Rome remembers the Holocaust

But memorial marred by anti-Semitic incidents

On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday 27 January, numerous memorial events are being held in Rome, many of them aimed at school children.

Established in 2005 by the United Nations to commemorate the day in 1945 that the survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp were liberated by the Russian army, the initiative honours the memory of the millions of Jews – but also homosexuals, Romany people and others – who suffered persecution, deportation, imprisonment and genocide.

A programme of eye-witness accounts, film, theatre, art and readings takes place at the Casa della Memoria e della Storia in the Trastevere district, from 27-31 January. The Sala S. Rita gallery near the Campidoglio presents Passaggi nella città prigioniera, an exhibition dedicated to the memory of Nazi-occupied Rome from September 1943 to June 1944. Contemporary Hungarian and Italian Jewish artists remember the Holocaust with an exhibition at the Hungarian Academy of Rome at Palazzo Falconieri on Via Giulia 1 until 9 March.

A number of offences against Jewish targets in Rome in the lead-up to this year's remembrance events have caused outrage in Italy. Boxes containing pigs' heads were mailed to the Israeli embassy, the city's Great synagogue and the Jewish Museum of Rome, which is currently hosting an exhibition on the Holocaust.

Police believe far right extremists were responsible for what has been described by Israel's foreign ministry as an “intolerable and brutal incident.” The president of the Lazio region Nicola Zingaretti said "This is a vile and cowardly act which offends the Jewish community and all Romans on the eve of the memorial day."

For full information on Giorno della Memoria events in Rome see the city website.