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On wall in Rome's Jewish Ghetto. Oppression of the Jews in Rome dates back to the Roman Empire when they were enslaved and forced to help build the coliseum. In 1309 they had to wear certain garments and often were not allowed to worship. In 1492 persecution of Jews in Spain led to thousands moving to Rome. Pope Alexander VI forced all of them to pay a large fee in gold and confined all Jews within the city in a district that was often flooded. In 1883 during surge of nationalism shortly before the unification of Italy, Rome’s Jewish Ghetto was abolished. In 1943 German soldiers rounded up Rome’s Jews and recreated the medieval version of the Jewish Ghetto. They then deported most of them to death camps.
Also by Deborah Downes
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