Wall drawings in Rome church recall secret WWII refuge

STORY: These drawings recall a secret refuge of Jews and anti-Fascists

Location: Rome, Italy

The church of San Gioacchino is home to these charcoal wall drawings

that were done by one of 35 men

including Jews, anti-Fascist Christians, and military defector

The men were hiding in the attic

during the Nazi occupation of Rome in World War Two


"Here was where people who were persecuted by the Germans lived. There were some Jews. There were also some members of the Italian army who left the army after September 8, so they were political fugitives. On average 15 people per day lived here. In total, 35 people lived here for this reason. They were hiding here from November 3, 1943, when the door was covered with a wall, until June 7, 1944."

The drawings were discovered by Father Ezio Marcelli in 1984


"The meaning of what happened here, people being persecuted, people being hunted down to be sentenced to death, still has a real meaning today. We must always be vigilant and careful so that no one can ever again do such evil actions."