A March of the Living commemorating the victims of the Holocaust in Italy was held in Rome 10 days after Hamas’ murderous attack on Israel, lending new meaning to the slogan “Never Again.”
The October 17 march, which began at the city center and ended at the Great Synagogue in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, marked 80 years since the Nazis’ first deportation of some 1,000 of the city’s Jews to the Auschwitz extermination camp.
The march was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri, Holocaust survivors and members of the city’s Jewish community.
“Our march in Rome today serves as a reminder for the entire world that the Holocaust must not be forgotten as the worst period of human history,” says International March of the Living Deputy CEO Revital Yakin Krakovsky. “Unfortunately, its lessons are still relevant today; murderous hatred of Jews has not disappeared. The world still needs to be reminded of the meaning of ‘Never Again.’
“Last week, Israel paid an unimaginable price as it suffered the greatest massacre against Jews since the Holocaust. We marched in Rome today at the place from where the city’s Jews were sent to Auschwitz, with a heavy heart and great pain for the Jews of Italy who were murdered 80 years ago, and of the people of Israel who were murdered last week in the vicious terror attack.”
During the Holocaust, almost 20 percent of Italy’s Jewish population was murdered – 7,680 people out of 44,500 who lived in the country prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Members of ancient Jewish communities in Rome, Florence, Venice and elsewhere began being deported to extermination camps, primarily Auschwitz, in September 1943. Prior to that, they were subject to racial laws enacted by the Italian fascist regime led by Benito Mussolini.
“We thought that no one would ever again dare to enter our homes, kill our children, divide families and take away children, women and the elderly, just because we are Jews,” says Victor Fadlun, the president of Rome’s Jewish community.
“But it happened again. In Israel, in the Jewish state. We are the Jews of Rome, and we stand proudly alongside the State of Israel where our sisters and brothers live.”