Guido Levi’s Diary – Italian Institute of Culture – Tokyo


2024 – Presentation at the Italian Instute of Culture in Tokyo of the

“GUIDO LEVI’S DIARY: a story full of fears, anxieties, and almost detective-like events 1942-1946.

Lauriola did the illustrations for this publishing project

When Guido Levi wrote his diary in 1946, he was eight years old. In the 14 typewritten pages he traces the most difficult moments of his young existence, starting in 1942 when he witnesses the bombing of Genoa. As a Jewish child, together with his father Aldo, mother Livia Luzzatto and brother Roberto, he is dramatically uprooted from his daily life to escape Nazi-Fascist persecution. In 1943, at the mercy of greedy traffickers, he and his family crossed the border into Switzerland, where he found refuge until 1945. For decades the typescript, possibly revised in later years, remained locked in a drawer. But the images of an atrocious world, a world that even today tolerates the pain of a persecuted childhood, prompted his daughters to publish the diary, giving their child father the chance to converse ideally with readers who could perceive his anger, his anguish, his feelings, discover his inquisitive gaze, grasp his capacity for analysis, his desire to live and to know, despite everything.

This is how Una storia piena di paure, di ansie e di avvenimenti quasi gialli 1942-1946 di Guido Levi was born, a publishing project that has its heart in the original pages of the diary that inspired artist Giusy Lauriola, who created her paintings with great emotional participation to illustrate some salient passages of the book. Traces of colour appear and disappear on the surface of her canvases, witnesses of fragility that translate into strength. A bit like the memory with which every individual must come to terms, especially when necessarily confronted with traumatic events that sometimes trigger the mechanism of removal. For the artist, as for the young writer, colours always assume symbolic meanings: yellow, white, orange, blue, grey, black, red.

Several authors have also contextualised a private story within a much larger chapter of 20th century history: Alongside the testimony of his brother Roberto Levi, who was also a protagonist of that escape to Switzerland, there are texts by Aldo Pavia, National Vice-President ANED – Associazione Nazionale Ex Deportati nei Campi Nazisti; Toni Ricciardi, Migration Historian at the University of Geneva; by film critic Steve Della Casa, who once again emphasises that pathos that “peeps out again and again” and that has made all the protagonists participants in this collective work; and Manuela De Leonardis, art historian and curator of the editorial project, who introduces the visual journey by intercepting the sensitivity of artist Giusy Lauriola, who often returns to investigate the theme of childhood and adolescence in her poetics.

Created by her daughters Francesca and Alberta, the entire Guido Levi publishing project. A story full of fears, anxieties and almost yellow events 1942-1946 is non-profit.


A story full of fears, anxieties and almost yellow events 1942-1946

Edited by Manuela De Leonardis

© Giusy Lauriola for the works

© Francesca Levi and Alberta Levi for the diary

© Roberto Levi, Aldo Pavia, Toni Ricciardi, Manuela De Leonardis, Steve Della Casa for the texts

Partner Fondazione Carlo Levi – Notte Americana e AMNC  – Associazione Museo Nazionale del Cinema

Presented at:

Capalbio, CAPALBIO LIBRI, 27 July 2020, Turin, SOTTODICIOTTO Film Festival & Campus, 11 December 2021, Rome, Spazio Giallo, 29 September – 8 October 2022, Rome, GIUDISOTTO, 12-19 April 2023, Tokyo, January 26, 2024, ITALIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE  in Tokyo