|It may not be clear from the article below, but
according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, NONE of the approximately
40,000 Jews that were Italian CITIZENS were ever detained or interred.
Hundreds of thousands of REFUGEE Jews mostly from Germany/Austria chose
a hospitable Trieste, Italy, as an escape route. Italy was so hospitable
that thousands choose not to flee, but to stay in Italy. When Italy became
of the Germans, the Germans insisted that Germans/Austrian citizens
be returned to Germany. The Italians balked at returning the German/Austrian
Refugees, and compromised by promising to Intern them, which was done in
Not a single Jewish Refugee was returned to Germany from Italy, UNTIL
Italy surrendered and the Germans occupied Italy. Then, sadly the Germans
deported 6,815 Jews from Italy, of whom only 799 survived.
Thanks to Larry Giantomas of Marquette University Milwaukee Wis.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR CREDITS COMPASSIONATE ITALIANS
By Don Behn
July 22, 2002
Walter Wolff, A German Jew now living in New York came to Festa Italiana
Sunday to tell Americans that he and his family survived the Holocaust
because they were allowed to enter Italy, where citizens later hid
Though Italy's resistance to Hitler's persecution of Jews is not widely
known, Wolff insisted that the Holocaust's death toll would have been
if that nation had agreed to deport Jew to German concentration camps
in the war.
Wolff, 85, speaks publicly about the role of Italians in saving the
Jews because he hopes the stories will help prevent a future Holocaust.
"We have to combat discrimination when it starts" Wolff told a late
group of about 50.
"If we don't, it will ultimately involve us".
Wolff and his older brother had been imprisoned in separate concentration
camps in Germany in late 1938 but were released about a year later
because Wolff had been accepted at a Hebrew College in Illinois. The
came with the condition that the family leave Germany.
Even so, the U.S. Embassy in Germany denied the family's request for
Wolff recalled. But Italy allowed them in just before the start of
World War II.
In June 1940 when Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini joined the war,
living in Italy were taken to Internment camps but not shipped to Germany.
At camp they were allowed to stay together as families and even leave
Wolff said. But shortly after the Italian army surrendered to the U.S.
and it allies
in 1943, Hitler's armies invaded Italy.
Nazi's ordered the arrest of Jews but few Italians complied, Wolff said.
He describes the Italians he met as "the good people" who lived by
"to love thy neighbor as thyself".
One night, an Italian police officer warned his family that they were
scheduled to be arrested the next morning. With the help of their landlord
and others, the Wolff's fled to the mountains.
A Catholic priest and local Italian officials risked their lives to
Wolff gain false identification papers. He assumed the identity
Italian soldier. began working for an oil company in Milan and was
turned over to the Nazis.
Wolff published a book on his experience - "Bad Times, Good People"
1999. An Italian language edition of the book was release last week