Photo courtesy of Dr. Randi Ross.

The Story of the Hidden Jews of Southern Italy

Saturday, October 28, 2017 • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Add to Calendar10/28/2017 01:00 PM10/28/2017 04:00 PMAmerica/New_YorkI’m Italian, but could I be Jewish, too? The Story of the Hidden Jews of Southern ItalyJoin the Italian American Program and the Rauh Jewish History Program and Archives for two programs that take a look at the relationships between the Italian and Jewish communities.Heinz History CenterHeinz History CenterfalseMM/DD/YYYY

I’m Italian, but could I be Jewish, too? The Story of the Hidden Jews of Southern Italy

The Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria (IjCCC) is an international organization based in Calabria, the southernmost region of Italy. Founded by Rabbi Barbara Aiello, whose Jewish ancestry includes B’nai Anusim (Italians whose ancestors were forced into adult baptism and Christian conversion during Inquisition times), is the founding director of the IjCCC, an organization dedicated to help those with Italian heritage determine if their family surnames indicate Italian Jewish roots.

Although the IjCCC does not establish a blood line, our staff initiates a search of Italian family surnames to determine a Jewish connection. Staff combs through ancient Inquisition records, searching for matches between family surnames and Jewish religious persecution. For example, in Rabbi Barbara’s family, the surname “GRANDE” is prominent.  Research determined that families named GRANDE, coming from the same towns and villages as Rabbi Aiello’s family members, were arrested and tortured for “judaizing” – practicing Judaism in secret.


Admission to this program is $20 for general admission and is free for History Center members. University of Pittsburgh students receive free admission with their Pitt student ID.

If you are attending both the Saturday program and the accompanying Sunday Italian Jews and World War II program, admission is $25.

Please register online.

Register now

Program Sponsors

Italian American Program

Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives

Roots in the Boot

The University of Pittsburgh Jewish Studies Program, with support from the Giant Eagle Foundation Endowment for Community Outreach

Department of French & Italian, University of Pittsburgh

Department of French & Italian, University of Pittsburgh

For more information, please contact Melissa Marinaro at or 412-454-6426.

About Rabbi Barbara Aiello

Rabbi Barbara Aiello, the first woman rabbi in Italy, begins her 11th year as Italy’s only modern, liberal rabbi. She continues to serve Jews throughout Europe as a spokesperson for Pluralistic Judaism, a movement that deliberately blurs denominational lines and extends the hand of Jewish welcome to Jews of all backgrounds.

Rabbi Barbara Aiello was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. and is the daughter of a liberator of the Buchenwald concentration camp. She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she received the Distinguished Alumni Award. She holds a MS from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and received “smeicha” (rabbinic ordination) from The Rabbinical Seminary International and the Rabbinical Academy in New York City. Learn more about Rabbi Barbara at her website.