The Ghetto- Removal

Original Diary Entry

Without warning, on the 20th of April, 1749, at the end of the Passover Festival, Sunday, at about 17 hours, I was kidnapped and taken away by force thanks to a false denunciation made against my family by a scoundrel [rash’a] […] I was totally innocent, but he tricked the Vice Regent into issuing an order that led straightaway to the Bargello and his men bursting into my home and seizing me. They sandwiched me in between them with their pistols drawn. They did not even give me the courtesy, or the time, to change my clothing, or to say a word to my mother and father, as though I were a whore, slapping everybody around, and paying no attention to people’s rank or even their state of health. They snapped me up like a guitta (a buffoon) in such haste that I still had on my abito di cucina (my apron). When my father tried to speak to me, they shoved a pistol into his face. Only God saved his life. I was pushed into a carriage next to the Bargello and taken with the speed of the wind to the Casa dei catecumeni.

(Stow, 20)

Audio Transcription

Sounds of the tiber river, bells, and someone chopping vegetables fade in

NARRATOR: It’s midday in the Roman Ghetto. Standing in your kitchen, you prepare food, listening as the sound of nearby church bells mark the time, mixing with the soft rushing of the Tiber.1

The door opens. Footsteps approach.

Wiping your hands on your apron, you turn to check the door, but two soldiers are already on you, grabbing your arms and pulling you to their sides. You see the gleam of metal as they brandish their guns in the air

GUARD 1: Anna del Monte – you’ve been offered to the Casa. Come with us.2

NARRATOR: You ask to speak to your parents, at least to remove your apron, but they only pull you forward, towards the door. Their fingers are hard on your wrists as they press your body between theirs – so close you can feel them breathe.

Sounds of scuffling feet and noises of resistance

ANNA’S RELATIVE: Stop this, what are you-

She is slapped

NARRATOR: The guard on your right turns, pointing his gun directly at your father.

ANNA’S FATHER: Anna, daughter, I’ll go find-

GUARD 1: Shut up dog! One more word!3

NARRATOR: They pull you to the door and out into the street.

Scuffling footsteps- the door opens and closes

GHETTO INHABITANTS: Anna!4

The sounds of bells grow louder. Running footsteps grow and then fade away. A carriage door opens, and Anna is shoved in. The carriage door closes– the bell sounds quiet

BARGELLO: Hello Anna.

The sounds of hooves and the rattle of the carriage as they drive away

Notes

1The nearby churches would be clearly heard within the ghetto (Seroussi, 2). Bells would be ringing at this time, as it is midday, ‘sext’ in the catholic hours. Anna is stated as wearing a kitchen apron, and thus I have placed her in her kitchen. As the ghetto is the size of two city blocks, and was annually flooded by the river according to Stow, it is highly likely she can distantly hear the Tiber. Although slow moving, video footage indicates a soft rushing sound can be heard (“Tiber River”, Youtube ).

2As it is impossible to replicate the accent and exact language of the period, I have opted to use voice actors with (generally) non-distinctive accents.

3There is a trope where Jews are derogatorily referred to as ‘dogs’. (Stow, 43.)

4The small size of the cramped ghetto would make it highly unlikely that no-one would have been alerted by the sounds of Anna’s kidnapping, and come to see what was happening.

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