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USF Libraries Exhibits

The Ghetto

Rosa Miller interview by Dr. Carolyn Ellis

RM: The ghetto was—they delineated a part of the city where everybody had to move into. Now, it just so happened that the house where we lived was within the ghetto. But we, as Italians, did not have to move; even if we had lived outside the ghetto, we would have stayed. But my mother’s relatives—two sisters, their families—they all moved in.

CE: Because they were married to Greek men right?

RM: Yeah. They had been Spanish before because of my grandfather. When they married Greek citizens, they became Greek.

CE: Now, if they had been Spanish still, would they have been exempt?

RM: Yeah. It’s a whole other story, you know, about the Holocaust that’s not well known. Anyway, so everybody moved into the ghetto and it was very crowded, you see, because you were moving at least half of the Jewish population in a tiny enclave. So life became very difficult in the ghetto. I could go back and forth out and in without any problem. I had an Italian ID card. And you know, as a child, I guess I was ambivalent. I was so happy that I could do that. Somehow, I was allowed to do that when my cousins could not do it. At the same time, I was very upset about it, because why did they make an exception for us? I couldn’t understand, you see, and I wanted to be like my cousins. I didn’t wear a yellow star, never did. The consulate said the Germans could not impose anything on us, even though they were allies, you see. But it’s very interesting, the way it happened.

Listen to Rosa's entire testimony