In 1943, Germany occupied the city of Rome, Italy after they joined the Allies. While the occupation lasted only 9 months, the devastation that came along with it was extreme. Thousands of civilians died, and those who survived were emotionally scarred from fearing for their lives. The Nazis imposed a curfew on citizens, and hung posters around the city with new rules that were punishable by death. They planned to force the government’s hand by starving them from food and much-needed supplies.
The Gestapo took over a former apartment building called Via Tasso 145, and used it as the Nazi headquarters and prison. It became known as a place where Italian people go to die. The Via Tasso was directly next to a boy’s boarding school, and the children could hear the screams of the tortured prisoners through the walls. Today, the building remains exactly as it once was, and it is the Museum of the Liberation of Rome.
Despite all of their suffering, Italians are strong and resilient people. They formed a resistance, the mafia pushed food through the black market, and even women and children fought for their freedom. The American Allied troops were able to liberate the city in 1944. Today, the story of the Roman occupation is not well-known outside of Italy, but that doesn’t make the story any less fascinating.