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Italy commemorates the 2019 International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the USA on the centenary of Primo Levi’s birth.



Italy commemorates the 2019 International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the USA on the centenary of Primo Levi’s birth.

Washington D.C. January 29, 2019 – The Embassy of Italy and the diplomatic-consular network in the USA commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on the centenary of Primo Levi’s birth, throughout the country, starting in the Capital.

Ambassador Armando Varricchio underlined the leading role played by Italy in the defense of human rights and in the fight against racism, hatred, intolerance and against all forms of discrimination, as testified by the numerous initiatives taken in 2018 during the Italian Presidency of the OSCE, opened with a conference on anti-Semitism in January, and of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. A leading role also confirmed by the election of our country to the Human Rights Council of Geneva for the three-year period 2019-2021.

Recalling the recent speech by the President of the Republic on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Ambassador then highlighted the particular responsibility of Europeans and Italians to "preserve, for the benefit of the next generations, the memory of the horrors of the past so that similar tragedies do not happen again".

In Washington, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Holocaust Museum, the Embassy organized the screening of the documentary-film by Giorgio Treves "1938: Several" presented at the Film Festival in Venice in 2018, on the 80th anniversary of the promulgation of racial laws. The screening was followed by a conversation with Giorgio Treves, Elizabeth White and Lindsay Zarwell, respectively historian and film archivist at the Holocaust Museum, moderated by Susan Barocas, former director of the Jewish Film Festival in Washington DC.

In New York, at the presence of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Claudia Del Re, the traditional ceremony of the reading of the names of the Italian Jews deported to the extermination camps was held in front of the headquarters of the Consulate General. Along side the ceremony, a rich program of initiatives was carried out in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, the Primo Levi Center in New York, the Italian Academy at Columbia University, the Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò at New York University, the Calandra Institute at CUNY and the Guglielmo Marconi School of Italy.

Similar events, intended to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Primo Levi, took place in the recent days in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. In this last cityour Consulate has a coordinating role among the different  EU missions.

Together with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Boston University, the Consulate General in Boston promoted a day dedicated to the Remembrance and to the instruments we have to preserve it, mainly among the new generations with the screening of the film-documentary “Who Will Write Our History?” followed by a conversation. The event, introduced by the AJC New England Director, Leikind, the Consul General of Israel in New England, Amb. Boker and Prof. Harrowitz from Boston University, involved several institutional and academic representatives.

Yesterday the Consulate General in Chicago dedicated a day in commemoration of Primo Levi for the 100th anniversary of his birth. During this event, organized at the Italian Institute of Culture, together with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee, passages from “Se Questo è un Uomo”, “La Tregua” and “Il Sistema Periodico” have been read both in English and Italian.

The Consulate in Detroit organized a lecture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on "Luigi Ferri: The Survival of a 12-year-old Italian Child at Auschwitz" held by Professor Gabriele Boccaccini, one of the leading experts in Italian Judaism. The conference, organized in collaboration with the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan, the Italian Institute of Culture of Chicago, the Department of Middle Eastern Studies and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies of the University of Michigan, was attended by students, teachers and representatives of the Italian and American community.

Also yesterday, the Consulate General in Houston, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural and Community Center, organized the screening of the film "La strada di Levi" to remember the victims of the Holocaust. At the beginning of February, the Consul General will also participate in a special Shabbat organized by the American Jewish Committee.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be commemorated in Los Angeles with various ceremonies, organized by the Consulate General in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture and the Museum of Tolerance. Yesterday, the names of the Italian Jews deported from Italy during the Second World War were read. The reading of the names was held at the Milken Community Schools and the Museum of Tolerance. The day ended with a theatrical interpretation of the novel "La Tregua" by Primo Levi by the actor Riccardo Bocci.

Italian language professors in Florida have screened in their schools and universities, in coordination with the Consulate General in Miami, the documentary film "Eravamo Italiani" by the director Ruggero Gabbai, proposing to the students a thoughtful discussion about the film, focusing on the memories of some of the Italian survivors of the Holocaust. The screenings, started on the 25th, will end on January 31st.

In San Francisco, the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian Institute of Culture in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel organized today the screening of the documentary "Spiagge di luce: Salento 1945-1947", under the direction of Yael Katzir (2015) at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. The Consul General of Italy, Lorenzo Ortona introduced the documentary together with Shlomi Kofman, Consul General of Israel. The event also featured the exhibition “Beyond Duty”, about the 30 foreign diplomats who saved Jews and minorities during the Second World War, a tribute to the diplomats of 21 countries chosen by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

On February 24th, the Consulate General in Philadelphia is organizing a screening of the documentary film "Primo" at the city's main synagogue, which tells the dramatic story of Levi in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The screening will be followed by a debate with Professor Salvatore Mangione of the Jefferson Medical University.