Tuesday, May 12, 2015



It was set up in 1954 into four apartments of the building which, in the 268 days of the Nazi occupation of Rome (11 September 1943 - 4 June 1944), was used as a prison by the command of the security police

The detention cells are still as they were left by the fleeing Germans and originally occupied the entire building and are now visible in two of the four apartments that the museum comprises

The building was built in the late thirties of the twentieth century for Prince Francesco Ruspoli who wanted to make apartments for rent

Eventually he rent it all to the German Embassy for its cultural offices and, during the fateful 268 days, it became a site of terror and death

The SS closed the windows with grates and brick and, under the command of the infamous Herbert Kappler, about 2,000 human beings in total were locked in tiny cells stacked like animals and tortured brutally

The prison at Via Tasso in Rome was regarded as “the antechamber of death”

After the Liberation of Rome the apartments were occupied by homeless people and in 1950 the Princess Josepha Ruspoli donated four of them to the Italian State with the obligation to turn them into a Liberation Museum to house objects and documents belonging or relating to victims

In the night between 22 and 23 November 1999 the Museum was the subject of a bomb attack of anti-Semitic nature. It did not cause disastrous consequences and it only caused damage to the windows of the apartments


First Floor

Conference room, Library and Archives
During the war this floor was used as the office of the Nazis


Second Floor

Prison itself: the rooms have remained, even in detail, exactly as the Germans, fleeing from Rome, left them. Same wallpaper, same windows bricked up, same grating on the doors of the various cells, same electrical system


Memories of the 335 Italians killed at the Fosse Ardeatine on March 24, 1944


Isolation cell with walls covered in graffiti made by prisoners

“Together with the upper floor, it is perhaps one of the most significant and poignant rooms in this museum. These rooms were the only two of the whole prison without wallpaper, and had plastered surfaces. More importantly, within them the prisoners were segregated individually. These, back from being questioned, alone with their anxieties and their tortured pain, carved on the wall, laboriously, with nails or fingernails, prayers, literary memories, trying to keep the sense of passing time, words of comfort for those who remained, important information for those who would continue to fight, the last wills waiting for death to which many were condemned” (Web site of the Historical Museum of Liberation - www.viatasso.eu)


It honors the seventy-seven Italians shot at Fort Bravetta


It is dedicated to the massacre of La Storta on June 4, 1944, the day of the Liberation of Rome, when fleeing Germans shot fourteen prisoners they had brought with them including the Italian MP Bruno Buozzi

Cell 5
Here was held prisoner the heroic Colonel of the Corps of Engineers Giuseppe Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, head of the Clandestine Military Front

“For the duration of World War II he served in the operations office of the supreme command, of which he later became the head; on July 27, 1943, as a colonel, he was called to lead the secretariat of Badoglio, from which it split in not agreeing on his methods of leading the negotiations for the armistice. After September 8 he was at the side of the general Calvi di Bergolo as chief of the civil affairs bureau of the open city of Rome. Wanted by the Germans, he escaped capture and dedicated to the organization of the first clandestine military center in Rome” (Enciclopedia Treccani)

“He was tortured for days. The executioners tore his teeth one by one and then, just to make him talk, they continued with his nails. They broke his bones and he was whipped and beaten with chains. He resisted heroically, and even the Germans were impressed by his courage: 'Frankly, we were moved' Kappler said later” (Anthony Majanlahti and Amedeo Osti Guerrazzi)

The colonel, an authentic hero, one of the most courageous in the long history of Italy, while being aware of names and important facts, he never gave them out and he was brutally murdered at the Fosse Ardeatine

His name would deserve to be present in all the books of Italian history for school children


Third Floor



It was one of the torture chambers. On display there are prints and posters of the time


Isolation cell, like the one on the second floor. It holds the messages of those who were imprisoned


Collection of newspapers printed clandestinely

In a showcase there are the three-pointed nails used by partisans against German columns of trucks

There is also a touching and precious heirloom: a loaf of bread on which a prisoner before execution, recorded the words “coraggio mamma” (courage mother)


Flyers printed clandestinely

The first flag that waved on the tower of the Town Hall on Capitoline Hill at the liberation of Rome, on June 4, 1944


Dedicated to the Jewish community of Rome, the oldest in Europe, dating back at least to the second century BC

1,022 Jews, including 221 children were deported to Auschwitz. Only seventeen returned alive, including a woman, and no children

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