Gilberto Salmoni

Born 1928 in Genoa, Italy

Gilberto Salmoni was categorised by the National Socialists as a ‘1st degree Mischling’ or ‘person of mixed blood’. His family was affected by the antisemitic laws of Italy’s fascist regime, but they only faced deportation after Germany invaded in 1943. In the spring of 1944, the Salmonis tried to escape to Switzerland but were arrested at the border.

The SS sent thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners from assembly camps in Italy to concentration and extermination camps. The members of the Salmoni family were interned in the Fossoli transit camp and then separated. Gilberto Salmoni’s parents and 25-year-old sister Dora were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and murdered. Gilberto and his brother Renato were deported to Buchenwald in 1944.

The brothers were initially put to work building railway racks. They survived because they were later assigned to less strenuous work details. After the liberation, the brothers returned to Genoa in June 1945, where they learned of the loss of their family.

Gilberto Salmoni worked as an engineer at a steel company for 30 years. He later changed careers and became a psychologist. Since the late 1990s, he has been active in the association of Italian survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Former Inmates of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Find out more

Audio biography of Gilberto Salmoni: The Last Transport from Fossoli, in the permanent exhibition of the Buchenwald Memorial, ‘Buchenwald: Ostracism and Violence 1937 to 1945’, [German]