By Daniela Gross
Sometimes the past comes back and is almost unbearable, as it happened at the beginning of last week. Last Monday, an article on the Italian daily Corriere della Sera recounted how many Jews were traded for money to the Nazis, when Rome was under the Third Reich occupation. “The Jewish Community just restored the list of people who, after the raid held on October 16, 1943, sold Jews to the Nazis and Fascists. But the Community said that this blacklist won’t ever be made public,” wrote Manuela Pelati.
The list is the result of research curated by Silvia Haia Antonucci and Claudio Procaccia with the support of the historian Amedeo Osti Guerrazzi and of the demographer Daniele Spizzichino, which also describes the prices of those horrible deals, aimed at deportation. Men were the most profitable victims, worth 5,000 lire (about 5,000 current euros). A woman was considered worthy of about 3,000 lire, and a child about 1,500 lire.
These bargains took place essentially after more than a thousand Jews had been deported from the ancient Ghetto of Rome, on October 16. Then, Nazis and Fascists started a ferocious persecution, especially against 20-35 year old Jewish men. The raid involved 747 people, who were sent to Nazi camps. About half of them were traded for money. It was already known that, also in Italy, informers played a crucial role in the Jewish deportation. And we cannot forget that, as the historian Claudio Procaccia reminds , “85% of Roman Jews found salvation thanks to the help of private citizens and of religious institutions.”
However, the evidence of such wide spread human trafficking is shocking.