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Le voci di San Sabba

Le voci di San Sabba
(The voices of San Sabba)

 The legal case of the crimes committed
at the Risiera
di San Sabba

a production by Radioparole (2003)

the documentary is divided in three parts
each of them of 30 minutes

 download or listen to the first part [mp3]

If you’d like to receive a CD copy of Le voci di San Sabba mail to 

Under the German occupation a Nazi crematory was running also in Italy, in Trieste. It was a camp with a double function: detaining antifascists as well as Slavic and Italian partisans, it has been e real “Lager” of extermination. After the initial suppression and cremation of a “small” number of Jewish prisoners, Risiera San Sabba has turned to be a transit camp on their way for the Jews to deportation and death in Germany or Eastern Europe.

In 1976, thirty years after the facts, a trial was held in Trieste against the crimes committed in the Nazi-Lager of Risiera di San Sabba. A late trial after investigations that remained unsatisfying for many reasons, and with an empty dock.

With the testimonies of survivors, historians, of the judges and part of the original recordings of the trial we are pointing at a reconstruction of the most significant facts of this story.

The radio documentary is divided into three parts, each of a duration of thirty minutes:

1. The witnesses

In the first part we collected the voices and memories of two of the few still living survivors of the Riserva.
Marta Ascoli, as a very young Jewish girl, was imprisoned for one week in the camp, before being deported to Auschwitz with her father.
Franc Šircelj, Slavic partisan, remained in the Risiera for five months. One night he was seized from his cell, undressed and brought into the crematory room. At that point he was inexplicably commanded back into his cell under beatings and kicks.


2. The investigations

In the second part you’ll listen to the judge Sergio Serbo, who succeeded in investigating for the trial against some responsible Nazi commanders of the San Sabba camp, after thousands of difficulties.
Sergio Serbo tells, among other things, how the military magistrates of Padova tried to withdraw from him the case he was carrying out. An operation which - in case of success – would almost certainly have resulted in the burial of the documents about the Risiera in the by now famous “locker of shame” which became public only a few years ago.
The interview we realized with Sergio Serbo is one of the very rare interviews, the magistrate gave, but surely it’s the last one, because Sergio Serbo died just one month after our interview.


3. The process

In the third part, Domenico Maltese, the magistrate that directed the debate, informs us about the climate in which the process was evolving in 1976. In a long part of the interview he reflects about the distinction between the so called “innocent victims” and “guilty victims” that was acted out from the investigation onwards. It has been one of the most controversial aspects of the whole process. In fact the sentence which condemned the only accused Nazi still alive at that time in absence to life sentence, was pronounced only for the crime of killing and cremating in Risiera a high but not precised number of Jews and civilian prisoners (the innocent victims) and not for the thousands of partisans and fighters for freedom who found the same terrible death in that place.

During the whole documentary you’ll also listen to the voices of two historians. Enzo Collotti and Galliano Fogar who tried to contribute particularly by providing the context in which the facts of the Risiera di San Sabba were taking place, the only extermination camp with a crematory build by the Nazis during the occupation of Italy.

If you’d like to receive a CD copy of Le voci di San Sabba mail to          


Le voci di San Sabba
(The voices of San Sabba)
 The legal case of the crimes committed at the Risiera
di San Sabba
a radio documentary by Andrea Giuseppini

©  Radioparol
e 2003

Thanks to: Istituto per la storia dell'età contemporanea di Sesto San Giovanni, for providing us the original recordings of the process
Gianfranco Rados
, for granting us gently the interview with Franc Šircelj
Adolfo Scalpelli for c
aring for the book "San Sabba. Istruttoria e processo per il lager della Risiera", Aned Ricerche, Milano 1988

Marco Coslovich,
for his  precious suggestions.


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