The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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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