Museum explores Jewish life and history in Italy
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Museum explores Jewish life and history in Italy

Former prison on the edge of the town of Ferrara's old Jewish ghetto has been turned into a museum exploring 2,000 years of the community's presence in the country

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Website of  Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara
Website of Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara

 In the converted remains of a former prison on the edge of the old Jewish ghetto, an extraordinary museum is making its mark and re-exploring 2,000 years of Jewish life in Italy.

The Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara, northern Italy, which opened in December 2017, has just unveiled its second major exhibit, on Jews and the Renaissance, entitled The Renaissance speaks Hebrew.

It follows its opening show, The First Thousand Years, which followed the long and complex relationship between Jews and Christianity.

Italian Jewry is one of the oldest communities in the western diaspora. Jews, even before the destruction of the Temple and their eventual transportation and imprisonment in Rome, had been working and trading in the city.

Today’s museum sits on the premises of a former prison that was once used to hold Jews during the Second World War. A new exhibit monitoring the experience of Jews in Italy during the Holocaust is set to open in September.

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