Rome remembers Quadraro deportation

Residents commemorate 70th anniversary of Nazi raid

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Nazi raid on Quadraro, a south-eastern suburb of Rome, during world war two.

The district was well known for its numerous partisans and opponents of the regime. On 17 April 1944, under the code name Walfisch (Operation Whale), the Nazis rounded up more than 700 men from Quadraro and deported them to concentration camps in Germany and Poland.

The operation took place at around 04.00 and was led by Rome's SS chief Herbert Kappler who, less than a month earlier, was responsible for the Fosse Ardeatine massacre near the Via Appia Antica on 24 March. For Rome, in terms of size, the Quadraro operation was second only to the raid at the Ghetto district on 16 October 1943, when more than 1,000 Jews were deported to the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz.

From 16-19 April this year, a local residents' project called Q44 is marking the 70th anniversary in Quadraro with a series of events including marches, moments of reflection, and cultural and educational activities.

Ten years ago, on the 60th anniversary of the raid, the district was awarded the gold medal for civil merit in recognition of its "shining example of resistance to oppression and admirable example of courage, solidarity and patriotism", in the words of former Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

Photo Corriere della Sera