After 76 years, DNA tells fate of German-Jew who perished in Nazi massacre

The Ardeantine massacre was an infamous mass execution carried out near Rome in March 1944 by Nazi German occupation soldiers during World War II.

Italy's President Mattarella visits the Fosse Ardeatine, National Monument and Memorial Cemetery of victims of German occupation, in Rome,  in Rome January 31, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Italy's President Mattarella visits the Fosse Ardeatine, National Monument and Memorial Cemetery of victims of German occupation, in Rome, in Rome January 31, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In light of new DNA samples provided by his nephew, Heinz Erich Tuchmann will be recognized as one of the victims of the Ardeatine massacre carried out by the Nazi regime in 1944, according to The Jewish Chronicle.
The Ardeatine massacre was a mass execution carried out near Rome on March 24, 1944 by Nazi German occupying soldiers.
After 33 Nazi soldiers were killed by Italian partisans, the Germans decided to execute 335 men, including 76 Jews who were imprisoned in Rome’s jail to be sent to death camps.
After the war, most of the remains were identified, but for nine of them this was not possible. The massacre is remembered every year in Italy through a roll call of the dead taking place at the monument erected in their honor, and Italian authorities regularly visit the site to honor the victims.
The Italian government has, since 1944, organized efforts to discover the names of each of the victims. Out of the 335 dead, only five names have yet to be identified.
This year Tuchmann’s name will finally be called, thanks to Italian journalist Michaela Mecocci and Italy’s Department of the Fallen Soldier after receiving the compiled evidence.
According to The Jewish Chronicle, Tuchmann was born in Dessau, Germany in 1911 to a wealthy Jewish family. His father, Otto, ran a successful lumber business, Tuchmann and Son, and his mother, Gertrud, died two months after his birth.
Tuchmann moved to Yugoslavia in 1930 following the death of his father to work with his cousin Alfred. In 1938, he met his future wife Hilde Rosy Jacobson.
However, in 1941 the couple was deported to Italy. Jacobson would later die in Auschwitz in 1944. It was not specified what happened to Tuchmann immediately following his deportation. However, as it has been discovered he was murdered outside the Ardeatine caves on March 24, 1944.
Later on in the 1940s, Tuchmann’s stepmother Amy Adler and his half-brother Fred found out that Tuchmann was shot outside the Ardeatine caves.
Fred, who would later on become the president of the Anglo-Jewish Association, used to tell his son – who provided the DNA samples to the Italian authorities that identified Tuchmann – that he was very aware of the circumstances surrounding his brother’s death.
“From a young age, my father always told me how his brother had been assassinated by the Nazis, and was deeply upset and frustrated that he could never get him formally recognized as a victim of the atrocity. He tried his whole life to get Heinz formally recognized as a victim, very sadly to no avail,” Jeremy Tuckman, nephew of Tuchmann, said, according to The JC.
Fred died in 2017, before being able to see his brother become formally recognized.
“I am in awe at the science that has given this outcome, over 76 years after my uncle’s death,” Tuckman told the JC. “When we discovered that he had finally been formally identified after all these years, my immediate reaction was how pleased my father would have been, and the peace it now gives to our family.”
Tuchmann will be honored at a ceremony in October alongside another newly identified victim, Marian Reicher, which will be attended by both Tuckman and the Italian president.

Rosella Tercatin contributed to this report.