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Risiera di San Sabba

National monument and place of remembrance

About this place

Trieste is home to the only Nazi extermination camp in Italy, the Risiera di San Sabba, which, during the years of German occupation, served as a detention camp and was intended for the elimination of the entire Jewish population of the provinces of Udine, Trieste, Gorizia, Pola, Fiume and Ljubljana. The large complex, built in 1898 in the San Saba district, a suburban area of the city, was used for rice processing, a function it had until the 1930s, when it was adapted for military purposes. Between 3,000 and 5,000 people lost their lives in the death camp in the years 1943/1945. Today, the red bricks of the rice mill are universally known and represent a place of memory of the atrocious events that took place there.

Why visit

01.

Place of memory

The Risiera di San Sabba is a tragically well-known place of great visual eloquence. All areas are accessible and the cells and traces of the crematorium and chimney can be seen.

02.

National monument

The Risiera di San Sabba Civic Museum was declared a National Monument in 1965. The memorial has immense historical importance and is the only example of a Nazi Lager in Italy.

03.

Free admission

The La Risiera is a National Monument, it is open all year round and the visit is always free. The memorial also houses a museum, also with free admission.

The history in brief

HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Following the German occupation in 1943, the former rice mill, already used for military purposes, became a Nazi Lager and extermination camp.
ORIGIN AND USE OF RICE PADDY
Built in 1898, the Risiera di San Sabba was intended for rice processing, a function it had until 1934. Decommissioned, it was first used as a barracks and warehouse by the Italian army and, following the German occupation, for detention purposes. It is estimated that more than 8,000 people transited there, and 3,000 to 5,000 were killed.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE RICE MILL
In April 1945 the fleeing Nazis tried to cover up their crimes by blowing up the crematorium and chimney. After the liberation and until early 1960, the Risiera was used as a reception center for Italian refugees. In 1976, the trial of those responsible took place, but only the commander of the rice mill, Joseph Oberhauser, was found guilty; he did not serve his sentence because his extradition from Germany was not obtained.

The museum and the areas that can be visited

THE MONUMENTAL ENTRANCE

In 1975, Triestine architect Romano Boico oversaw the renovation of the Risiera, which became a place of remembrance, bearing witness to the many heinous crimes that took place there. Boico chose to demarcate the area with high concrete walls that overhang the monumental entrance and form a corridor; the result is a narrow passageway over which eleven-meter-high walls loom.

THE MUSEUM AND OTHER AREAS

Inside you can visit the seventeen cells and the Death Cell, the Hall of Crosses, which contained the detention dormitories, the Hall of Commemorations, and the Museum Room, an exhibition space that collects the many objects found, including identity documents, audiovisual evidence, letters, and diaries. The exhibition is well structured and facilitated by the explanatory signs; the space in which it is received is very evocative. A steel track is visible in the inner courtyard, marking where the crematorium, which was formerly a drying kiln, the 40-meter-high chimney and the base of the chimney were located.

The prison camp cells

The first two buildings of the rice mill contain the cells and dormitories. There are 17 micro-cells, in each of which up to six prisoners were crammed, and the “death cell,” where people, mainly political prisoners and subversives, were held who were destined to be killed within a few hours. In the dormitories, however, were crammed Jews and civilians, held pending deportation to Auschwitz, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Buchenwald.

Visiting information

OPENING DAYS AND HOURS

The Risiera di San Sabba is open daily, except on December 25 and January 1, with the following hours:

  • Winter from October 1 to March 31 09:00/17:00
    (last entry 4:30 p.m.);
  • Summer from April 1 to September 30 09:00/19:00
    (last entry 6:30 p.m.);
  • Early closing at 2 p.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.
FREE ADMISSION

Admission to the Cemetery is always free.

SERVICES

In the Visitor’s Center at the entrance, a 40-minute audio guide is available for €3.50 in the following languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Slovenian, and Croatian. Guided tours for groups in Italian, English and Slovenian languages are available upon reservation.

EVENTS

La Risiera organizes multiple commemorative, educational, and musical events, as well as exhibitions and presentations.

getting there and parking

La Risiera is located on the outskirts of Trieste in the San Saba neighborhood. You can park nearby along the road or in the nearby free parking lot. The La Risiera can also be reached by city bus from the city center.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Yes, all spaces are accessible to people with disabilities and the facility has equipped bathrooms.

The visit is very informative for children, who must be properly prepared for the experience in the face of the visual and emotional impact, which are very strong.

With prior reservation, guided tours can be given for groups.

Contact

Through this section you can submit questions about the guided tour and contact the Albergo diffuso that runs the tours. Explorer FVG does not handle responses, nor is it responsible for the information exchanged in these conversations.

Risiera di San Sabba
Via Giovanni Palatucci, 5
34148 Trieste (TS)

Opening hours and secretariat:
On open days, visiting and secretary’s office hours are from 09:00 to 19:00.

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