During the Second World War, about 40,000 Italians were dragged from their homes by the Fascist militia of the Italian Social Republic or the occupying German troops, and deported to the concentration camps that the Nazis had set up across the whole of Europe for the physical elimination of political opponents, Jews, Roma or Sinti, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses etc: there were more than 1,600 camps, taking into account both the large facilities and the smaller camps, where millions of men, women and children were imprisoned and killed. Of the Italian deportees, there were just under 10,000 Jews, and about 30,000 partisans, anti-fascists and workers who were arrested after the large-scale industrial strikes across Italy in March 1944. No more than 4,000 of these 40,000 ever returned home: the other 90% died, killed by Hitler’s extermination machine.
After the war, the survivors of the camps and the relatives of those who had died came together to form ANED, a joint association which represents, even today, all the ex-deportees, without any distinction of religious faith or political orientation.
More than 70 years have passed now since the end of the war, but ANED’s commitment to give a name to all the victims of the Nazi slaughter remains intact, as does our obligation to prevent their sacrifice from being forgotten, in the belief that only the memory and the understanding of that boundless tragedy can establish the basis for a future of peace for all the peoples of the world.