- Point of Interest
- Largo 16 ottobre 1943 Deportazione degli Ebrei Di Roma, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
The Ghetto of Rome has a long history; it was created in 1555 by pope Paul IV for the Jews to live in an area closed by walls, and it was the scene of a large nazi round-up in 1943.
Today, walking in the small streets of the Jewish Ghetto of Rome is an intriguing visit. It is not only the towering synagogue which fascinates the visitors but also the appearance of the ghetto itself, which represents an unicum in the city of Rome: as the enclosed space was limited, houses are considerably higher and are characterised by passages and small bridges.
The Ghetto is also a place of memory. There are many testimonies of nazi-fascist persecution and one of its squares is named after the biggest round-up of the Jews in the history of Italy: 16 October 1943 square. The deportation of the Jews in 1943 could only be carried out in such a radical and rapid way because these ‘invisible’ Italians had already been isolated and identified due to the Italian racial laws.
The round-up of the Rome Ghetto, done by the German Gestapo troops between 5:30 and 14:00 on Saturday, 16 October 1943, led to the immediate deportation to Auschwitz of 1023 Italian women, men and children that belonged to the Jewish community. Only 16 of them survived, of which 15 men and one woman.
Walking in the streets of the Roman Ghetto, you can see the Stolpersteine of the German artist Gunter Demnig, an initiative to remember the European citizens deported in nazi extermination camps. On 4 June Rome was liberated by Allied forces. For many Jewish inhabitants of the city, this liberation came too late.
On 24 March 1944 German forces executed 335 Italian prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves (Fosse Ardeatine) just outside of Rome. The executions were an act of reprisal for an attack on German forces
which took place in Via Rasella, in Rome. None of the people executed were involved in the attack.
The EUR district, southern of Rome, is one of the biggest examples of fascist urban planning and architecture in Italy. Mussolini planned to build a new Rome looking toward the future, and the EUR district represents the legacy of the fascist rationalist architecture.
During the Roman Ghetto round-up, the Fatebenefratelli hospital hid a number of Jews before they could be loaded on trucks, forcing them in the hospital for the so-called “K syndrome”.
Venice Palace (Palazzo Venezia), in Rome, was the headquarters of the fascist government. Mussolini used its Globe Room (Sala del Mappamondo) as his personal office. From its balcony, Mussolini used to harangue the crowds on the most important occasions, such as 10 June 1940, when fascist Italy decided to enter the war.
The Wedekind Palace (Palazzo Wedekind) on the Colonna Square (Piazza Colonna) in Rome was the headquarters of the National Fascist Party during the period of Fascist rule in Italy. After Italy’s capitulation came the Nazi occupation during which many Italian fascists reappeared on the scene again centering around the Palazzo.
The city of Rome survived the German occupation in an atmosphere of terror, deprivation, and cold. People began to raid bakeries and delivery trucks carrying bread for the German military. The reprisal was quick: ten women were shot at the guardrail of the Ponte di ferro (Iron Bridge), also known as Ponte dell’industria (Industry Bridge).
One of the crucial moments for Italian history is 19 July 1943, when the Allies bombed the San Lorenzo district, speeding up the fall of Mussolini, who a week later was defeated after a vote of no-confidence by the Great Council of Fascism and arrested.
On 23 March 1944, in Via Rasella, in the centre of Rome, a bomb by GAP (Patriotic Action Group) partisans killed 33 Nazis. As a reprisal, the German command ordered the shooting of ten Italians for every German killed.