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Retracing deported Italians

Historian Giovanna D’Amico spent several days in late March doing research at the International Tracing Service (ITS) for the Fossoli Foundation in Italy. “I´ve been tasked with visiting various German archives to trace deported Italians. My work has been especially fruitful at the ITS,” said D´Amico.

In 1944, the German occupation authorities established a police transit camp in the village of Fossoli, where approximately 5000 Jews and political persecutees were detained. The prisoners´ number registry issued with names of those arrested was lost. “It is therefore especially difficult to reconstruct individual fates,” reported the Italian. The Fossoli Foundation has existed for ten years. A research center was established whose staff has worked at various archives and memorials.

The Italian historian compiled names from a transport list to Mauthausen as well as from other sources. “I was able to track the fate of around 350 victims using ITS documents,” said D´Amico. She also worked her way through the ITS´s Central Name Index and ITS T/D (Tracing/ Documents) correspondence files with survivors and their relatives. “I found a lot of helpful information” on persecution fates, ancestry and nationality.

The Italian was delighted: “In this file, one relative writes that her uncle was in Fossoli. These are exactly the kind of clues I´m looking for.” D´Amico recorded the information on her list and continued her research. She assumes that she will return to Arolsen and the ITS again.