International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021

A Family Story

This story begins in Czechoslovakia and ends in Australia, also passing through Italy.
From August 1940 to April 1941, the parents of my husband, Aljosa Volcic, hosted two illegal Jews without reporting them to the authorities: Jan Herman and his wife Anna, Jews from Brno, who reached Ljubliana fleeing from Czechoslovakia.

But on April 6, 1941, the Nazis bombed Belgrade and Yugoslavia was invaded by Germany, Italy and their allies. On 7 April, Jan and Anna fled from Ljubliana, but ended up confined to the concentration camp of Ferramonti, in Calabria (Italy). In September 1943, the camp was liberated by British troops who appointed Jan Herman pro tempore commander of the camp. His stay in the Ferramonti concentration camp is documented by registers and letters.

Jan returned to Brno where he was accused by the communist regime of having been a collaborator.

So, he returned to Italy and went to Genoa: from there he sent a letter to my husband’s parents, informing them that he was about to embark for Australia with his wife. My husband learned of their deaths from Wiesenthal, the “Nazi hunter”.