Today: McKeldin CLOSED

Books in English: My Story: Gemma LaGuardia Gluck

edited 1961 by S. L. Shneiderman

Born in 1881 in New York City, Gemma La Guardia Gluck was the daughter of Italian immigrants, a mother of prestigious Italian Jewish lineage and a father who became a U.S. army bandleader. She was the sister of beloved New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Gemma and her Hungarian Jewish husband were living in Budapest in 1944 when Nazi troops stormed the city. Eichmann and Himmler ordered her arrest as a political hostage because she was La Guardia's sister. Gluck recounts the plight of Budapest's Jews, deportation to Mauthausen with her husband, imprisonment at the notorious Ravensbrück women's concentration camp, and difficulties as a DP in post-war Berlin. With compassion and sensitivity she chronicles unspeakable evil, kindness at great risk, and courage among women in a pre-feminist world. She also recalls her girlhood years spent in the Old West, Native Americans befriended by her mother, her family's return to Europe, and her brother's ambitions and rise to success.

Gemma's memoir is a story of a wise and strong woman who remained optimistic and resourceful, even when life was much less than fair.

The book, "My Story" (1961), was updated and republished (2007) with a new title, "Fiorello's Sister: Gemma LaGuardia Gluck's Story".