ROME (Mar. 26)
The chief rabbi of Rome and a Catholic prelate shared the duties of celebrants at an ecumenical memorial service Friday commemorating the 45th anniversary of a massacre in which 325 Romans, most of them Jews or resistance fighters, were killed in reprisal for the partisan attack on a Nazi military police patrol.
Italian Defense Minister Valero Zanone took part in what has now become an annual ceremony recalling the deaths at the Fosse Ardeatine, or Ardeatine Pits. A representative of President Francesco Cossiga laid a wreath at the mausoleum where the martyrs are buried.
Rabbi Elio Toaff and Monsignor Vincenzo Capogni each said prayers for the victims of the massacre, one of the most dramatic and horrifying episode of the Nazi occupation of Italy.
During the massacre, SS Col. Herbert Kappler ordered 10 local people killed for every Nazi killed by a partisan bomb set in central Rome.