Rita Rosani, a 24-year-old teacher in a Jewish school in Trieste, Italy, was killed fighting German soldiers on this date in 1944, after surviving several military engagements in the Verona area. She hailed from Czechoslovakia (Rosental was the original name) and led a small squad of four that grew to fifteen after several battles. After being wounded and captured, she was shot in the head by a fascist lieutenant (who was sentenced to twenty years in prison in 1945). The only woman of the Italian Resistance known to have been killed in combat, Rosani has streets in Verona and Trieste named for her, and a memorial stone on the spot where she was killed. There is also a memorial plaque in the synagogue in Trieste, engraved in Hebrew with the Biblical passage, “Many women have behaved valiantly, but you exceed all.”
“Italian Jews fought alongside their countrymen in totally integrated groups, most citing their patriotism on equal terms with their self-defense as Jews as inspiration for action. Whereas in many countries Jews formed all-Jewish groups to fend off anti-Semitism, Italy had relatively little anti-Semitism, which allowed Italian Jews the freedom to join any partisan group of their choice. As in many other countries, some Jews in Italian partisan groups were new arrivals to Italy, having fled Nazi-occupied countries.” —Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation
Watch Akiva Kenny Segan’s brief video and artwork about Rosani: