1938, Emilia Romagna, Italy. Soft-spoken, bookish Lili Passigli is in her final year at the University of Ferrara with a dream of becoming a journalist and starting a family when Mussolini’s Racial Laws are instated, deeming her a descendant of an ‘inferior’ Jewish race. Lili refuses to believe the new legislation will amount to anything, but as the months pass and as Hitler gains strength in the east, her world begins to shrink around her.
With the papers awash in Fascist propaganda and the walls of Ferrara desecrated with antisemitic slurs, Lili relies on the strength and cavalier outlook of her best friend Esti, a fellow student from Rhodes, Greece, to buoy her. Despite the ever-growing restrictions and the looming threat of war, the friends talk of weddings and of babies.
When Germany invades northern Italy, however, Lili and Esti find themselves alone in Nazi occupied territory. There, they realize, they have no safe future. With the help of the Underground, they flee Ferrara with Esti’s two-year-old son in tow, traveling south toward the Allies. When disaster strikes at a convent in Florence, Lili is forced to make a choice that will haunt her for a lifetime.
A tale of friendship, motherhood and survival, One Good Thing tells the story of Italy’s complex Holocaust-era past through the eyes of a young woman forced to recognize, combat—and eventually overcome—her deepest fears.