On Friday, April 21st, 2023, the City Council of Urbisaglia met Judith Brady, granddaughter of the internee Salomon Joles.
Accompanied by Giovanna Salvucci, President of the Association Casa della Memoria di Urbisaglia, Judith Brady first visited Villa Giustiniani Bandini at Abbadia di Fiastra (Urbisaglia) where her grandfather, Salomon Joles, was interned from 1940 to 1943 and then deported to Auschwitz, from which he did not return.
Before finding a way to save himself and his wife, in 1939 Salomon had managed to get his two daughters Malvina and Helga, aged 16 and 11, on board for the United States. That was the last time they saw each other, then a long darkness for more than seventy years: very little news and no certainty about the fate of Salomon.
Subsequently Joshua Mackie, Helga’s son, contacted Casa della Memoria di Urbisaglia. Through an exchange of emails, Giovanna Salvucci and Emanuele Ferrarini confirmed the presence of his grandfather in Urbisaglia and collected the documents concerning him from the State Archives of Macerata.
The information conveyed prompted Salomon’s gradchildren to research material that might be relevant to their grandfather’s and my grandmother’s histories during the those final years of World War 2. Later in that process, Steve Brady, Malvina’s son and Judith’s brother, found online two postcards that were part of a collection donated to the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum: they were two postcards that Salomon had sent to his wife from the Urbisaglia camp.
A first reading of the documents shows that Salomon Joles, born in Kolomyja in 1892 and of former Austrian nationality, was interned in Urbisaglia on 29 July 1940, from Milan. After the closure of the Urbisaglia camp in October 1943, Salomon Joles remained in Mogliano as a “free internee” until early February 1944, and then transferred to the Villa Lauri camp in Pollenza.
In Mogliano Joles left a trunk with his personal effects in the custody of Mr. Manfredo Petrelli who, in 1946, gave it to the Municipality of Mogliano to be delivered to the family. The Delegation for Assistance to Jewish Emigrants (Delasem) entrusted the return of the trunk to Miriam Levi who, at that time, was living in Macerata: we don’t know whether the trunk ever made it to its destination.
Salomon Joles, together with the internees of Villa Lauri, was probably transferred to Fossoli at the end of March 1944. According to data in the CDEC Digital Library, Joles was deported with convoy No. 9 to Auschwitz, where he arrived on 10 April 1944. Place and date of death are unknown.
Judith Brady and her family didn’t know anything about their grandfather until they found out that he had been interned in Urbisaglia: “Nobody knew what had happened to him. There were speculations but no one knew what happened to him, and we did not have any records. We were able to find records for my grandmother but not for him.”
After visiting the Urbisaglia camp Judith said that “seeing the place makes it feel real. I think the sad part for all of us was to know that he was still alive for longer than people believed and for a brief time he might have survived if he had been somewhere else in Italy. That was really hard, and I think that was really hard for my mother, who died in 2020.”
Judith Brady was then welcomed in the Town Hall of Urbisaglia by the City Council with the following words spoken by the Mayor Paolo Giubileo: “The Urbisaglia Town Council welcomes Mrs Judith Brady, granddaughter of Salomon Joles, interned in the Urbisaglia camp from 1940 to 1943. We think that it is our duty to give tribute to those who had to go through terrible sufferings and humiliations that took place also in our town. Welcoming Judith Brady in this Council expresses the will of the citizens of Urbisaglia not to forget the years of Fascism and war, and the will to be inspired by the values of those who fought for freedom and democracy.”