IT HAPPENED TOMORROW A Century ago. And Today

vitaleBy Guido Vitale

A fascinating exhibition that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, organized by the State Archive in Trieste, presents many extraordinary documents that provide a deeper insight into the Europe of that time.
A circular dated 20 October, 1914, sent by the government authorities in Vienna to all schools in Trieste, which at the time was the main port city of the Habsburg Empire, recommends that all teachers should strive to show “what a solemn objective and what special cultural value there is in knowing the institutions and languages of foreign nations, and to persuade young people that such studies are their patriotic duty.”
As Europe struggles even today to live up to these ideals of tolerance, civility and diversity, which were defeated at that time, it is important to remember that these are the only values under which Jewish communities can prosper and provide their best contribution to the society around them.
We hope that the many lessons that can be discerned from the experience of Trieste, which has learned to bridge many cultural and political fault lines, will help us to achieve these ideals.