Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hospital invents life-saving disease

In September, 1943, the Nazi's occupied the city of Rome. Albert Kesselring was the German officer in charge of the city until the Germans left in June, 1944. During nine months of occupation, more than 1,000 Roman Jews were arrested and deported to death camps. Very few survived. But a few were never deported, thanks to a young doctor named Adriano Ossicini. He worked at the Fatebenefratelli Hospital on Tiber Island, not far from Rome's Jewish ghetto.

At least 40 Jews from the ghetto, including some children, were taken to a special wing of the hospital and diagnosed with Syndrome K (named after Albert Kesselring). Syndrome K was claimed to be highly infectious and deadly. It was also entirely fake. Dr. Ossicini was letting Jews hide in the hospital, disguised as patients, but he remembers, "Even though they were healthy, we had to write something on their medical records, so I made up Syndrome K. That way, all doctors would know they did not need medication, and outsiders could not guess their identities. We told Nazi officers to be careful not to go into the Syndrome K wing, or they might catch the disease. Since they were not either smart or brave, it was easy to scare them off."  Everyone working at the hospital knew about the fake disease. If even one doctor or nurse had told the Germans, the scheme would have failed.  But nobody ever said a word.

No comments:

Post a Comment