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Rome buses tell story of Jewish boy who hid on tram to escape Nazi deportation in 1943

Nazi raid in Rome's Jewish district took place 80 years ago today.

Rome on Monday commemorates the 80th anniversary of the deportation of more than 1,000 of the city’s Jews to the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz.

 

The raid occurred in the Ghetto district at dawn on 16 October 1943 and led to the deportation of 1,022 Roman Jews, including 200 children.

 

Only 16 would make it back to Rome alive: 15 men and one woman. None of the children returned.

 

One of the city's many commemorative projects this year is The Story of the Boy and the Tram, a short animated film being shown on the number 23 bus route until the end of this month.

 

The film tells the dramatic story of Emanuele Di Porto, a 12-year-old boy who woke up at dawn on 16 October 1943 to see Nazi troops forcing his mother into the back of a truck.

 

 

Emanuele ran down the stairs of his home on Via della Reginella, racing outside where he was captured by soldiers and loaded onto the same truck.

 

Claiming not to know him, his mother shoved him away, shouting in broken German: "He is not my son, he is not Jewish!".

 

Alone and confused, Emanuele wandered to Piazza di Monte Savello and got on the first tram he found.

 

He confided what just happened to the ticket collector who, after informing the driver, invited him to stay next to him on board.

 

Emanuele spent more than two days on the tram, hiding in plain sight and protected by a succession of tram drivers who ensured he had food and a blanket at night.

 

On the third day a neighbour got on board and recognised Emanuele, helping him to reunite with his father and siblings who also escaped deportation.

 

They subsequently returned to live in their family home however Emanuele never saw his mother again.

 

She is remembered today with a brass cobblestone memorial outside her home on Via della Reginella where Emanuele - now aged 92 - still lives. 

General Info

Address Via della Reginella, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome buses tell story of Jewish boy who hid on tram to escape Nazi deportation in 1943

Via della Reginella, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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