Alberto, Franco, Isacco, Luciano, and Maria Di Cori Identified
October 10, 2011
Ester Di Cori, who lives in Montreal, learned about the Remember Me? site when one of her cousins Googled her own father’s name and found the pictures of Ester’s father, Luciano Di Cori; his brothers, Franco, Isacco, and Alberto; and his sister, Maria. All of Ester Di Cori’s pictures of her father, Luciano, are from when he was a young adult or older. She had never seen a photo of her father as a child before and was shocked to see how much her son resembles him. Ester shared with us what she knows from her uncles and aunts about the pictures and the family’s life during and after the Holocaust.
Settimio Di Cori and his wife, also called Ester, lived in Rome. They were the parents of ten children, five of whom are pictured on the Remember Me? Web site. During the Holocaust, Settimio was deported and eventually ended up in the Dachau concentration camp. The Americans liberated him along with the other prisoners on April 29, 1945. Mrs. Di Cori received word that her husband was coming home, but he died on May 10, 1945, less than two weeks after liberation. Although she had lost her husband, Mrs. Di Cori managed to keep the rest of her family together during the war.
Ester tells us that the family was very lucky during the war. After her husband was deported, Mrs. Di Cori stayed in an apartment with other relatives. Each family had one room. Mrs. Di Cori and her ten children lived in one. A second Di Cori family, consisting of a married couple and their daughter, also lived in the building. When the authorities came and asked for the Di Cori family, the building superintendent decided that it would be better to give away three people than eleven and sent them to the second family’s apartment.
There were other instances when the actions of others helped Mrs. Di Cori to protect her family. Whenever the sirens went off, warning of a roundup, she was able to send her children to separate areas of the neighborhood where they were able to hide with other families. Once, a man who knew the family approached Mrs. Di Cori in the street to warn her that one of her elder sons was about to be taken. She quickly got away, saving both her son and herself.
After the war, Mrs. Di Cori was the sole provider for her family. Her four eldest children and her youngest stayed at home with her, but the five children who appear in the photographs on our site were placed at a boarding school called Villa Muggia. The photos were taken before the children were sent there, and Ester tells us that her eldest aunt has the original photograph of Maria. Luciano was about ten in his picture and Maria five in hers. The pictures were sent to the United States so that Americans would help support the children. They sometimes received gifts from the States; Ester’s aunt Maria remembers once getting a hat.
Luciano was always very open about sharing his experiences during the war with his daughters. He remembered always being hungry and looking for food, but he also liked to tell them stories and teach them songs that he had learned at the boarding school. After a period at Villa Muggia, Maria was sent to one school and her brothers to another. By the age of 12 or 13, Luciano had left school and had begun working as an upholsterer. He would continue in this trade until his retirement years later.
The family eventually immigrated to the Montreal area in two groups. The first group arrived in 1959 and helped the second group to come two years later. Luciano married in 1961 and immigrated along with his wife, his mother, and the rest of his brothers and sisters. Ester tells us that a Jewish association helped her family a lot when they first arrived in Canada. Her grandmother, her mother, and her aunts worked at a clothing factory, and her father worked as an upholsterer. Her uncle Isacco worked in retail management.
Luciano Di Cori passed away in January 2007, but his other siblings pictured on our site are still living. All of them are in the Montreal area except Franco, who lives with his wife in North Carolina. Maria, Isacco, and Alberto all married and have children and grandchildren of their own. They remain a close-knit family and count many other survivors among their friends.
NOTE: Ester Di Cori has informed us that her uncle, Isacco Di Cori, passed way on September 28, 2012. We are very sorry to learn of the family's loss and are grateful to have had the opportunity to share his and his siblings' history on our website.