Dr. Vittorio Sacerdoti: Invented "K" Syndrome
Dr. Vittorio Sacerdoti folled the Nazis, and saved 45 Roman Jews, by inventing a mysterious illness. Dr. Sacerdoti revealed his remarkable tale on the 60th anniversary of liberation of Rome
Sacerdoti worked from a small and ancient hospital based on an island in the River Tiber in Rome. When the Nazis arrived in the Roman ghetto, Sacerdoti was just 28 years old. As Jews were being rounded up, Dr. Sacerdoti admitted anyone to the hospital as patients - and diagnosed them with a dangerous disease. As other Jews were being rounded up, "We would write on their medical forms that the patient was suffering from K Syndrome," he said.
The hospital in which Sacerdoti worked
"We called it K after the German commander Kesselring - the Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits." K Syndrome saved his cousin, Luciana Sacerdoti, who was just 10 years old. " The day the Nazis came to the hospital, someone came to our room and said: 'You have to cough, you have to cough a lot because they are afraid of the coughing, they don't want to catch an awful disease and they won't enter'."
A detailed testimony has now been taken by the Shoah foundation belonging to American film director Steven Spielberg.