in his story, he sent a postcard to his father shortly after leaving the refugee camp. It said:

"This is the face of a boy whose youth was taken from him, who doesn’t know anymore how to cry or laugh, that life has crushed under the inhuman weight of cruel reality. In this photograph you see the mask of a face; if that mask were lifted you would see a mind troubled by life that too cruelly torments your son."

Simi Berman was born in New York City but has lived in the Brattleboro area for more than 40 years. She married Leo Berman in 1956 and lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a time. They moved to the area in the early 1980s. Berman is an artist who works on small scale in watercolor, gouache and oil pastel.

Vincent Panella is the author of the novel, "Sicilian Dreams," published in 2020. His other works include the memoir, "The Other Side: Growing up Italian in America," a story collection, "Lost Hearts" and the novel, "Cutter's Island," which received a ForeWord award. He grew up in Queens and lives in Marlboro, Vermont with his wife, Susan Sichel.


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