An Italian delegation of 70 athletes is taking part in the 14th European Maccabi Games in Berlin.
From soccer to water polo, from tennis to the half marathon, Italian athletes (who mostly come from the Jewish Community of Rome) are obtaining good results and hoping to win some medals in a couple of disciplines.
“The results are important, but up to a certain point. The most relevant thing is having fun and increasing the sense of sharing and living up to the universal values of Maccabi. I’m sure that they will never forget this experience which is so unique and so special,” president of Maccabi Italia Vittorio Pavoncello told Pagine Ebraiche.
This is especially true this year because participating in these Games has a stronger meaning than ever. “Being in Berlin, seventy years after the Holocaust, as free men and women, proud to be Jews is amazing,” Pavoncello explains.
To honor this opportunity, every Italian athlete wore a sweatshirt with the name of a deportee during the inaugural parade. Seventy athletes, seventy names not to be forgotten, with a special focus on sportsmen and sportswomen who lost their lives in the Shoah.
In Berlin, Italian Jewry is also represented by Claudia De Benedetti a member of the council of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and of the European board of Maccabi.