“In World War I, Italy was overrun by Turks and, in this one area, there were thousands of Italian soldiers that were massacred by the Turks. There were three survivors out of thousands. The Turks piled the bodies in huge piles to burn, because what else were you going to do with the bodies? And my mother’s grandfather, so that’s my grandfather’s father, was one of the three survivors out of thousands. And he survived by hiding in the pile of bodies for a week. Or three days. Three days to a week. And then he got away before they torched the pile of bodies.”
The informant was very insistent that this story really happened and proceeded to look it up on the Internet for about fifteen or twenty minutes. However, he was unable to find an article corroborating the story. The informant told me that he heard it from his parents and he told it to his three sons. He also said that his mother’s grandfather received a medal or an honor for his bravery. The story incorporates elements of survival, strength, bravery, and honor. As a result, this family legend is important to the informant’s sense of family identity.