How Italy is remembering victims of the Holocaust

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected] • 27 Jan, 2023 Updated Fri 27 Jan 2023 09:21 CEST
How Italy is remembering victims of the Holocaust
The former Jewish ghetto on the banks of the Tiber in central Rome. Dozens of new monuments will be laid in the neighbourhood this year in memory of Holocaust victims. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP)

Italy marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Friday with hundreds of events up and down the country, including talks and exhibitions as well as the laying of new ‘stumble stone’ memorials and other tributes.


On January 27th 1945, Allied troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The United Nations chose this date as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the imprisonment and murder of over six million Jews, as well as Romany people and others.

From northern and central Italy, the Fascist regime together with the Nazis deported some 9,000 people to concentration camps during one of the darkest periods of the country’s history.

READ ALSO: Four places to remember the Holocaust in Italy

Italy marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Il Giorno della Memoria, on Friday with hundreds of events up and down the country.


The Italian Senate invited 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Sami Modiano to give a talk to students this week, and has shared the video of his emotional speech online.

On Friday evening, Rai 1 will broadcast a special programme at 9pm telling the story of Liliana Segre, the 92-year-old Italian senator for life and Holocaust survivor who was deported from Milan to Auschwitz along with her family.

Rome has Italy’s oldest Jewish community and many Holocaust memorials, famously including hundreds of ‘stumble stones’, or stolperstein

The bronze cobblestones are installed outside the former homes of those who were either deported to Auschwitz or killed in the Fosse Ardeatine massacre, as part of a Europe-wide project begun by German artist Gunter Demnig in 1997.

READ ALSO: Stumble stones: How Rome’s smallest monuments honour Holocaust victims

In the lead-up to this year’s Giorno della Memoria, 38 new stumble stones were placed around the city, including in the Jewish Ghetto, meaning the capital now has 374 in total.

Events marking the occasion in the capital this year include a multimedia exhibition at the Casina dei Vallati in the Jewish Ghetto, titled L'inferno nazista. I campi della morte di Belzec, Sobibor e Treblinka., and the biennial Arte in Memoria exhibition of contemporary art, which opens on January 29th at the Synagogue of Ostia Antica.

Six city museums are also taking part in the he Zakhor/Ricorda project, featuring video exhibitions by contemporary Israeli artists.

Milan meanwhile is laying 26 new stumble stones, meaning it will soon have 171 in total, mayor Beppe Sala announced earlier this week.

The city also unveiled a tram decorated with images of poppies and barbed wire. It stops at the Milan Central train station, where Binario 21, the platform from which trains carried Jewish Italians to their deaths, has been turned into a Holocaust memorial that includes video accounts by survivors and one of the original wagons used for deportations. 

READ ALSO: On the trail of the Italian Resistance in Milan


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