by Rachel Smith
This digital project traces the lives of Al and Rose Finci, who first met as children in Sarajevo but parted ways as their families fled the Nazi invasion during World War II. Drawing on hours of interviews and documents and photographs from the Finci archives, Smith recounts their stories of survival, from internment in the Adriatic and northern Italy, fighting with the partisans in the forests of Croatia, and travelling across the Alps into Switzerland. Yet despite the war’s many devastations and disruptions, Al and Rose’s paths continued to cross in different countries and decades through a series of serendipities, their love blossoming into a marriage that has endured for over sixty years.
“Sarajevo to the City of Angels” weaves together Sephardic Jewish history, European history and personal biography to provide an intimate portrait of how the major political, social, and economic developments of the twentieth century played out in the lives of individual families. By doing so, Smith shows how people experienced the uncertainty of shifting identities and territorial borders, the horrors of World War II, and the challenges and excitement of international migration and starting life anew.
This digital project is a collaboration of the UCLA Sephardic Archive Initiative, the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, and UCLA Library Special Collections and received generous support from the Maurice Amado Foundation and the Sady Kahn Trust.
Citation MLA: Smith, Rachel. “Sarajevo to the City of Angels.” 100 Years of Sephardic Los Angeles, edited by Sarah Abrevaya Stein and Caroline Luce, UCLA Leve Center for Jewish Studies, 2020, https://sephardiclosangeles.org/portfolios/sarajevo-to-the-city-of-angels/.
Citation Chicago: Smith, Rachel. “Sarajevo to the City of Angels.” In 100 Years of Sephardic Los Angeles, edited by Sarah Abrevaya Stein and Caroline Luce. Los Angeles: UCLA Leve Center for Jewish Studies, 2020. https://sephardiclosangeles.org/portfolios/sarajevo-to-the-city-of-angels/.
About the Author:
Rachel Smith is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at UCLA … More