Black Sabbath : a journey through a crime against humanity
Call Number945.09 K19b
Statement of ResponsibilityRobert Katz.
Creators & ContributorsKatz, Robert
Summary"On the Sabbath day of October 16th, under a piercing rain and a blackened sky, the last act unfolds. Wherever Jews live in Rome...old and young, women and children, the sick, the lame, the dying, even some women in childbirth, they are taken from the warmth of their homes and sent on the long journey to Auschwitz."
Black Sabbath is the first full reconstruction of the Nazi attempt to destroy Rome's two-thousand-year-old Jewish community, the oldest in Europe. Three hundred twenty-seven men and eight hundred women and children were seized in the dawn of that grim Saturday in 1943. Of those more than one thousand people, only fifteen returned at the end of the war: fourteen men, one woman, no children.
The roundup of the Jews in Rome differed in several ways from the earlier purges in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. These Roman Jews were cut from the heart of the "Eternal" and "Holy" city, a universally recognized center of civilization. Further, they were an integral part of a people whose Government had been Germany's closest ally. But in Auschwitz these factors were not to count.
In the weeks immediately preceding the Black Sabbath the Jews of Rome were blind to their impending fate. The city was calm, the Germans were "behaving correctly", and the Vatican as well as their own leaders strengthened their illusion of security. Even the portents of the Nazi demand for fifty kilograms of gold from the Jewish community in implied exchange for Jewish blood, even the raid on the Temple, with the impounding of registry cards listing the names and addresses of virtually every Jew in Rome, did not prepare the Jews for the ultimate horror of the razzia.
The rout in the ghetto on that grim Sabbath day provides the focal point for the book. The monumental tragedy is reconstructed with dramatic intensity as moment by moment the Gestapo, with dreadful efficiency, carry out their grim assignment. Wresting the helpless Jews from the haven of their homes, packing them like cattle into waiting boxcars, they sent them on to Auschwitz—a dark journey of horror made even more moving by the fact that the Jews never gave up hope, never abandoned their illusions. —Book jacket
ContentsPart One: The Gold of Rome
Part Two: The Books of Rome
Part Three: The Jews of Rome
Part Four: Epilogue
Appendix I: Names and Ages of the 1,041 Known Passengers
on the Rome-Auschwitz Transport
Who Did Not Come Back
Appendix II: The Fifteen Who Came Back
Physical Description xvii, 398 pages ; 21 cm
PublisherNew York : The Macmillan Company
- Includes index
- Bibliographical references included in "Notes" (p. 342-380)
- Bibliography: p. 382-388
RecognitionGifted by The Isaac Waldman Jewish Public Library