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Rome remembers 'Black Saturday'

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Rome remembers 'Black Saturday'

Rome remembers 'Black Saturday'
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It is nearly 80 years since the 'Kristallnacht' or 'Night of the Broken Glass'. The infamous night of violence which swept Nazi Germany in 1938.

In the Italian capital, however, it is "Black Saturday" and the Raid of the Ghetto of Rome, on 16 October 1943, which is etched in the memory of the city's Jewish community.

Following the Nazi occupation of the city, the Gestapo rounded up more than 1000 Jews, deporting them to Auschwitz. Only 16 of those sent ever came back.

Now 85, Enrico Di Veroli saw his sister and other family snatched in front of his eyes.

"I was here. I saw the deportation of my sister, my brother-in-law and their two children," he says.

Rome's Jewish community still remains very active when it comes to remembering the Holocaust, be it through film, books or conferences. The purpose, to never forget the horrors of the past and to make sure they never return.

"The risk still exists because it lies within human beings and it has already happened in the past. So during periods of crisis - that can include crises of values and economic crises - the phenomenon can increase," says Claudio Procaccia, Director of the Department of Cultural Heritage.

The President of Rome's Jewish community Ruth Dureghello agrees, adding that populists and those with extremist views always need someone to blame.

"We just have to understand that the enemy changes. Each time there is a new enemy to attack, to insult. We, the Jews, are the "different ones" par excellence, that's why we were - and we are still sometimes victims of this hate. We have to fight this hate no matter who the enemy is, if it's the Roma or a gay or disabled person - this has already happened in the past. The only difference is the excuse which is used and the person who is persecuted," she said.