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Emanuel Ascarelli memoir

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2004.439.1

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    Consists of one memoir, in Hebrew, written by Emanuel Ascarelli (1919-1999), originally of Bologna, Italy. In the memoir, Emanuel describes his family history and his experiences in the Jewish Brigade.
    publication/distribution:  2004
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection, gift of Roma Ascarelli
    Collection Creator
    Emanuel Ascarelli
    Roma Ascarelli (b. Roma Wessel) was born in Ruma, Yugoslavia (Serbia), on
    October 4, 1925, to Samuel and Rosa Wessel (b. Romano). Her father worked in the import and export of grains and cereal. Her mother was a journalist for the cultural page of a local newspaper and worked as a translator after World War II. Roma grew up in Trieste, Italy. She went to a Jewish kindergarten and attended religious school once a week while going to public school. In December 1938, she was sent to Zagreb, Yugoslavia (Croatia) to attend school and live with relatives since the racial laws in Italy prevented her from going to school. Her parents followed in April 1940 after signing papers that they would not return to Italy. They had visas for the United States, but did not want to go to America.

    After the Germans attacked Yugoslavia in 1941, their lives changed. They had to wear Star of David badges and hand over their valuables. They signed their house over to an Italian journalist and went to live in a rented room. When Roma's mother heard the first rumors of planned transports to Auschwitz, she turned to the Nuncio (Vatican ambassador) of Yugoslavia who promised to help her because she spoke Italian. On the way to the meeting place, Rosa and Roma were picked up and put into Savska Cesta where they remained for about six weeks, receiving food from the Jewish community. Roma's aunt, her husband, and one of her daughters were there as well; they were eventually sent to Auschwitz.

    The commander of the prison did not believe that Roma and her mother were Italian because of their accent. The prison had been forced to release all citizens from Hungary, Italy, and Bulgaria since the consulates of these countries had protested. Rosa insisted that her husband was from Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (Slovenia), which at the time was under Italian rule. They were finally transferred to Ljubljana and then taken to Karlovac, Yugoslavia (Croatia), which was also territory occupied by Italy.

    The Italian police allowed them to remain in Karlovac until they got other orders. Rosa returned to Zagreb to get her husband, telling the Carabinieri that she would get money and other valuables if they would let her go. After Samuel and Rosa returned to Karlovac, they were told that Samuel was not allowed to remain since he was not on an official list. He was sent back to Zagreb in September 1942. That was the last time Roma saw him. In May 1943 the Jewish community of Zagreb was liquidated. After waiting for a week, Roma and her mother returned to Ljubljana and were able to live a somewhat normal life. In the beginning of September 1943 they received papers and were ordered to leave Ljubljana for Mantua, Italy, on September 9, 1943. Reporting to the police in Mantua on September 12, 1943, Rosa was told that the Jews of Mantua were to be rounded up and deported that night. The policemen told her to get out of Mantua.

    Rosa decided to go to the nearby town of Salsomaggiore, Italy. In Salsomaggiore, Roma went to get ration cards along with the locals, calling herself Roma Vesseli, the daughter of Rosa Romano and Sergio Veselli from Trieste. In December 1944, a priest confronted Roma and her mother with the rumor that they were Jewish. They left for Bologna, Italy, where they found a room in a half-demolished house. On April 21, 1945, they were liberated, first by partisan forces and then by French and British troops and the Jewish Brigade. Roma met her future husband while they were both serving in the Jewish Brigade. Emanuel Ascarelli came from Palestine, but originally was from Bologna.They married on May 19, 1946, in Bologna.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of these material(s). The Museum does not own the copyright for the material and does not have authority to authorize use. For permission, please contact the rights holder(s).

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Ascarelli, Emanuel.

    Administrative Notes

    Roma Ascarelli, the wife of Emanuel Ascarelli, donated this memoir to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:10:14
    This page:

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