Lello Di Segni, the last survivor of the 1943 Nazi raid on the Rome ghetto, died at age 91, according to a statement by the Italian Jewish community.
Di Segni was 16 when he, his three younger siblings, and their his parents were rounded-up after Germany’s takeover of its ally, Fascistic Italy. He was separated from his family and sent to Auschwitz, where he survived and was later set free by the US army.
Of the 1,259 men, women and children who were sent from the Rome ghetto to concentration camps, including 1,023 who were deported to Auschwitz. Only 16 survived – 15 men and one woman, Liliana Segre, who recently told local media: “As those left disappear one by one, we fear that the memory [of the Holocaust] will also disappear.”
This year, the Italian Jewish community commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Ghetto raid, which took place at dawn, on October 16, 1943. The same community also marked 80 years since the enactment of anti-Semitic laws by the Mussolini regime.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday tweeted about Lello Di Segni: “It is our responsibility to pass on his story, so that this dark period, devoid of reason, will never be repeated.”
The Jewish ghetto of Rome was established in 1555 by Pope Paul IV, who mandate that the Jews, who had been free citizens of Rome since before the advent of Christianity, be confined to a closed area, the cost of which construction was paid by the Jewish community.
Rome’s was the last remaining ghetto in Western Europe until ghettos were reintroduced by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.