Remembrance is also a matter of civic duty. This is the message that Italy will send to the world through a special stamp which will commemorate the Italian leadership of IHRA. Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin himself, before going to Berlin to take the baton from the outgoing Swiss presidency, will validate the first stamp of the special series issued by the Italian Post Office to honour the Italian commitment in the international organisation for the Remembrance of the Holocaust. With him in the Philately section of the head office of the Italian Post Office in San Silvestro square, Rome, there will be the chief of staff of the Ministry for Economic Development, Ernesto Somma, too. This will be just the first token gesture of the intense following hours that will lead Italy to the conduction of IHRA for the following, extremely sensitive year of service. After the issuing, in fact, the Italian diplomat, head of the delegation of Italy in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, will receive in Berlin the transfer of power from the Swiss representative Benno Baettig (head of IHRA in 2017). At the Italian embassy in Berlin, the moment will be meaningful and destined to mark the end of a year regulated by the Swiss authorities and full of thinking about Remembrance policy and the opening of a year even more full of challenges and questions. This is what the year of the Italian presidency will have to face.
Along with De Bernardin, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Noemi Di Segni will be guest of Pietro Benassi, Italian ambassador to Federal Republic of Germany, to witness commitment and awareness of Italian Jews, so that Italy can remain a positive model of policy of a living Remembrance. All this is taking place 80 years after the introduction of the despicable legislation that wanted to exclude them from civilian life and that opened its doors to persecution and extermination.
But this is not the only part of the ceremony that will be held in these mythical rooms, considered among the most fascinating ones in Berlin, rooms that were destined to commemorate the enslavement of Italian fascism to the Nazi ally. In fact, in these rooms an exhibition of Italian students will be held, showing the winning projects of the contest “Youngsters remember Shoah”, introduced by Giuseppe Pierro, executive of the Ministry for Education. Moreover, in the same rooms the first speeches of the Italian presidency will be held. Ambassador De Bernardin invited professor Giulio Busi, head of the department of Jewish studies of the Berlin Freie Universität, to have a speech to analyze the consequences of the betrayal of the Italian Jews by the fascist regime. Furthermore, professor Juliane Wetzel, from the research centre of anti-Semitism of the University of Berlin, will speak about being afraid of what is different from us.
After these first steps, the Italian diplomacy will start the preparatory work for the international meetings in Rome and Ferrara and for the Conference that will take place at platform 21 in Milan Central station (Holocaust Memorial). All these events will attract to Italy diplomatic representatives and scholars committed to defense and development of Remembrance.
Translated by Rachele Ferin and Ilaria Vozza, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.