NEWS Italy Prepares to Celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day

milan memorialBy Daniel Reichel

“If it is almost impossible to educate against Auschwitz, we have to worry about educating after Auschwitz,” wrote historian Georges Bensoussan in his Auschwitz en héritage? D’un bon usage de la mémoire. The question is how to transmit the memory of the Shoah, its inner values and, above all, how to do it without the fundamental voice of the survivors, who are unavoidably passing away. Every year this dilemma becomes most evident during the celebration of January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Italy all those who are involved in keeping the memory of what happened alive are searching for ways to transmit it.
Thus, we must go beyond the testimonies of the survivors, the concerts, conferences, and exhibitions which are organized all over the country to bring the Shoah to the attention of the public and to open, or to keep open, various opportunities for reflection.

Music, for example, is a tool to open these doors as highlighted by the concert “Toscanini – The courage of Music”, sponsored by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and organized by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities for International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. The example of the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini reminds us how it was possible to choose not to follow fascism. One can always say no to violence as the Italian orchestra conductor demonstrated. And speaking about music, the concert of the Verdi Conservatory of Turin is dedicated to composers deported to the Terezin camp and reminds us how music could become a propaganda tool, but also a strong act of resistance against the horror and dehumanization.

The reflections of hundreds of students on the tragedy of the Jewish genocide and violence of fascism were expressed in various artistic forms, as evidenced by the fourteenth edition of the national school competition ‘The Young Remember the Holocaust’.

One tool for young people to understand what happened to the Jews during the war, is the famous Diary of Anne Frank to whom is dedicated the exhibition in Rome at the Casina dei Vallati organized by the Foundation of the Holocaust Museum of Rome. And to future generations – so as to the current ones – are devoted spaces which feature a strong impact with the terrible past, as the Milan Holocaust Memorial – Platform 21 or the new Memorial in Bologna which will be inaugurated on January 27.