The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 36
(Part 6 of 6)

Q. And her daughter was forty days old?

A. Yes.

Q. And you continued to look after this daughter also?

A. I started to look for a place for all the children.

Q. Before this, one more thing: You told us about your husband. What happened to your brother?

A. About my brother's fate I know only that he was taken from one camp to another. After he had been in prison in Florence for three months, they - both my sister-in-law and my brother - were transferred to camps. They were both, for a certain time, in Auschwitz, and they even managed to exchange some words in writing; he would send a note to her, and once she sent a note to him. Afterwards they were separated. She was sent to Bergen-Belsen and finally to Theresienstadt, and there she was liberated. She reached this country in 1945. It is from her that I heard many of the details I have just told you. Later she was herself killed by Arabs in the convoy that went up to Mount Scopus in 1948.

Of my brother's fate we only know that he was taken from one camp to another and that, in the end, he was in a camp of which one part was apparently in Russian hands and another part in American hands. People who came out of there and were liberated by the Americans gave us information about him, about the final days, but since then we have heard nothing more to this day.

Q. When you remained with the children, after the arrest of your husband, your brother and your sister-in-law, where did you go?

A. I knew that my mother-in-law, who had been living in the North of Italy before, had meanwhile moved closer to us and was in Florence. I also knew, vaguely, in which monastery she was staying with her two daughters. And here I had some luck and I managed to get to her, to the monastery in which she was now living. And I entered the same monastery.

Q. Did they know in this monastery that you were Jews?

A. Again, only the Mother Superior knew. And then I started worrying about the children again, and I really think that this was important.

Q. Was it dangerous to let the other nuns, other people, know that you were Jews?

A. Of course there was danger, and it also came about.

Q. Was there a special reason for this in that monastery?

A. Yes. Among the boarders there were two women, mother and daughter, who were hiding for a completely different reason from ours: They were Fascists, known as Fascists in the town. They were hiding from the revenge of the partisans.

Q. Were you together with them in the same monastery?

A. We were together with them in the same monastery, in the room next to theirs. In the same monastery there were also orphan girls. Among the orphans there was one Jewish girl; she was perhaps twelve years old, and she, like the other girls of that age, used to perform small services for the nuns. One evening she came into our room for some small service, and then she told us that these Fascists were whispering about us that we were Jews. That night we realized that we had no choice and that we had to get away from there immediately. And we really did so, not even waiting for daybreak. It was a very cold night in February 1944. We ran away and did not know where to go. Our only thought was that perhaps my own flat, which had remained empty since we fled, might be a reasonably safe place for one night. We arrived there but found the flat sealed by the Germans who had already confiscated it. We had no other choice than to return to the place from which we had come, and there we spent a dreadful night. At every slight rustle we thought: Here they are coming for us. Next morning we went to a Protestant clergyman who had already helped us in the past, and now also, he took one of my children to a Protestant family who looked after him lovingly and faithfully till the last day, and even now we are still in contact.

That clergyman put a house at our disposal, an old age home from which the old people had been evacuated to the countryside because of the bomb attacks, so that the house stood empty. We moved to that house and stayed there till the last day.

Q. Mrs. Campagnano, do you remember an incident near the Jewish old age home in Florence. Perhaps you will tell the Court what happened there.

A. Yes, I saw that. It was an old age home with a small number of old people.

Presiding Judge: A Jewish old age home?

Witness Campagnano: A Jewish old age home. After they had been promised that nothing would happen there, they remained, together with the staff. But one morning a lorry arrived and Germans got off - I do not know whether it was SS people or German army, this I do not know. They went in and took away all the old people, together with the staff. I know nothing about what happened to them after that. I think they were taken to Fossoli.

State Attorney Bach: Did you see any of them return later?

Witness Campagnano: I did not see any of them again. They did not return.

Q. Why did not some people, not all of them, flee, or try to flee - at least after September?

A. I think I have already said that. Some at least were convinced that in Italy such a thing would not happen. And these privileges with the Fascists made them really blind. There was one case I remember well, the case of the family of a friend of mine, father, mother and three daughters. The father, a well-known engineer in town, became paralysed and was confined to his armchair. One day the youngest daughter was standing in line, in order to buy bread in the shop opposite their house, and suddenly she saw a lorry stopping outside. Instinctively, she wanted of course to rush towards the house, but the shopkeeper motioned to her to keep still. She did stay, and then she saw with her own eyes how they took...

Q. Who took?

A. I don't know. She saw that they took...

Q. Just say what kind of people.

A. Germans. I don't know more. She saw that they took her two sisters and her mother to the lorry. And the old father was taken in his armchair onto the lorry. Those people had stayed on in their home mainly for two additional reasons: One, that it was difficult to move a man in such a condition - but the Germans managed to do it. The second reason was the exaggerated conviction of one of the daughters, who had been one of the first active adherents of Fascism, that nothing would happen to them.

Q. Incidentally, you said that the Germans made use of lists which were ready with the Fascist police. Was there any other method of getting hold of Jews? In particular: Did Jews have to renew their ration cards?

A. Of course, we depended very much on our ration cards. At first we had old ration cards, and thus we could continue to exist. Later on these cards expired, and we had to renew them. No announcement was made that Jews were deprived of this right. Therefore, there were some...and I know about the case of one mother who needed bread for her family. She was very naive, took her little daughter and went to the office, in order to renew her family's ration cards. She did not return home, neither she nor her daughter. I heard this from the older daughter, whom I met after the liberation.

Q. Mrs. Campagnano, do you know anything about the activities of the Germans against the Jews in Rome?

A. I do know, but I was not there at the time. I know only what I heard after the liberation.

Q. But you knew Jews from Rome who were directly affected?

A. I heard from people who were in Rome at the last stage and who talked to a great many people there. In Rome there was hardly a family that was not affected during that period.

Q. Do you know about a specific action that was taken in Rome?

A. Yes. I can relate to a specific action, and that was in the very beginning, in September 1943, when the Germans entered Rome. In Rome there is something unique, and that is the ghetto; no such concentration is to be found in almost any other city in Italy, perhaps in one or two others - but in Rome the concentration in the ghetto is very pronounced. There are mostly lower class families there, but also some people of means. When the Germans entered Rome, they issued a proclamation demanding 100 kilograms of gold; they would then not harm the lives of the inhabitants, who could stay in their homes in safety. The Jews managed with great difficulty to collect 100 kilograms of gold and handed them over to the authorities. And they believed them and stayed on in their homes. There was amongst them a woman who was not quite normal, not quite balanced in mind, who worked apparently as a maid in the house of an Italian police official - here I am perhaps not quite precise. One day her employer told her to tell her friends that during the night something was going to happen, and they ought to know about this. The woman went to the ghetto and said what she had been told, but they did not believe her because she was not quite normal. Only two or three families thought they might as well believe it, and they fled. All the others stayed. That night the Germans surrounded the whole district, as was their system, and then they went from house to house and took away men, women, children and old people. They took a large number of Jews, I think between 3,000 and 4,000, maybe even more.

I should perhaps like to add something: I saved my children by handing them over to strange families, whom I did not know before, people from different classes who were ready to help me.

Presiding Judge: Did you disperse the children among different families?

Witness Campagnano: Yes. That is to say, five children, each to a different family, my own children as well as my brother's.

State Attorney Bach: To Italian families?

Witness Campagnano: Yes, to Italian families.

Q. Can one say that the help you received was not restricted to priests and nuns...

A. That is correct.

Q. ...but that it included, in fact, people from all classes?

A. I can say so. Although I received much help from the clergy, I was also helped by the simple people, by ordinary workers, and also by other classes in the city. I found help in the intellectual class, and also with Protestants.

Q. How do you explain this help which was given you?

A. I did, in fact, wonder about it, at the time and also later on. It seems to me that there are several factors involved. One of them is, without doubt, the hatred of the Germans, which goes very very deep, and according to good Italian tradition it cannot be otherwise. So - one thing was the hatred of the Germans. A second factor - help came to us from the partisans; there was also perhaps somewhat broader action by the people, etc. And the third factor was simply kind-heartedness, which I found everywhere. Each of us, of the Jews of Italy, who was saved from this hell, owes his life to the Italian population.

Q. Mrs. Campagnano, you now live in Israel, in Kevutzat Yavneh, and you are a teacher of mathematics?

A. Yes.

Q. Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have questions to the witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mrs. Campagnano. You have completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bach: Following this evidence, here is one more letter from the Accused, dated 15 November 1943, our document No. 105. The Accused writes to von Thadden about the treatment of Jews of foreign nationality in Greece and Italy, and he mentions that a large part of these Jews helped, or sympathized with, Badoglio's movement, i.e., the movement of revolt against Mussolini. And he says that these people certainly have to be deported, but there are perhaps also others against whom there is no proof of active participation. But finding out who took part and who did not would give rise to a work load that cannot be justified (eine nicht zu vertretende Arbeitsueberlastung ) "and I request your agreement to the inclusion of Jews of foreign nationality in the (expulsion) measures."

Presiding Judge: Here he asks for agreement?

State Attorney Bach: This concerns Jews of foreign nationality. On such matters he always has to receive the approval of the Foreign Ministry. This is one of the subjects on which there has to be coordination, the subject here is Jews of foreign nationality, not Italians in particular, but nationals of other states who live in Italy. Here the Foreign Ministry always has to give its approval, as I mentioned earlier in connection with a document about Belgium in which it says: So far we have not given permission with respect to Italian Jews living in Belgium, but soon we shall give permission to deport these Jews.

Presiding Judge: Do you know this from the correspondence itself, or is there also a standing order about it?

State Attorney Bach: There are documents, and there is the statement of the Accused where he says that he could not have done these things without the Foreign Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry could not act without him. Where such Jews were concerned, there had to be coordination between the two offices.

Presiding Judge: T/621.

State Attorney Bach: The next document, No. 1274, is from the Foreign Ministry. Wagner says in a minute that so far there have been no results worth mentioning from the measures against the Jews in Italy; that many Jews are still hiding in all kinds of places; that there is a law in Italy which makes it possible to send Jews to camps. And then he says: "The Head Office for Reich Security would welcome a simultaneous request for the transfer of the Italian Jews collected in concentration camps for the purpose of their deportation to the East." But he suggests that it is worth waiting a little, so that it will be possible to concentrate the Jews more easily in the camps. He is afraid that if the Italians are informed immediately, that these Jews will afterwards be sent to Germany and to the East, this will make the process of arresting the Jews more difficult. Therefore he proposes at first to concentrate them and leave them in the camps, and from the tactical point of view, this will be the first step.

Presiding Judge: T/622.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 964, about the arrest of Italian Jews in Italy - a letter addressed to Mueller. Here we find, in fact, the same reasoning and the same programme already formulated in the preceding letter, but I draw attention to the title: Consultation between Sturmbannfuehrer Bosshammer and Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Dannecker. This is the same Dannecker from France, and Bosshammer is also one of the staff of the Accused. The two were specialists in Northern Italy at the time of the German conquest, and they, in fact, implemented the operation against the Jews. He proposes to introduce men of the special operations unit into Italy disguised as advisers to the Italian official apparatus. He requests that the special operations unit be notified, and that Hauptsturmfuehrer Dannecker be asked to act in accordance with this plan proposed by the Foreign Ministry. The letter was apparently drafted by von Thadden and was then signed by Wagner. Von Thadden's signature appears in the margin.

Presiding Judge: T/623.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 967, a letter from von Thadden to Eichmann. He asks that something be done about the illegal emigration of Jews from Italy to Switzerland. He informs him of the fact and leaves it to his discretion to take suitable action. He attaches a document containing the information that some Jews are indeed trying to escape by this route.

Presiding Judge: Are there two documents here?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, two. One document contains the information sent to the German ambassador in Bern that there are Jews who are trying to escape. And then the letter from von Thadden who transmits this information to Eichmann and suggests that he should take action.

Presiding Judge: T/624.

State Attorney Bach: Here, Your Honours, is one of those documents which are so characteristic, No. 331. The subject is the Jew Bernardo Taubert. The Italian embassy has asked to find out the whereabouts of Taubert, an Italian Jew, and here is what Guenther replies: "In the interest of a further comprehensive simplification of the work and a stepped-up concentration of forces, it would be advisable to point out to the Italian embassy - in order to avoid unnecessary enquiries of this kind - that, in the fifth year of the War, the German authorities have other, more important, tasks to fulfil than enquiring after the whereabouts of an evacuated Jew. It is regrettable that the embassy of Republican Fascist Italy also continues to intervene on behalf of Jews in the old accustomed manner."

This document was shown to the Accused, and he commented on it on page 1692. He admits that he was in Berlin on duty at that time and says: From this I see that this file was not dealt with at all, that is to say, nothing was done about this request from Italy.

Presiding Judge: T/625.

Presiding Judge: We shall stop now. The next Session will be today, at 3.30 p.m.

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