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Remembrance Day: a significant story from the La Fondiaria Archive

From the end of the 19th century the city of Rijeka, inhabited by Italians, Croats, Hungarians and Germans, was the site of strong tension and clashes as opposing nationalistic factions grew more fervent. After the end of World War I, Rijeka was occupied by Italian volunteers led by Gabriele D'Annunzio (1919-1920), becoming a free state with the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) before being annexed to Italy (1924). When the Italian Social Republic was proclaimed (23 September 1943), the provinces of Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia became part of the 'Adriatic Coastal Operations Zone', directly subject to German authority. The Unipol Group Historical Archives preserve a life insurance policy of La Fondiaria, taken out in 1941 by the Rijeka agency, which has the company S. Herskowitz as policyholder and employee Ernesto Walles as the insured party; the contract includes the severance payment guarantee for private employees, which came into effect when Ernesto Walles, 'of Jewish race', was dismissed at the end of 1943 as a result of: "the closure of the company, the owner (presumably Maurizio Herskowitz) also being of Jewish race" and: "The liquidation of the company is entrusted to the German Police". 

  • Letter

The Rijeka Agent then informs the management that he has: "not proceeded with the severance payment as it was impossible to obtain the signature of the policyholder Mr. Herskowitz who as a member of the Jewish race is in a concentration camp". The agent returns the uncollected payments of another policy belonging to Maurizio Herskowitz: "which we cannot collect because the management of the liquidation of the company has passed into the hands of the German military authorities". Maurizio Zoltan Herskovits (or Herskowits or Herskowitz), son of Ermanno Herskovits and Anna Goldmann, was born on 5 April 1910 in Kisvarda, Hungary. Arrested in Rijeka and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, he did not survive the Holocaust. Other uncollected payments from contracts taken out by the E. Lipschitz & Herkovitis company are mentioned in the policy file of Lipschitz & Herkovitis; these contracts could not be found. They were probably taken out by Eugenio Lipschitz, son of Ignazio Lipschitz and Matilde Starck, born in Suemeg, Hungary, on 5 May 1883. He too was arrested in Rijeka and deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. He did not survive the Holocaust. 

  • Insurance receipt

Those interested in developing their research and extending it to other archival resources can write to​​:​ archiviostorico@cubounipol.it​

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