Edition: 2012
Pages: 424
Series: EL
ISBN: 9788842098744

The Longest Winter. 1943-44: Pius XII, the Jews and Nazis in Rome

Andrea Riccardi


Desclee de Brouwer (Francia) - Artege (Francia) - Wbg (Germania)



This is not just the story of the Jews and their persecutors in Rome, from 8 September 1943 to 5 June 1944. It is world history: the Nazi collaborators, the silent witnesses, the frightened, the courageous, the Church. In the days when Rome was an occupied city and at the mercy of the Germans, between the walls and narrow alleyways of the city a war of fugitives and hideouts being waged. It was a covert and cruel battle, which put civilians on the front line: citizens, men and women of the Church, Pius XII in person. Nor could it have been any other way— seeing that in reality and in the common sentiment Rome was no longer the capital of the ephemeral Fascist regime of the social republic but in every way the city of the Pope. And like him—a unique and significant case of “resistance”—it neither fought the occupation nor yielded; it resisted, it struggled to survive, it helped the fugitives hide. Realising what was happening the German occupiers imposed a strict regime. In a city under siege where swastikas were painted under the Pope’s windows, the Nazis captured almost two thousand Jews. They died in the concentration camps and at the Fosse Ardeatine. Almost ten thousand, however, survived, hiding in private houses, in convents and parishes, in hospitals and in the institutions and territories of the Holy See. Some of those who aided the persecuted have been recognised as among the ‘Righteous’. Of many—the majority—all traces were lost. Andrea Riccardi recalls from oblivion the history of ordinary men and women who, when evil knocked on their door, showed great courage, choosing the path less travelled for a time, before quietly returning to their everyday