Every year, on October 16, the Jewish Community of Rome commemorates the infamous “razzia del Ghetto”, the raid against Roman Jews perpetrated by the Nazis and the Fascists in 1943, when over 1,000 people were arrested and sent to death camps. This year to mark the anniversary, there was not only a silent march and an official ceremony, but also a new beginning for the Holocaust Museum of Rome.
Pending the costruction works needed for the permanent venue (Villa Torlonia, the former residence of dictator Benito Mussolini), the first event inaugurated the use of the temporary site at Casina dei Vallati: a seminar for teachers was held there.
“This day marks the start of a new phase,” said president of the Foundation for the Holocaust Museum of Rome Mario Venezia. “For us, it represents an important challenge, and we are going to face it with passion and heart.”
The three-day seminar focusing on Holocaust pedagogy was organized by the Foundation of the Museum and the Italian Ministry of Education, with the support of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI). Coordinating the initiative was historian Marcello Pezzetti.
Among those who participated in the inauguration ceremony were the UCEI president Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Jewish Community of Rome Ruth Dureghello, chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, Marco Rossi Doria, councilor of the city of Rome, and Lidia Rivera, councilor of the Rome region.
Delivering speeches were also Holocaust survivors Andra Bucci and Sami Modiano.
“It is necessary for Italy to open a national Holocaust Museum, as many other countries already have. Days like today make me feel optimistic,” Modiano said.