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2023 Kristallnacht Event Honors Italian Doctor

How a Fake Disease, Syndrome K, was Invented to Save Jewish Lives 

Orange, CT—Congregation Or Shalom will mark Kristallnacht this year on Sunday November 12. Held on the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Rome, the 17th annual event will honor the late Dr. Adriano Ossicini. Ossicini, a Catholic doctor and anti-fascist activist, invented a fake, allegedly highly infectious disease he called “Syndrome K” to protect Jews seeking shelter at Rome’s Fatebenefratelli Hospital. 

In a 2016 interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Dr. Ossicini, then 96 years-old, said “The lesson of my experience was that we have to act not for the sake of self-interest, but for principles. Anything else is a shame.” 

“It’s an inspiring story for people of all ages,” said Sarah Darer, Adult Education chair at Or Shalom. “How during one of the darkest times in human history, courageous individuals made a difference and saved lives.” 

The evening is hosted by Congregation Or Shalom and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, with substantial support from the Or Shalom Men’s Club.

Program Events: 

  • Dr. Millicent Marcus, Sarai Ribicoff Professor of Italian Studies at Yale University will relate the story of Syndrome K
    • A short excerpt of Syndrome K, the 2021 documentary film by Stephen Edwards, which includes interviews of the late Dr. Ossicini.
    • Senator Richard Blumenthal will present a U.S. Senate Certificate of Special Recognition to Dr. Cristina Ossicini, the daughter of the honoree.
    • Dr. Cristina Ossicini will speak on her late father’s legacy.


Sunday November 12, 9-11 am
Congregation Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Rd, Orange

The event is FREE, but reservations are requested.


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