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
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:
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.
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
the third part, Domenico
Maltese, the magistrate that directed
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.
the whole documentary you’ll also listen to the voices of two
historians. Enzo Collotti and Galliano Fogar who tried to contribute
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.
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