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Rabbi Riccardo Pacific meets with internees in the Ferramonti camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 49409

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    Rabbi Riccardo Pacific meets with internees in the Ferramonti camp.
    Rabbi Riccardo Pacific meets with internees in the Ferramonti camp.


    Rabbi Riccardo Pacific meets with internees in the Ferramonti camp.
    April 1942
    Ferramonti [Calabria] Italy
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Emanuele Pacifici

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Emanuele Pacifici

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Emanuele Pacifici is the son of Rabbi Riccardo Pacifici and Vanda Abenaim Pacifici. His father was born February 18, 1902 in Florence, and his mother was born on May 6, 1907 in Pisa. Emanuele was born on June 15, 1931. After receiving his rabbinical ordination in Florence, Rabbi Pacifici served as the assistant rabbi of Venice from 1929 to 1930. Shortly after Emanuele's birth, the Pacificis moved to Rhodes where Rabbi Pacifici became both Grand Rabbi of Rhodes and Director of its Rabbinical College. Two years later the Pacificis gave birth to a daughter, Miriam on February 22, 1933. In September 1935 the family moved again after Riccardo Pacifici was appointed Chief Rabbi of Genoa and director of the yeshiva there. There, the family experience both tragedy and happiness. On March 4, 1937 Miriam passed away at the age of four. The following year, the Pacificis gave birth to another boy, Rafaele on July 2, 1938. In 1940 Emanuele, who was then nine, was sent to a Jewish school in Turin. In 1942, due to the Allied bombing of Turin, Emanuele was sent to Casale Monferrato, which had a Jewish community and was situated between Turin and Milan in the northwest corner of Italy. Rabbi Pacifici remained in Genoa and also periodically visited the Feramonti internment camp to attend to the religious needs of the prisoners. He visited the camp three times between 1942 and 1943. At the end of September 1943, Mrs. Guzmano, the governess who cared for Emanuele in Casale Moferrato, warned the school's director of an impending raid. She brought some twenty children two at a time to her house and kept them for five or six days until their parents could pick them up. In the interim Emanuele's mother and brother left Genoa for a hiding place near Pisa. Rabbi Pacifici brought Emanuele back home, and they remained in Genoa through Sukkot. Following the October 16 massive round-up in Rome, Emanuele's uncle came to Genoa to escort Emanuele to his mother. He never saw his father again. On November 4, 1943 Rabbi Pacifici was arrested in his synagogue. He was taken to Auschwitz and killed upon arrival on December 12, 1943. Emanuele, his mother and brother remained in Calci on the outskirts of Pisa for about 20 days. Pietro Boetta, the secretary to the cardinal of Genoa, visited Vanda and warned her to leave immediately. He told her of her husband's arrest and said he was afraid that if he was tortured, he might reveal the family's whereabouts. Vanda and her sons fled to Florence on November 19, 1943 and presented the local cardinal with a reference from Cardinal Boetto. They were told to go downstairs and that Secretary Don Leto Casini would take care of everything. (Yad Vashem later honored Casini as Righteous Among the Nations.) Casini gave them a list of convents where they could hide. The three of them walked around the city all day going from convent to convent only to learn that each was already full. Finally, just as the curfew descended, they found shelter in the Franciane Missionarie di Marie on the Piazzia del Carmine del Firenze. They had not eaten all day because their ration cards revealed they were Jewish. The Mother Superior Esther Bussnelli greeted them and brought them food. Vanda was given a place to sleep inside, while Emanuele and Rafaele slept in the courtyard. The next day, the boys were sent to another convent while Vanda remained where she was. Unfortunately a spy lived near the Missionarie di Marie and revealed that Jews were hiding there. German police entered the convent on November 26 at 9:00 and arrested 33 Jewish women, including Emanuele's mother and grandmother, Linda Abenaim. Vanda managed to throw a letter out from the SS truck describing what had happened. She and the other women were deported to Auschwitz and killed immediately on December 12, 1943. Vanda's brother Ettore was deported from Torin and her brother Carolo died in a Pisa hospital on December 31 1943. Emanuele and his brother remained hidden in the second convent until August 2, 1944. A soldier from the Jewish Brigade met the boys and brought them to their grandparents and uncles in Rome. Emanuele wanted to immigrate to Palestine, but was prevented from traveling due tuberculosis. Instead he remained in Rome. On October 8, 1982, on the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, he was shot and wounded by Arab terrorists outside the synagogue in Rome.
    Record last modified:
    2005-10-21 00:00:00
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