Echoes from the Roman Ghetto

Echoesfrom the Roman Ghetto

Echoesfrom the Roman Ghetto

Theauthor David Laskin, wrote the article to give accounts of the eventsthat happened in Portico d’Ottavia in Rome. The paper givesspecific events, such as the emptying of the ghetto (Porticod’Ottavia) by a Nazi captain named Captain Theodor Dannecker onOctober 16, 1943 (Laskin, 2013). The event led to the death of onethousand Roman Jews, who perished when being transported toAuschwitz. The second event that happened in the city was the Germanoccupation from September 11, 1943, to June 4, 1944. Many residentssuffered at the hands of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi army prompting thedirector of the Jewish Museum of Rome to maintain that the memoriesand fascism of Hitler are still vivid. He also maintains that thewounds are not yet healed (Laskin, 2013). The third event includesthe bombing of the San Lorenzo neighborhood during World War II.Allies (Berlin and Rome) bombed the city on July 1943 after decidingto take Sicily (Italian mainland) resulting in the collapse of theFascist partnership. However, the Nazis killed Italian soldiersrather than allowing Italy to remain neutral while the Romans waitedas the Nazis took over (Laskin, 2013).

Thefourth event in the city occurred in Porta San Paolo on September 10where several civilians and disbanded Italian soldiers startedbattling for their city. The battle occurred outside the crenelatedtwin towers and below the Pyramid of Cestius near the ProtestantCemetery. Around 597 civilians and Italian soldiers, including 27women died that day, although the Germans triumphed (Laskin, 2013).Another event included the death of between two thousand and threethousand Roman civilians in San Lorenzo on July 19, 1943. Moreover, astray bomb heavily damaged the stunning Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuorile Mura. Fosse Ardeatine was the site where the most notorious Nazimassacre occurred. The Nazis retaliated following the death of their33 soldiers on March 23, 1944 (Laskin, 2013). The Romans paid dearlywith their lives as the SS ordered the killing of 330 Romans, theimprisonment of partisans and political prisoners at the Via Tassoand Regina Coeli prison in Trastevere respectively. Moreover, theNazis imprisoned students, farmers, Jews, a priest and formersoldiers as a retaliation strategy. The last event included thebombing of the Colosseum by the American Fifth Army on June 4, 1944(Laskin, 2013). These incidents were meant to scare away anyone whothought about attacking the Germans.

TheNazis in Rome caused major damage and pain to the Roman Jews. Forthis reason, tourism authorities should commemorate and promote theremembrance of the atrocities of the Nazis by opening museums withartifacts for young generations to learn about history. They shouldencourage people to learn their history by publishing brochures andplacing ads that motivate people to visit places where the massacresoccurred. They should also encourage learning institutions tointroduce courses teaching students about these events. Lastly, theyshould work with legislators and advocate for the establishment oflaws and policies that protect the sites where these events occurred.

Darktourism refers to a kind of tourism in places where horrible eventshappened in the past. Most people may avoid this kind of tourism, butit is important to learn about past incidents. For this reason, thereare several places I would include if I were to make a touristinformation brochure for the Roman Jewish ghetto. For example, Iwould add the Pyramid of Cestius near the Protestant Cemetery, SanLorenzo, Porta San Paolo, Via Tasso, Regina Coeli prison inTrastevere and Fosse Ardeatine. I would select these specific placesand sites because they have an enriched history of what happened tothe Roman Jews during the German occupation.

Thereare other comparable tourism sites from around the world as Porticod’Ottavia, which have dealt with similar tragedies in a respectfulmanner. The first site includes the Los Angeles Museum of Death thatprovides a self-directed tour involving the biggest assortment ofserial killer artwork globally (Pelayo, 2015). The site maintainsreplicas of a mortician and autopsy instruments, crime scenephotography, models of death masks, replicas of the devices used byserial killers, taxidermy as well as other gadgets related to death.The museum deals with the tragic events that happened to the innocentlives at the hands of serial killers by acknowledging them by theirnames.

Anothercomparable tourism site includes the Missouri State Penitentiarybecause of the bloody riots that resulted in the death of manyinmates, especially in the 1960s (Pelayo, 2015). Riots occurred dueto congestion and some of the prisoners sustained multiple stabbing.Today, visitors are taken through the Upper Yard, A-Hall, HousingUnit 1, and dungeon cells where 40 inmates were executed using thecyanide gas, apart from one who died through the lethal injection.The site has dealt with the tragedy by avoiding congestion andensuring that such an incident never happens again.

Thelast comparable site is the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center.Statistics indicates that around one million Rwandans died during the1994 genocide between Hutus and Tutsis (Pelayo, 2015). Dominantpolitical leaders organized the genocide that resulted in deathsthrough mutilation, machetes, rape, and guns. The site has eight massgraves, including visual and audio accounts from the survivors.Lastly, the site has dealt with the tragedy by honoring the victimsand survivors with grave sites and annual remembrance.


Laskin,D. (2013). . Accessed on September 25,2016 from

Pelayo,C. (2015). 10 Great Places to Visit for Dark Tourism. Accessed onSeptember 25, 2016 from