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The Embassy of Italy in Washington and the Italian Diplomatic-Consular and Cultural Network in the United States honored Remembrance Day through a series of events held in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington.

Date:

01/28/2020


The Embassy of Italy in Washington and the Italian Diplomatic-Consular and Cultural Network in the United States honored Remembrance Day through a series of events held in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington.

Washington, January 27, 2020. On the occasion of Remembrance Day, on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Institute of Culture presented an event dedicated to Italian writers who witnessed the Holocaust, in collaboration with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The initiative is part of the numerous events promoted by the Embassy together with the consular network in the USA.

The event was opened by Ambassador Armando Varricchio, in the presence of Ivan Scalfarotto, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Ambassador stressed the importance of cultivating the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust and the testimonies of the many women victims of the Nazi persecution, so that such tragedies are not repeated and highlighted how "the virus of hate, racism and antisemitism has not been eradicated - as evidenced by the incidents of antisemitism in the United States at the end of 2019 -- and how imperative it is not to lower our guard in the face of such creeping threats."

The introductory remarks were followed by speeches by Suzanne Brown-Fleming, Director of Academic Programs at USHMM, and Jonathan Druker, Professor of Illinois State University, one of the leading US experts on Italian Holocaust literature. Druker examined the writings of three authors: Giuliana Tedeschi, Liana Millu and Edith Bruck. The presentations were followed by a theatrical rendition of three excerpts from the works of the authors directed by Federica Cellini, with a musical accompaniment by the Italian-Jewish pianist and accordionist Simone Baron.

The Consulate General of Italy in Boston, in collaboration with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Consulate of Israel and Boston University, organized the event "Beyond Duty: The Legacy and Lessons of the Diplomatic "Righteous". The event started with the opening of an exhibition curated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, in collaboration with Yad Vashem. It was followed by a roundtable dedicated to the figures of diplomatics who have distinguished themselves around the world in the defense of Jews from Nazi persecution (for Italy Giorgio Perlasca), so much so that they are recognized as "Righteous among the Nations".

The Consulate General of Italy and the Italian Institute of Culture in Chicago, in collaboration with the American Jewish Committee and the SimonWiesenthal Center – Midwest, presented the documentary "My Italian Secret:The Forgotten Heroes" by Oren Jacoby (2014), recounting the stories of Gino Bartali, Giovanni Borromeo and other brave Italians who, devising ingenious plans, challenged the Nazi-fascist terror in occupied Italy to save thousands of Jews, resistance fighters and opponents of the regime. The screening was accompanied by a speech from Gioia Bartali, granddaughter of the champion, who testified to the courage and humility with which her grandfather managed to carry false documents hidden in the frame of the bicycle, thus helping to save at least 800 Jews from deportation.

Also at the Consulate of Italy in Detroit, Remembrance Day was an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of Gino Bartali. The Consulate, in collaboration with the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan and the Italian Institute of Culture in Chicago, organized the event entitled "Gino Bartali: The Invisible Hero", with a screening of the documentary "My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes," by Oren Jacoby. Bartali was was recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem. His granddaughter spoke at the event.

The Consulate General of Houston, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural and Community Center, organized the screening of the documentary film "Inferno Mittelbau Dora" that traces the history of the last concentration camp built by the Nazis, where in underground tunnels the prisoners worked tirelessly on the production of V2 missiles. The Consul General attended a ceremony organized by the Governor of Texas in Austin to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, while in early February he will take part in a special Shabbat, organized by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

In Los Angeles, for the first time, a joint Italian-German commemoration was held at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. The event was organized by the Italian Institute of Culture with the Consulates General of Italy and Germany and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Renee Firestone, an Auschwitz survivor, described her experience. Her narration was followed by a musical performance inspired by the Jewish tradition by guitarist Alberto Lombardi, and the German duo Friedrich Edelmann (Fagotto) and Rebecca Rust (Cello). Lombardi has worked with well-known international artists.

Remembrance Day was also commemorated in Phoenix, Arizona. IN Phoenix the IIC of Los Angeles with the Beth El Congregation organized an event with Arnie Wininger, a Holocaust survivor, who fled Germany to Italy during the war.

In coordination with the Consulate General in Miami, several Florida schools and universities, including Metropolitan International School, Mater Academy, Windermere High School, Gaither High School, Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University, screened the documentary directed by Francesca Muci "The House of Children", the story of 800 children, orphaned because of the extermination camps, who from 1945 to 1948 found a new life in Selvino, a small town in Lombardy. Students were offered various activities aimed at deepening their understanding of the issue.

The traditional public reading ceremony of the names of Jews deported from Italy to the extermination camps took place In New York, in front the Consulate General. The President of the Sicilian Region Nello Musumeci, representatives from the cultural and economic institutions of the city of New York and of the Italian and Italian-American community were also present. The reading ceremony is the focus of an extensive program of initiatives carried out in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture, the Primo Levi Centre in New York and the Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò at New York University. On January 30, the Italian Institute of Culture will host the reading of excerpts from the diary of Maria Eisenstein Internee No. 6, (1944), one of the first testimonies of life in a fascist concentration camp. The Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, in collaboration with the Primo Levi Centre in New York, will propose two initiatives: on January 29 the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to the artist Leo Yeni, who was persecuted by the fascist regime in Italy and found refuge in the US, and February 3, the presentation of the book "The Fields of the Duce" by Spartaco Capogreco, on the history of Italian concentration camps between 1940 and 1943.

In San Francisco, Mrs. Andra Bucci, among the few children who survived (along with her sister) in the Auschwitz concentration camp and now living in Sacramento, met the students of the San Francisco Italian - American International School to talk about the importance of remembrance and the rejection of indifference. The Consul General in San Francisco and the Director of the Italian Institute of Culture attended with the parents of the students. On January 28, the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian Institute of Culture in San Francisco, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel, will host the screening of the documentary "Shores of Light: Salento 1945–1947" directed by Yael Katzir. The documentary will be introduced by Francesco Spagnolo Professor of Jewish Studies (University of UC Berkeley), with a musical tribute by soprano Sharon Bernstein. Other commemorations scheduled for January 31, with the Consuls in San Francisco, will include a wreath-laying ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial. The commemoration is organized by the German Consulate General of San Francisco with the support of the Consulate General of Italy and Israel.


Location:

Washington DC

2357