Liliana Fano was born in Pellegrino Parmense, a small village near Parma, in northern Italy. She was the daughter of Ermanno and Giorgina (Padova). Liliana's father worked as a pharmacist and made a comfortable living for his family. She had a brother, Luciano, who was two years older.
Jews had lived in Parma since the middle of the 14th century, but when Liliana was growing up, only 232 Jews made their homes there. The Jews of Italy were fully integrated into Italian society and culture, holding positions in most professions, including the government and the military.
The anti-Jewish racial laws passed by Mussolini in November 1938 forced Jews out of most professions and barred them from public education. These laws caused financial disaster for many.
Soon after the Germans occupied Italy in August 1943, they began arresting and deporting Italy's Jews to death camps in "the East." In October 1943, they raided Jewish communities in the larger cities. Many Jews fled from their homes, looking for refuge. Liliana and her family remained in Parma.
On December 8, 1943, Liliana and her family were arrested. At first, they were imprisoned in local internment camps by the Italian police. After four months, they were sent to Fossoli, a large internment camp run by the Germans. Men and women were separated, and lived in large, unsanitary and overcrowded barracks. Food was minimal.
On April 5, 1944, Liliana and her family were forced onto cattle cars together with 850 other Jews from the camp. Conditions barely sustained life. Five days later, the trains were unsealed upon their arrival at the Auschwitz death camp. Liliana and her family were immediately taken to the gas chambers where they were murdered. Liliana was nine years old.