Italy / Monument
The concentration camp for Italian and foreign Jews in Bagni di Lucca operated from December 1943 to January 1944, when the final deportation of the inmates led to its closure. It was located at the former Grand Hotel 'Le Terme' in Bagni Caldi.
The town of Bagni di Lucca, located in Media Valle del Serchio, was chosen by the Ministry of the Interior of the Fascist Regime as an internment site. A number of Anglo-Maltese evacuees from Libya were detained in city hotels as early as 1942. Between October 1942 and January 1943, 100 Yugoslav civilians from the Molat concentration camp (near Zadar) were detained before being transferred to another detention site.
After the Armistice, the former Grande Albergo 'Le Terme' in Bagni Caldi (former summer residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, later converted into a hotel and active until the 1930s) was chosen as a concentration camp for Italian and foreign Jews. Here, in December 1943, dozens of Jews captured throughout the province were imprisoned, also thanks to informers. They were both Italian citizens, either from Lucca or displaced persons, and foreigners who had already been in free internment for some years. Their custody was entrusted to the 86th Lucca Legion of the Republican National Guard. They lived in an unhealthy environment, sleeping on straw beds, in extremely poor hygienic conditions, so much so that some prisoners had to be hospitalised.
A group of partisans, in collaboration with the Jewish assistance network built by Giorgio Nissim, a Jew from Pisa, and the Oblate priests of the Holy Face, prepared a rescue plan that was never put into practice due to the prior transfer of all Jews. On 23 January 1944, they were taken by truck to Florence and from there to the San Vittore prison in Milan, where on 30 January they boarded convoy No. 6 in the direction of Auschwitz. The deportation journey was conceived both as a form of extermination through the selection of the weakest ones, who did not survive, and as an ideological means of uprooting and personality annihilation: a young Jewish girl from Lucca died on the journey. Many were killed on arrival in the gas chambers. Only five people out of a total of 99 survived the Shoah.
The concentration camp in Bagni di Lucca was closed on 25 January 1944. The total number of Jews deported from the province of Lucca was 110. The former hotel is now abandoned and, to a large extent, collapsed. On 23 January 2018, a plaque was affixed as part of the 'Places of Memory' project of Istituto Storico della Resistenza e dell'Età Contemporanea [Historical Institute of Resistance and Contemporary Age] in the province of Lucca.
Via del Paretaio, località Bagni Caldi, 55022