The Pillaging of the Gorizia Judaica

The synagogue of Gorizia was not heavily damaged during the war. On 31 August 1945, the president of the Jewish community, Ermanno Oppieri, informed the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities that the synagogue was in good condition, with only some damages to the roof, due to bombing. However, the precious ceremonial objects and documents were missing.

After the deportation of almost all the Gorizia Jews in November 1943, the Judaica were removed by the Nazis from the secret place where they had been hidden, as reported by the national press. International propaganda about this legendary "Jewish gold" is captured in this short news item:


CdS 1-2 dicembre 1943
"Thirty Kilos of Gold hidden in a Synagogue"
Source: "Corriere della Sera - Il Pomeriggio",
1-2-December 1943

According to a post-war report from 21 December 1945 written by Oppieri and addressed to the Jewish Property Office of the Allied Military Government, the Nazis found the Judaica in the Jewish community building located near the synagogue and removed them: "The stolen objects were largely made of silver and their value at the time of the looting amounted to about 90 million Lire, as the press of those days reported as well. None of the current members of the Jewish community of Gorizia was present at the time of the looting because they had fled. One witness of what happened could be the temple guardian, Giuseppe Furlan and his family, who lived in Via Ascoli, that is, in the building where the Germans discovered the hiding place. Other inhabitants of the same house and its neighbourhood had seen the Germans repeatedly loading their cars with bags full of valuables".

On 28 December 1945, Oppieri sent a list of the missing silver ceremonial objects to the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.


Letter from Ermanno Oppieri to the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities, 28 December 1945 
Rome, Centro Bibliografico dell'Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane: AUCII dal 1934, box 38, folder 5, subfolder Gorizia
© Courtesy of UCEI