The San Sabba Rice Mill is a five-storey brick-built compound in Trieste, used as a Nazi-fascist concentration camp for the detention and killing of political prisoners; it was just a transit camp for Jews, most of whom then deported to Auschwitz.
The building was erected in 1913 and first used as a rice-husking facility (hence the name ‘Rice Mill’).
During World War II, German occupation forces in Trieste used the building to transport, detain and exterminate prisoners. Many occupants of San Sabba Rice Mill were transported to the German Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Occupied Poland.
It is thought that over 3,000 people were killed at the Risiera camp and thousands more imprisoned and transported elsewhere. The majority of prisoners came from Friuli, the Venezia Giulia and the Province of Ljubljana.
After the war, the camp served as a refugee center and transit point. In the 1950s, many people, especially ethnic Italians fleeing the then communist Yugoslavia, passed through the camp, not to mention Croats and Russians, whose home was San Sabba Rice Mill for a long time before they were able to emigrate elsewhere.
The cremation facilities, the only ones built inside a concentration camp in Italy were destroyed before the camp was liberated. Today, the former concentration camp has been trasformed into a civic museum.
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