169. Heroism in Rome, the courage of three amazing Doctors

By Giulio D'Ercole


During the Second World War, K.'s disease, hitherto unknown, broke out in Rome, causing an unprecedented epidemic. The disease was particularly aggressive and with very serious symptoms. Giovanni Borromeo, Adriano Ossicini and Vittorio Sacerdoti, three doctors from the Fatebene Fratelli Hospital on the Tiber Island, between the Jewish ghetto and Trastevere, were able to discover it and run for cover. In fact, all those infected were immediately placed in solitary confinement in a hospital pavilion. This timely action saved the lives of patients, but also that of doctors and nurses, despite the high contagiousness of K. This happened on October 16, 1943, the day when the women, who occupied Rome after the Armistice signed by Badoglio on September 8, rounded up 1024 people, including hundreds of children, to deport them to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Those who managed to escape the roundup took refuge at the hospital and were welcomed and hidden by Dr. Borromeo. There were almost a hundred. The doctor had a brilliant idea and hospitalized all the survivors, compiling their medical records, inventing the nonexistent disease of K., where K was either for Kesselring or for Kappler, the thing is not yet clear, two ruthless Nazi officers a Rome in that period. Doctor Vittorio Sacerdoti (a Jewish doctor already protected by Borromeo) and Doctor Sacerdoti helped the head physician Borromeo. The hospital did not escape the Nazi fury that entered the hospital in search of other Jews, but when they were given the medical records of the "sick" by the three doctors, with their faces covered in protective masks, they, for fear of being infected, they decided to leave Fatebene Fratelli. The nearly one hundred Jews who escaped the roundup were all saved! The three doctors then managed to get them false documents and make them escape Later Borromeo, Ossicini and Sacerdoti continued their work against Nazi crimes, continuing to collaborate with the partisans and to save her They even managed to install a clandestine radio in the basements of the hospital to listen to the news with the only free voice in Nazi Europe , that of Radio London. They did all this despite being aware that Rome and the hospital itself were swarming with spies and they did it because "We must try to be on the right side, always" as Adriano Ossicini later declared. Rome… .. a lifetime is not enough to discover all its incredible history and that of its people.



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