Former head of Milan Jewish community dies from coronavirus
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Former head of Milan Jewish community dies from coronavirus

Passing of Michele Sciama, 79, mourned as ‘great loss’ for city at epicenter of largest COVID-19 outbreak outside of China

Michele Sciama in an undated photo. (Facebook via JTA)
Michele Sciama in an undated photo. (Facebook via JTA)

JTA — Michele Sciama, a former secretary-general of the Jewish Community of Milan — the city’s local Jewish communal life organization — has died of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Sciama, known to his friends and family as Micky, was 79 when he died Monday morning. He is survived by his wife, Viviane, and two daughters, Dalia and Stefania, the Italian-Jewish Moked news site wrote in an obituary.

Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, the director of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, an organization that documents Nazi war crimes, wrote in Moked that before he became ill with the virus, Sciama was working on organizing a fundraising concert for the center.

“We will perform the concert in his name and in his memory, to honor his memory and to fight that virus that not only produces statistics, but deprives us of the presence of people, friends and brethren,” Luzzatto Voghera wrote after Sciama’s death.

Sciama had been heavily involved in Jewish education and his passing is a “great loss for the community,” Claudia Bagnarelli, a former principal at the Jewish school of Milan, which has about 500 students, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Italy on Monday reported 349 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, taking its total since last month to 2,158, the most after China. It has 27,980 infections.

Delivery bikers in front of the Sforzesco castle in central Milan on March 12, 2020. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

Among specific regions, the overwhelming majority of the fatalities remained largely confined to northern regions, where the virus first started spreading around cities such as Milan.

Lombardy, the region whose capital is Milan, is the epicenter of the outbreak, which has overwhelmed health services and morgues. The region alone has recorded 1,420 deaths.

Reports about Sciama’s death did not mention burial arrangements. Members of Sciama’s family could not be immediately reached.

AFP contributed to this report.

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