Deportations of Jews
First Deportations 1939
»General Gouvernement«
Lodz ghetto
»Reichskommissariat Ostland«
»Operation Reinhard«
# Flight, Emigration and Death
Demography 1938-1945

The situation of refugees in Italy was characterised by insecurity and the feeling of constant threat. Despite its close relations to Nazi-Germany and the country's own racial legislation, Fascist Italy played an important role as first flight destination for those expelled from Germany and Austria on account of its at first relatively liberal immigration and residency requirements. Although Mussolini had issued a decree on 7 September 1939 ordering the expulsion of foreign Jews, it was never carried out thoroughly and was finally suspended altogether. At the same time it was possible to enter Italy until August 1939 with a tourist visa or a transit visa respectively until the summer of 1940. The threat of the still existant expulsion decree caused desperate attempts of Jewish refugees to leave the country. These attempts were aided by Italian authorities who for instance turned a blind eye to illegal crossings over the border to France.

The outbreak of war further aggravated the already precarious situation of refu-gees in countries allied with Germany. In Fascist Italy arrest of all stateless or those Jewish men holding German, Polish or Czech citizenship was decreed on 15 June 1940. Women and children had to leave their places of residence and were taken to remote areas and there placed under police surveillance.

After Mussolini's fall and the subsequent announcement of an armistice with the Allies, release of the internees was decreed on 8 September 1943. While refugees in the South of Italy were saved through the advance of Allied troops, released internees in central and northern Italy fell into the hands of the Germans who, with enthusiastic help by officials in Mussolini's »Republic of Saló,« now proceeded to deport them to extermination camps.

As early as September, the RSHA ordered to »take the necessary measures« concerning the Italian Jews. In October of 1943, finally more than 1000 Jewish men, women and children were deported with the first transport from Rome to Auschwitz. In the years 1943 and 1944, altogether about 8000 Jews were deported mainly to Auschwitz via several detention camps such as San Sabba, Fossoli di Carpi, Borgo San Dalmazzo, and Bozen. Over 420 Austrians were among them. It is evident that 26 of them survived the Holocaust.


Adolf and Berta Berger
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Adolf and Berta Berger fled to Italy on 11 July 1939. About one year later they were deported to the camp in San Lorenzo, later to Fossoli di Carpi, and finally on 16 May 1944 to Auschwitz, where they died shortly after their arrival.

Moritz Mezei
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Social Democratic writer, Moritz Mezei, was deported from camp Urbisaglia in central Italy to the assembly camp, Fossoli di Carpi, and from there to Auschwitz on
5 April 1944.