The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-036-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-036-05
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

Presiding Judge: What area are you speaking about?  The area
of Italian occupation in France?

State Attorney Bach:  No, Your Honour.  This was a Jewish
woman in Paris in whom the Italians were interested.  So -
Roethke reports that the Italian consul is especially
interested in this woman in Paris and says that it was
decided immediately to arrest this Jewess, as well as all
the members of her family, and to send then to Drancy at
once.  He sends this to the Security Police (SD) commando in
Paris with a request to carry the order out immediately, and
to inform him of its execution.  This was on 26 June.  When
he has no reply yet on 5 July, he asks to be informed
whether the members of the family of this Jewess have been
arrested and sent to Drancy.  Then follows the report given,
and the order to arrest the whole family; and they did
arrest her sister and her mother, although she was married
to an Aryan.  The mother was later released because she
always wore the star.  This latter paper is signed by
Brunner, and it says that these Jewesses are in the Drancy
camp, that the mother cannot be deported because of the
reasons mentioned in the earlier letter, but that the two
children - i.e., the two young women who are in the camp -
will be deported on the next transport.

Presiding Judge: Do you also have no copy of this?

State Attorney Bach:  The same applies to this document
also.  We shall supply copies to the Court and to the
Defence later on.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/619.

State Attorney Bach:  The next document is our No. 954,
which was also marked T/37(291).  Von Thadden writes to
Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and informs him of a very
urgent matter: A high authority in the Vatican from the
direct entourage of the Pope has informed him that, in the
morning, arrests of Jews of Italian nationality have begun
and that, in the interest of the good understanding hitherto
prevailing between the Vatican and the German Military
Command, it is desirable for these arrests to cease.  He is
afraid that otherwise the Pope will publicly take an anti-
German stand, and this must necessarily serve as a
propaganda weapon against the Germans.  He says that the
Curia is especially pained because the affair happened, so
to speak under the windows of the Vatican, and that anti-
German circles are trying to exploit this circumstance.
There is also a hint from the Embassy that the Pope's
reaction may perhaps be softened if these Jews will be put
to work inside Italy.  I draw the special attention of the
Court to the fact that such a letter, which deals with high
policy, is sent directly to the Accused.  The statement
refers to this document, beginning on page 3383.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/620.

State Attorney Bach:  With the permission of the Court, I
call the witness Dr. Hulda Campagnano.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness: Yes.

The witness is sworn.

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Hulda Campagnano nee Cassuto.

Q. Dr.?

A. Yes.

Q. Where do you live?

A. In Kevutzat Yavneh.

State Attorney Bach:  Mrs. Campagnano, you were born in

Witness Campagnano: Yes, in Florence.

Q. You are the daughter of Professor Cassuto?

A. Yes.

Q. What was Professor Cassuto's position?

A. He was Professor of Semitic Languages at the University
of Rome.

Q. And he was also Professor at the University of Jerusalem?

A. Yes, later, in 1939, he moved to Jerusalem as Professor
of Bible Studies.

Q. You yourself studied at the university in Rome?

A. Yes.  At first I studied at the university in Florence,
as long as my father was professor there.  Then I moved to
Rome with my family and studied at the university there.

Q. What did you study?

A. Mathematics.

Q. You studied mathematics and obtained a Doctor's degree in

A. Yes.

Q. And you qualified as teacher of physics and mathematics
in secondary schools in Italy?

A. I qualified in 1938, but already then I was not given a
permanent position, because of the laws against the Jews
which were then introduced.

Q. When did you get married, Mrs. Campagnano?

A. In 1939.

Q. Where were you when the World War broke out?

A. At the outbreak of the World War, I was in Milan.  I was
living in Milan then and teaching at a Jewish school.  In
1938, when the anti-Jewish laws were introduced - they were
mainly economic, they wanted to impose on the Jews...

Q. Laws which were proposed by the Fascist government?

A. Yes.

Q. Perhaps you would tell us in brief what kind of laws
these were?

A. Expulsion of Jews who did not have Italian citizenship;
Italian Jews were dismissed from all government posts, from
all public employment, from the army, and also from certain
types of work and occupations, as well as from all liberal
professions.  But at that time the Jews managed somehow -
because their life and their freedom were not touched - the
Jews managed somehow to find a place in life again.  If I
take the example of my family, we, who had all been in some
kind of government employment, we all managed later to adapt
ourselves.  My father, at that time professor at the
university, was dismissed together with 94 other professors,
and he moved to Jerusalem after that.  My sister and I had
taught at secondary schools - she also moved to Israel, and
I joined the staff of a Jewish school which was organized
immediately, a Jewish secondary school that had not existed

Presiding Judge: In Milan?

Witness Campagnano: Yes.  And my brother, who was an eye
specialist and also an assistant at the University of
Florence, returned to Jewish studies, which were also very
close to his heart, and this became his occupation up to his
last years; he returned to this, was ordained Rabbi, and
served afterwards as Assistant Rabbi in Milan, and later on
as Chief Rabbi in Florence.

State Attorney Bach:  Can it therefore be said that until
September 1943 there was no concern for your personal

Witness Campagnano: That is correct, there was no concern
for our safety, there was no danger to our life, nor to our
freedom.  Only from the economic point of view things were
different from what they had been before, and types of
occupation also changed for the Jews.

Q. What happened in September 1943?

A. In September 1943 things changed radically.  That was
when the Germans took control of Italy, of most parts of
Italy.  Southern Italy and Sicily were already in the hands
of the Allies.  But the rest of Italy, which was still under
Fascist rule, passed into the hands of the German regime,
and the Germans immediately began persecutions of a
completely different kind.

The first thing the Germans did when they entered the city
was to take the list of Jews from the municipality, and
according to it entered house after house, removed the Jews
and sent them to the transit camp in Fossoli di Carpi, near
Modena in Northern Italy.

Q. You say that the Germans entered the city, which city do
you mean?

A. Cities where there were Jews.  There were many smaller
places where the community was not organized, or where there
were no Jews at all, and I do not know what happened there.
But in cities where there was a community, they proceeded in
this way.

Q. Were you at that time in Florence?

A. Yes, I was then in Florence.

Q. With whom were you living?

A. I was living with my husband and my two children.

Q. What did your husband do?

A. He was a businessman, and in connection with his work he
used to be away from time to time.

Presiding Judge: Mrs. Campagnano, please direct your answers
to Mr. Bach's questions, that will be easier.

State Attorney Bach:  How old were your children?

Witness Campagnano:  One was a year and a half and the other
was three.

Q. Did your brother also live in Florence?

A. He lived in Florence and was Rabbi of the community.

Q. Was any attempt made by the Jews in those days to escape?

A. In those days there was general panic among the Jews of
Florence, but they did not properly understand the danger.
My brother, Dr. Nathan Cassuto, took energetic action and
tried hard to make the Jews aware of the great danger
threatening all the Jews of Italy.

Q. How did he try to do that?

A. He tried, he actually went from house to house, warned
the Jews to enter monasteries, to flee to the villages where
they were not known as Jews, to hide under assumed names.
Furthermore, he also tried to find financial help for those
who needed it.  At that time, he organized a kind of
committee for the  aid of needy Jews, consisting of a very
small number of local Jews, and a priest from Florence also
worked with them, but I do not remember his name.  They
helped not only the Jews of Florence, but also tens and
hundreds of Jews who came from Northern Italy, to cross over
into the area where the Allies were already stationed.

Q. Tell me, Mrs. Campagnano, were you aware already at that
time what was in store for the Jews who were expelled from

A. We knew, that is to say, we heard quite a lot from Radio

Q. What did you hear?

A. We heard about gas chambers.

Q. Did you believe that this could also be your fate?

A. We believed it.  But it seems to me that we always hoped
that there was a certain amount of propaganda involved.  At
the same time, the situation of the Jews of Italy was
perhaps unique, and all the time there was a feeling that it
would not happen here; also because the Jews had learned
that even under Fascist rule, when there were already anti-
Jewish laws, it was nevertheless possible to continue their
lives, and they thought that in the present period it would
be the same.  But some also felt perhaps that, because of
certain privileges they had with the Fascist regime, for
which they received privileges from the Fascists - that the
same would happen with the Germans.  But of course it was
not so.

Q. Are you speaking about Jews who thought they had
privileges with the Fascist regime?

A. Yes.

Q. And these people thought that those privileges would
stand them in good stead also in the future?

A. Also under the Germans.

Q. When did the arrests of Jews by the Germans first begin?

A. In Florence they began at the end of September 1943, two
or three weeks after they seized power.  At that time, I
myself went into hiding with my children, together with my
sister-in-law and her children, as boarders in a monastery.
At that time the nuns used to accept paying guests, and the
Mother Superior agreed.  I do not know exactly how we came
to her.  She agreed to receive us with the children and gave
us two small rooms in the monastery, and we hid there under
false names.

Q. Who? You and the children?

A. Myself and the children, my sister-in-law - my brother's
wife - with her children, three children.
Q. What happened to your brother?

A. My brother remained outside because of his position as
Rabbi, and he was not prepared to leave this post until he
was caught.  And my husband stood by his side all the time.

Q. He was caught.  Do you know where he was caught and by

A. Yes.  On 27 November of that year, after there had
already been a number of operations against Jews, who were
simply taken from their homes - on that day, a Sabbath, my
husband came to the monastery, a very rare occurrence, since
we had indeed met him and my brother before, but outside the
place.  That day he came to look for me and told me that the
day before, Friday afternoon, my brother had been taken,
together with the members of his committee, while they were
having a meeting somewhere, organizing their assistance work
for the Jews.

Q. By whom was he taken?

A. He was taken by the SS.

Q. Did the SS also enter monasteries in order to carry out

A. That day my husband told me also that during the night,
Friday night, they had entered several monasteries and had
taken mainly women and children, and that they had been in a
monastery that was in a building opposite the monastery in
which I was hiding.  By chance they did not enter the
monastery where we were.  Of course, our first worry, my
husband's first worry, was to take us out of the monastery,
as we could see that this place was also was not safe for

Q. What did you do?

A. Our wanderings started, because it was very difficult to
find a permanent place for people like us.  In the meantime,
there had been a proclamation by the German authorities that
anyone helping a Jew or a deserter would be regarded as a
traitor, and his sentence would be death.  Therefore it was
not easy to find help - although, as I shall also relate
afterwards, in many cases the population was quite ready to
help Jews.  But in the panic of the moment, when we needed a
place for a night, we could only find houses which were
prepared to take us for one night.

Q. And how many nights did you spend wandering about?

A. I began to go from one house to another for three or four
nights, until one day - it was a Monday, 29 November -  I
was waiting and waiting for my husband, as we had arranged
that he should come and tell me where I would spend that
night, and he did not appear.  I took my children and left
the house, where they nearly drove me away for fear of their
lives.  I left and reached the place which, I was almost
certain, had been the last hide-out of my husband, and there
I heard that he had not returned, and neither had my sister-

Q. And what did you learn about what happened to them?

A. Later I learned what happened to them.  My husband and my
sister-in-law wanted to meet some people, or a man - that is
not entirely clear to me - who had promised them to extend
help to my brother, who was meanwhile in prison in Florence.
They were supposed to meet with that person.  Instead they
found two SS men there, and thus they did not return.

Q. And then your husband and your sister-in-law were

A. Yes, both my husband and my sister-in-law were arrested.
Both were taken to prison in Florence, and my husband was
included in the first transport to Northern Italy and
Germany.  I received a postcard from him from that journey,
from Verona, in which he wrote to me that he is on his way
to Germany, that he is well, and that he hopes that we, too,
are well.  He did not know where we were, and so he wrote to
some friends.  Later I heard from someone who returned from
the camps that he saw him in April 1944 in Monowitz, and
that he was ill with pneumonia.  Already the next day he did
not see him any more.

Presiding Judge: Which camp?

Witness Campagnano: Monowitz.

State Attorney Bach:  That is near Auschwitz.

Witness Campagnano: My sister-in-law and my brother were in
prison in Florence for quite some time, and during this
period I managed several times to get in touch with them
through the partisans.  But at that time my main concern was
to move the children away from me, because for three days
already I had been the only parent left out of four; I was
the only one for six children.  Earlier I mentioned five
children, but while we were in the monastery, my sister-in-
law gave birth to a daughter.  And when they took the
mother, the girl was forty days old.

Presiding Judge: When you said four parents, you meant four

Witness Campagnano: Out of four parents of six children
under my care, I was the only one left.

State Attorney Bach:  Was this the same sister-in-law who
was arrested together with your husband?

Witness Campagnano Yes.

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