City of Walls to Port of Escape
Genoa has been nicknamed la Superba ("the Proud One") due to its glorious past and impressive landmarks. Due to its location in the country and its large, active port, Genoa was an important center for assisting Italian Jews during the Holocaust. Through the very last minute, some managed to escape by boat from the city. Many of the Jewish refugees came to Genoa because the city was the headquarters of the Delegazione Assistenza Emigrati Ebrei (DELASEM), which coordinated assistance and rescue programs. The Genovese office of DELASEM was headed initially by Lelio Vittorio Valobra, who would later flee to Switzerland and continued his work from there. Massimo Teglio, a particularly courageous Genovese Jew, remained behind and played a central role in helping both Italian and foreign Jews evade arrest.
At the end of World War II, only 1,108 Jews were left in Genoa. The port became a transit center again, this time for various groups of Jewish emigrants, mainly from Eastern Europe, who were heading for Israel. In early 2000s the community numbered a few hundred, operating a synagogue and a Jewish school. Our tour will cover the many aspects of Genoa’s remarkable Jewish history, and do an in-depth exploration of the rescue efforts coordinated from here during the darkest days of the war!
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