Thousands of students from all around Italy had the opportunity, on Friday, to hear from the voices of three men who as kids survived the raid of the ghetto of Rome. During an online event organized by the Foundation Museum of the Shoah, which connected 40 schools, Emanuele Di Porto, Mario Mieli, and Vittorio Polacco, brought their moving testimony. “Grandparents are like an umbrella, a fundamental protection. I lost all of them, and it is a great void. Bearing witness and communicating with young people, it is what gives me strength. Now it is up to them to become witnesses and to carry on our truth”.
With these words Vittorio Polacco ideally passed the baton to the young generation. He was one of the few kids who 77 years ago escaped the raid of the ghetto, but still bears the emotional scars of the terrible losses he suffered. As for Emanuele, he survived because his mother pushed him down the truck that was taking them to prison. She was aware that such an abrupt separation was the sole opportunity her kid had to survive. For days Emanuele, then 12 years old, was hosted on a vehicle the local public transport company. He was taken care by different drivers alternating at the wheel, while it was a woman back from the market to help the little Mario leave the deportation convoy and trust him to an aunt.
During the event, coordinated by the historian Amedeo Osti Guerrazzi, the students asked many questions about the past, the emotional toll of bearing witness, Judaism, and the resurgence of antisemitism. Each answer was a message, a precious teaching handed down by one generation to the next. “We count on you”, said the president of the Jewish Community of Rome Ruth Dureghello addressing the students.
The video of the meeting is here.