The Italian Jewish community commemorated on Friday the 78th anniversary of the deportation of more than 1,000 Jews from Rome to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. The raid took place at dawn on 16 October 1943, when Roman Jews, including 207 children, were rounded up in the Ghetto and taken across the Tiber to the Collegio militare on via della Lungara. Two days later, they were deported to Auschwitz. Only 16 were to make it back alive, 15 men and a woman. Neither president Giorgia Meloni nor a delegation of the far-right Brothers of Italy (FdI), Parliament’s main opposition party, participated in the solemn ceremony held in front of the Great Synagogue of Rome.
FdI, which is Italy’s top party according to most recent opinion polls, decided not to attend after a “cordial phone call” with the president of Rome Jewish Community Ruth Dureghello. The prospect of its presence had sparked many resentments within the Roman and Italian Jewish world, and the protests forced them to reconsider the program. So Fdl in a note released before the ceremony: “With the president of the Jewish Community Ruth Dureghello we agreed to participate to the commemorations and the deposition of a wreath with a parliamentary delegation so to express in person the proximity and friendship of Brothers of Italy and European Conservatives. Unfortunately, we have been informed that in the Community not everybody agreed that we should bear this testimony just before the elections”. President Dureghello explained to the press that the decision to reschedule the meeting with Fdl was meant to avoid “misunderstanding” and “ambiguities”.
After the ceremony in front of the synagogue, a new interactive map was presented at the Museum of the Shoah Foundation. Titled “16 ottobre 1943. Geografia della deportazione” (16 October 1943. Geography of the deportation) and curated by Marco Caviglia, Isabella Insolvibile, and Amedeo Osti Guerrazzi, it allows navigating the city of Rome so to explore the sites in which the Nazi-fascist persecution took place: from the places of the arrest to the Nazi police commands and the steps of the deportation.
“Anyone interested can come and visit us during the year”, pointed out the president of the Foundation Mario Venezia, who dedicated the event to the memory of the activist Carla Di Veroli. “The Holocaust was also an Italian occurrence”, remarked the president of the UCEI Noemi Di Segni. “Memory means also to act coherently with laws and norms”, she said urging everyone “to choose carefully the words one says or write”.
On the occasion, president Ruth Dureghello reflected on the impact of 16 October 1943 on her family and pointed out that Nazis hit hard also in neighborhoods very far from the old Ghetto. “For a longtime, we told just a part of the story”, she said. The raid hit the entire city, said the Chief Rabbi of Rome Riccardo Di Segni. “It is a history still not thoroughly known of which any detail holds a significance”. The map now conveys that perception in a detailed way.
Above, the ceremony in Rome commemorating the anniversary of the deportation.