Obj. ID: 48332
Modern Jewish Art The Last Train Holocaust Memorial in The Ghetto Nuevo in Venice, Italy
To the main object: Ghetto Nuovo in Venice, Italy
The Last Train
Who is Commemorated?
Venitian Jews killed in the Holocaust
This memorial, set into a wall within the New Jewish Ghetto of Venice, focuses on a bronze bas-relief depicting streams of Jewish victims flowing from three boxcars to nazi soldiers in the foreground. the details and faces of those depicted on relief are intentionally left blurred. it is a depiction of a painting the artist of the relief, Arbit Blatas, created in 1980, also called The Last Train.
The relief is set on an iron grate, behind which are large wooden boards that are lined horizontally, and are carved with the 246 names of Jews who were deported from the Venitian Ghetto during the Holocaust.
[List of Names]
The artist of the piece, Arbit Blatas
The Nuevo Ghetto of Venice, the oldest ghetto in the world, was first designated as such for Jews on March 16th, 1516. From that day until 1796, when they were removed by Napoleon, gates and guards kept the Jews of Venice segregated from the rest of the population, though non-Jewish Venetians could go into the ghetto during the day (Sacerdoti 1989, 70-71). Wealthy Jews left the ghetto but poorer residents had no choice but to stay (ibid).
In 1931, the community had 1,814 members, and by the end of World War II, 1,050 Jews remained in Venice. During the war, the Jews of Venice were forced back into the ghetto, and the gates and guards returned. Most sources, and this monument, place the number of Jews deported by the nazis from the ghetto during the Holocaust at 246. Notable among these victims was Adolfo Ottolenghi, Chief Rabbi of Venice at the time.
This monument was dedicated by Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on September 19th, 1993 - the 50th anniversary of the deportation of the Venitian Jews from the ghetto.
Copies of the bronze plaque are displayed:
- by the Shrine of the Unknown Jewish Martyrs in Paris, France (since 1981);
- outside the former headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza in New York in 1982. Paques went into storage when the organization sold its building and were recently donated to the Hebrew Union College;
- in the Ninth Fort Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania (since 2003).
"Arbit Blatas Bas-Reliefs" Jewish Community of Venice Website, http://jvenice.org/en/arbit-blatas-bas-reliefs (accessed March 23, 2023)
McBee, Richard, "Arbit Blatas: Centennial Tribute", https://richardmcbee.com/writings/arbit-blatas-centennial-tribute/ (accessed March 23, 2023)
Romeo, Luisella, "Signs of Remembrance: the Shoah in Venice" BestVeniceGuides.it, https://bestveniceguides.it/en/2019/01/18/signs-of-remembrance-the-shoah-in-venice/? (accessed March 19, 2023)
Sacerdoti, Annie, Guide to Jewish Italy (Brooklyn: Israelowitz Publishing, 1989), 70-71.
"The Last Train - Venezia, Italy," waymarking.com, https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMX0YZ_The_Last_train_Venezia_Italy (accessed April 18, 2023)
"Un monumento alle vittime della Shoah realizzato da Arbit Blatas nel ghetto più antico del mondo" itlietuviai.it, https://www.itlietuviai.it/un-monumento-alle-vittime-della-shoah-realizzato-da-arbit-blatas-nel-ghetto-piu-antico-del-mondo/ (accessed March 23, 2023)