Dr. Raja Karlinska survived under an assumed identity in Italy

Dr. Raja-Chaya Karlinska was born in 1913 in Bialystok, Poland.  In 1931, she moved to Italy to study medicine, completing her studies in Bologna in 1939.  Her son Mirko, born in 1935, was taken from her by his father, who was a member of the Italian fascist party with connections.  In 1940, Raja was sent to the fascist concentration camp Villa Lauri, one of dozens of concentration camps where stateless Jews and Jews of foreign citizenship were incarcerated.  She was imprisoned there for approximately one year. 

In 1941, Raja's daughter Dafna-Laura was born. Dafna's father was Dr. Giuseppe Zanarini, an Italian, non-Jewish doctor. Raja and four-month-old Dafna were sent to Foiano della Chiana in Tuscany, Italy, where Raja had to report to the local police, declare her arrival and to undertake all that was demanded of her as a freed prisoner.  From there, Raja managed to escape together with her daughter, thanks to Dafna's father's connections with the Italian partisans in the area.  They were smuggled via Florence to Bologna.  Raja survived in the ranks of the partisans under the assumed identity of Anna Maria Giberti, together with Dafna, until the end of the war.

A postcard Raja received in June 1942 from the Bialystok ghetto read: "My beloved Rajke, we received your letter. We are well. Please write". This was the last sign of life from Raja's family.  Her parents and all her family members remaining in Poland were murdered in the Holocaust.

In 1949, Raja and Dafna immigrated to Israel, and Raja served as a doctor in the IDF.

In 2012, Raja Karlinski's personal documents, including her forged ID papers from the war years displayed here, were donated to the Yad Vashem Archives as part of the "Gathering the Fragments" project.