The funeral of Shlomo Venezia, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who published memoirs on his experience and became a prominent Holocaust testifier, took place in Rome on Wednesday.
"We'll never forget his words, his clear and courageous survivor testimony," said Renzo Gattegna, head of the Italian Union of Jewish Communities (UCEI).
"We will be forever grateful for his tremendous and enlightening 'SonderKommando' (book) but also for having found the courage to speak and to denounce the crimes to which he bore witness," he said.
Venezia, one of Italy's last Holocaust survivors, died in the Italian capital on October 1, aged 88. He had spent years bearing personal testimony to the Holocaust, appearing as a guest on television and in schools.
Born in Greece, Venezia was deported along with his family in 1944 and was forced to work in the Sonderkommando, units charged with collecting and cremating the bodies of prisoners killed in the gas chambers.
His mother and two sisters were killed in Auschwitz.
"He was incorporated into the Sonderkommandos. Those units were also killed after a few months, and Shlomo was one of the very rare survivors of that hell," CRIF, the body representing French Jewish Institutions, said in a statement.
"Like many survivors, several decades passed before he was able to bear witness publicly" it said.
Venezia's memoir was published in 2007 and has been translated into 19 languages.