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The Jewish Community of Rome

Rome

The capital of Italy.

The Jewish community of Rome is probably the oldest in the world, with a continuous existence from classical times down to the present day. The first record of Jews in Rome is in 161 b.c.e., when Jason b. Eleazar and Eupolemus b. Johanan are said to have gone there as envoys from Judah Maccabee. The Roman Jews are said to have been conspicuous in the mourning for Julius Caesar in 44 b.c.e. on the death of Herod in 4 b.c.e. 8,000 native Roman Jews are reported to have escorted the Jewish delegates from Judea who came to request the senate to abolish the Herodian monarchy. Two synagogues were seemingly founded by "freedmen" who had been slaves of Augustus (d. 14 c.e.) and Agrippa (d. 12 b.c.e.) respectively and bore their names. There was also from an early date a Samaritan synagogue in Rome which continued to exist for centuries. Although the position of the Roman Jews must have been adversely affected by the great Roman-Jewish wars in Judea in 66-73 and 132-135, the prisoners of war brought back as slaves ultimately gave a great impetus to the Jewish population.

From the second half of the first century c.e. the Roman Jewish community seems to have been firmly established. A delegation of scholars from Eretz Israel in 95-96, led by the patriarch Gamaliel II, found as its religious head the enthusiastic but unlearned Theudas. The total number of Jews in Rome has been estimated as high as 40,000, but was probably nearer 10,000. Besides the beggars and peddlers, there were physicians, actors, and poets, but the majority of the members of the community were shopkeepers and craftsmen (tailors, tentmakers, butchers, limeburners).

With the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperors the position of the Jews changed immediately for the worse. While Judaism remained officially a tolerated religion as before, its actual status deteriorated, and every pressure was brought on the Jews to adopt the now-dominant faith. In 387-388, a Christian mob, after systematically destroying heathen temples, turned its attention to the synagogues and burned one of them to the ground.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the Christian bishop of Rome, the Pope, became the dominant force in the former Imperial city and the immediate neighborhood, with moral authority recognized, to a greater or lesser degree, over the whole of western Christendom. Hence, over a period of some 1,400 years, the history of the Jews in Rome is in great part the reflection of the Papal policies toward the Jews. However, down to the period of the counter-reformation in the 16th century, there was a tendency for the Papal anti-Jewish pronouncements to be applied less strictly in Rome than by zealous rulers and ecclesiastics abroad, while on the other hand the Papal protective policies were on the whole followed more faithfully in Rome itself than elsewhere.

The anti-Jewish legislation of the fourth Lateran Council (1215) inspired by Pope Innocent III does not seem to have been strictly enforced in the Papal capital. There is some evidence that copies of the Talmud were burned here after its condemnation in Paris in 1245. The wearing of the Jewish badge was imposed in 1257 and the city statutes of 1360 ordered male Jews to wear a red tabard, and the women a red petticoat.

The entire tenor of Roman Jewish life suddenly changed for the worse with the counter-reformation. In 1542 a tribunal of the holy office on the Spanish model was set up in Rome and in 1553 Cornelio da Montalcino, a Franciscan friar who had embraced Judaism, was burned alive on the camp Dei Fiori. In 1543 a home for converted Jews (house of catechumens), later to be the scene of many tragic episodes, was established, a good part of the burden of upkeep being imposed on the Jews themselves. On Rosh Hashanah (September 4, 1553) the Talmud with many more Hebrew books was committed to the flames after official condemnation. On July 12, 1555, Pope Paul IV issued his bull, "Cum nimis absurdum", which reenacted remorselessly against the Jews all the restrictive ecclesiastical legislation hitherto only intermittently enforced. This comprised the segregation of the Jews in a special quarter, henceforth called the ghetto; the wearing of the Jewish badge, now specified as a yellow hat in the case of men, a yellow kerchief in the case of women; prohibitions on owning real estate, on being called by any title of respect such as signor, on the employment by Christians of Jewish physicians, and on dealing in corn and other necessities of life; and virtual restriction to dealing in old clothes and second-hand goods. This initiated the ghetto period in Rome, and continued to govern the life of Roman Jewry for more than 300 years. Occasional raids were made as late as the 18th century on the ghetto to ensure that the Jews did not possess any "forbidden" books – that is, in effect, any literature other than the bible, liturgy, and carefully expurgated ritual codes. Each Saturday selected members of the community were compelled to go to a neighboring church to listen to conversionist sermons, running the gauntlet of the insults of the populace. In some reactionary interludes, the yellow Jewish hat had to be worn even inside the ghetto.

On the accession of Pius IX in 1846, the gates and walls of the ghetto were removed, but thereafter the once-kindly Pope turned reactionary and relentlessly enforced anti-Jewish restrictions until the end. During the Roman Republic of 1849, under Mazzini, Jews participated in public life, and three were elected to the short-lived constituent assembly; but within five months the Papal reactionary rule was reestablished to last, without any perceptible liberalization, until the capture of Rome by the forces of united Italy in 1870. On October 13 a royal decree abolished all religious disabilities from which citizens of the new capital had formerly suffered, and the Jews of Rome were henceforth on the same legal footing as their fellow Romans. It was only during the period after World War I, with the remarkable development of Rome itself, that Roman Jewry may be said to have regained the primacy in Italian Jewish life which it had enjoyed in the remote past.

A few days after the Germans captured Rome (Sept. 9-10, 1943), Himmler ordered immediate preparations for the arrest and deportation of all Jews in Rome and the vicinity – over 10,000 persons. H. Kappler, the S.S. commanding officer in Rome, first extorted 50 kg. of gold from the Jewish community, to be paid by September 26 (on 36 hours notice), with a warning that 200 Jews would otherwise be put to death. The gold, which was collected among the Jews without resorting to outside aid, was delivered on time. Nevertheless, on September 29 a special German police force broke into the community offices and looted the ancient archives; and on October 13 looted the excellent and priceless libraries of the community and the rabbinic college. On October 16 a mass huntdown of Rome's Jews was carried out by German forces, who under Kappler and Dannecker's orders made house-to-house searches on every street, and arrested all the Jews – men, women, and children. Some of the population assisted Jews in escaping or hiding, but nevertheless 1,007 Jews were caught and sent to Auschwitz where they were killed (Oct. 23, 1943). From then on, until June 4, 1944, the day of the liberation, the methodic roundup of Jews hiding in the "Aryan" homes of friends or in catholic institutions continued. In this latter period over 1,000 Jews were caught and put to death at Auschwitz. A total of 2,091 Jews (1,067 men, 743 women, and 281 children) were killed in this manner. Another 73 Jews were among the 335 prisoners executed in the fosse Ardeatine, outside Rome, as a retaliatory measure against Italian partisan action against the Nazi occupants in Rome.

The rector of the German church in Rome, Bishop A. Hudal, made futile attempts to defend the Jews. The pope was requested publicly to denounce the hunt for Jews, but he did not respond, although he agreed to the shelter offered to individual Jews in catholic institutions including the Vatican.

At the end of the war the Jewish population of Rome was 11,000. In the following years the number increased due mainly to the natural increase, and in 1965 reached a total of 12,928 (out of a total of 2,500,000 inhabitants). After the Six-Day War in the Middle East (1967), about 3,000 Jews arrived from Libya. Some of them subsequently migrated to Israel, but the majority were absorbed by the community. The community of Rome is the only one in Italy that shows a demographic increase, with a fertility rate not far below that of the Italian population as a whole, a fairly high marriage rate, and a limited proportion of mixed marriages. On the other hand, the general cultural and social level is inferior to that of the other Italian communities. Apart from the great synagogue of Italian rite, there are two prayer houses of Italian rite, an Ashkenazi synagogue, and two synagogues of Sephardi rite. Among the Jewish institutions there is a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a high school. There are many relief organizations, an orphanage, a Jewish hospital, and a home for invalids. Rome is the seat of the chief rabbinate of the union of the Italian Jewish communities, and of the Italian rabbinical college. In the 1970s the following Jewish journals were published: Israel, Shalom, Karnenu, and Portico d'Ottavia.

In 1997 there were 35,000 Jews in Italy; 15,000 of them – in Rome.

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
139424
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

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Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses and Joab, Daniel and Isaac of Camerino. His main interest was the halakhah, but he had a thorough knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. Benjamin Anav began to write poetry in 1239. It includes kinot and selihot, the themes of which are historical. Many of his selihot were included in the mahzor of the Italian rite. He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses. In 1239, on the occasion of Nicolas Donin’s denunciation of the Talmud, he wrote the piyyut El Mi Anusah le-Ezrah (To Whom Shall I Run For Help). He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he first wrote sonnets in Romanesco (a Roman dialect) and later, after the Jewish emancipation of 1870, wrote in the Judeo-Italian dialect in order to preserve the special language and folklore.
Del Monte’s poems about the Roman ghetto describe its everyday life in a vital and expressive way. His love for the dialect led him to philological investigations and he constructed the grammar of the dialect. His poems were published in two volumes entitled Sonetti Guidaico-Romaneschi (1927) and Nuovi sonetti Guidaןco-Romaneschi (1933). A third volume was published posthumously, in 1955. He died in Rome, Italy.
Sereni, Enzo Hayim (1905-1944), Zionist, born in Rome, Italy. He received his doctorate at the university of Rome in 1924 by which time he was deeply involved in Zionist work among Italian Jewry. In 1926 he moved to Palestine where he worked on farms, was an organizer in the labor movement and a founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner. He was often sent on Zionist missions to Europe and was in Germany 1931-34, helping to transfer Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine. During World War II Sereni was an emissary in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Italy. In his last mission he was parachuted into Italy as a British army officer, captured by the Germans and sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died. The kibbutz Netser Sereni is named for him.

Di Segni, Mose (1903-1969), doctor, partisan, born in Rome, Italy, to a local Jewish family. He studied medicine in Rome and went on to specialize in pediatrics in Florence. He took part in the Zionist activities organized by Enzo Sereni (a Zionist leader in Italy, co-founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner who was parachuted into Nazi-occupied Italy in World War II, captured by the Germans and subsequently executed in Dachau). In 1930 Di Segni met his future wife, Pina, who had studied pharmacy in Florence and who was the daughter of Rabbi Naftali Roth rabbi of Russe (Ruschuk) in Bulgaria.

In 1936 Di Segni was drafted into the Italian army and sent to Spain as a doctor attached to the the Italian Red Cross delegation in the Civil War. After the passing of the Italian racial laws of 1938, he was dismissed and returned to Italy. In addition he was dismissed from his position in the Rome hospital where he had previously worked. He found himself under the regular surveillance of the fascist secret police on account of his association with the Jewish community and due to his Zionist and anti-fascist views.

In September 1943 Di Segni was designated as one of the Jews to be taken hostage to ensure that the Jewish community of Rome would pay the ransom of 50 kilograms of gold imposed after the German takeover of Italy. Di Segni received advance warning from the deputy editor of the newspaper “Il Giornale d'Italia”, where he worked during his university studies. So he fled from Rome with his wife and two small children to San Severino, a small city in central Italy and was hidden there by a friend. Di Segni joined a large partisan group which, for ten months until the defeat o the Germans, engaged in operations to sabotage German transport and communications, to protecting the civilian population, and to sabotage efforts to conscript local people into the Fascist army. Moshe Di Segni was the senior medical officer of the group and participated in many of these actions. One of the battles in which he took part was the Battle of Valdiola in March 1944 and for his actions he was awarded a silver medal for heroism in battle. In addition, he gave medical aid to the civilian population throughout the region.

After the liberation of San Severino he returned to his work as a doctor in Rome. He remained active in Jewish organizations in Rome and was a member of the Jewish community until 1965.

In 1996 the ceremonies in San Severino to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian Republic were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Di Segni and in 2011 his three children were given honorary citizenship of the town. A book has been published about his activities as a partisan.

His son Ricardo, also a doctor by profession, has been Chief Rabbi of Rome since 2002. His eldest daughter, Frida, a pharmacist, lives in Ancona while another son, Elio, a cardiologist, immigrated to Israel in 1974.

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he is the author of a major work first entitled Beit Middot (Constantinople, 1312) and later Ma’alot ha-Middot (Cremona, 1356). The book deals with ethical conduct, based on talmudic, midrashic and other sources and begins and ends with a poem. Another poem by Jehiel Anav can be found at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud that he copied. It is a lamentation on the destruction of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere in Rome. Jehiel Anav died in Rome, Italy.

Sergio Piperno (1906-1976), jurist and community leader, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy, born in Rome, Italy, into a family well integrated into the Jewish community. In 1967 he added to his family name, Piperno, the name  “Be’er”, in memory of his  great-great grandfather, Moshe Shabbatai Be’er, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome until 1834. 

Piperno graduated in law in 1930. He started his career as a justice, working in Cavarzere and Dolo (near Venice) and then in Milan, where he was Public Prosecutor (Procuratore del Re). While serving in this capacity, the Fascist racial laws (1938), that excluded Jews from all public positions, went into effect. Piperno was deply affected on a personal level, because he could not believe that Italy, which he had served loyally, would exclude him just because he was Jewish.

Having lost the job he was prepared for, he became a sales agent for small firms. In the meantime, he began to be engaged in activities linked to the Jewish community, like the Delasem (Delegazione per l’Assistenza agli Emigranti Ebrei, active between 1939 and 1947).

On September 8, 1943 Rome was occupied by the Nazis; on October 16, 1943 there was a mass raid during which some 1,000 Jews were artrested. Piperno managed to escape and then succeeded in getting a fake identity card under the name of Enrico Marini, a displaced person from the South of Italy, then already under the control of the Allied forces.  Piperno changed his look (wearing glasses and growing  moustache) and went into hiding with his family in another area of Rome where hardly anybody could recognize him, staying there until the liberation by the Allied forces on June 4, 1944.

In the new Italy, which had become a repubblic in 1946, Piperno was reintegrated in his previous career as a judge, and eventually he reached a top level position, being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1969.

At the same time he continued with his engagement with the Jewish Community: he was elected member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Rome soon after the liberation; he was one of the promoters of Italian ORT in 1946 and was active in the Keren Hayesod when he was posted to Turin, as a judge of the Court of Appeal (1953). As representative of Keren Hayesod he took part in the Congress of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCII) in 1956, and was elected as member of the board, and then as President. He was reelected in the next four Congresses and remained in this position for 20 years, until his death, on June 5, 1976.

During his presidency Sergio Piperno maintained good relationships with leading Italian politicians, such as the Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. He also started new relations with the Vatican, where Pope John XXIII had agreed to eliminate the words perfidi giudei ("perfidous Jews") from Good Friday’s prayers of the Catholic Church. This was the beginning of a new approach in the Jewish-Catholics relations which eventually led to the decree Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council (1965). Piperno was often consulted by Cardinal Agostino Bea who wrote the initial draft of the decree.

Bearing in mind the need not to forgive what happened during 1938-1945, Piperno promoted the historical monograph Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo ("History of Italian Jews under Fascism", 1962) by Prof. Renzo De Felice, which became the basis for understand the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica ("Center for Jewish Documentation"), in Milan, which collected many documents and photographs of that period.

Sergio Piperno felt a very strong tie with Israel. He took part in the procession of Roman Jews under the Arch of Titus in Rome soon after the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947 - up to that point, Roman Jews had always refused to pass under the arch, because it was erected to celebrate the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the enslavement of the Jews. He visited for the first time Israel as President of the Italian Jewish Communities in 1958, and hosted in Rome Golda Meir and Abba Eban when they came as representatives of the State of Israel.

In the international scene, Sergio Piperno Beer was active, in collaboration with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Elio Toaff, in helping evacuate the nearly 4,000 Libyan Jews, who immediately after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) found themselves in real danger. Thanks to their negotiations with the Italian government, the Jews were allowed by Libyan authorities to escape to Italy, where they added a new vitality to the local Community eventually becaming fully integrated. During the 1970s Piperno also strongly backed the international campaign on behalf of the Soviet Jews' right to emigrate. 

Piperno married Livia Modigliani In March 1943 and they had four children: Giuliana, b. 1944; Maurizio, b. 1945; Gino, b. 1949; Bruno, b. 1951.                                                                                              

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses. In 1239, on the occasion of Nicolas Donin’s denunciation of the Talmud, he wrote the piyyut El Mi Anusah le-Ezrah (To Whom Shall I Run For Help). He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he first wrote sonnets in Romanesco (a Roman dialect) and later, after the Jewish emancipation of 1870, wrote in the Judeo-Italian dialect in order to preserve the special language and folklore.
Del Monte’s poems about the Roman ghetto describe its everyday life in a vital and expressive way. His love for the dialect led him to philological investigations and he constructed the grammar of the dialect. His poems were published in two volumes entitled Sonetti Guidaico-Romaneschi (1927) and Nuovi sonetti Guidaןco-Romaneschi (1933). A third volume was published posthumously, in 1955. He died in Rome, Italy.

Levi-Montalcini, Rita (1909-2012), neurologist , 1986 Nobel prize laureate for medecine, born in Torino, Italy. She studied at the University of Torino and after graduation continued to work there. In 1939, following the Fascist racial legislation, she was forced to leave. She continued her research in an improvised laboratory at home the results of which were published in Belgium. In 1947 she moved to Washington University in St. Louis, USA, where she worked with Prof. Victor Hamburger. In 1977 she returned to Italy and was nominated head of the Laboratory for Cell Biology at the National Council for Scientific Research in Rome. In 1986 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for her dicovery of the NGF.

Segre, Emilio (1905--1989), physicist, one of the discoverers of the antiproton, born in Tivoli, Italy. He began his engineering studies in Rome and later moved over to physics, which he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. He was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He taught at Rome University and was appointed Head of the Physics Department at the University of Palermo in 1936.

In 1938, in the wake of the antsemitic regulations in the civil service enacted by the fascist government, Segre immigrated to the United States, where he joined the University of California at Berkeley.

Segre was naturalized an American citizen and participated in the American effort to build the atomic bomb. After his retirement in 1978, he returned to Rome University.

In 1959, Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel prize for physics, together with Owen Chamberlain, "for their discovery of the antiproton." The proton is a positively charged particle that is found in varying numbers in atomic nuclei. The antiproton is a similar particle, but is negatively charged. The disparity between their charges turns every encounter into a dramatic event in which they nullify one another.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he is the author of a major work first entitled Beit Middot (Constantinople, 1312) and later Ma’alot ha-Middot (Cremona, 1356). The book deals with ethical conduct, based on talmudic, midrashic and other sources and begins and ends with a poem. Another poem by Jehiel Anav can be found at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud that he copied. It is a lamentation on the destruction of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere in Rome. Jehiel Anav died in Rome, Italy.

Ladislaus (Laszlo) Farkas (1904-1948), chemist, born in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia (then in the Austria Hungary Empire), the son of a pharmacist. From 1928, he worked as assistant to the Nobel prizewinning chemist, Fritz Haber, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem. When the Nazis came to power he moved to Cambridge, England, and in 1934 joined the staff of the Sieff Institute in Rehovot and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he became professor of physical chemistry. Farkas laid the foundations for the Research Council of Israel. He excelled in various fields including photochemistry, gas reactions and combustion. He was killed in an air crash while en route to the US to buy scientific equipment.

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses and Joab, Daniel and Isaac of Camerino. His main interest was the halakhah, but he had a thorough knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. Benjamin Anav began to write poetry in 1239. It includes kinot and selihot, the themes of which are historical. Many of his selihot were included in the mahzor of the Italian rite. He died in Rome, Italy.
Pianist and musicologist. Born in Novara, Italy, he studied piano at the conservatory in his native city, and literature at the University of Bologna. Valabrega lectured in music history in Naples, Perugia and Rome. He is the author of monographs about Schumann (1934), Domenico Scarlatti (1937) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1950). As concert pianist Valabrega appeared all over Europe and in Israel. He died in Rome, Italy.
Giovanni Maria (1470-1530) , Italian lute player, born in Germany. Coming to Florence, Italy, he was baptized and took the name Giovanni Maria in honour of Cardinal Giovanni de Medici. His original Jewish name is unknown, but in several documents he is referred to as “Giovanni Maria, the Jew”. In 1492 he was condemned to death for murder, fled to Rome and entered the service of the Cardinal de Medici and later of Pope Clement VII, the doge of Venice and the dukes of Mantua and Urbino. Giovanni Maria died in Rome. His son, Camilo, was also a musician in the papal service.

Sergio Piperno (1906-1976), jurist and community leader, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy, born in Rome, Italy, into a family well integrated into the Jewish community. In 1967 he added to his family name, Piperno, the name  “Be’er”, in memory of his  great-great grandfather, Moshe Shabbatai Be’er, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome until 1834. 

Piperno graduated in law in 1930. He started his career as a justice, working in Cavarzere and Dolo (near Venice) and then in Milan, where he was Public Prosecutor (Procuratore del Re). While serving in this capacity, the Fascist racial laws (1938), that excluded Jews from all public positions, went into effect. Piperno was deply affected on a personal level, because he could not believe that Italy, which he had served loyally, would exclude him just because he was Jewish.

Having lost the job he was prepared for, he became a sales agent for small firms. In the meantime, he began to be engaged in activities linked to the Jewish community, like the Delasem (Delegazione per l’Assistenza agli Emigranti Ebrei, active between 1939 and 1947).

On September 8, 1943 Rome was occupied by the Nazis; on October 16, 1943 there was a mass raid during which some 1,000 Jews were artrested. Piperno managed to escape and then succeeded in getting a fake identity card under the name of Enrico Marini, a displaced person from the South of Italy, then already under the control of the Allied forces.  Piperno changed his look (wearing glasses and growing  moustache) and went into hiding with his family in another area of Rome where hardly anybody could recognize him, staying there until the liberation by the Allied forces on June 4, 1944.

In the new Italy, which had become a repubblic in 1946, Piperno was reintegrated in his previous career as a judge, and eventually he reached a top level position, being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1969.

At the same time he continued with his engagement with the Jewish Community: he was elected member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Rome soon after the liberation; he was one of the promoters of Italian ORT in 1946 and was active in the Keren Hayesod when he was posted to Turin, as a judge of the Court of Appeal (1953). As representative of Keren Hayesod he took part in the Congress of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCII) in 1956, and was elected as member of the board, and then as President. He was reelected in the next four Congresses and remained in this position for 20 years, until his death, on June 5, 1976.

During his presidency Sergio Piperno maintained good relationships with leading Italian politicians, such as the Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. He also started new relations with the Vatican, where Pope John XXIII had agreed to eliminate the words perfidi giudei ("perfidous Jews") from Good Friday’s prayers of the Catholic Church. This was the beginning of a new approach in the Jewish-Catholics relations which eventually led to the decree Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council (1965). Piperno was often consulted by Cardinal Agostino Bea who wrote the initial draft of the decree.

Bearing in mind the need not to forgive what happened during 1938-1945, Piperno promoted the historical monograph Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo ("History of Italian Jews under Fascism", 1962) by Prof. Renzo De Felice, which became the basis for understand the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica ("Center for Jewish Documentation"), in Milan, which collected many documents and photographs of that period.

Sergio Piperno felt a very strong tie with Israel. He took part in the procession of Roman Jews under the Arch of Titus in Rome soon after the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947 - up to that point, Roman Jews had always refused to pass under the arch, because it was erected to celebrate the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the enslavement of the Jews. He visited for the first time Israel as President of the Italian Jewish Communities in 1958, and hosted in Rome Golda Meir and Abba Eban when they came as representatives of the State of Israel.

In the international scene, Sergio Piperno Beer was active, in collaboration with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Elio Toaff, in helping evacuate the nearly 4,000 Libyan Jews, who immediately after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) found themselves in real danger. Thanks to their negotiations with the Italian government, the Jews were allowed by Libyan authorities to escape to Italy, where they added a new vitality to the local Community eventually becaming fully integrated. During the 1970s Piperno also strongly backed the international campaign on behalf of the Soviet Jews' right to emigrate. 

Piperno married Livia Modigliani In March 1943 and they had four children: Giuliana, b. 1944; Maurizio, b. 1945; Gino, b. 1949; Bruno, b. 1951.                                                                                              

ARICCIA, DELL ARICCIA, DELL'ARICCIA

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birthplace, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

This family name is derived from Ariccia, the name of a town in the Metropolitan City of Rome, central Italy.  

Places, regions and countries of origin or residence are some of the sources of Jewish family names. But, unless the family has reliable records, names based on toponymics cannot prove the exact origin of the family.

Dell Ariccia is documented as a Jewish family name with Ernesto Dell Ariccia who was born in Rome, Italy, in 1910 and perished in the Holocaust.

FRASCATI

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birthplace, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

This family name is derived from Frascati, the name of a city in the Metropolitan City of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy.

Places, regions and countries of origin or residence are some of the sources of Jewish family names. But, unless the family has reliable records, names based on toponymics cannot prove the exact origin of the family.

Frascati is documented as a Jewish family name with Vittorio Frascati was born in Rome, Italy, in 1937 and perished in the Holocaust.

The Great Synagogue in Rome, Italy, 1980s
The synagogue was built in 1900-1904 by
architects Costa and Armani
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,)
Pope John Paul II, accompanied by Rabbi Toaff,
Chief Rabbi of Italy, during his visit to the synagogue
of Rome, Italy, April 13, 1986
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Emanuelle Pacifici, Rome)
Rona, Jozsef (1861-1940), sculptor, born in Lovasbereny, Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire). He studied at Budapest and at the Academy of Vienna, Austria. In 1882, after winning a royal scholarship he studied for three years with the German sculptor Kaspar von Zumbusch (1830-1915).

At Berlin, in 1885, he won a scholarship to go to Rome with his Saint Sebastian and Olympic Champion. Rona excelled in the treatment of Biblical subjects. His works "Adam and Eve", "Judith and Holophernes", "Saul and David", as well as "Lot's Wife", are marked by majesty and grace. His "Deborah's Song", in relief, adorns the Girls' Gymnasium of the Jewish Community of Pest. "Joseph and Potiphar's Wife", carved in wood, won a large gold medal in Budapest. Other gold medals were awarded him at Antwerp, Belgium, and Paris, France, and a grand prix at London, England. He also treated classical subjects, such as "Anacreon Giving a Music Lesson".

Rona created the statue on horseback of Eugene of Savoy which is a landmark of Budapest. Among scores of monuments of outstanding Hungarians are his statue of Empress Queen Elisabeth at Godollo, Hungary and his three statues of Louis Kossuth at Szeged, Miskolc and Rozsnyo. Several of his statues and groups are in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. Rona was president of the Hungarian Society of Graphic and Plastic arts and of the Union of Hungarian Sculptors. His memoirs, "Egy magyar muvesz elete" ("The Life of Hungarian Artist"; 2 vols., 1929), offer an interesting background of Jewish life in Hungary in the second half of the 19th century.

Enrico Guastalla (1828-1903), Italian soldier born at Guastalla, Italy. Although his parents intended him for a life as a businessman, he volunteered to join the Italian army in 1848. He took part in the defense of Rome in the war against Austria, and for his bravery in the battle of Vascello was appointed lieutenant. The following year he participated in the abortive capture of Rome from the pope. He afterward went to Piedmont and for several years he edited the "Liberta e Associazione" but, suspected of revolutionary tendencies by the government, he fled to London, England, where he met the radical Italian patriot Guiseppe Mazzini.

In 1859 he returned to Italy and joined G. Garibaldi at Como. He was wounded in the leg at Volturno (Oct. 1, 1860). After a month's inaction he became a member of Garibaldi's staff. At Aspromonte he was captured and imprisoned.

Guastalla again saw active service in 1866, and fought under Garibaldi at Como, Brescia, Lonoto, Salo, and Desenzano. He retired from the army with the rank of major and the insignia of Knight Commandant of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus. He was elected member of the Italian Parliament for Varese in 1865 and sat here for many years.

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he first wrote sonnets in Romanesco (a Roman dialect) and later, after the Jewish emancipation of 1870, wrote in the Judeo-Italian dialect in order to preserve the special language and folklore.
Del Monte’s poems about the Roman ghetto describe its everyday life in a vital and expressive way. His love for the dialect led him to philological investigations and he constructed the grammar of the dialect. His poems were published in two volumes entitled Sonetti Guidaico-Romaneschi (1927) and Nuovi sonetti Guidaןco-Romaneschi (1933). A third volume was published posthumously, in 1955. He died in Rome, Italy.

Ladislaus (Laszlo) Farkas (1904-1948), chemist, born in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia (then in the Austria Hungary Empire), the son of a pharmacist. From 1928, he worked as assistant to the Nobel prizewinning chemist, Fritz Haber, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem. When the Nazis came to power he moved to Cambridge, England, and in 1934 joined the staff of the Sieff Institute in Rehovot and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he became professor of physical chemistry. Farkas laid the foundations for the Research Council of Israel. He excelled in various fields including photochemistry, gas reactions and combustion. He was killed in an air crash while en route to the US to buy scientific equipment.

Painter

Born of Orthodox parents in Hanau, he received there his first instruction in painting and moved on to the Munich Academy of Arts at age 17. He went to Paris and then to Rome where he made studies of life in the ghetto in preparation for several large canvases which he painted on his return to Germany. In 1825 he settled in Frankfurt where his painting "David playing before Saul' attracted many admirers. In 1832, at the instance of Goethe, the duke of Saxe Weimar conferred on him the title of professor. He established a reputation as one of the foremost Jewish artists of the 19th century, noted for his genre and portrait paintings. One of his best-known works is 'Home Coming of a Jewish Soldier'.
Erdos, Renee (1879-1956), poetess and novelist, born in Erseklel, Komarom county, Hungary (the part of Austria-Hungary). Erdos was the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish agriculturist and for a time attended one of the religious schools of the Budapest community. Her early poems, revealed considerable lyric talent and won her the friendship of the poet Jozsef Kiss. The literary world started to take notice of her when in 1902 she published "Leanyalmok" and "Versek", collections of poetry. "Uj dalok" and "Kleopatra" (1906), as well as "Jottem hozzatok" (1909) elicited further critical praise.

In 1910 Erdos went to Italy. During four years at Rome and Florence she became a Catholic. In 1912, she wrote "As asszony meg a playa", her first full length novel, which dealt with the difficulties of a woman who seeks a career. At this time she also wrote "Janos tanitvany", an evangelical drama, and "Aranyveder", poems of religious exaltation.

Erdos rapidly became a prolific writer and was by far the most popular among feminine authors in Hungary. Eros was a major theme in many of her romances, plays and poems. Critics have written that she had a sophisticated narrative faculty, heightened by a rich sense of imaginary, spiritual and emotional suspense. Her characters were patterned, in the main, upon real people – living or dead. Among her major works are "Osok es ivadekok" (1914), a biographical cycle probing the problems of ancestry; "Az uj sarj" (1918), describing her childhood memories; "Az elet kiralynoje" (1921), and "Berekesztett utak" (1923), depicting the conflicts and pitfalls along the parallel paths of law and passion.

It was, however, in portraying the pomp and panoply of Catholic Rome that she attained great descriptive heights. "Santerra biboros" and "Romai levelek" (1922); "Assisibeli zsoldos" (1923), "Romai naplo" (1925), and "Ave Roma" all attest to her absorption in love for the city. Many of her novels appeared also in Italian, French and German. From the 1930s she lived in relative retirement, devoted to her home and family in Budapest. Erdos translated a number of Italian classics into Hungarian.
Shohat Gil (1973 - ), Israeli classical music composer, conductor and pianist. The son of Haaretz newspaper journalist Tzipora Shohat, he is a graduate of the Israeli Music Conservatory was awarded undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the Tel Aviv University School of Music and degrees for piano and composition from the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome, Italy. In 1997-1998 he also studied at Cambridge University in England. He won a number of scholarships and prizes including 1st prize of the Israel Academy, 1st prize of the Arthur Rubenstein Composition Competition and scholarships awarded by the British Council and Italian government. Forbes Magazine, together with all three of Israel’s major newspapers, declared Shohat to be “the most important and influential personality in classical music in Israel”.

Shohat began his musical studies at the age of seven and when he was twelve he was composing and performing his own piano pieces. His first orchestral composition, the cantata "The Nightingale and the Rose" was commissioned by the Israel Chamber Orchestra in 1991 when he was 18. He first came to international attention in 2001 with his opera "Alpha and Omega", the largest original opera production ever staged in Israel.

His composition teachers included Andre Hajdu in Israel and Azio Corghi, Ivan Vandor and Luciano Berio in Italy; his piano teachers were Rachel Feinstein and Arie Vardi in Israel, Sergio Perticaroli in Italy and Maria Curcio in England; his conducting teachers were Stanley Sperber and John Nelson. By 2010 Shohat composed nine large scale symphonies, ten concertos for the piano and various other instruments, three operas together with chamber music and various oratorios, cantatas and, solo vocal compositions. He has also written musical pieces for children including "Max and Moritz", in 2004.

Shohat’s compositions have been performed by leading orchestras in the USA and Europe as well as by Israeli orchestras. In 2009 he was named Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Currently he performs at approximately 80 concerts per year as conductor or pianist. His works have been conducted by many of the world’s leading conductors. Many orchestras and ensembles have commissioned Shohat to write pieces especially for them. He is also a very popular lecturer and teaches courses in music at universities and academies. He has been visiting professor at Harvard, Princeton, Hong Kong, Rome and Tel Aviv universities. His interests also include jazz and folk music. In 2008 Shohat founded two ensembles the Israel Soloists and the Israel Festival Orchestra-Elysium Ensemble. Since 2008 he has been artistic director of the “Sounds of Youth” festival in Holon, the leading festival for Israeli children.
Yiddish novelist

He was born in Suchaczew, Poland, and at age 22 went to Warsaw where his novel Shmuglers, published at that time, caused a literary sensation. It ran to several editions and was translated into Hebrew and Russian. However, Varshavsky felt he could never repeat its success and moved to Paris where he wrote another novel and essays on Jewish artists but indeed never equaled his first achievement. In 1941 he fled to the South of France and then to Rome, Italy, where he was discovered by the Gestapo and sent to his death in Auschwitz.
Engel, Jozsef (1815-1901), sculptor, born in Satoraljaujhely, Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire). Originally planning to become a rabbi, he was sent by his parents to study at the yeshiva of Rabbi Moses Sofer at Pressburg (now Bratislava, Slovakia). While studying, Engel began to practice sculpture but due to the opposition of his rabbis he was obliged to stop. However when his father died, Engel left for Vienna, Austria, and became apprentice to a wood-carver.

Recognition in his native land came only after he attained fame abroad. In 1840 he moved to England, where he made his name and executed busts of Queen Victoria and of Prince Albert, who commissioned several works from him. Then from 1847 to 1866 he lived in Rome, Italy. In this period he won the favor of Czar Nicholas of Russia, the Prince of Wales, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and other royal figures who frequented his studio.

He returned to Hungary in 1866, as winner of a contest to design the controversial Szechenyi memorial which was unveiled in 1880. He continued to attract attention abroad, being awarded the gold prize at the World Exposition in Vienna (1873), and a bronze medal at the 1889 Exposition in Paris, France. His last exhibition in Budapest was at the National Exposition of Art in 1885. Among his patrons were Prince Paul Esterhazy, and Sir David Salomons, the first Jewish lord mayor of London.

A classical spirit permeated many of his works, particularly those which he produced while in Rome. Outstanding among them are Achilles Surrenders Penthesilea's Corpse, a plaster cast of which is in the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts; Eve Awakening to Life; Before and After the Hunt; and Amour Reclining. The National Museum of Hungary commissioned him to make busts of King Matthias, Queen Maria Theresia, and of other historic figures.
Pianist and musicologist. Born in Novara, Italy, he studied piano at the conservatory in his native city, and literature at the University of Bologna. Valabrega lectured in music history in Naples, Perugia and Rome. He is the author of monographs about Schumann (1934), Domenico Scarlatti (1937) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1950). As concert pianist Valabrega appeared all over Europe and in Israel. He died in Rome, Italy.

Levi-Montalcini, Rita (1909-2012), neurologist , 1986 Nobel prize laureate for medecine, born in Torino, Italy. She studied at the University of Torino and after graduation continued to work there. In 1939, following the Fascist racial legislation, she was forced to leave. She continued her research in an improvised laboratory at home the results of which were published in Belgium. In 1947 she moved to Washington University in St. Louis, USA, where she worked with Prof. Victor Hamburger. In 1977 she returned to Italy and was nominated head of the Laboratory for Cell Biology at the National Council for Scientific Research in Rome. In 1986 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for her dicovery of the NGF.

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses and Joab, Daniel and Isaac of Camerino. His main interest was the halakhah, but he had a thorough knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. Benjamin Anav began to write poetry in 1239. It includes kinot and selihot, the themes of which are historical. Many of his selihot were included in the mahzor of the Italian rite. He died in Rome, Italy.
Segre, Emilio (1905--1989), physicist, one of the discoverers of the antiproton, born in Tivoli, Italy. He began his engineering studies in Rome and later moved over to physics, which he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. He was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He taught at Rome University and was appointed Head of the Physics Department at the University of Palermo in 1936.

In 1938, in the wake of the antsemitic regulations in the civil service enacted by the fascist government, Segre immigrated to the United States, where he joined the University of California at Berkeley.

Segre was naturalized an American citizen and participated in the American effort to build the atomic bomb. After his retirement in 1978, he returned to Rome University.

In 1959, Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel prize for physics, together with Owen Chamberlain, "for their discovery of the antiproton." The proton is a positively charged particle that is found in varying numbers in atomic nuclei. The antiproton is a similar particle, but is negatively charged. The disparity between their charges turns every encounter into a dramatic event in which they nullify one another.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he is the author of a major work first entitled Beit Middot (Constantinople, 1312) and later Ma’alot ha-Middot (Cremona, 1356). The book deals with ethical conduct, based on talmudic, midrashic and other sources and begins and ends with a poem. Another poem by Jehiel Anav can be found at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud that he copied. It is a lamentation on the destruction of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere in Rome. Jehiel Anav died in Rome, Italy.
Vago, Jozsef (1877-1947), architect, born in Nagyvarad, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Oradea in Romania) and completed his studies at the Polytechnicum in Budapest. As a student, he was awarded a prize for the plan of a synagogue in Budapest.

Until 1911 he worked with his older brother, architect Laszlo Vago. Later Jozsef became the associate of the leading Hungarian architect O. Lechner. Vago prefered the modern style with the clean uncluttered lines then in vogue. Many buildings in the Hungarian capital were designed by him. In 1919 he settled in Switzerland and later relocated to Italy.

He died in Salies-de-Béarn, France.
Historian

Born in Piatra-Neamt, he studied in Germany and at the Sorbonne and was admitted to the bar in Paris in 1913. He became an advocate at the Paris Court of Appeal. He was killed in military action in World War I. Juster made valuable contributions to Jewish legal history, notably his work on the legal position of the Jews under the Visigothic kings. His major work was a two-volume study of the legal, economic, and social condition of the Jews in the Roman Empire.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses. In 1239, on the occasion of Nicolas Donin’s denunciation of the Talmud, he wrote the piyyut El Mi Anusah le-Ezrah (To Whom Shall I Run For Help). He died in Rome, Italy.
Ivanyi-Gruenwald, Bela (1867-1940), painter, born in Somogysom, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied in Budapest, Munich and Paris, and first exhibited his painting "Sundown in Summer" in Budapest in 1889. In 1892 he won the prize of the Friends of Art of Budapest, and his picture "Conspirators Casting Lots" was purchased by the Hungarian state. In his historic tableaux, "The Sword of God and After the Tatar Invasion" (1896), figures and scenery concur in suggesting dramatic suspense. Ivanyi-Gruenwald painted and taught at the Hungarian Impressionists' School of Nagybanya (now Baia Mare, in Romania) from its inception in 1896 until 1907. In 1904 he won the Fraknoi scholarship, which enabled him to spend two years in Rome, Italy. His paintings from that period "Holdas est" ("Moonlit Evening"), "Antique", and "Est a Villa Borgheseban" ("Evening at Villa Borghese") attest to a decorative art full of mysticism. After his return he exhibited his paintings in the National Salon of Budapest.

At the beginning of his career he was influenced by naturalism. He later turned to a moderate impressionism and finally turned to compositions with figures and forms strongly accentuated by light and shade. In 1907 he became the head of the artists' colony of Kecskemet, Hungary. He won the Association Prize with his "Market Women Selling Fruit among Piles of Snow" (1912), the small golden medal of the state with his "Awakening of Spring", and the large golden medal with his "Women Bathing" (1913). His deep understanding of nature was illustrated by a number of landscapes of Lake Balaton and many of his works reflect the climate and philosophy of his country. Despite his being a Jew, he was entrusted by the anti-Semitic Hungarian government with the painting of a mural for the auditorium of the University of Debrecen. A teacher of several generations of Hungarian painters, he ranked among the greatest artists of his time.

Di Segni, Mose (1903-1969), doctor, partisan, born in Rome, Italy, to a local Jewish family. He studied medicine in Rome and went on to specialize in pediatrics in Florence. He took part in the Zionist activities organized by Enzo Sereni (a Zionist leader in Italy, co-founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner who was parachuted into Nazi-occupied Italy in World War II, captured by the Germans and subsequently executed in Dachau). In 1930 Di Segni met his future wife, Pina, who had studied pharmacy in Florence and who was the daughter of Rabbi Naftali Roth rabbi of Russe (Ruschuk) in Bulgaria.

In 1936 Di Segni was drafted into the Italian army and sent to Spain as a doctor attached to the the Italian Red Cross delegation in the Civil War. After the passing of the Italian racial laws of 1938, he was dismissed and returned to Italy. In addition he was dismissed from his position in the Rome hospital where he had previously worked. He found himself under the regular surveillance of the fascist secret police on account of his association with the Jewish community and due to his Zionist and anti-fascist views.

In September 1943 Di Segni was designated as one of the Jews to be taken hostage to ensure that the Jewish community of Rome would pay the ransom of 50 kilograms of gold imposed after the German takeover of Italy. Di Segni received advance warning from the deputy editor of the newspaper “Il Giornale d'Italia”, where he worked during his university studies. So he fled from Rome with his wife and two small children to San Severino, a small city in central Italy and was hidden there by a friend. Di Segni joined a large partisan group which, for ten months until the defeat o the Germans, engaged in operations to sabotage German transport and communications, to protecting the civilian population, and to sabotage efforts to conscript local people into the Fascist army. Moshe Di Segni was the senior medical officer of the group and participated in many of these actions. One of the battles in which he took part was the Battle of Valdiola in March 1944 and for his actions he was awarded a silver medal for heroism in battle. In addition, he gave medical aid to the civilian population throughout the region.

After the liberation of San Severino he returned to his work as a doctor in Rome. He remained active in Jewish organizations in Rome and was a member of the Jewish community until 1965.

In 1996 the ceremonies in San Severino to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian Republic were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Di Segni and in 2011 his three children were given honorary citizenship of the town. A book has been published about his activities as a partisan.

His son Ricardo, also a doctor by profession, has been Chief Rabbi of Rome since 2002. His eldest daughter, Frida, a pharmacist, lives in Ancona while another son, Elio, a cardiologist, immigrated to Israel in 1974.

Giovanni Maria (1470-1530) , Italian lute player, born in Germany. Coming to Florence, Italy, he was baptized and took the name Giovanni Maria in honour of Cardinal Giovanni de Medici. His original Jewish name is unknown, but in several documents he is referred to as “Giovanni Maria, the Jew”. In 1492 he was condemned to death for murder, fled to Rome and entered the service of the Cardinal de Medici and later of Pope Clement VII, the doge of Venice and the dukes of Mantua and Urbino. Giovanni Maria died in Rome. His son, Camilo, was also a musician in the papal service.
Sereni, Enzo Hayim (1905-1944), Zionist, born in Rome, Italy. He received his doctorate at the university of Rome in 1924 by which time he was deeply involved in Zionist work among Italian Jewry. In 1926 he moved to Palestine where he worked on farms, was an organizer in the labor movement and a founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner. He was often sent on Zionist missions to Europe and was in Germany 1931-34, helping to transfer Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine. During World War II Sereni was an emissary in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Italy. In his last mission he was parachuted into Italy as a British army officer, captured by the Germans and sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died. The kibbutz Netser Sereni is named for him.
Balla, Ignac (1883-1976), writer and translator, born in Magyarpecska, Hungary. After finishing high school he served in the imperial navy before becoming a journalist. He went to Rome, Italy, in the 1920s, where he studied Italian literature and translated many Italian classics into Hungarian. He lived in Rome as a correspondent of the newspaper "Pesti Hirlap" and established close contacts with many Italian government officials. His efforts on behalf of Italo-Magyar friendship made him a popular figure in Italy until racial laws were enacted in both Hungary and Italy in 1939.

In 1907, Balla became editor of "Uj Idoek" (Modern Times), a journal of progressive views. In 1915 he became a member of the Petoefi Association. His translation of the works of Boccaccio, D'Annunzio, and G. Deledda were widely appreciated in Hungary. His biographies include: "A Rotschildok" (The Rothschilds, 1912) and "Edison" (1913). Amongst his best known poems were: "Tuez" (Fire, 1901); "Tenger mormolasa" (Murmur of the Sea, 1903); "Del" (South, 1907), and "A hethid varosa" (City of Seven Bridges, 1910). Balla is the author of the play "Az arezzoi varga" (The Cobbler of Arezzo, 1926).
Saderman, Anatole (1904-1993), photographer, born in Moscow, Russia. When the Russian revolution occurred he was taken by his parents to live in Berlin, Germany. He emigrated first to Paraguay and then to Uruguay. In 1926 he started to work as a street photographer and then learned how to make portraits.

In 1932 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and opened his own studio. Between 1962 and 1966 he lived and worked in Rome, Italy. He had made portraits of many famous personalities such as Borges, Emil Ludwig, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Pablo Neruda, Pablo Casals and Nicolas Guillen. In 1982 he received a Konex award and in 1984 was named 'Distinguished Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires'.
Munkacsi, Erno (1896-1950), jurist and art writer born in Pancelcseh, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary). He was a son of Bernat Munkacsi, a renowned philologist and ethnographer. Erno studied law at the University of Budapest and upon admission to the bar in 1923, served first as secretary, then as counselor, and finally as chief counselor of the Neolog Jewish community of Pest.

He was author of articles and books dealing with the legal status and customs of the Jewish community of Hungary. He strove for complete autonomy of the Jews in Hungary, within the framework of the laws of emancipation (1867) and repatriation (1895). He wished to educate the Jews with a historical Jewish consciousness, and to eradicate the widespread ignorance of Jewish matters. In 1941 he became a member of the national board of the congressional Jewish communities of Hungary.

E. Munkacsi undertook several research trips to Italy and published "Romai naplo" ("Diary from Rome," 1931), describing relics of the Jewish past in Rome; "Avicenna kanonjanak miniaturjei" ("The Miniatures of Avicenna's Canon"; 1935); Livornoi regisegek (Antiquities of Livorno; 1935); "Miniaturmuveszet Italia Konyvtaraiban, Heber Kodexek" ("The Art of Miniature in the Libraries of Italy; Hebrew Codices", 1937); "Der Jude von Neapel" (1940, in Hungarian, 1941), dealing with the remnants of Jewish art in southern Italy; on Jean Baptist Frey's Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum. An English article "Ancient and Medieval Synagogues in Representation of the Fine Arts" (Jubilee Volume Bernhard Heller, 1941, 241-51 ed. by Munkacsi) was devoted to the representation of art in Synagogues.

In 1942 Munkacsi went underground. During the period of the Holocaust, he proposed the idea of contacting the Hungarian anti-Nazi underground movement, and he was one of the editors of the underground manifesto which revealed to the non-Jewish community the horrors of the deportation. After World War II he published documents and lists from the period of the Holocaust "Hogyan tortent?" ("How Did It Happen?", 1947). He published many articles in Jewish journals, in particular the periodical "Mult es Jovo" ("Past and Future"), and Libanon, for which he served as one of the editors.
Zevi, Tulia (1919-2011), journalist and communal activist, born in Milano, Italy, to a wealthy family. Her father was a well-known anti-fascist lawyer. She studied philosophy at the University of Milano, but she was unable to graduate on account of the racial laws imposed by the Fascist government of Italy in 1938. After the discriminatory laws were enacted the family decided to move first to Geneva, Switzerland, and then to Paris, France, where Zevi continued her studies at the Sorbonne. In summer 1939 the family moved to New York, USA.

In New York she made the first steps which led to her career as a journalist. She joined the organization ‘Giustizia e Liberta’ ["Justice and Freedom"], which published the journal ‘Italy against Fascism’, and took part in NBC broadcasts aimed at Italian partisans. In New York she met and subsequently married Italian architect and art critic Bruno Zevi. The couple returned to Italy in 1946, where Tulia reported on the Nuremberg war trials. Later she reported on the trial of Adolph Eichmann in Jerusalem, Israel. Between 1960 and 1993 she was a correspondent for Israel newspaper "Maariv" and also for the London "Jewish Chronicle".

In 1978 she was elected vice president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and then five years later she became president of the organization, the first time a women held the position. In 1986 she welcomed Pope John Paul II on his historic visit to Rome’s main synagogue. She held the position of president of the Union until 1998. In this capacity Zevi negotiated and then signed the convention which defined the relationship between the Jewish communities and the Italian state. In 1992 Tulia Zevi was awarded Italy's highest civilian honor, the Order of Merit. Then Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano hailed her "exquisite humanity and culture," and praised her work as an ardent anti-fascist. In 1998 she was chosen to be a member of the Italian commission of UNESCO. In 2007 she published her autobiography "Tio raccanto la mia storia" (“I will tell you my story”).

In her term of office Zevi chose to engage the Catholic Church in dialogue in order to make a clean break with the past when the Catholic Church and the papacy often took the initiative in humiliating and discriminating against the Jews of Italy. After her death the Vatican issued an almost unheard of expression of condolences and praising her for her part in “a sincere and fruitful dialogue” between Christians and Jews.
Rabbi

Born in Leghorn, he was chief cantor in Florence and from 1927 to 1936 rabbi of Alexandria where he founded the journal L'Illustration Juive followed by Cahiers Juives. He was chief rabbi of Rome, 1936-38 but when conditions became impossible with the antisemitic laws of the Fascist government he moved to Palestine. In 1945 he resumed his position in Rome. A keen Zionist, Prato was active in the Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod in Rome.
Alconiere, Theodore (Hermann Cohn) (1797-1865), painter, born in Nagymarton (Mattersdorf, today Mattersburg), Hungary (now in Austria). He received his training in Vienna from 1812 to 1820 and continued to live and work there for a another 20 years. He also spent some years in Rome, where he acquired his dramatic romantic style. While in Italy he was appointed court portraitist to the duke of Parma.

In 1848, Alconiere moved back to Hungary, where he painted many equestrian portraits of the nobility and scenes from everyday life, mainly in Szekesfehervar, Paapa and Pest. In his first exhibition in Budapest, in 1840, Alconiere exhibited a painting depicting Napoleon riding a horse. Two of his paintings are exhibited in The Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest.

He probably had an affair with a Hungarian woman, whose portrait he painted about ten times, but later he married the daughter of a Viennese gardener. His wife died quite soon after their marriage. After her death, and probably as a result of it, Alconiere became deeply depressed and lived in virtual seclusion. He attempted to make a living by drawing humorous sketches, among them a portrait of a musician comprised entirely of musical instruments. He even took to counterfeiting banknotes. However his conscience troubled him and instead of circulating the money, he handed himself over to the police. Alconiere was the most distinguished Jewish painter among the first generation of Hungarian nationalists. In 1830, Alconiere converted to Roman Catholic faith, but never denied his Jewish origin.
Kataszek, Szymon (1898-1943), composer and jazz musician, born in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). He studied at Warsaw Music Institute and then at the St Cecilia Academy in Rome,Italy, after which he returned to Warsaw where he worked as a church organist and pianist at nightclubs.

In 1920 Kataszek enlisted in the Polish army and fought in the Polish-Soviet War in which Poland attempted to secure certain territories at the time of the partitions. In 1921 he performed with dance orchestras in Berlin, Germany, and Gdansk and then founded a jazz quintet which performed by various Warsaw nightclubs and also toured various Polish cities. He wrote many foxtrots, tangos, shimmies and Charlstons all of which were very popular amongst the Polish younger public of the time. He also composed several songs for films. He became chairman of the Society for Worklesss Musicians which succeeded in persuading performing artists to contribute 20% of their earnings from radio to a fund to help the unemployed musicians.

In 1941 he, along with almost all other Jews was confined to the Warsaw Ghetto where he became the leader of the Ghetto Jewish Police Orchestra. He succeeded in escaping from the ghetto and once again started to make music. He was, however, recognized by a Nazi officer in the German occupied Lvov, arrested, sent back to Warsaw and subsequently shot by the Nazis in 1943.

Bergengrün, Werner (1892-1964) author, poet. Born in Riga.

In 1922, Bergengrün published his first novel in a Frankfurt newspaper. He was expelled from the writers union of the German Reich in 1937, "because he does not contribute to the building of German culture and is not politically reliable." His home near Munich was bombed in 1942, after which he went to live in the Tyrol, and thence to Switzerland. In 1949-50 he lived in Rome, and afterward settled in Baden-Baden.

He completed his doctorate at the University of Munich in 1959. His autobiography - Memoirs from the Writing Table - was published in 1961.

Leopold Pollak (1806-1880), painter, born in Loděnice (Lodenitz, in German), Bohemia, Czech Republic (then part of the Austrian empire). He studied in Prague, Vienna and Munich, and later in Rome, where he painted Italian scenes in the style of the German painter August Riedel (1799-1883). Some of Pollak's paintings were engraved by Mandel and Straucher. A number of Pollak’s paintings were displayed in the Neue Pinakothek of Munich, the Hall of Art, Hamburg; and in the Redern Palace, Berlin. Pollak died in Rome.

Sergio Piperno (1906-1976), jurist and community leader, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy, born in Rome, Italy, into a family well integrated into the Jewish community. In 1967 he added to his family name, Piperno, the name  “Be’er”, in memory of his  great-great grandfather, Moshe Shabbatai Be’er, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome until 1834. 

Piperno graduated in law in 1930. He started his career as a justice, working in Cavarzere and Dolo (near Venice) and then in Milan, where he was Public Prosecutor (Procuratore del Re). While serving in this capacity, the Fascist racial laws (1938), that excluded Jews from all public positions, went into effect. Piperno was deply affected on a personal level, because he could not believe that Italy, which he had served loyally, would exclude him just because he was Jewish.

Having lost the job he was prepared for, he became a sales agent for small firms. In the meantime, he began to be engaged in activities linked to the Jewish community, like the Delasem (Delegazione per l’Assistenza agli Emigranti Ebrei, active between 1939 and 1947).

On September 8, 1943 Rome was occupied by the Nazis; on October 16, 1943 there was a mass raid during which some 1,000 Jews were artrested. Piperno managed to escape and then succeeded in getting a fake identity card under the name of Enrico Marini, a displaced person from the South of Italy, then already under the control of the Allied forces.  Piperno changed his look (wearing glasses and growing  moustache) and went into hiding with his family in another area of Rome where hardly anybody could recognize him, staying there until the liberation by the Allied forces on June 4, 1944.

In the new Italy, which had become a repubblic in 1946, Piperno was reintegrated in his previous career as a judge, and eventually he reached a top level position, being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1969.

At the same time he continued with his engagement with the Jewish Community: he was elected member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Rome soon after the liberation; he was one of the promoters of Italian ORT in 1946 and was active in the Keren Hayesod when he was posted to Turin, as a judge of the Court of Appeal (1953). As representative of Keren Hayesod he took part in the Congress of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCII) in 1956, and was elected as member of the board, and then as President. He was reelected in the next four Congresses and remained in this position for 20 years, until his death, on June 5, 1976.

During his presidency Sergio Piperno maintained good relationships with leading Italian politicians, such as the Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. He also started new relations with the Vatican, where Pope John XXIII had agreed to eliminate the words perfidi giudei ("perfidous Jews") from Good Friday’s prayers of the Catholic Church. This was the beginning of a new approach in the Jewish-Catholics relations which eventually led to the decree Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council (1965). Piperno was often consulted by Cardinal Agostino Bea who wrote the initial draft of the decree.

Bearing in mind the need not to forgive what happened during 1938-1945, Piperno promoted the historical monograph Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo ("History of Italian Jews under Fascism", 1962) by Prof. Renzo De Felice, which became the basis for understand the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica ("Center for Jewish Documentation"), in Milan, which collected many documents and photographs of that period.

Sergio Piperno felt a very strong tie with Israel. He took part in the procession of Roman Jews under the Arch of Titus in Rome soon after the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947 - up to that point, Roman Jews had always refused to pass under the arch, because it was erected to celebrate the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the enslavement of the Jews. He visited for the first time Israel as President of the Italian Jewish Communities in 1958, and hosted in Rome Golda Meir and Abba Eban when they came as representatives of the State of Israel.

In the international scene, Sergio Piperno Beer was active, in collaboration with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Elio Toaff, in helping evacuate the nearly 4,000 Libyan Jews, who immediately after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) found themselves in real danger. Thanks to their negotiations with the Italian government, the Jews were allowed by Libyan authorities to escape to Italy, where they added a new vitality to the local Community eventually becaming fully integrated. During the 1970s Piperno also strongly backed the international campaign on behalf of the Soviet Jews' right to emigrate. 

Piperno married Livia Modigliani In March 1943 and they had four children: Giuliana, b. 1944; Maurizio, b. 1945; Gino, b. 1949; Bruno, b. 1951.                                                                                              

Togo Mizrahi (1901- 1986), actor, director, film producer, one of the pioneers of the film industry in Egypt, born in Alexandria, Egypt into a Jewish family of Italian ancestry. He was named Togo after the Japanese admiral Togo Heihachirō (1848-1934). He studied in Alexandria schools, obtained a diploma in trade, and traveled to Italy in 1921 to complete his education. From Italy he moved to France, and in 1928 returned to Alexandria. 

After his return, he founded the Egyptian Film Company in Alexandria, and in 1929 he established Bacos Studio, a cinematographic studio, which was located in a cinema theater. During his first years of activity in the film industry he used the name Ahmed Al Mashriqi fearing a negative attitude from his family. In 1939 he moved to Cairo directing 19 films and producing several others. Mizrahi collaborated with Laila Mourad and together produced five films which he produced and directed: A Rainy Night (Laylah moumtirah) in 1939, Laila from the Countryside (Layla bint el rif) in 1941, Laila the School Girl (Layla bint el madâris) in 1941, Laila (1942), and Laila in the Dark (Layla fi-l-zalâm) in 1944. These movies are regarded as some of the finest films in the history of the Egyptian cinematography. In 1947 Mizrahi produced Salama, his last film in Egypt, a historical drama starring Oum Kalthoum about the Umayyad Caliphate.

Following the establishment of the State of Israel, the subsequent Arab-Israeli war, and the Free Officers Revolution, Mizrahi left Egypt in 1952 and settled in Rome, Italy. His two studios were nationalized by the Egyptian authorities. Mizrahi died in Rome.

Zygmunt Balk (1873 - 1941), painter, theater stage designer, born in Lvov (Lviv), Ukraine (then part of Austria-Hungary). He started his studies in Lvov in the studio of Jan Düll  and the Industrial School of Lvov. Then practiced in Vienna in the studio of Herman Borghardt, decorator at Viennese opera. Balk also studied in Berlin, Leipzig, Munich and Dresden. His work include decorations for the Skarbkowski Theater in Lvov and for local Jewish theters in Lvov and Stanislawow (now Ivano Frankivsk). He painted, among others decorations for the following dramas and operas: Kordian, Otello, The Sunken Bell, Barbara Radziwiłłówna by A. Feliński, Lilla Weneda, Peer Gynt, Bolesław the Bold, Irydion, Goplana . In 1913, he was awarded the gold medal at an international exhibition in Rome, Italy, for his stage decorations to operas by Richard Wagner. He committed suicide in the Lvov Ghetto.

Isaac Gioacchino Levi (1818-1908), painter and writer, born in Busseto, Italy. He studied at the academy of Fine Arts in Parma, Italy. Winner of the academic prize for the best work of painting, in 1849 he went to Rome on a prize sojourn for a three-year specialization staying there until 1853.

Between 1856-1859 he was a teacher at Collegio Convito Nazionale in Torino. During his stay in Torino, Levi participated to the exhibitions organized by the local Society for Promoting Fine Arts. In 1858 his work entitled The Exile of the Milanese in 1162 received much praise; The Death of Don Carlos of Spain exhibited in 1859 enjoyed greater success and was purchased by King Vittorio Emanuele II for 700 lire. In the same period the painter participated in the decoration of the cathedral of Mondovì. After 1860 he was  a teacher at the Military Academy in Milano. Between 20 June and 22 Sept. 1865 to Levi was entrusted with one of the most prestigious assignments of his career, the fresco decoration of the vault of the Verdi theater in Busseto. In 1873 Levi worked again in his hometown and completed another fresco, on the ceiling of a room of the local Public Library, with the subject of Prometheus .

Levi was appointed honorary member by the Institute of Fine Arts of Urbino in 1866 and by the Royal Academy of Parma in 1874. He died in Busseto. 

Paulina Lebl-Albala (1891-1967), writer, translator and professor of literature, feminist activist, born in Belgrade, Serbia. She attended high school in Nis, Serbia, and then the Teachers' School and the First Women's Gymnasium in Belgrade, from 1905 to 1909. She continued her studies at Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade, graduating in Serbian and French literature in 1913.

She started her literary career as a member of the literary society Nada. Upon graduation she translated a number of works into Serbian and at the same time was employed as a teacher at the Women's High School in Belgrade. In 1920 she married Dr. David Albala (1886-1942).

In parallel she became a feminist activist. Lebl-Albala was a member of Drustvo za prosvećivanje žene i zaštitu njenih prava ("Society for Women's Enlightenment and Protection of their Rights") and in 1925 she was a co-founder of the Udruženje univerzitetski obrazovanih žena (UUOZ; Association of University-Educated Women; 1927), and served as the organization's president.

In 1940, along with her husband, she travelled to United States settling in Washington, DC, where she campaigned for Yugoslav and Jewish issues and worked for several film companies. After her husband’s death in 1942, she moved to New York. She returned to Yugoslavia after WW2. In 1948 she immigrated to Israel, but left for Rome, Italy, staying there from 1951 to 1953, then she moved to Windsor, ON, in Canada, before settling in Los Angeles, California.             

Lebl-Albala published dozens of books, articles and various translations throughout her career, including Razvoj universitetskog obrazovanja naših žena (“Development of university education of our women”, 1930), Teorija književnosti i analiza pismenih sastava za srednje i stručne škole (“Theory of Literature and Analysis of Written Compositions for Secondary and Vocational Schools”, 1923, 1930 – co-authored with Katarina Bogdanović), Deset godina rada Udruženja univerzitetski obrazovanih žena u Jugoslaviji: 1928-1938 (“Ten years of work of the Association of University Educated Women in Yugoslavia: 1928-1938”, 1939), Yugoslav women fight for freedom (1943), Dr. Albala as a Jewish National Worker (1943), Izabrana proza (“Selected Prose”, 1951), and Tako je nekad bilo ("That's how it once was", 2005) – a compilation of her memoirs.

She contributed with essays, literary discussions, criticism, reviews, stories, travel articles about women and youth, to numerous newspapers and periodicals, including Moderna žena ("Modern Women"), Misao, Ženski pokret, Prilozi, Strani pregled, Politika, Javnost, Naša stvarnost, and Krug.

George Mantello (born György / Baruch Mandl, aka George Mandel) (1901-1990), businessman, rescuer of many thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, born in Lechinta, Romania (then part of Austria-Hungary). His father, Baruch Yehudah Mandl, owned a mill in Lechinta. He studied in Budapest, Hungary, and after 1921 worked for a bank in Vienna, Austria. Mantello then moved first to Cluj, Romania, and eventually to Bucharest, where he became a textiles manufacturer and a banker. He supported the Zionist movement and visited the Land of Israel. In Bucharest he befriended Colonel José Arturo Castellanos, the consul of El Salvador in the Romanian capital, while being involved into a sale of Romanian weapons to El Salvador.

Mantello was in Vienna in 1938 and in Prague in 1939 and witnessed the anti-Semitic persecutions that followed the annexation of Austria and Czechia by Nazi Germany. After the annexation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary in August 1940, Mantello tried to escape from Hungary. However, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Rijeka (Fiume), in Axis occupied Yugoslavia and detained in Zagreb for a number of months. He managed to escape to Bucharest and then to Switzerland, where in 1942 he started to work as First Secretary for Castellanos who was now the Salvadorian consul in Geneva. Castellanos and Mandello issued thousands of Salvadorian certificates that were smuggled into German occupied territories. Particularly, Mandello was involved in the effort to save the Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. With the assistance of Florian Manoliu, a Romanian diplomat in Switzerland, Mantello obtained and then published a reported detailing the ghettoization and mass deportations of the Jews of Hungary in the spring of 1944. The publication in the Swiss press, and then outside Switzerland, had a huge impact on the local and international public opinion and led to protests and letters of advertisement sent by world leaders to the Hungarian authorities with the effect that the deportations were stopped on July 9, 1944.

Mantello died in Rome, Italy, and was buried in Jerusalem, Israel.

José Arturo Castellanos Contreras was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Rightenous Among the Nations in 2010.  

Mendel Haimovici (1906-1973), mathematician and scientist, member of the Romanian Academy, born in Iasi, Romania. He studied mathematics at the University of Iasi, graduating in 1930. He continued his studies at the University of Rome, Italy, where he earned his PhD with the famous mathematician Tullio Levi-Civita (1873-1941). Haimovici became an assistant lecturer in the field of analytical geometry at the University of Iasi, from 1933 until 1940.  Following the anti-Semitic policy of the Fascist government of Romania, he was expelled from his position during 1940-1944. He returned to the University of Iasi in 1945 as an assistant professor, in 1946 he became a ful professor, and in 1948 he was named dean of the theoretical mechanics department at the university. In 1949 he was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences and was appointed director of the Mathematical Institute of the Iasi branch of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, a position he held until 1973. In 1963 he became a full member of the Romanian Academy.
Mendel Haimovici was the brother of the mathematician Adolf Haimovici (1912–1993).

Ilona Singer-Weinberger (1905-1944), painter, born in Budapest, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary) into a family of merchants from Nové Strašecí, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). She grew up in Budapest and in Offenbach near Darmstadt, Germany and then studied at the United State School for Free and Applied Art in Berlin. She lived in Berlin, but travelled to Italy, staying in Rome from 1925 to 1926, and also to France and Switzerland. After 1936 it seems she returned to Czecholovakia settling for some time in Prague before she married Felix Weinberger in late 1930s. The couple moved to Hodonín, a town in Moravia. After the German occupation of the Czech lands, they were deported to Theresienstadt in January 1943 and were detained there until May 1944, when both were deported to Auschwitz Nazi death camp. Her works follow the Neue Sachlichkeit ("New Objectivity") movement, of them very few withstood the looting and destructions of WW2. Five paintings that were confiscated by the Nazis from various owners, including her sister Margarita, are now on display at the Jewish Museum of Prague.

Norberto Höfling (1924-2005), footballer and coach, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine (then Cernauti / Czernowitz, in Romania). He started his career after the end of WW2 playing for Carmen Bucharest, then one of the best teams in Romania, and Ciocanul Bucharest, formerly known as Maccabi Bucharest, a Jewish team founded in 1919, banned during the Holocaust and founded again with its new name in 1946. Höfling also played in the Romanian national team during 1945-1946. He left Romania in 1948 and played for MTK Budapest, and then for the Italian clubs SS Lazio, Pro patria Calcio and Vicenza Calcio.

In 1957 Höfling started his second career as a coach with Club Brugge in Belgium, followed six years later by the Dutch club Fayenoord Rotterdam. Later during the 1060s and the 1970s he was a coach for the Belgian clubs R.W.D Molenbek, R.S.C. Anderlecht, Club Brugge, A.S. Oostende, and KAA Gent. After retiring from the world of soccer, he set up a shoe store in Bruges.

Höfling died in Bruges, Belgium.

Max W. Arnold (born Mendel Wechsler Arnold aka Max Wexler Arnold) (1897-1946), painter and aquarellist, born in Iasi, Romania. He attended the Fine Arts School in Iasi graduating in 1920. He continued his studies in Munich and Dresden, Germany, during 1923-1924, and then in Rome, Italy, during 1925-1927. He traveled extensively in Italy, Egypt, Syria, and the Land of Israel, where he had an exhibition in the winter of 1927-1928. These were followed by travels to various places in France, particularly to Bretagne, and then to Spain, Belgium, England, Romania, and Greece. He exhibited in Paris in 1933 and in Bucharest in 1934. His works boast several themes, including oriental landscapes as well as landscapes from the Romanian region of Dobrogea, the Seine river in Paris, Hyde Park in London, and Florence, in addition to nudes, portraits, still nature, and house interiors. His works are on display at the National Museum of Art of Romania in Bucharest, the Art Museum of Iasi, The Zambaccian Museum in Bucharest and other Romanian museums and collections. Max W. Arnold died in Bucharest. 

Fregene

A municipal district of Fiumicino, on Tyrrhenian coast in the Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, Italy.

 

Italy

Repubblica Italiana

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 27,500 out of 61,000,000. Most Jews of Italy live in Rome and Milano greater areas. The main umbrella organization of the Jewish communities of Italy: 

Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane (Union of the Italian Jewish Community)
Phone: 39 6 580 3667/580 3670
Fax: 39 6 589 9569
Email: segretaria@ucei.it or info@ucei.it.
Website: http://www.ucei.it

 

HISTORY

The Jews of Italy

59 BCE | The Rebbetzin Poppea

Legend has it that in 59 BCE the great Roman statesman, orator and writer Cicero said that he was afraid to speak out loud, for fear of Rome's Jewish residents.
Cicero was famous for his hyperbole, but even if he was overstating his case, there is no doubt that Jews in the Roman Empire were a dominant force to be reckoned with.
Most Jews who arrived in Italy flocked to Rome. Many of them were manumitted slaves from Judea, captives from the wars of Pompey and later of Titus, as well as merchants and artisans drawn to the vibrant life of the imperial capital. According to various historical sources, the great advocate of the Jews at the time was none other than Julius Caesar, who gave the Jews special rights, among them the freedom to observe their religious commandments, to settle their internal affairs in Jewish courts and to send first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem.
One of the most fascinating trends of this period, which is well-attested in historical sources, is the adoption of Jewish ways and customs by the gentile population of Rome. One of the more prominent members of this group, who were known as “God-fearing,” was Poppea, wife of the Emperor Nero, who observed the Sabbath and refrained from eating non-kosher animals.

70 CE | Non-Modern Slavery

According to various historical sources, the number of Hebrew slaves that arrived in Rome from Judea in the year 70 CE, after the suppression of the Great Revolt and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, stood at some 100,000 people. The Romans directed the new manpower at their disposal to the construction of lavish public facilities. According to accounts from the time, some 20,000 Jewish slaves built the Colosseum, the famed gladiator arena in Rome, which formed the second part of Roman author Juvenal's satirical, yet astute, formula of governance: "bread and circuses".
In an act of solidarity, the Jewish community of Rome ransomed most of the captives brought from Judea, an act that greatly enlarged and strengthened the community, which built 12 synagogues and a whole array of yeshivas that maintained continual rabbinical contact with the sages in the Land of Israel. Historians of the time describe the Jewish community of Rome as very Hellenized, with the prayer and reading of the Torah being conducted in Greek, and intermarriage with gentile women being prevalent. At the same time, the members of the community were strict in their observance of the commandments and traditions. Researchers agree that the Jewish communities of the Roman Empire in late Antiquity were the seeds that gave birth to the Jews of Europe.

313 | The Black Swan and the Birth of Christianity

In his book “The black Swan” Nassim Taleb describes history as impacted by a series of “black swans,” by which he means events that could not have been foreseen and which nonetheless had a crucial influence on the course of human events. Among this type of events Taleb counts the rise of Christianity – a small, esoteric religion born in the Near East.
Black swan or not, the ascension of Christianity to control of the Roman Empire, which began with Constantine the Great's Edict of Milan in 313 CE, brought a significant deterioration in the condition of Roman Jews. Under pressure from the Church the authorities issued new laws that discriminated against Jews in the civil, economic and religious spheres. Among other things, Jews were banned from public office and forbidden from constructing new synagogues.
Some 200 years before this, another important event took place. In 132 CE the Roman Emperor Hadrian, an avid Hellenist and sculpture enthusiast, decided to turn Jerusalem into a pagan city, and renamed it Aelia Capitolina. This move, along with bans on observing the Sabbath and circumcision, were the trigger for the eruption of the Bar Kochba Revolt in the Land of Israel. After the revolt was brutally suppressed by the Romans, tens of thousands of Jews were exiled to Rome and sold into slavery.

476 | Empires Fall

The great Roman Empire stood at the forefront of human culture for nearly 800 years. Its mark is still evident to this day, in almost every field of human endeavor: Art, architecture, law and political science, military strategy and much more. The intrigue and vicious infighting in the Imperial court were also famous, or rather infamous, and over the past 2,000 years they have inspired countless works of literature and plastic art, and in the past century or so films and television series as well.
By the end of the fifth century, with the downfall of the Western Roman Empire, Jews had settled in all lands under its control. Remnants of Jewish life from that time have been found throughout Italy, in Sicily, Sardinia, Brescia, Bologna, Florence and more.
Ironically, it was under Papal rule that Jews fared relatively better, especially in the Papal State, a region under direct Church sovereignty after the fall of the empire, which included Rome and other parts of central and northern Italy. The reasons for the Church's easier treatment of the Jews in these areas were political, economic and theological as well: According to the Christian interpretation of the verse in Psalms 59:11, “Slay them not, lest my people forget,” the Jews were not to be killed, lest the Christians forget the origins of their faith, to which the Jews, descendants of the contemporaries of Jesus, stand as living testimony. And yet, in the fifth century the number of Jews in Italy declined, from hundreds of thousands to only tens of thousands.

1035 | Nathan The Wise

“Of The Humble,” “Of The Apples,” “Of The Elders,” and “Of The Reds,” - these may sound like varieties of fruit, but are in fact the names of four noble Jewish families who arrived in Rome, according to tradition, after the destruction of the Second Temple, and their descendants were considered for many generations to be the leaders and wise men of the Jewish community in Italy. Let us focus on one of the most important and influential of them: Nathan the Roman, from the “Of The Humble” clan, born in Rome in 1035 CE.
Nathan's main work was the masterpiece of lexicography “The Arukh” - a compilation of difficult Hebrew words from the apocryphal literature written around the time the Bible was sealed, up to the author's own time, along with translations thereof into Latin, Arabic, Persian, Greek and even vernacular Italian and the Slavonic dialect. This book was most instrumental in the spread of Judaism in polyglot Europe and served as a vital link in the chain of Jewish wisdom throughout the ages.
However, the information regarding the Jews of Italy in the Middle Ages is very scant. From what little we know it is known that Talmudic centers were built in the south of Italy from which the members of the Kalonymus family passed knowledge of the Torah to Magentia (Mainz) in Germany, and that during this period Jewish communities were established in Venice, Florence, Ferrara and Mantua.

1224 | Moses Received Torah At Sinai and Handed It to Avicenna Who Handed It to Jacob Ben Abba

One of the main characteristics of the Italian Renaissance was the re-discovery of Greek classics in literature, philosophy, medicine and science. But many of the original works had vanished, and classics enthusiasts were forced to content themselves with translations of these works into Arabic, by philosophers Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd), who were considered the greatest translators and commentators of Aristotle and other ancient philosophers.
This is where the Jews, who held the key to the translation, enter the picture: “Upon the decline of Arab culture in Spain, the Jews picked up the torch of wisdom from hands that faltered, and passed it on with great success to the Christian world, which thirsted for this new knowledge.” - thus wrote historian Cecil Roth in his book “The Jews in the Renaissance .”
Historians of the Middle Ages have emphasized the role of the Jews as carriers of Greek culture. The translation of the great classics from Arabic to Latin – two languages many Jews spoke fluently, both because of the frequent migrations they were forced to undertake and because of the diverse trade ties between Jewish communities throughout the world – were of crucial importance to Renaissance culture.
Rome became home to a large group of Jewish scholars, physician-philosophers, who engages in translating and expounding on the ancient Greek texts and the works of Muslim scholars. Three of the most notable of these were Hillel Ben Samuel of Verona, Issac Ben Mordechai, who served as physician to the popes of his day, and the sage Jacob Ben Abba, who was invited in 1224 to Naples to serve as an interpreter in the court of Emperor Fredrick II.

1450 | With the Power of Print

At university departments of life sciences, life is often treated as a process of data flow. We might say that the meaning of life, according to this view, is manifested in the information we collect and pass on – and not just the genetic data we carry, but also the experiences we have documented, the diaries we wrote, the technologies we've developed and the works we have created. The printing revolution in the mid-15th century was a sort of “Mt. Sinai” moment to those who hold this world-view. From the moment print was invented, any writer or scientist, upon completion of their life's work, could disseminate their writings in a scope unknown prior to that time.
Beginning in the last quarter of the 15th century, the Hebrew printing presses in Italy began to build the library of Jewish texts that serves us to this day. To understand the magnitude of Italian Jews' contributions in this field we shall mention two central printing presses: The first is Daniel Bomberg's press in Venice, which operated in the 1520's and set the format of the Bible and Talmud as we now know them, and the other is the famous Soncino Family Press, which preserved the halachic and commentary literature written in France and Spain in the Middle Ages.

1500 | The Migration North

Until the 15th century most of the Jews of Italy lived in the southern part of the country, including the island of Sicily. Only with the conquest of Southern Italy in the late 15th century by the Catholic Spaniards, who were particularly hostile to Jews, did the Jewish community move to the northern part of the peninsula. It should be noted that until the 1860's Italy was composed of dozens of independent or semi-independent states and cities, each of which conducted itself as a sovereign entity with its own laws and public administration. The treatment of Jews varied from place to place and state to state. In Venice, for example, Jews were accepted as residents with some restriction, whereas Genoa, Venice's great rival for Mediterranean trade dominance, did not accept Jews at all. The expulsion of Jews was an everyday occurrence in those days, so the Jews were driven in shame from some cities, only to be welcomed with open arms in others.

1516 | The Merchants Of Venice

The term “Ghetto” originated in the Jewish quarter of Venice, which is probably the oldest Jewish residential quarter still standing in the world. The most commonly accepted explanation is that the word “ghetto” originated from the foundry (getto in the local dialect) which stood next to the Jewish quarter. Another possible source is “Borghetto” - a diminutive of “Borgo” which is similar to “Borough” in English.) Later on Pope Pius IV used the word “ghetto” to describe the area in which the Jews lived, and since then the word has taken root and acquired various cultural and social subtext.
Jews lived in Venice as early as the fourth or fifth century, but their presence in the city was immensely strengthened in the 14th century, when a large stream of Jewish merchants and moneylenders came to town at the behest of its rulers, who wished to stimulate its economy. In March 1516 Jewish residence was restricted to a special borough, their freedom of movement was curtailed, and they were forced to wear a yellow star and later on a yellow cap as well.
Despite the restrictions, Jewish life flourished in Venice. The Jews of the city built batei midrash and synagogues in which important rabbis served and worked, among them Rabbi Leon Judah Ariyeh of Modena (known by his Hebrew acronym The Riam) and Rabbi Samuel Judah Katznellenbogen. The ghetto also featured many cultural institutions, among them a theater, bookshops and of course, the first Hebrew printing press.
The ghetto in Venice was first built for economic reasons, but forty-nine years later, on July 14th 1555, the first ghetto was created in Rome – and this time for faith-based reasons. Pope Paul IV issued a bull forbidding Jews from living as neighbors of Christians.
The establishment of this ghetto was the sign for others throughout Italy, in Florence and Padua among others. These ghettos developed unique customs and folklore as time went by. The ghettos were organized by the community members, who established mutual aid institutions and internal tribunals.

1707 | Shadal and Ramchal

Despite their forced seclusion in ghettos, the Jews of Italy produced many, many scholars and rabbinical luminaries. Two of the greatest of these are known by their acronyms: Ramchal (Rabbi Moses Chaim Luzzatto) and Shadal (Samuel David Luzzatto).
The Ramchal was born in Padua in 1707, and it is said that at the age of fourteen, he knew the Talmud and Mishna by heart. The young genius tried his hand at general literature as well, wrote plays and composed poetry. In addition he was drawn to Kabbalah and mysticism, and gathered a group of scholars around him who studied the writings of Rabbi Issac Lurie and the occult.
Alongside his studies at the beit midrash the Ramchal also claimed to have experienced a weekly meeting with an angel named “The Magid”, or “Teller”, who would visit him regularly and share secrets of Kabbalah and the art of “Tzeruf” - the combination and permutation of Hebrew letters to paranormal effect. In a moment of weakness, he disclosed his secret to a friend, who proved unworthy of the trust and spread the story further. The disclosure aroused a great uproar. The young genius was accused of practicing magic and witchcraft. His personal notes and writings were taken from him and some were burned. Following this episode the Ramchal migrated from Italy to Amsterdam, where he wrote his magnum opus “Mesilat Yesharim” (“Path of the Righteous”) which is to be found in any Jewish religious library to this day.
100 years after the birth of the Ramchal the Luzzatto tribe was blessed with another prodigy upon the birth in Trieste of Shadal, a true renaissance man who wrote works on philosophy, poetry, and biblical commentary, and is considered one of the fathers of the Jewish Enlightenment movement, or “Haskala”. Shadal's world-view combined rationalism and a search for objective truth with romanticism and religious-national beliefs. Unlike the Ramchal, he abhorred the study of Kabbalah and mysticism. His books gained an enormous audience, and some view him as one of the forerunners of the “revival age” writers who preceded the advent of Zionism.

1870 | Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Seventy-two years passed between Napoleon's conquest of northern Italy and his declaration that Jews are citizens like any other, until the process of emancipation was fully completed, and Jews began to leave the ghettos and take their place as full-fledged Italian citizens.
But the adherents of the religion of emancipation, who bowed down to a “god” of their own – the idea of national unity – were concerned that the reclusive Jews would form “a nation within the nation”. Therefore, they treated the Jews in accordance with the principle adopted back in the days of the French Revolution in the late 18th century, which stated that “The Jews must be denied any rights as a people, and must be accorded all rights as individuals.”
Italian emancipation succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The Jews of Italy integrated into the newly-established unified state to an unprecedented degree. In Italy the routes to careers in the diplomatic corps, the civil service and the military were open to them, while they remained closed to Jews almost anywhere else on the continent. Italy was the first country in Europe to appoint a Jewish Minister of War, Giuseppe Ottolenghi, and two Jewish Prime Ministers, Alessandro Fortis (1905-1906) and Luigi Luzzatti (1910-1911).
In those years mixed marriages and assimilation were so prevalent that there was fear that the Jewish minority in Italy – numbering only one tenth of a percent of the population – would simply disappear.

1922 | The Rise of Fascism

More than once throughout history, just as Jews had almost managed to integrate into general society, someone came along to put them back down. In the case of the Jews of Italy, it was the dictator Benito Mussolini, who headed the Fascist party which came to power in Italy in 1922.
In terms of his treatment of Jews the Mussolini era is divided into three periods. The first period can be called “The Honeymoon” and lasted for ten years, until 1932. During this time the civil and religious rights of the Jewish minority were respected, and Mussolini even publicly denounced racism and anti-Semitism. During this period Mussolini maintained good relations with Zionist leaders and encouraged the activities of the Zionist Federation, although he opposed Jewish separatism.
The second period, which may be called “The Chameleon Phase,” began in 1933, with Hitler's ascent to power in Germany, and ended in 1938. During this time Mussolini began to dither: On the one hand he gave out statements and issued laws favoring the Jews, and on the other took unofficial anti-Semitic steps and voiced support for anti-Semitism in Germany, which he would later join as an ally.
The third phase, “The True Face Period,” began in 1938, when the race laws against Jews were issued. Mussolini burned his bridges with the West, committed to the Berlin-Rome axis and launched an unprecedented anti-Semitic attack in the press, aimed explicitly at all Italian Jews.

1943 | Blood Race and Tears

“I really believe that to have a dry rag would be positive happiness.” (Jewish writer Primo Levi describing a routine day of work in the freezing cold of Auschwitz).

Had you asked a European Jew in 1938, right after the passage of race laws in Italy, where he or she would rather live, Italy would likely have ranked near the bottom of the list. But like Karl Marx's famous saying, that history repeats itself, with the second time as farce – it was the Fascist regime which, somewhat ironically, safeguarded the Jews of Italy.
The reason for this was political. Mussolini wished to portray himself to his subjects as an independent leader, and therefore prevented the Nazis from implementing their “final solution” on those living under his rule – even if he viewed them as second-class citizens.
In 1943 Mussolini was deposed as head of state and Marshall Pietro Badoglio, who was appointed in his stead, immediately signed an armistice agreement with the Allies. This was supposedly deliverance for the Jews, but fate is often a matter of geography: At the time, most Italian Jews lived in the north of the country, which was under Nazi control, and so the hand of fate decreed that out of 44,500 Jews living in Italy before the war, at least 7,682 would perish in the Holocaust.
The Jewish community of Italy was dealt a heavy blow: Thousands were uprooted from their communities, the Jewish order of life was disrupted and many of those who remained in the country were broken in body and spirit. One of them, Jewish-Italian author Primo Levi, wrote the extraordinary book “Is This A Man,” which is considered one of the most chilling and realistic literary depictions of the Holocaust. Levi fell from the balcony of his home in 1987, and it is widely assumed that he took his own life.

2014 | Italian Memory

Italy remembers its Jews. In 2008, for example, no fewer than five academic symposiums were held to discuss the race laws in Italy, marking the 70th anniversary of their passage. The country has also erected monuments to commemorate the Holocaust, and holds memorial services in honor of the Holocaust of Italian Jews. Furthermore, the Jewish issue is part of the curriculum in public schools.
As of 2014 there are 21 Jewish communities in Italy, totaling 35,000 people. The ancient synagogues are in various stages of restoration.
The Jews are collectively represented in contact with the authorities by the “Federation of Jewish Communities of Italy”. Most Jews in Italy are immigrants and children of immigrants, and most of them live in two communities – in Rome and in Milan. Many Jewish heritage sites can be found throughout Italy, including museums, synagogues, ancient Jewish neighborhoods, archeological sites and more.
Israel is home to approximately 10,000 Jews of Italian origin, of whom some 3,000 are organized in the “Italian Immigrant Organization ” which publishes a journal in Italian. Members of the organization meet on important occasions at the gorgeous Italian Synagogue in Jerusalem, where prayer services are held in the unique style of this community.

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The Jewish Community of Rome

Rome

The capital of Italy.

The Jewish community of Rome is probably the oldest in the world, with a continuous existence from classical times down to the present day. The first record of Jews in Rome is in 161 b.c.e., when Jason b. Eleazar and Eupolemus b. Johanan are said to have gone there as envoys from Judah Maccabee. The Roman Jews are said to have been conspicuous in the mourning for Julius Caesar in 44 b.c.e. on the death of Herod in 4 b.c.e. 8,000 native Roman Jews are reported to have escorted the Jewish delegates from Judea who came to request the senate to abolish the Herodian monarchy. Two synagogues were seemingly founded by "freedmen" who had been slaves of Augustus (d. 14 c.e.) and Agrippa (d. 12 b.c.e.) respectively and bore their names. There was also from an early date a Samaritan synagogue in Rome which continued to exist for centuries. Although the position of the Roman Jews must have been adversely affected by the great Roman-Jewish wars in Judea in 66-73 and 132-135, the prisoners of war brought back as slaves ultimately gave a great impetus to the Jewish population.

From the second half of the first century c.e. the Roman Jewish community seems to have been firmly established. A delegation of scholars from Eretz Israel in 95-96, led by the patriarch Gamaliel II, found as its religious head the enthusiastic but unlearned Theudas. The total number of Jews in Rome has been estimated as high as 40,000, but was probably nearer 10,000. Besides the beggars and peddlers, there were physicians, actors, and poets, but the majority of the members of the community were shopkeepers and craftsmen (tailors, tentmakers, butchers, limeburners).

With the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperors the position of the Jews changed immediately for the worse. While Judaism remained officially a tolerated religion as before, its actual status deteriorated, and every pressure was brought on the Jews to adopt the now-dominant faith. In 387-388, a Christian mob, after systematically destroying heathen temples, turned its attention to the synagogues and burned one of them to the ground.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the Christian bishop of Rome, the Pope, became the dominant force in the former Imperial city and the immediate neighborhood, with moral authority recognized, to a greater or lesser degree, over the whole of western Christendom. Hence, over a period of some 1,400 years, the history of the Jews in Rome is in great part the reflection of the Papal policies toward the Jews. However, down to the period of the counter-reformation in the 16th century, there was a tendency for the Papal anti-Jewish pronouncements to be applied less strictly in Rome than by zealous rulers and ecclesiastics abroad, while on the other hand the Papal protective policies were on the whole followed more faithfully in Rome itself than elsewhere.

The anti-Jewish legislation of the fourth Lateran Council (1215) inspired by Pope Innocent III does not seem to have been strictly enforced in the Papal capital. There is some evidence that copies of the Talmud were burned here after its condemnation in Paris in 1245. The wearing of the Jewish badge was imposed in 1257 and the city statutes of 1360 ordered male Jews to wear a red tabard, and the women a red petticoat.

The entire tenor of Roman Jewish life suddenly changed for the worse with the counter-reformation. In 1542 a tribunal of the holy office on the Spanish model was set up in Rome and in 1553 Cornelio da Montalcino, a Franciscan friar who had embraced Judaism, was burned alive on the camp Dei Fiori. In 1543 a home for converted Jews (house of catechumens), later to be the scene of many tragic episodes, was established, a good part of the burden of upkeep being imposed on the Jews themselves. On Rosh Hashanah (September 4, 1553) the Talmud with many more Hebrew books was committed to the flames after official condemnation. On July 12, 1555, Pope Paul IV issued his bull, "Cum nimis absurdum", which reenacted remorselessly against the Jews all the restrictive ecclesiastical legislation hitherto only intermittently enforced. This comprised the segregation of the Jews in a special quarter, henceforth called the ghetto; the wearing of the Jewish badge, now specified as a yellow hat in the case of men, a yellow kerchief in the case of women; prohibitions on owning real estate, on being called by any title of respect such as signor, on the employment by Christians of Jewish physicians, and on dealing in corn and other necessities of life; and virtual restriction to dealing in old clothes and second-hand goods. This initiated the ghetto period in Rome, and continued to govern the life of Roman Jewry for more than 300 years. Occasional raids were made as late as the 18th century on the ghetto to ensure that the Jews did not possess any "forbidden" books – that is, in effect, any literature other than the bible, liturgy, and carefully expurgated ritual codes. Each Saturday selected members of the community were compelled to go to a neighboring church to listen to conversionist sermons, running the gauntlet of the insults of the populace. In some reactionary interludes, the yellow Jewish hat had to be worn even inside the ghetto.

On the accession of Pius IX in 1846, the gates and walls of the ghetto were removed, but thereafter the once-kindly Pope turned reactionary and relentlessly enforced anti-Jewish restrictions until the end. During the Roman Republic of 1849, under Mazzini, Jews participated in public life, and three were elected to the short-lived constituent assembly; but within five months the Papal reactionary rule was reestablished to last, without any perceptible liberalization, until the capture of Rome by the forces of united Italy in 1870. On October 13 a royal decree abolished all religious disabilities from which citizens of the new capital had formerly suffered, and the Jews of Rome were henceforth on the same legal footing as their fellow Romans. It was only during the period after World War I, with the remarkable development of Rome itself, that Roman Jewry may be said to have regained the primacy in Italian Jewish life which it had enjoyed in the remote past.

A few days after the Germans captured Rome (Sept. 9-10, 1943), Himmler ordered immediate preparations for the arrest and deportation of all Jews in Rome and the vicinity – over 10,000 persons. H. Kappler, the S.S. commanding officer in Rome, first extorted 50 kg. of gold from the Jewish community, to be paid by September 26 (on 36 hours notice), with a warning that 200 Jews would otherwise be put to death. The gold, which was collected among the Jews without resorting to outside aid, was delivered on time. Nevertheless, on September 29 a special German police force broke into the community offices and looted the ancient archives; and on October 13 looted the excellent and priceless libraries of the community and the rabbinic college. On October 16 a mass huntdown of Rome's Jews was carried out by German forces, who under Kappler and Dannecker's orders made house-to-house searches on every street, and arrested all the Jews – men, women, and children. Some of the population assisted Jews in escaping or hiding, but nevertheless 1,007 Jews were caught and sent to Auschwitz where they were killed (Oct. 23, 1943). From then on, until June 4, 1944, the day of the liberation, the methodic roundup of Jews hiding in the "Aryan" homes of friends or in catholic institutions continued. In this latter period over 1,000 Jews were caught and put to death at Auschwitz. A total of 2,091 Jews (1,067 men, 743 women, and 281 children) were killed in this manner. Another 73 Jews were among the 335 prisoners executed in the fosse Ardeatine, outside Rome, as a retaliatory measure against Italian partisan action against the Nazi occupants in Rome.

The rector of the German church in Rome, Bishop A. Hudal, made futile attempts to defend the Jews. The pope was requested publicly to denounce the hunt for Jews, but he did not respond, although he agreed to the shelter offered to individual Jews in catholic institutions including the Vatican.

At the end of the war the Jewish population of Rome was 11,000. In the following years the number increased due mainly to the natural increase, and in 1965 reached a total of 12,928 (out of a total of 2,500,000 inhabitants). After the Six-Day War in the Middle East (1967), about 3,000 Jews arrived from Libya. Some of them subsequently migrated to Israel, but the majority were absorbed by the community. The community of Rome is the only one in Italy that shows a demographic increase, with a fertility rate not far below that of the Italian population as a whole, a fairly high marriage rate, and a limited proportion of mixed marriages. On the other hand, the general cultural and social level is inferior to that of the other Italian communities. Apart from the great synagogue of Italian rite, there are two prayer houses of Italian rite, an Ashkenazi synagogue, and two synagogues of Sephardi rite. Among the Jewish institutions there is a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a high school. There are many relief organizations, an orphanage, a Jewish hospital, and a home for invalids. Rome is the seat of the chief rabbinate of the union of the Italian Jewish communities, and of the Italian rabbinical college. In the 1970s the following Jewish journals were published: Israel, Shalom, Karnenu, and Portico d'Ottavia.

In 1997 there were 35,000 Jews in Italy; 15,000 of them – in Rome.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Italy
Fregene

Italy

Repubblica Italiana

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 27,500 out of 61,000,000. Most Jews of Italy live in Rome and Milano greater areas. The main umbrella organization of the Jewish communities of Italy: 

Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane (Union of the Italian Jewish Community)
Phone: 39 6 580 3667/580 3670
Fax: 39 6 589 9569
Email: segretaria@ucei.it or info@ucei.it.
Website: http://www.ucei.it

 

HISTORY

The Jews of Italy

59 BCE | The Rebbetzin Poppea

Legend has it that in 59 BCE the great Roman statesman, orator and writer Cicero said that he was afraid to speak out loud, for fear of Rome's Jewish residents.
Cicero was famous for his hyperbole, but even if he was overstating his case, there is no doubt that Jews in the Roman Empire were a dominant force to be reckoned with.
Most Jews who arrived in Italy flocked to Rome. Many of them were manumitted slaves from Judea, captives from the wars of Pompey and later of Titus, as well as merchants and artisans drawn to the vibrant life of the imperial capital. According to various historical sources, the great advocate of the Jews at the time was none other than Julius Caesar, who gave the Jews special rights, among them the freedom to observe their religious commandments, to settle their internal affairs in Jewish courts and to send first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem.
One of the most fascinating trends of this period, which is well-attested in historical sources, is the adoption of Jewish ways and customs by the gentile population of Rome. One of the more prominent members of this group, who were known as “God-fearing,” was Poppea, wife of the Emperor Nero, who observed the Sabbath and refrained from eating non-kosher animals.

70 CE | Non-Modern Slavery

According to various historical sources, the number of Hebrew slaves that arrived in Rome from Judea in the year 70 CE, after the suppression of the Great Revolt and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, stood at some 100,000 people. The Romans directed the new manpower at their disposal to the construction of lavish public facilities. According to accounts from the time, some 20,000 Jewish slaves built the Colosseum, the famed gladiator arena in Rome, which formed the second part of Roman author Juvenal's satirical, yet astute, formula of governance: "bread and circuses".
In an act of solidarity, the Jewish community of Rome ransomed most of the captives brought from Judea, an act that greatly enlarged and strengthened the community, which built 12 synagogues and a whole array of yeshivas that maintained continual rabbinical contact with the sages in the Land of Israel. Historians of the time describe the Jewish community of Rome as very Hellenized, with the prayer and reading of the Torah being conducted in Greek, and intermarriage with gentile women being prevalent. At the same time, the members of the community were strict in their observance of the commandments and traditions. Researchers agree that the Jewish communities of the Roman Empire in late Antiquity were the seeds that gave birth to the Jews of Europe.

313 | The Black Swan and the Birth of Christianity

In his book “The black Swan” Nassim Taleb describes history as impacted by a series of “black swans,” by which he means events that could not have been foreseen and which nonetheless had a crucial influence on the course of human events. Among this type of events Taleb counts the rise of Christianity – a small, esoteric religion born in the Near East.
Black swan or not, the ascension of Christianity to control of the Roman Empire, which began with Constantine the Great's Edict of Milan in 313 CE, brought a significant deterioration in the condition of Roman Jews. Under pressure from the Church the authorities issued new laws that discriminated against Jews in the civil, economic and religious spheres. Among other things, Jews were banned from public office and forbidden from constructing new synagogues.
Some 200 years before this, another important event took place. In 132 CE the Roman Emperor Hadrian, an avid Hellenist and sculpture enthusiast, decided to turn Jerusalem into a pagan city, and renamed it Aelia Capitolina. This move, along with bans on observing the Sabbath and circumcision, were the trigger for the eruption of the Bar Kochba Revolt in the Land of Israel. After the revolt was brutally suppressed by the Romans, tens of thousands of Jews were exiled to Rome and sold into slavery.

476 | Empires Fall

The great Roman Empire stood at the forefront of human culture for nearly 800 years. Its mark is still evident to this day, in almost every field of human endeavor: Art, architecture, law and political science, military strategy and much more. The intrigue and vicious infighting in the Imperial court were also famous, or rather infamous, and over the past 2,000 years they have inspired countless works of literature and plastic art, and in the past century or so films and television series as well.
By the end of the fifth century, with the downfall of the Western Roman Empire, Jews had settled in all lands under its control. Remnants of Jewish life from that time have been found throughout Italy, in Sicily, Sardinia, Brescia, Bologna, Florence and more.
Ironically, it was under Papal rule that Jews fared relatively better, especially in the Papal State, a region under direct Church sovereignty after the fall of the empire, which included Rome and other parts of central and northern Italy. The reasons for the Church's easier treatment of the Jews in these areas were political, economic and theological as well: According to the Christian interpretation of the verse in Psalms 59:11, “Slay them not, lest my people forget,” the Jews were not to be killed, lest the Christians forget the origins of their faith, to which the Jews, descendants of the contemporaries of Jesus, stand as living testimony. And yet, in the fifth century the number of Jews in Italy declined, from hundreds of thousands to only tens of thousands.

1035 | Nathan The Wise

“Of The Humble,” “Of The Apples,” “Of The Elders,” and “Of The Reds,” - these may sound like varieties of fruit, but are in fact the names of four noble Jewish families who arrived in Rome, according to tradition, after the destruction of the Second Temple, and their descendants were considered for many generations to be the leaders and wise men of the Jewish community in Italy. Let us focus on one of the most important and influential of them: Nathan the Roman, from the “Of The Humble” clan, born in Rome in 1035 CE.
Nathan's main work was the masterpiece of lexicography “The Arukh” - a compilation of difficult Hebrew words from the apocryphal literature written around the time the Bible was sealed, up to the author's own time, along with translations thereof into Latin, Arabic, Persian, Greek and even vernacular Italian and the Slavonic dialect. This book was most instrumental in the spread of Judaism in polyglot Europe and served as a vital link in the chain of Jewish wisdom throughout the ages.
However, the information regarding the Jews of Italy in the Middle Ages is very scant. From what little we know it is known that Talmudic centers were built in the south of Italy from which the members of the Kalonymus family passed knowledge of the Torah to Magentia (Mainz) in Germany, and that during this period Jewish communities were established in Venice, Florence, Ferrara and Mantua.

1224 | Moses Received Torah At Sinai and Handed It to Avicenna Who Handed It to Jacob Ben Abba

One of the main characteristics of the Italian Renaissance was the re-discovery of Greek classics in literature, philosophy, medicine and science. But many of the original works had vanished, and classics enthusiasts were forced to content themselves with translations of these works into Arabic, by philosophers Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd), who were considered the greatest translators and commentators of Aristotle and other ancient philosophers.
This is where the Jews, who held the key to the translation, enter the picture: “Upon the decline of Arab culture in Spain, the Jews picked up the torch of wisdom from hands that faltered, and passed it on with great success to the Christian world, which thirsted for this new knowledge.” - thus wrote historian Cecil Roth in his book “The Jews in the Renaissance .”
Historians of the Middle Ages have emphasized the role of the Jews as carriers of Greek culture. The translation of the great classics from Arabic to Latin – two languages many Jews spoke fluently, both because of the frequent migrations they were forced to undertake and because of the diverse trade ties between Jewish communities throughout the world – were of crucial importance to Renaissance culture.
Rome became home to a large group of Jewish scholars, physician-philosophers, who engages in translating and expounding on the ancient Greek texts and the works of Muslim scholars. Three of the most notable of these were Hillel Ben Samuel of Verona, Issac Ben Mordechai, who served as physician to the popes of his day, and the sage Jacob Ben Abba, who was invited in 1224 to Naples to serve as an interpreter in the court of Emperor Fredrick II.

1450 | With the Power of Print

At university departments of life sciences, life is often treated as a process of data flow. We might say that the meaning of life, according to this view, is manifested in the information we collect and pass on – and not just the genetic data we carry, but also the experiences we have documented, the diaries we wrote, the technologies we've developed and the works we have created. The printing revolution in the mid-15th century was a sort of “Mt. Sinai” moment to those who hold this world-view. From the moment print was invented, any writer or scientist, upon completion of their life's work, could disseminate their writings in a scope unknown prior to that time.
Beginning in the last quarter of the 15th century, the Hebrew printing presses in Italy began to build the library of Jewish texts that serves us to this day. To understand the magnitude of Italian Jews' contributions in this field we shall mention two central printing presses: The first is Daniel Bomberg's press in Venice, which operated in the 1520's and set the format of the Bible and Talmud as we now know them, and the other is the famous Soncino Family Press, which preserved the halachic and commentary literature written in France and Spain in the Middle Ages.

1500 | The Migration North

Until the 15th century most of the Jews of Italy lived in the southern part of the country, including the island of Sicily. Only with the conquest of Southern Italy in the late 15th century by the Catholic Spaniards, who were particularly hostile to Jews, did the Jewish community move to the northern part of the peninsula. It should be noted that until the 1860's Italy was composed of dozens of independent or semi-independent states and cities, each of which conducted itself as a sovereign entity with its own laws and public administration. The treatment of Jews varied from place to place and state to state. In Venice, for example, Jews were accepted as residents with some restriction, whereas Genoa, Venice's great rival for Mediterranean trade dominance, did not accept Jews at all. The expulsion of Jews was an everyday occurrence in those days, so the Jews were driven in shame from some cities, only to be welcomed with open arms in others.

1516 | The Merchants Of Venice

The term “Ghetto” originated in the Jewish quarter of Venice, which is probably the oldest Jewish residential quarter still standing in the world. The most commonly accepted explanation is that the word “ghetto” originated from the foundry (getto in the local dialect) which stood next to the Jewish quarter. Another possible source is “Borghetto” - a diminutive of “Borgo” which is similar to “Borough” in English.) Later on Pope Pius IV used the word “ghetto” to describe the area in which the Jews lived, and since then the word has taken root and acquired various cultural and social subtext.
Jews lived in Venice as early as the fourth or fifth century, but their presence in the city was immensely strengthened in the 14th century, when a large stream of Jewish merchants and moneylenders came to town at the behest of its rulers, who wished to stimulate its economy. In March 1516 Jewish residence was restricted to a special borough, their freedom of movement was curtailed, and they were forced to wear a yellow star and later on a yellow cap as well.
Despite the restrictions, Jewish life flourished in Venice. The Jews of the city built batei midrash and synagogues in which important rabbis served and worked, among them Rabbi Leon Judah Ariyeh of Modena (known by his Hebrew acronym The Riam) and Rabbi Samuel Judah Katznellenbogen. The ghetto also featured many cultural institutions, among them a theater, bookshops and of course, the first Hebrew printing press.
The ghetto in Venice was first built for economic reasons, but forty-nine years later, on July 14th 1555, the first ghetto was created in Rome – and this time for faith-based reasons. Pope Paul IV issued a bull forbidding Jews from living as neighbors of Christians.
The establishment of this ghetto was the sign for others throughout Italy, in Florence and Padua among others. These ghettos developed unique customs and folklore as time went by. The ghettos were organized by the community members, who established mutual aid institutions and internal tribunals.

1707 | Shadal and Ramchal

Despite their forced seclusion in ghettos, the Jews of Italy produced many, many scholars and rabbinical luminaries. Two of the greatest of these are known by their acronyms: Ramchal (Rabbi Moses Chaim Luzzatto) and Shadal (Samuel David Luzzatto).
The Ramchal was born in Padua in 1707, and it is said that at the age of fourteen, he knew the Talmud and Mishna by heart. The young genius tried his hand at general literature as well, wrote plays and composed poetry. In addition he was drawn to Kabbalah and mysticism, and gathered a group of scholars around him who studied the writings of Rabbi Issac Lurie and the occult.
Alongside his studies at the beit midrash the Ramchal also claimed to have experienced a weekly meeting with an angel named “The Magid”, or “Teller”, who would visit him regularly and share secrets of Kabbalah and the art of “Tzeruf” - the combination and permutation of Hebrew letters to paranormal effect. In a moment of weakness, he disclosed his secret to a friend, who proved unworthy of the trust and spread the story further. The disclosure aroused a great uproar. The young genius was accused of practicing magic and witchcraft. His personal notes and writings were taken from him and some were burned. Following this episode the Ramchal migrated from Italy to Amsterdam, where he wrote his magnum opus “Mesilat Yesharim” (“Path of the Righteous”) which is to be found in any Jewish religious library to this day.
100 years after the birth of the Ramchal the Luzzatto tribe was blessed with another prodigy upon the birth in Trieste of Shadal, a true renaissance man who wrote works on philosophy, poetry, and biblical commentary, and is considered one of the fathers of the Jewish Enlightenment movement, or “Haskala”. Shadal's world-view combined rationalism and a search for objective truth with romanticism and religious-national beliefs. Unlike the Ramchal, he abhorred the study of Kabbalah and mysticism. His books gained an enormous audience, and some view him as one of the forerunners of the “revival age” writers who preceded the advent of Zionism.

1870 | Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Seventy-two years passed between Napoleon's conquest of northern Italy and his declaration that Jews are citizens like any other, until the process of emancipation was fully completed, and Jews began to leave the ghettos and take their place as full-fledged Italian citizens.
But the adherents of the religion of emancipation, who bowed down to a “god” of their own – the idea of national unity – were concerned that the reclusive Jews would form “a nation within the nation”. Therefore, they treated the Jews in accordance with the principle adopted back in the days of the French Revolution in the late 18th century, which stated that “The Jews must be denied any rights as a people, and must be accorded all rights as individuals.”
Italian emancipation succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The Jews of Italy integrated into the newly-established unified state to an unprecedented degree. In Italy the routes to careers in the diplomatic corps, the civil service and the military were open to them, while they remained closed to Jews almost anywhere else on the continent. Italy was the first country in Europe to appoint a Jewish Minister of War, Giuseppe Ottolenghi, and two Jewish Prime Ministers, Alessandro Fortis (1905-1906) and Luigi Luzzatti (1910-1911).
In those years mixed marriages and assimilation were so prevalent that there was fear that the Jewish minority in Italy – numbering only one tenth of a percent of the population – would simply disappear.

1922 | The Rise of Fascism

More than once throughout history, just as Jews had almost managed to integrate into general society, someone came along to put them back down. In the case of the Jews of Italy, it was the dictator Benito Mussolini, who headed the Fascist party which came to power in Italy in 1922.
In terms of his treatment of Jews the Mussolini era is divided into three periods. The first period can be called “The Honeymoon” and lasted for ten years, until 1932. During this time the civil and religious rights of the Jewish minority were respected, and Mussolini even publicly denounced racism and anti-Semitism. During this period Mussolini maintained good relations with Zionist leaders and encouraged the activities of the Zionist Federation, although he opposed Jewish separatism.
The second period, which may be called “The Chameleon Phase,” began in 1933, with Hitler's ascent to power in Germany, and ended in 1938. During this time Mussolini began to dither: On the one hand he gave out statements and issued laws favoring the Jews, and on the other took unofficial anti-Semitic steps and voiced support for anti-Semitism in Germany, which he would later join as an ally.
The third phase, “The True Face Period,” began in 1938, when the race laws against Jews were issued. Mussolini burned his bridges with the West, committed to the Berlin-Rome axis and launched an unprecedented anti-Semitic attack in the press, aimed explicitly at all Italian Jews.

1943 | Blood Race and Tears

“I really believe that to have a dry rag would be positive happiness.” (Jewish writer Primo Levi describing a routine day of work in the freezing cold of Auschwitz).

Had you asked a European Jew in 1938, right after the passage of race laws in Italy, where he or she would rather live, Italy would likely have ranked near the bottom of the list. But like Karl Marx's famous saying, that history repeats itself, with the second time as farce – it was the Fascist regime which, somewhat ironically, safeguarded the Jews of Italy.
The reason for this was political. Mussolini wished to portray himself to his subjects as an independent leader, and therefore prevented the Nazis from implementing their “final solution” on those living under his rule – even if he viewed them as second-class citizens.
In 1943 Mussolini was deposed as head of state and Marshall Pietro Badoglio, who was appointed in his stead, immediately signed an armistice agreement with the Allies. This was supposedly deliverance for the Jews, but fate is often a matter of geography: At the time, most Italian Jews lived in the north of the country, which was under Nazi control, and so the hand of fate decreed that out of 44,500 Jews living in Italy before the war, at least 7,682 would perish in the Holocaust.
The Jewish community of Italy was dealt a heavy blow: Thousands were uprooted from their communities, the Jewish order of life was disrupted and many of those who remained in the country were broken in body and spirit. One of them, Jewish-Italian author Primo Levi, wrote the extraordinary book “Is This A Man,” which is considered one of the most chilling and realistic literary depictions of the Holocaust. Levi fell from the balcony of his home in 1987, and it is widely assumed that he took his own life.

2014 | Italian Memory

Italy remembers its Jews. In 2008, for example, no fewer than five academic symposiums were held to discuss the race laws in Italy, marking the 70th anniversary of their passage. The country has also erected monuments to commemorate the Holocaust, and holds memorial services in honor of the Holocaust of Italian Jews. Furthermore, the Jewish issue is part of the curriculum in public schools.
As of 2014 there are 21 Jewish communities in Italy, totaling 35,000 people. The ancient synagogues are in various stages of restoration.
The Jews are collectively represented in contact with the authorities by the “Federation of Jewish Communities of Italy”. Most Jews in Italy are immigrants and children of immigrants, and most of them live in two communities – in Rome and in Milan. Many Jewish heritage sites can be found throughout Italy, including museums, synagogues, ancient Jewish neighborhoods, archeological sites and more.
Israel is home to approximately 10,000 Jews of Italian origin, of whom some 3,000 are organized in the “Italian Immigrant Organization ” which publishes a journal in Italian. Members of the organization meet on important occasions at the gorgeous Italian Synagogue in Jerusalem, where prayer services are held in the unique style of this community.

Fregene

A municipal district of Fiumicino, on Tyrrhenian coast in the Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, Italy.

 

Max W. Arnold
Norberto Hofling
Ilona Singer-Weinberger
Mendel Haimovici
George Mantello
Paulina Lebl-Albala
Isaac Gioacchino Levi
Zygmunt Balk
Togo Mizrahi
Leopold Pollak
Bergengruen, Werner
Kataszek, Szymon
Alconiere, Theodore (Hermann Cohn)
Prato, David
Zevi, Tulia
Munkacsi, Erno
Saderman, Anatole
Balla, Ignac
Ivanyi-Gruenwald, Bela
Juster, Jean
Vago, Jozsef
Engel, Jozsef
Varshavsky, Oizer
Shohat, Gil
Erdos, Renee
Oppenheim, Moritz Daniel
Enrico Guastalla
Rona, Jozsef
Rieti, Moses Ben Isaac Da
Giovanni Maria
Valabrega, Cesare
Benjamin Ben Abraham
Ladislaus (Laszlo) Farkas
Segre, Emilio
Levi-Montalcini, Rita
Sergio Piperno
Leonete Ben Moses
Anav, Jehiel ben Jekuthiel Benjamin
Di Segni, Mose
Sereni, Enzo Hayim
Del Monte, Crescenzo
Anav, Judah Ben Benjamin Ha-Rofe
Judah Ben Menahem of Rome
Meshullam Ben Kalonymus of Rome
Immanuel Ben Solomon of Rome
Anav, Benjamin Ben Abraham

Max W. Arnold (born Mendel Wechsler Arnold aka Max Wexler Arnold) (1897-1946), painter and aquarellist, born in Iasi, Romania. He attended the Fine Arts School in Iasi graduating in 1920. He continued his studies in Munich and Dresden, Germany, during 1923-1924, and then in Rome, Italy, during 1925-1927. He traveled extensively in Italy, Egypt, Syria, and the Land of Israel, where he had an exhibition in the winter of 1927-1928. These were followed by travels to various places in France, particularly to Bretagne, and then to Spain, Belgium, England, Romania, and Greece. He exhibited in Paris in 1933 and in Bucharest in 1934. His works boast several themes, including oriental landscapes as well as landscapes from the Romanian region of Dobrogea, the Seine river in Paris, Hyde Park in London, and Florence, in addition to nudes, portraits, still nature, and house interiors. His works are on display at the National Museum of Art of Romania in Bucharest, the Art Museum of Iasi, The Zambaccian Museum in Bucharest and other Romanian museums and collections. Max W. Arnold died in Bucharest. 

Norberto Höfling (1924-2005), footballer and coach, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine (then Cernauti / Czernowitz, in Romania). He started his career after the end of WW2 playing for Carmen Bucharest, then one of the best teams in Romania, and Ciocanul Bucharest, formerly known as Maccabi Bucharest, a Jewish team founded in 1919, banned during the Holocaust and founded again with its new name in 1946. Höfling also played in the Romanian national team during 1945-1946. He left Romania in 1948 and played for MTK Budapest, and then for the Italian clubs SS Lazio, Pro patria Calcio and Vicenza Calcio.

In 1957 Höfling started his second career as a coach with Club Brugge in Belgium, followed six years later by the Dutch club Fayenoord Rotterdam. Later during the 1060s and the 1970s he was a coach for the Belgian clubs R.W.D Molenbek, R.S.C. Anderlecht, Club Brugge, A.S. Oostende, and KAA Gent. After retiring from the world of soccer, he set up a shoe store in Bruges.

Höfling died in Bruges, Belgium.

Ilona Singer-Weinberger (1905-1944), painter, born in Budapest, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary) into a family of merchants from Nové Strašecí, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). She grew up in Budapest and in Offenbach near Darmstadt, Germany and then studied at the United State School for Free and Applied Art in Berlin. She lived in Berlin, but travelled to Italy, staying in Rome from 1925 to 1926, and also to France and Switzerland. After 1936 it seems she returned to Czecholovakia settling for some time in Prague before she married Felix Weinberger in late 1930s. The couple moved to Hodonín, a town in Moravia. After the German occupation of the Czech lands, they were deported to Theresienstadt in January 1943 and were detained there until May 1944, when both were deported to Auschwitz Nazi death camp. Her works follow the Neue Sachlichkeit ("New Objectivity") movement, of them very few withstood the looting and destructions of WW2. Five paintings that were confiscated by the Nazis from various owners, including her sister Margarita, are now on display at the Jewish Museum of Prague.

Mendel Haimovici (1906-1973), mathematician and scientist, member of the Romanian Academy, born in Iasi, Romania. He studied mathematics at the University of Iasi, graduating in 1930. He continued his studies at the University of Rome, Italy, where he earned his PhD with the famous mathematician Tullio Levi-Civita (1873-1941). Haimovici became an assistant lecturer in the field of analytical geometry at the University of Iasi, from 1933 until 1940.  Following the anti-Semitic policy of the Fascist government of Romania, he was expelled from his position during 1940-1944. He returned to the University of Iasi in 1945 as an assistant professor, in 1946 he became a ful professor, and in 1948 he was named dean of the theoretical mechanics department at the university. In 1949 he was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences and was appointed director of the Mathematical Institute of the Iasi branch of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, a position he held until 1973. In 1963 he became a full member of the Romanian Academy.
Mendel Haimovici was the brother of the mathematician Adolf Haimovici (1912–1993).

George Mantello (born György / Baruch Mandl, aka George Mandel) (1901-1990), businessman, rescuer of many thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, born in Lechinta, Romania (then part of Austria-Hungary). His father, Baruch Yehudah Mandl, owned a mill in Lechinta. He studied in Budapest, Hungary, and after 1921 worked for a bank in Vienna, Austria. Mantello then moved first to Cluj, Romania, and eventually to Bucharest, where he became a textiles manufacturer and a banker. He supported the Zionist movement and visited the Land of Israel. In Bucharest he befriended Colonel José Arturo Castellanos, the consul of El Salvador in the Romanian capital, while being involved into a sale of Romanian weapons to El Salvador.

Mantello was in Vienna in 1938 and in Prague in 1939 and witnessed the anti-Semitic persecutions that followed the annexation of Austria and Czechia by Nazi Germany. After the annexation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary in August 1940, Mantello tried to escape from Hungary. However, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Rijeka (Fiume), in Axis occupied Yugoslavia and detained in Zagreb for a number of months. He managed to escape to Bucharest and then to Switzerland, where in 1942 he started to work as First Secretary for Castellanos who was now the Salvadorian consul in Geneva. Castellanos and Mandello issued thousands of Salvadorian certificates that were smuggled into German occupied territories. Particularly, Mandello was involved in the effort to save the Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. With the assistance of Florian Manoliu, a Romanian diplomat in Switzerland, Mantello obtained and then published a reported detailing the ghettoization and mass deportations of the Jews of Hungary in the spring of 1944. The publication in the Swiss press, and then outside Switzerland, had a huge impact on the local and international public opinion and led to protests and letters of advertisement sent by world leaders to the Hungarian authorities with the effect that the deportations were stopped on July 9, 1944.

Mantello died in Rome, Italy, and was buried in Jerusalem, Israel.

José Arturo Castellanos Contreras was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Rightenous Among the Nations in 2010.  

Paulina Lebl-Albala (1891-1967), writer, translator and professor of literature, feminist activist, born in Belgrade, Serbia. She attended high school in Nis, Serbia, and then the Teachers' School and the First Women's Gymnasium in Belgrade, from 1905 to 1909. She continued her studies at Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade, graduating in Serbian and French literature in 1913.

She started her literary career as a member of the literary society Nada. Upon graduation she translated a number of works into Serbian and at the same time was employed as a teacher at the Women's High School in Belgrade. In 1920 she married Dr. David Albala (1886-1942).

In parallel she became a feminist activist. Lebl-Albala was a member of Drustvo za prosvećivanje žene i zaštitu njenih prava ("Society for Women's Enlightenment and Protection of their Rights") and in 1925 she was a co-founder of the Udruženje univerzitetski obrazovanih žena (UUOZ; Association of University-Educated Women; 1927), and served as the organization's president.

In 1940, along with her husband, she travelled to United States settling in Washington, DC, where she campaigned for Yugoslav and Jewish issues and worked for several film companies. After her husband’s death in 1942, she moved to New York. She returned to Yugoslavia after WW2. In 1948 she immigrated to Israel, but left for Rome, Italy, staying there from 1951 to 1953, then she moved to Windsor, ON, in Canada, before settling in Los Angeles, California.             

Lebl-Albala published dozens of books, articles and various translations throughout her career, including Razvoj universitetskog obrazovanja naših žena (“Development of university education of our women”, 1930), Teorija književnosti i analiza pismenih sastava za srednje i stručne škole (“Theory of Literature and Analysis of Written Compositions for Secondary and Vocational Schools”, 1923, 1930 – co-authored with Katarina Bogdanović), Deset godina rada Udruženja univerzitetski obrazovanih žena u Jugoslaviji: 1928-1938 (“Ten years of work of the Association of University Educated Women in Yugoslavia: 1928-1938”, 1939), Yugoslav women fight for freedom (1943), Dr. Albala as a Jewish National Worker (1943), Izabrana proza (“Selected Prose”, 1951), and Tako je nekad bilo ("That's how it once was", 2005) – a compilation of her memoirs.

She contributed with essays, literary discussions, criticism, reviews, stories, travel articles about women and youth, to numerous newspapers and periodicals, including Moderna žena ("Modern Women"), Misao, Ženski pokret, Prilozi, Strani pregled, Politika, Javnost, Naša stvarnost, and Krug.

Isaac Gioacchino Levi (1818-1908), painter and writer, born in Busseto, Italy. He studied at the academy of Fine Arts in Parma, Italy. Winner of the academic prize for the best work of painting, in 1849 he went to Rome on a prize sojourn for a three-year specialization staying there until 1853.

Between 1856-1859 he was a teacher at Collegio Convito Nazionale in Torino. During his stay in Torino, Levi participated to the exhibitions organized by the local Society for Promoting Fine Arts. In 1858 his work entitled The Exile of the Milanese in 1162 received much praise; The Death of Don Carlos of Spain exhibited in 1859 enjoyed greater success and was purchased by King Vittorio Emanuele II for 700 lire. In the same period the painter participated in the decoration of the cathedral of Mondovì. After 1860 he was  a teacher at the Military Academy in Milano. Between 20 June and 22 Sept. 1865 to Levi was entrusted with one of the most prestigious assignments of his career, the fresco decoration of the vault of the Verdi theater in Busseto. In 1873 Levi worked again in his hometown and completed another fresco, on the ceiling of a room of the local Public Library, with the subject of Prometheus .

Levi was appointed honorary member by the Institute of Fine Arts of Urbino in 1866 and by the Royal Academy of Parma in 1874. He died in Busseto. 

Zygmunt Balk (1873 - 1941), painter, theater stage designer, born in Lvov (Lviv), Ukraine (then part of Austria-Hungary). He started his studies in Lvov in the studio of Jan Düll  and the Industrial School of Lvov. Then practiced in Vienna in the studio of Herman Borghardt, decorator at Viennese opera. Balk also studied in Berlin, Leipzig, Munich and Dresden. His work include decorations for the Skarbkowski Theater in Lvov and for local Jewish theters in Lvov and Stanislawow (now Ivano Frankivsk). He painted, among others decorations for the following dramas and operas: Kordian, Otello, The Sunken Bell, Barbara Radziwiłłówna by A. Feliński, Lilla Weneda, Peer Gynt, Bolesław the Bold, Irydion, Goplana . In 1913, he was awarded the gold medal at an international exhibition in Rome, Italy, for his stage decorations to operas by Richard Wagner. He committed suicide in the Lvov Ghetto.

Togo Mizrahi (1901- 1986), actor, director, film producer, one of the pioneers of the film industry in Egypt, born in Alexandria, Egypt into a Jewish family of Italian ancestry. He was named Togo after the Japanese admiral Togo Heihachirō (1848-1934). He studied in Alexandria schools, obtained a diploma in trade, and traveled to Italy in 1921 to complete his education. From Italy he moved to France, and in 1928 returned to Alexandria. 

After his return, he founded the Egyptian Film Company in Alexandria, and in 1929 he established Bacos Studio, a cinematographic studio, which was located in a cinema theater. During his first years of activity in the film industry he used the name Ahmed Al Mashriqi fearing a negative attitude from his family. In 1939 he moved to Cairo directing 19 films and producing several others. Mizrahi collaborated with Laila Mourad and together produced five films which he produced and directed: A Rainy Night (Laylah moumtirah) in 1939, Laila from the Countryside (Layla bint el rif) in 1941, Laila the School Girl (Layla bint el madâris) in 1941, Laila (1942), and Laila in the Dark (Layla fi-l-zalâm) in 1944. These movies are regarded as some of the finest films in the history of the Egyptian cinematography. In 1947 Mizrahi produced Salama, his last film in Egypt, a historical drama starring Oum Kalthoum about the Umayyad Caliphate.

Following the establishment of the State of Israel, the subsequent Arab-Israeli war, and the Free Officers Revolution, Mizrahi left Egypt in 1952 and settled in Rome, Italy. His two studios were nationalized by the Egyptian authorities. Mizrahi died in Rome.

Leopold Pollak (1806-1880), painter, born in Loděnice (Lodenitz, in German), Bohemia, Czech Republic (then part of the Austrian empire). He studied in Prague, Vienna and Munich, and later in Rome, where he painted Italian scenes in the style of the German painter August Riedel (1799-1883). Some of Pollak's paintings were engraved by Mandel and Straucher. A number of Pollak’s paintings were displayed in the Neue Pinakothek of Munich, the Hall of Art, Hamburg; and in the Redern Palace, Berlin. Pollak died in Rome.

Bergengrün, Werner (1892-1964) author, poet. Born in Riga.

In 1922, Bergengrün published his first novel in a Frankfurt newspaper. He was expelled from the writers union of the German Reich in 1937, "because he does not contribute to the building of German culture and is not politically reliable." His home near Munich was bombed in 1942, after which he went to live in the Tyrol, and thence to Switzerland. In 1949-50 he lived in Rome, and afterward settled in Baden-Baden.

He completed his doctorate at the University of Munich in 1959. His autobiography - Memoirs from the Writing Table - was published in 1961.

Kataszek, Szymon (1898-1943), composer and jazz musician, born in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). He studied at Warsaw Music Institute and then at the St Cecilia Academy in Rome,Italy, after which he returned to Warsaw where he worked as a church organist and pianist at nightclubs.

In 1920 Kataszek enlisted in the Polish army and fought in the Polish-Soviet War in which Poland attempted to secure certain territories at the time of the partitions. In 1921 he performed with dance orchestras in Berlin, Germany, and Gdansk and then founded a jazz quintet which performed by various Warsaw nightclubs and also toured various Polish cities. He wrote many foxtrots, tangos, shimmies and Charlstons all of which were very popular amongst the Polish younger public of the time. He also composed several songs for films. He became chairman of the Society for Worklesss Musicians which succeeded in persuading performing artists to contribute 20% of their earnings from radio to a fund to help the unemployed musicians.

In 1941 he, along with almost all other Jews was confined to the Warsaw Ghetto where he became the leader of the Ghetto Jewish Police Orchestra. He succeeded in escaping from the ghetto and once again started to make music. He was, however, recognized by a Nazi officer in the German occupied Lvov, arrested, sent back to Warsaw and subsequently shot by the Nazis in 1943.
Alconiere, Theodore (Hermann Cohn) (1797-1865), painter, born in Nagymarton (Mattersdorf, today Mattersburg), Hungary (now in Austria). He received his training in Vienna from 1812 to 1820 and continued to live and work there for a another 20 years. He also spent some years in Rome, where he acquired his dramatic romantic style. While in Italy he was appointed court portraitist to the duke of Parma.

In 1848, Alconiere moved back to Hungary, where he painted many equestrian portraits of the nobility and scenes from everyday life, mainly in Szekesfehervar, Paapa and Pest. In his first exhibition in Budapest, in 1840, Alconiere exhibited a painting depicting Napoleon riding a horse. Two of his paintings are exhibited in The Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest.

He probably had an affair with a Hungarian woman, whose portrait he painted about ten times, but later he married the daughter of a Viennese gardener. His wife died quite soon after their marriage. After her death, and probably as a result of it, Alconiere became deeply depressed and lived in virtual seclusion. He attempted to make a living by drawing humorous sketches, among them a portrait of a musician comprised entirely of musical instruments. He even took to counterfeiting banknotes. However his conscience troubled him and instead of circulating the money, he handed himself over to the police. Alconiere was the most distinguished Jewish painter among the first generation of Hungarian nationalists. In 1830, Alconiere converted to Roman Catholic faith, but never denied his Jewish origin.
Rabbi

Born in Leghorn, he was chief cantor in Florence and from 1927 to 1936 rabbi of Alexandria where he founded the journal L'Illustration Juive followed by Cahiers Juives. He was chief rabbi of Rome, 1936-38 but when conditions became impossible with the antisemitic laws of the Fascist government he moved to Palestine. In 1945 he resumed his position in Rome. A keen Zionist, Prato was active in the Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod in Rome.
Zevi, Tulia (1919-2011), journalist and communal activist, born in Milano, Italy, to a wealthy family. Her father was a well-known anti-fascist lawyer. She studied philosophy at the University of Milano, but she was unable to graduate on account of the racial laws imposed by the Fascist government of Italy in 1938. After the discriminatory laws were enacted the family decided to move first to Geneva, Switzerland, and then to Paris, France, where Zevi continued her studies at the Sorbonne. In summer 1939 the family moved to New York, USA.

In New York she made the first steps which led to her career as a journalist. She joined the organization ‘Giustizia e Liberta’ ["Justice and Freedom"], which published the journal ‘Italy against Fascism’, and took part in NBC broadcasts aimed at Italian partisans. In New York she met and subsequently married Italian architect and art critic Bruno Zevi. The couple returned to Italy in 1946, where Tulia reported on the Nuremberg war trials. Later she reported on the trial of Adolph Eichmann in Jerusalem, Israel. Between 1960 and 1993 she was a correspondent for Israel newspaper "Maariv" and also for the London "Jewish Chronicle".

In 1978 she was elected vice president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and then five years later she became president of the organization, the first time a women held the position. In 1986 she welcomed Pope John Paul II on his historic visit to Rome’s main synagogue. She held the position of president of the Union until 1998. In this capacity Zevi negotiated and then signed the convention which defined the relationship between the Jewish communities and the Italian state. In 1992 Tulia Zevi was awarded Italy's highest civilian honor, the Order of Merit. Then Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano hailed her "exquisite humanity and culture," and praised her work as an ardent anti-fascist. In 1998 she was chosen to be a member of the Italian commission of UNESCO. In 2007 she published her autobiography "Tio raccanto la mia storia" (“I will tell you my story”).

In her term of office Zevi chose to engage the Catholic Church in dialogue in order to make a clean break with the past when the Catholic Church and the papacy often took the initiative in humiliating and discriminating against the Jews of Italy. After her death the Vatican issued an almost unheard of expression of condolences and praising her for her part in “a sincere and fruitful dialogue” between Christians and Jews.
Munkacsi, Erno (1896-1950), jurist and art writer born in Pancelcseh, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary). He was a son of Bernat Munkacsi, a renowned philologist and ethnographer. Erno studied law at the University of Budapest and upon admission to the bar in 1923, served first as secretary, then as counselor, and finally as chief counselor of the Neolog Jewish community of Pest.

He was author of articles and books dealing with the legal status and customs of the Jewish community of Hungary. He strove for complete autonomy of the Jews in Hungary, within the framework of the laws of emancipation (1867) and repatriation (1895). He wished to educate the Jews with a historical Jewish consciousness, and to eradicate the widespread ignorance of Jewish matters. In 1941 he became a member of the national board of the congressional Jewish communities of Hungary.

E. Munkacsi undertook several research trips to Italy and published "Romai naplo" ("Diary from Rome," 1931), describing relics of the Jewish past in Rome; "Avicenna kanonjanak miniaturjei" ("The Miniatures of Avicenna's Canon"; 1935); Livornoi regisegek (Antiquities of Livorno; 1935); "Miniaturmuveszet Italia Konyvtaraiban, Heber Kodexek" ("The Art of Miniature in the Libraries of Italy; Hebrew Codices", 1937); "Der Jude von Neapel" (1940, in Hungarian, 1941), dealing with the remnants of Jewish art in southern Italy; on Jean Baptist Frey's Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum. An English article "Ancient and Medieval Synagogues in Representation of the Fine Arts" (Jubilee Volume Bernhard Heller, 1941, 241-51 ed. by Munkacsi) was devoted to the representation of art in Synagogues.

In 1942 Munkacsi went underground. During the period of the Holocaust, he proposed the idea of contacting the Hungarian anti-Nazi underground movement, and he was one of the editors of the underground manifesto which revealed to the non-Jewish community the horrors of the deportation. After World War II he published documents and lists from the period of the Holocaust "Hogyan tortent?" ("How Did It Happen?", 1947). He published many articles in Jewish journals, in particular the periodical "Mult es Jovo" ("Past and Future"), and Libanon, for which he served as one of the editors.
Saderman, Anatole (1904-1993), photographer, born in Moscow, Russia. When the Russian revolution occurred he was taken by his parents to live in Berlin, Germany. He emigrated first to Paraguay and then to Uruguay. In 1926 he started to work as a street photographer and then learned how to make portraits.

In 1932 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and opened his own studio. Between 1962 and 1966 he lived and worked in Rome, Italy. He had made portraits of many famous personalities such as Borges, Emil Ludwig, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Pablo Neruda, Pablo Casals and Nicolas Guillen. In 1982 he received a Konex award and in 1984 was named 'Distinguished Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires'.
Balla, Ignac (1883-1976), writer and translator, born in Magyarpecska, Hungary. After finishing high school he served in the imperial navy before becoming a journalist. He went to Rome, Italy, in the 1920s, where he studied Italian literature and translated many Italian classics into Hungarian. He lived in Rome as a correspondent of the newspaper "Pesti Hirlap" and established close contacts with many Italian government officials. His efforts on behalf of Italo-Magyar friendship made him a popular figure in Italy until racial laws were enacted in both Hungary and Italy in 1939.

In 1907, Balla became editor of "Uj Idoek" (Modern Times), a journal of progressive views. In 1915 he became a member of the Petoefi Association. His translation of the works of Boccaccio, D'Annunzio, and G. Deledda were widely appreciated in Hungary. His biographies include: "A Rotschildok" (The Rothschilds, 1912) and "Edison" (1913). Amongst his best known poems were: "Tuez" (Fire, 1901); "Tenger mormolasa" (Murmur of the Sea, 1903); "Del" (South, 1907), and "A hethid varosa" (City of Seven Bridges, 1910). Balla is the author of the play "Az arezzoi varga" (The Cobbler of Arezzo, 1926).
Ivanyi-Gruenwald, Bela (1867-1940), painter, born in Somogysom, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied in Budapest, Munich and Paris, and first exhibited his painting "Sundown in Summer" in Budapest in 1889. In 1892 he won the prize of the Friends of Art of Budapest, and his picture "Conspirators Casting Lots" was purchased by the Hungarian state. In his historic tableaux, "The Sword of God and After the Tatar Invasion" (1896), figures and scenery concur in suggesting dramatic suspense. Ivanyi-Gruenwald painted and taught at the Hungarian Impressionists' School of Nagybanya (now Baia Mare, in Romania) from its inception in 1896 until 1907. In 1904 he won the Fraknoi scholarship, which enabled him to spend two years in Rome, Italy. His paintings from that period "Holdas est" ("Moonlit Evening"), "Antique", and "Est a Villa Borgheseban" ("Evening at Villa Borghese") attest to a decorative art full of mysticism. After his return he exhibited his paintings in the National Salon of Budapest.

At the beginning of his career he was influenced by naturalism. He later turned to a moderate impressionism and finally turned to compositions with figures and forms strongly accentuated by light and shade. In 1907 he became the head of the artists' colony of Kecskemet, Hungary. He won the Association Prize with his "Market Women Selling Fruit among Piles of Snow" (1912), the small golden medal of the state with his "Awakening of Spring", and the large golden medal with his "Women Bathing" (1913). His deep understanding of nature was illustrated by a number of landscapes of Lake Balaton and many of his works reflect the climate and philosophy of his country. Despite his being a Jew, he was entrusted by the anti-Semitic Hungarian government with the painting of a mural for the auditorium of the University of Debrecen. A teacher of several generations of Hungarian painters, he ranked among the greatest artists of his time.
Historian

Born in Piatra-Neamt, he studied in Germany and at the Sorbonne and was admitted to the bar in Paris in 1913. He became an advocate at the Paris Court of Appeal. He was killed in military action in World War I. Juster made valuable contributions to Jewish legal history, notably his work on the legal position of the Jews under the Visigothic kings. His major work was a two-volume study of the legal, economic, and social condition of the Jews in the Roman Empire.
Vago, Jozsef (1877-1947), architect, born in Nagyvarad, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Oradea in Romania) and completed his studies at the Polytechnicum in Budapest. As a student, he was awarded a prize for the plan of a synagogue in Budapest.

Until 1911 he worked with his older brother, architect Laszlo Vago. Later Jozsef became the associate of the leading Hungarian architect O. Lechner. Vago prefered the modern style with the clean uncluttered lines then in vogue. Many buildings in the Hungarian capital were designed by him. In 1919 he settled in Switzerland and later relocated to Italy.

He died in Salies-de-Béarn, France.
Engel, Jozsef (1815-1901), sculptor, born in Satoraljaujhely, Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire). Originally planning to become a rabbi, he was sent by his parents to study at the yeshiva of Rabbi Moses Sofer at Pressburg (now Bratislava, Slovakia). While studying, Engel began to practice sculpture but due to the opposition of his rabbis he was obliged to stop. However when his father died, Engel left for Vienna, Austria, and became apprentice to a wood-carver.

Recognition in his native land came only after he attained fame abroad. In 1840 he moved to England, where he made his name and executed busts of Queen Victoria and of Prince Albert, who commissioned several works from him. Then from 1847 to 1866 he lived in Rome, Italy. In this period he won the favor of Czar Nicholas of Russia, the Prince of Wales, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and other royal figures who frequented his studio.

He returned to Hungary in 1866, as winner of a contest to design the controversial Szechenyi memorial which was unveiled in 1880. He continued to attract attention abroad, being awarded the gold prize at the World Exposition in Vienna (1873), and a bronze medal at the 1889 Exposition in Paris, France. His last exhibition in Budapest was at the National Exposition of Art in 1885. Among his patrons were Prince Paul Esterhazy, and Sir David Salomons, the first Jewish lord mayor of London.

A classical spirit permeated many of his works, particularly those which he produced while in Rome. Outstanding among them are Achilles Surrenders Penthesilea's Corpse, a plaster cast of which is in the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts; Eve Awakening to Life; Before and After the Hunt; and Amour Reclining. The National Museum of Hungary commissioned him to make busts of King Matthias, Queen Maria Theresia, and of other historic figures.
Yiddish novelist

He was born in Suchaczew, Poland, and at age 22 went to Warsaw where his novel Shmuglers, published at that time, caused a literary sensation. It ran to several editions and was translated into Hebrew and Russian. However, Varshavsky felt he could never repeat its success and moved to Paris where he wrote another novel and essays on Jewish artists but indeed never equaled his first achievement. In 1941 he fled to the South of France and then to Rome, Italy, where he was discovered by the Gestapo and sent to his death in Auschwitz.
Shohat Gil (1973 - ), Israeli classical music composer, conductor and pianist. The son of Haaretz newspaper journalist Tzipora Shohat, he is a graduate of the Israeli Music Conservatory was awarded undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the Tel Aviv University School of Music and degrees for piano and composition from the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome, Italy. In 1997-1998 he also studied at Cambridge University in England. He won a number of scholarships and prizes including 1st prize of the Israel Academy, 1st prize of the Arthur Rubenstein Composition Competition and scholarships awarded by the British Council and Italian government. Forbes Magazine, together with all three of Israel’s major newspapers, declared Shohat to be “the most important and influential personality in classical music in Israel”.

Shohat began his musical studies at the age of seven and when he was twelve he was composing and performing his own piano pieces. His first orchestral composition, the cantata "The Nightingale and the Rose" was commissioned by the Israel Chamber Orchestra in 1991 when he was 18. He first came to international attention in 2001 with his opera "Alpha and Omega", the largest original opera production ever staged in Israel.

His composition teachers included Andre Hajdu in Israel and Azio Corghi, Ivan Vandor and Luciano Berio in Italy; his piano teachers were Rachel Feinstein and Arie Vardi in Israel, Sergio Perticaroli in Italy and Maria Curcio in England; his conducting teachers were Stanley Sperber and John Nelson. By 2010 Shohat composed nine large scale symphonies, ten concertos for the piano and various other instruments, three operas together with chamber music and various oratorios, cantatas and, solo vocal compositions. He has also written musical pieces for children including "Max and Moritz", in 2004.

Shohat’s compositions have been performed by leading orchestras in the USA and Europe as well as by Israeli orchestras. In 2009 he was named Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Currently he performs at approximately 80 concerts per year as conductor or pianist. His works have been conducted by many of the world’s leading conductors. Many orchestras and ensembles have commissioned Shohat to write pieces especially for them. He is also a very popular lecturer and teaches courses in music at universities and academies. He has been visiting professor at Harvard, Princeton, Hong Kong, Rome and Tel Aviv universities. His interests also include jazz and folk music. In 2008 Shohat founded two ensembles the Israel Soloists and the Israel Festival Orchestra-Elysium Ensemble. Since 2008 he has been artistic director of the “Sounds of Youth” festival in Holon, the leading festival for Israeli children.
Erdos, Renee (1879-1956), poetess and novelist, born in Erseklel, Komarom county, Hungary (the part of Austria-Hungary). Erdos was the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish agriculturist and for a time attended one of the religious schools of the Budapest community. Her early poems, revealed considerable lyric talent and won her the friendship of the poet Jozsef Kiss. The literary world started to take notice of her when in 1902 she published "Leanyalmok" and "Versek", collections of poetry. "Uj dalok" and "Kleopatra" (1906), as well as "Jottem hozzatok" (1909) elicited further critical praise.

In 1910 Erdos went to Italy. During four years at Rome and Florence she became a Catholic. In 1912, she wrote "As asszony meg a playa", her first full length novel, which dealt with the difficulties of a woman who seeks a career. At this time she also wrote "Janos tanitvany", an evangelical drama, and "Aranyveder", poems of religious exaltation.

Erdos rapidly became a prolific writer and was by far the most popular among feminine authors in Hungary. Eros was a major theme in many of her romances, plays and poems. Critics have written that she had a sophisticated narrative faculty, heightened by a rich sense of imaginary, spiritual and emotional suspense. Her characters were patterned, in the main, upon real people – living or dead. Among her major works are "Osok es ivadekok" (1914), a biographical cycle probing the problems of ancestry; "Az uj sarj" (1918), describing her childhood memories; "Az elet kiralynoje" (1921), and "Berekesztett utak" (1923), depicting the conflicts and pitfalls along the parallel paths of law and passion.

It was, however, in portraying the pomp and panoply of Catholic Rome that she attained great descriptive heights. "Santerra biboros" and "Romai levelek" (1922); "Assisibeli zsoldos" (1923), "Romai naplo" (1925), and "Ave Roma" all attest to her absorption in love for the city. Many of her novels appeared also in Italian, French and German. From the 1930s she lived in relative retirement, devoted to her home and family in Budapest. Erdos translated a number of Italian classics into Hungarian.
Painter

Born of Orthodox parents in Hanau, he received there his first instruction in painting and moved on to the Munich Academy of Arts at age 17. He went to Paris and then to Rome where he made studies of life in the ghetto in preparation for several large canvases which he painted on his return to Germany. In 1825 he settled in Frankfurt where his painting "David playing before Saul' attracted many admirers. In 1832, at the instance of Goethe, the duke of Saxe Weimar conferred on him the title of professor. He established a reputation as one of the foremost Jewish artists of the 19th century, noted for his genre and portrait paintings. One of his best-known works is 'Home Coming of a Jewish Soldier'.

Enrico Guastalla (1828-1903), Italian soldier born at Guastalla, Italy. Although his parents intended him for a life as a businessman, he volunteered to join the Italian army in 1848. He took part in the defense of Rome in the war against Austria, and for his bravery in the battle of Vascello was appointed lieutenant. The following year he participated in the abortive capture of Rome from the pope. He afterward went to Piedmont and for several years he edited the "Liberta e Associazione" but, suspected of revolutionary tendencies by the government, he fled to London, England, where he met the radical Italian patriot Guiseppe Mazzini.

In 1859 he returned to Italy and joined G. Garibaldi at Como. He was wounded in the leg at Volturno (Oct. 1, 1860). After a month's inaction he became a member of Garibaldi's staff. At Aspromonte he was captured and imprisoned.

Guastalla again saw active service in 1866, and fought under Garibaldi at Como, Brescia, Lonoto, Salo, and Desenzano. He retired from the army with the rank of major and the insignia of Knight Commandant of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus. He was elected member of the Italian Parliament for Varese in 1865 and sat here for many years.

Rona, Jozsef (1861-1940), sculptor, born in Lovasbereny, Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire). He studied at Budapest and at the Academy of Vienna, Austria. In 1882, after winning a royal scholarship he studied for three years with the German sculptor Kaspar von Zumbusch (1830-1915).

At Berlin, in 1885, he won a scholarship to go to Rome with his Saint Sebastian and Olympic Champion. Rona excelled in the treatment of Biblical subjects. His works "Adam and Eve", "Judith and Holophernes", "Saul and David", as well as "Lot's Wife", are marked by majesty and grace. His "Deborah's Song", in relief, adorns the Girls' Gymnasium of the Jewish Community of Pest. "Joseph and Potiphar's Wife", carved in wood, won a large gold medal in Budapest. Other gold medals were awarded him at Antwerp, Belgium, and Paris, France, and a grand prix at London, England. He also treated classical subjects, such as "Anacreon Giving a Music Lesson".

Rona created the statue on horseback of Eugene of Savoy which is a landmark of Budapest. Among scores of monuments of outstanding Hungarians are his statue of Empress Queen Elisabeth at Godollo, Hungary and his three statues of Louis Kossuth at Szeged, Miskolc and Rozsnyo. Several of his statues and groups are in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. Rona was president of the Hungarian Society of Graphic and Plastic arts and of the Union of Hungarian Sculptors. His memoirs, "Egy magyar muvesz elete" ("The Life of Hungarian Artist"; 2 vols., 1929), offer an interesting background of Jewish life in Hungary in the second half of the 19th century.
Giovanni Maria (1470-1530) , Italian lute player, born in Germany. Coming to Florence, Italy, he was baptized and took the name Giovanni Maria in honour of Cardinal Giovanni de Medici. His original Jewish name is unknown, but in several documents he is referred to as “Giovanni Maria, the Jew”. In 1492 he was condemned to death for murder, fled to Rome and entered the service of the Cardinal de Medici and later of Pope Clement VII, the doge of Venice and the dukes of Mantua and Urbino. Giovanni Maria died in Rome. His son, Camilo, was also a musician in the papal service.
Pianist and musicologist. Born in Novara, Italy, he studied piano at the conservatory in his native city, and literature at the University of Bologna. Valabrega lectured in music history in Naples, Perugia and Rome. He is the author of monographs about Schumann (1934), Domenico Scarlatti (1937) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1950). As concert pianist Valabrega appeared all over Europe and in Israel. He died in Rome, Italy.

Ladislaus (Laszlo) Farkas (1904-1948), chemist, born in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia (then in the Austria Hungary Empire), the son of a pharmacist. From 1928, he worked as assistant to the Nobel prizewinning chemist, Fritz Haber, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem. When the Nazis came to power he moved to Cambridge, England, and in 1934 joined the staff of the Sieff Institute in Rehovot and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he became professor of physical chemistry. Farkas laid the foundations for the Research Council of Israel. He excelled in various fields including photochemistry, gas reactions and combustion. He was killed in an air crash while en route to the US to buy scientific equipment.

Segre, Emilio (1905--1989), physicist, one of the discoverers of the antiproton, born in Tivoli, Italy. He began his engineering studies in Rome and later moved over to physics, which he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. He was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He taught at Rome University and was appointed Head of the Physics Department at the University of Palermo in 1936.

In 1938, in the wake of the antsemitic regulations in the civil service enacted by the fascist government, Segre immigrated to the United States, where he joined the University of California at Berkeley.

Segre was naturalized an American citizen and participated in the American effort to build the atomic bomb. After his retirement in 1978, he returned to Rome University.

In 1959, Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel prize for physics, together with Owen Chamberlain, "for their discovery of the antiproton." The proton is a positively charged particle that is found in varying numbers in atomic nuclei. The antiproton is a similar particle, but is negatively charged. The disparity between their charges turns every encounter into a dramatic event in which they nullify one another.

Levi-Montalcini, Rita (1909-2012), neurologist , 1986 Nobel prize laureate for medecine, born in Torino, Italy. She studied at the University of Torino and after graduation continued to work there. In 1939, following the Fascist racial legislation, she was forced to leave. She continued her research in an improvised laboratory at home the results of which were published in Belgium. In 1947 she moved to Washington University in St. Louis, USA, where she worked with Prof. Victor Hamburger. In 1977 she returned to Italy and was nominated head of the Laboratory for Cell Biology at the National Council for Scientific Research in Rome. In 1986 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for her dicovery of the NGF.

Sergio Piperno (1906-1976), jurist and community leader, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy, born in Rome, Italy, into a family well integrated into the Jewish community. In 1967 he added to his family name, Piperno, the name  “Be’er”, in memory of his  great-great grandfather, Moshe Shabbatai Be’er, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome until 1834. 

Piperno graduated in law in 1930. He started his career as a justice, working in Cavarzere and Dolo (near Venice) and then in Milan, where he was Public Prosecutor (Procuratore del Re). While serving in this capacity, the Fascist racial laws (1938), that excluded Jews from all public positions, went into effect. Piperno was deply affected on a personal level, because he could not believe that Italy, which he had served loyally, would exclude him just because he was Jewish.

Having lost the job he was prepared for, he became a sales agent for small firms. In the meantime, he began to be engaged in activities linked to the Jewish community, like the Delasem (Delegazione per l’Assistenza agli Emigranti Ebrei, active between 1939 and 1947).

On September 8, 1943 Rome was occupied by the Nazis; on October 16, 1943 there was a mass raid during which some 1,000 Jews were artrested. Piperno managed to escape and then succeeded in getting a fake identity card under the name of Enrico Marini, a displaced person from the South of Italy, then already under the control of the Allied forces.  Piperno changed his look (wearing glasses and growing  moustache) and went into hiding with his family in another area of Rome where hardly anybody could recognize him, staying there until the liberation by the Allied forces on June 4, 1944.

In the new Italy, which had become a repubblic in 1946, Piperno was reintegrated in his previous career as a judge, and eventually he reached a top level position, being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1969.

At the same time he continued with his engagement with the Jewish Community: he was elected member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Rome soon after the liberation; he was one of the promoters of Italian ORT in 1946 and was active in the Keren Hayesod when he was posted to Turin, as a judge of the Court of Appeal (1953). As representative of Keren Hayesod he took part in the Congress of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCII) in 1956, and was elected as member of the board, and then as President. He was reelected in the next four Congresses and remained in this position for 20 years, until his death, on June 5, 1976.

During his presidency Sergio Piperno maintained good relationships with leading Italian politicians, such as the Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. He also started new relations with the Vatican, where Pope John XXIII had agreed to eliminate the words perfidi giudei ("perfidous Jews") from Good Friday’s prayers of the Catholic Church. This was the beginning of a new approach in the Jewish-Catholics relations which eventually led to the decree Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council (1965). Piperno was often consulted by Cardinal Agostino Bea who wrote the initial draft of the decree.

Bearing in mind the need not to forgive what happened during 1938-1945, Piperno promoted the historical monograph Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo ("History of Italian Jews under Fascism", 1962) by Prof. Renzo De Felice, which became the basis for understand the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica ("Center for Jewish Documentation"), in Milan, which collected many documents and photographs of that period.

Sergio Piperno felt a very strong tie with Israel. He took part in the procession of Roman Jews under the Arch of Titus in Rome soon after the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947 - up to that point, Roman Jews had always refused to pass under the arch, because it was erected to celebrate the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the enslavement of the Jews. He visited for the first time Israel as President of the Italian Jewish Communities in 1958, and hosted in Rome Golda Meir and Abba Eban when they came as representatives of the State of Israel.

In the international scene, Sergio Piperno Beer was active, in collaboration with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Elio Toaff, in helping evacuate the nearly 4,000 Libyan Jews, who immediately after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) found themselves in real danger. Thanks to their negotiations with the Italian government, the Jews were allowed by Libyan authorities to escape to Italy, where they added a new vitality to the local Community eventually becaming fully integrated. During the 1970s Piperno also strongly backed the international campaign on behalf of the Soviet Jews' right to emigrate. 

Piperno married Livia Modigliani In March 1943 and they had four children: Giuliana, b. 1944; Maurizio, b. 1945; Gino, b. 1949; Bruno, b. 1951.                                                                                              

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he is the author of a major work first entitled Beit Middot (Constantinople, 1312) and later Ma’alot ha-Middot (Cremona, 1356). The book deals with ethical conduct, based on talmudic, midrashic and other sources and begins and ends with a poem. Another poem by Jehiel Anav can be found at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud that he copied. It is a lamentation on the destruction of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere in Rome. Jehiel Anav died in Rome, Italy.

Di Segni, Mose (1903-1969), doctor, partisan, born in Rome, Italy, to a local Jewish family. He studied medicine in Rome and went on to specialize in pediatrics in Florence. He took part in the Zionist activities organized by Enzo Sereni (a Zionist leader in Italy, co-founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner who was parachuted into Nazi-occupied Italy in World War II, captured by the Germans and subsequently executed in Dachau). In 1930 Di Segni met his future wife, Pina, who had studied pharmacy in Florence and who was the daughter of Rabbi Naftali Roth rabbi of Russe (Ruschuk) in Bulgaria.

In 1936 Di Segni was drafted into the Italian army and sent to Spain as a doctor attached to the the Italian Red Cross delegation in the Civil War. After the passing of the Italian racial laws of 1938, he was dismissed and returned to Italy. In addition he was dismissed from his position in the Rome hospital where he had previously worked. He found himself under the regular surveillance of the fascist secret police on account of his association with the Jewish community and due to his Zionist and anti-fascist views.

In September 1943 Di Segni was designated as one of the Jews to be taken hostage to ensure that the Jewish community of Rome would pay the ransom of 50 kilograms of gold imposed after the German takeover of Italy. Di Segni received advance warning from the deputy editor of the newspaper “Il Giornale d'Italia”, where he worked during his university studies. So he fled from Rome with his wife and two small children to San Severino, a small city in central Italy and was hidden there by a friend. Di Segni joined a large partisan group which, for ten months until the defeat o the Germans, engaged in operations to sabotage German transport and communications, to protecting the civilian population, and to sabotage efforts to conscript local people into the Fascist army. Moshe Di Segni was the senior medical officer of the group and participated in many of these actions. One of the battles in which he took part was the Battle of Valdiola in March 1944 and for his actions he was awarded a silver medal for heroism in battle. In addition, he gave medical aid to the civilian population throughout the region.

After the liberation of San Severino he returned to his work as a doctor in Rome. He remained active in Jewish organizations in Rome and was a member of the Jewish community until 1965.

In 1996 the ceremonies in San Severino to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian Republic were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Di Segni and in 2011 his three children were given honorary citizenship of the town. A book has been published about his activities as a partisan.

His son Ricardo, also a doctor by profession, has been Chief Rabbi of Rome since 2002. His eldest daughter, Frida, a pharmacist, lives in Ancona while another son, Elio, a cardiologist, immigrated to Israel in 1974.

Sereni, Enzo Hayim (1905-1944), Zionist, born in Rome, Italy. He received his doctorate at the university of Rome in 1924 by which time he was deeply involved in Zionist work among Italian Jewry. In 1926 he moved to Palestine where he worked on farms, was an organizer in the labor movement and a founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner. He was often sent on Zionist missions to Europe and was in Germany 1931-34, helping to transfer Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine. During World War II Sereni was an emissary in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Italy. In his last mission he was parachuted into Italy as a British army officer, captured by the Germans and sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died. The kibbutz Netser Sereni is named for him.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he first wrote sonnets in Romanesco (a Roman dialect) and later, after the Jewish emancipation of 1870, wrote in the Judeo-Italian dialect in order to preserve the special language and folklore.
Del Monte’s poems about the Roman ghetto describe its everyday life in a vital and expressive way. His love for the dialect led him to philological investigations and he constructed the grammar of the dialect. His poems were published in two volumes entitled Sonetti Guidaico-Romaneschi (1927) and Nuovi sonetti Guidaןco-Romaneschi (1933). A third volume was published posthumously, in 1955. He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses. In 1239, on the occasion of Nicolas Donin’s denunciation of the Talmud, he wrote the piyyut El Mi Anusah le-Ezrah (To Whom Shall I Run For Help). He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses and Joab, Daniel and Isaac of Camerino. His main interest was the halakhah, but he had a thorough knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. Benjamin Anav began to write poetry in 1239. It includes kinot and selihot, the themes of which are historical. Many of his selihot were included in the mahzor of the Italian rite. He died in Rome, Italy.
Pope John Paul II in the Synagogue in Rome, Italy, 1986
The Great Synagogue in Rome, Italy, 1980s
Pope John Paul II, accompanied by Rabbi Toaff,
Chief Rabbi of Italy, during his visit to the synagogue
of Rome, Italy, April 13, 1986
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Emanuelle Pacifici, Rome)
The Great Synagogue in Rome, Italy, 1980s
The synagogue was built in 1900-1904 by
architects Costa and Armani
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,)
FRASCATI
ARICCIA

FRASCATI

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birthplace, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

This family name is derived from Frascati, the name of a city in the Metropolitan City of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy.

Places, regions and countries of origin or residence are some of the sources of Jewish family names. But, unless the family has reliable records, names based on toponymics cannot prove the exact origin of the family.

Frascati is documented as a Jewish family name with Vittorio Frascati was born in Rome, Italy, in 1937 and perished in the Holocaust.

ARICCIA, DELL ARICCIA, DELL'ARICCIA

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birthplace, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

This family name is derived from Ariccia, the name of a town in the Metropolitan City of Rome, central Italy.  

Places, regions and countries of origin or residence are some of the sources of Jewish family names. But, unless the family has reliable records, names based on toponymics cannot prove the exact origin of the family.

Dell Ariccia is documented as a Jewish family name with Ernesto Dell Ariccia who was born in Rome, Italy, in 1910 and perished in the Holocaust.

Rieti, Moses Ben Isaac Da
Giovanni Maria
Valabrega, Cesare
Benjamin Ben Abraham
Ladislaus (Laszlo) Farkas
Segre, Emilio
Levi-Montalcini, Rita
Sergio Piperno
Leonete Ben Moses
Anav, Jehiel ben Jekuthiel Benjamin
Del Monte, Crescenzo
Anav, Judah Ben Benjamin Ha-Rofe
Judah Ben Menahem of Rome
Anav, Benjamin Ben Abraham
Giovanni Maria (1470-1530) , Italian lute player, born in Germany. Coming to Florence, Italy, he was baptized and took the name Giovanni Maria in honour of Cardinal Giovanni de Medici. His original Jewish name is unknown, but in several documents he is referred to as “Giovanni Maria, the Jew”. In 1492 he was condemned to death for murder, fled to Rome and entered the service of the Cardinal de Medici and later of Pope Clement VII, the doge of Venice and the dukes of Mantua and Urbino. Giovanni Maria died in Rome. His son, Camilo, was also a musician in the papal service.
Pianist and musicologist. Born in Novara, Italy, he studied piano at the conservatory in his native city, and literature at the University of Bologna. Valabrega lectured in music history in Naples, Perugia and Rome. He is the author of monographs about Schumann (1934), Domenico Scarlatti (1937) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1950). As concert pianist Valabrega appeared all over Europe and in Israel. He died in Rome, Italy.

Ladislaus (Laszlo) Farkas (1904-1948), chemist, born in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia (then in the Austria Hungary Empire), the son of a pharmacist. From 1928, he worked as assistant to the Nobel prizewinning chemist, Fritz Haber, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem. When the Nazis came to power he moved to Cambridge, England, and in 1934 joined the staff of the Sieff Institute in Rehovot and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, where he became professor of physical chemistry. Farkas laid the foundations for the Research Council of Israel. He excelled in various fields including photochemistry, gas reactions and combustion. He was killed in an air crash while en route to the US to buy scientific equipment.

Segre, Emilio (1905--1989), physicist, one of the discoverers of the antiproton, born in Tivoli, Italy. He began his engineering studies in Rome and later moved over to physics, which he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. He was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He taught at Rome University and was appointed Head of the Physics Department at the University of Palermo in 1936.

In 1938, in the wake of the antsemitic regulations in the civil service enacted by the fascist government, Segre immigrated to the United States, where he joined the University of California at Berkeley.

Segre was naturalized an American citizen and participated in the American effort to build the atomic bomb. After his retirement in 1978, he returned to Rome University.

In 1959, Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel prize for physics, together with Owen Chamberlain, "for their discovery of the antiproton." The proton is a positively charged particle that is found in varying numbers in atomic nuclei. The antiproton is a similar particle, but is negatively charged. The disparity between their charges turns every encounter into a dramatic event in which they nullify one another.

Levi-Montalcini, Rita (1909-2012), neurologist , 1986 Nobel prize laureate for medecine, born in Torino, Italy. She studied at the University of Torino and after graduation continued to work there. In 1939, following the Fascist racial legislation, she was forced to leave. She continued her research in an improvised laboratory at home the results of which were published in Belgium. In 1947 she moved to Washington University in St. Louis, USA, where she worked with Prof. Victor Hamburger. In 1977 she returned to Italy and was nominated head of the Laboratory for Cell Biology at the National Council for Scientific Research in Rome. In 1986 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for her dicovery of the NGF.

Sergio Piperno (1906-1976), jurist and community leader, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy, born in Rome, Italy, into a family well integrated into the Jewish community. In 1967 he added to his family name, Piperno, the name  “Be’er”, in memory of his  great-great grandfather, Moshe Shabbatai Be’er, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome until 1834. 

Piperno graduated in law in 1930. He started his career as a justice, working in Cavarzere and Dolo (near Venice) and then in Milan, where he was Public Prosecutor (Procuratore del Re). While serving in this capacity, the Fascist racial laws (1938), that excluded Jews from all public positions, went into effect. Piperno was deply affected on a personal level, because he could not believe that Italy, which he had served loyally, would exclude him just because he was Jewish.

Having lost the job he was prepared for, he became a sales agent for small firms. In the meantime, he began to be engaged in activities linked to the Jewish community, like the Delasem (Delegazione per l’Assistenza agli Emigranti Ebrei, active between 1939 and 1947).

On September 8, 1943 Rome was occupied by the Nazis; on October 16, 1943 there was a mass raid during which some 1,000 Jews were artrested. Piperno managed to escape and then succeeded in getting a fake identity card under the name of Enrico Marini, a displaced person from the South of Italy, then already under the control of the Allied forces.  Piperno changed his look (wearing glasses and growing  moustache) and went into hiding with his family in another area of Rome where hardly anybody could recognize him, staying there until the liberation by the Allied forces on June 4, 1944.

In the new Italy, which had become a repubblic in 1946, Piperno was reintegrated in his previous career as a judge, and eventually he reached a top level position, being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1969.

At the same time he continued with his engagement with the Jewish Community: he was elected member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Rome soon after the liberation; he was one of the promoters of Italian ORT in 1946 and was active in the Keren Hayesod when he was posted to Turin, as a judge of the Court of Appeal (1953). As representative of Keren Hayesod he took part in the Congress of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCII) in 1956, and was elected as member of the board, and then as President. He was reelected in the next four Congresses and remained in this position for 20 years, until his death, on June 5, 1976.

During his presidency Sergio Piperno maintained good relationships with leading Italian politicians, such as the Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. He also started new relations with the Vatican, where Pope John XXIII had agreed to eliminate the words perfidi giudei ("perfidous Jews") from Good Friday’s prayers of the Catholic Church. This was the beginning of a new approach in the Jewish-Catholics relations which eventually led to the decree Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council (1965). Piperno was often consulted by Cardinal Agostino Bea who wrote the initial draft of the decree.

Bearing in mind the need not to forgive what happened during 1938-1945, Piperno promoted the historical monograph Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo ("History of Italian Jews under Fascism", 1962) by Prof. Renzo De Felice, which became the basis for understand the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica ("Center for Jewish Documentation"), in Milan, which collected many documents and photographs of that period.

Sergio Piperno felt a very strong tie with Israel. He took part in the procession of Roman Jews under the Arch of Titus in Rome soon after the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947 - up to that point, Roman Jews had always refused to pass under the arch, because it was erected to celebrate the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the enslavement of the Jews. He visited for the first time Israel as President of the Italian Jewish Communities in 1958, and hosted in Rome Golda Meir and Abba Eban when they came as representatives of the State of Israel.

In the international scene, Sergio Piperno Beer was active, in collaboration with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Elio Toaff, in helping evacuate the nearly 4,000 Libyan Jews, who immediately after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) found themselves in real danger. Thanks to their negotiations with the Italian government, the Jews were allowed by Libyan authorities to escape to Italy, where they added a new vitality to the local Community eventually becaming fully integrated. During the 1970s Piperno also strongly backed the international campaign on behalf of the Soviet Jews' right to emigrate. 

Piperno married Livia Modigliani In March 1943 and they had four children: Giuliana, b. 1944; Maurizio, b. 1945; Gino, b. 1949; Bruno, b. 1951.                                                                                              

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he is the author of a major work first entitled Beit Middot (Constantinople, 1312) and later Ma’alot ha-Middot (Cremona, 1356). The book deals with ethical conduct, based on talmudic, midrashic and other sources and begins and ends with a poem. Another poem by Jehiel Anav can be found at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud that he copied. It is a lamentation on the destruction of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere in Rome. Jehiel Anav died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he first wrote sonnets in Romanesco (a Roman dialect) and later, after the Jewish emancipation of 1870, wrote in the Judeo-Italian dialect in order to preserve the special language and folklore.
Del Monte’s poems about the Roman ghetto describe its everyday life in a vital and expressive way. His love for the dialect led him to philological investigations and he constructed the grammar of the dialect. His poems were published in two volumes entitled Sonetti Guidaico-Romaneschi (1927) and Nuovi sonetti Guidaןco-Romaneschi (1933). A third volume was published posthumously, in 1955. He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses. In 1239, on the occasion of Nicolas Donin’s denunciation of the Talmud, he wrote the piyyut El Mi Anusah le-Ezrah (To Whom Shall I Run For Help). He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses and Joab, Daniel and Isaac of Camerino. His main interest was the halakhah, but he had a thorough knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. Benjamin Anav began to write poetry in 1239. It includes kinot and selihot, the themes of which are historical. Many of his selihot were included in the mahzor of the Italian rite. He died in Rome, Italy.
Segre, Emilio
Segre, Emilio (1905--1989), physicist, one of the discoverers of the antiproton, born in Tivoli, Italy. He began his engineering studies in Rome and later moved over to physics, which he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. He was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He taught at Rome University and was appointed Head of the Physics Department at the University of Palermo in 1936.

In 1938, in the wake of the antsemitic regulations in the civil service enacted by the fascist government, Segre immigrated to the United States, where he joined the University of California at Berkeley.

Segre was naturalized an American citizen and participated in the American effort to build the atomic bomb. After his retirement in 1978, he returned to Rome University.

In 1959, Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel prize for physics, together with Owen Chamberlain, "for their discovery of the antiproton." The proton is a positively charged particle that is found in varying numbers in atomic nuclei. The antiproton is a similar particle, but is negatively charged. The disparity between their charges turns every encounter into a dramatic event in which they nullify one another.
Segre, Emilio
Segre, Emilio (1905--1989), physicist, one of the discoverers of the antiproton, born in Tivoli, Italy. He began his engineering studies in Rome and later moved over to physics, which he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. He was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He taught at Rome University and was appointed Head of the Physics Department at the University of Palermo in 1936.

In 1938, in the wake of the antsemitic regulations in the civil service enacted by the fascist government, Segre immigrated to the United States, where he joined the University of California at Berkeley.

Segre was naturalized an American citizen and participated in the American effort to build the atomic bomb. After his retirement in 1978, he returned to Rome University.

In 1959, Emilio Segre was awarded the Nobel prize for physics, together with Owen Chamberlain, "for their discovery of the antiproton." The proton is a positively charged particle that is found in varying numbers in atomic nuclei. The antiproton is a similar particle, but is negatively charged. The disparity between their charges turns every encounter into a dramatic event in which they nullify one another.
Sergio Piperno
Leonete Ben Moses
Anav, Jehiel ben Jekuthiel Benjamin
Di Segni, Mose
Sereni, Enzo Hayim
Del Monte, Crescenzo
Anav, Judah Ben Benjamin Ha-Rofe
Judah Ben Menahem of Rome
Meshullam Ben Kalonymus of Rome
Immanuel Ben Solomon of Rome
Anav, Benjamin Ben Abraham

Sergio Piperno (1906-1976), jurist and community leader, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy, born in Rome, Italy, into a family well integrated into the Jewish community. In 1967 he added to his family name, Piperno, the name  “Be’er”, in memory of his  great-great grandfather, Moshe Shabbatai Be’er, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome until 1834. 

Piperno graduated in law in 1930. He started his career as a justice, working in Cavarzere and Dolo (near Venice) and then in Milan, where he was Public Prosecutor (Procuratore del Re). While serving in this capacity, the Fascist racial laws (1938), that excluded Jews from all public positions, went into effect. Piperno was deply affected on a personal level, because he could not believe that Italy, which he had served loyally, would exclude him just because he was Jewish.

Having lost the job he was prepared for, he became a sales agent for small firms. In the meantime, he began to be engaged in activities linked to the Jewish community, like the Delasem (Delegazione per l’Assistenza agli Emigranti Ebrei, active between 1939 and 1947).

On September 8, 1943 Rome was occupied by the Nazis; on October 16, 1943 there was a mass raid during which some 1,000 Jews were artrested. Piperno managed to escape and then succeeded in getting a fake identity card under the name of Enrico Marini, a displaced person from the South of Italy, then already under the control of the Allied forces.  Piperno changed his look (wearing glasses and growing  moustache) and went into hiding with his family in another area of Rome where hardly anybody could recognize him, staying there until the liberation by the Allied forces on June 4, 1944.

In the new Italy, which had become a repubblic in 1946, Piperno was reintegrated in his previous career as a judge, and eventually he reached a top level position, being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1969.

At the same time he continued with his engagement with the Jewish Community: he was elected member of the Board of the Jewish Community of Rome soon after the liberation; he was one of the promoters of Italian ORT in 1946 and was active in the Keren Hayesod when he was posted to Turin, as a judge of the Court of Appeal (1953). As representative of Keren Hayesod he took part in the Congress of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCII) in 1956, and was elected as member of the board, and then as President. He was reelected in the next four Congresses and remained in this position for 20 years, until his death, on June 5, 1976.

During his presidency Sergio Piperno maintained good relationships with leading Italian politicians, such as the Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. He also started new relations with the Vatican, where Pope John XXIII had agreed to eliminate the words perfidi giudei ("perfidous Jews") from Good Friday’s prayers of the Catholic Church. This was the beginning of a new approach in the Jewish-Catholics relations which eventually led to the decree Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council (1965). Piperno was often consulted by Cardinal Agostino Bea who wrote the initial draft of the decree.

Bearing in mind the need not to forgive what happened during 1938-1945, Piperno promoted the historical monograph Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo ("History of Italian Jews under Fascism", 1962) by Prof. Renzo De Felice, which became the basis for understand the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica ("Center for Jewish Documentation"), in Milan, which collected many documents and photographs of that period.

Sergio Piperno felt a very strong tie with Israel. He took part in the procession of Roman Jews under the Arch of Titus in Rome soon after the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947 - up to that point, Roman Jews had always refused to pass under the arch, because it was erected to celebrate the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the enslavement of the Jews. He visited for the first time Israel as President of the Italian Jewish Communities in 1958, and hosted in Rome Golda Meir and Abba Eban when they came as representatives of the State of Israel.

In the international scene, Sergio Piperno Beer was active, in collaboration with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Elio Toaff, in helping evacuate the nearly 4,000 Libyan Jews, who immediately after the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) found themselves in real danger. Thanks to their negotiations with the Italian government, the Jews were allowed by Libyan authorities to escape to Italy, where they added a new vitality to the local Community eventually becaming fully integrated. During the 1970s Piperno also strongly backed the international campaign on behalf of the Soviet Jews' right to emigrate. 

Piperno married Livia Modigliani In March 1943 and they had four children: Giuliana, b. 1944; Maurizio, b. 1945; Gino, b. 1949; Bruno, b. 1951.                                                                                              

Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he is the author of a major work first entitled Beit Middot (Constantinople, 1312) and later Ma’alot ha-Middot (Cremona, 1356). The book deals with ethical conduct, based on talmudic, midrashic and other sources and begins and ends with a poem. Another poem by Jehiel Anav can be found at the end of the Jerusalem Talmud that he copied. It is a lamentation on the destruction of 21 Torah scrolls in a fire that broke out in Trastevere in Rome. Jehiel Anav died in Rome, Italy.

Di Segni, Mose (1903-1969), doctor, partisan, born in Rome, Italy, to a local Jewish family. He studied medicine in Rome and went on to specialize in pediatrics in Florence. He took part in the Zionist activities organized by Enzo Sereni (a Zionist leader in Italy, co-founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner who was parachuted into Nazi-occupied Italy in World War II, captured by the Germans and subsequently executed in Dachau). In 1930 Di Segni met his future wife, Pina, who had studied pharmacy in Florence and who was the daughter of Rabbi Naftali Roth rabbi of Russe (Ruschuk) in Bulgaria.

In 1936 Di Segni was drafted into the Italian army and sent to Spain as a doctor attached to the the Italian Red Cross delegation in the Civil War. After the passing of the Italian racial laws of 1938, he was dismissed and returned to Italy. In addition he was dismissed from his position in the Rome hospital where he had previously worked. He found himself under the regular surveillance of the fascist secret police on account of his association with the Jewish community and due to his Zionist and anti-fascist views.

In September 1943 Di Segni was designated as one of the Jews to be taken hostage to ensure that the Jewish community of Rome would pay the ransom of 50 kilograms of gold imposed after the German takeover of Italy. Di Segni received advance warning from the deputy editor of the newspaper “Il Giornale d'Italia”, where he worked during his university studies. So he fled from Rome with his wife and two small children to San Severino, a small city in central Italy and was hidden there by a friend. Di Segni joined a large partisan group which, for ten months until the defeat o the Germans, engaged in operations to sabotage German transport and communications, to protecting the civilian population, and to sabotage efforts to conscript local people into the Fascist army. Moshe Di Segni was the senior medical officer of the group and participated in many of these actions. One of the battles in which he took part was the Battle of Valdiola in March 1944 and for his actions he was awarded a silver medal for heroism in battle. In addition, he gave medical aid to the civilian population throughout the region.

After the liberation of San Severino he returned to his work as a doctor in Rome. He remained active in Jewish organizations in Rome and was a member of the Jewish community until 1965.

In 1996 the ceremonies in San Severino to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian Republic were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Di Segni and in 2011 his three children were given honorary citizenship of the town. A book has been published about his activities as a partisan.

His son Ricardo, also a doctor by profession, has been Chief Rabbi of Rome since 2002. His eldest daughter, Frida, a pharmacist, lives in Ancona while another son, Elio, a cardiologist, immigrated to Israel in 1974.

Sereni, Enzo Hayim (1905-1944), Zionist, born in Rome, Italy. He received his doctorate at the university of Rome in 1924 by which time he was deeply involved in Zionist work among Italian Jewry. In 1926 he moved to Palestine where he worked on farms, was an organizer in the labor movement and a founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner. He was often sent on Zionist missions to Europe and was in Germany 1931-34, helping to transfer Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine. During World War II Sereni was an emissary in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Italy. In his last mission he was parachuted into Italy as a British army officer, captured by the Germans and sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died. The kibbutz Netser Sereni is named for him.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he first wrote sonnets in Romanesco (a Roman dialect) and later, after the Jewish emancipation of 1870, wrote in the Judeo-Italian dialect in order to preserve the special language and folklore.
Del Monte’s poems about the Roman ghetto describe its everyday life in a vital and expressive way. His love for the dialect led him to philological investigations and he constructed the grammar of the dialect. His poems were published in two volumes entitled Sonetti Guidaico-Romaneschi (1927) and Nuovi sonetti Guidaןco-Romaneschi (1933). A third volume was published posthumously, in 1955. He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses. In 1239, on the occasion of Nicolas Donin’s denunciation of the Talmud, he wrote the piyyut El Mi Anusah le-Ezrah (To Whom Shall I Run For Help). He died in Rome, Italy.
Poet. Born in Rome, Italy, he studied with poet Meir Ben Moses and Joab, Daniel and Isaac of Camerino. His main interest was the halakhah, but he had a thorough knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. Benjamin Anav began to write poetry in 1239. It includes kinot and selihot, the themes of which are historical. Many of his selihot were included in the mahzor of the Italian rite. He died in Rome, Italy.
Sereni, Enzo Hayim
Sereni, Enzo Hayim (1905-1944), Zionist, born in Rome, Italy. He received his doctorate at the university of Rome in 1924 by which time he was deeply involved in Zionist work among Italian Jewry. In 1926 he moved to Palestine where he worked on farms, was an organizer in the labor movement and a founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner. He was often sent on Zionist missions to Europe and was in Germany 1931-34, helping to transfer Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine. During World War II Sereni was an emissary in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Italy. In his last mission he was parachuted into Italy as a British army officer, captured by the Germans and sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died. The kibbutz Netser Sereni is named for him.
Sereni, Enzo Hayim
Sereni, Enzo Hayim (1905-1944), Zionist, born in Rome, Italy. He received his doctorate at the university of Rome in 1924 by which time he was deeply involved in Zionist work among Italian Jewry. In 1926 he moved to Palestine where he worked on farms, was an organizer in the labor movement and a founder of kibbutz Givat Brenner. He was often sent on Zionist missions to Europe and was in Germany 1931-34, helping to transfer Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine. During World War II Sereni was an emissary in Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Italy. In his last mission he was parachuted into Italy as a British army officer, captured by the Germans and sent to Dachau concentration camp where he died. The kibbutz Netser Sereni is named for him.