il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

NEWS Entrepreneur Guido Ottolenghi awarded Order of Merit for Labour

By Pagine Ebraiche staff

“This is the best recognition our company could receive after one century of activity. In thought, I would like to share it with those who contributed to the creation of our 100-year story throughout the past generations. Among the tasks they had to face were very hard trials, such as the Fascist racial laws of 1938, war, and persecutions”.

Guido Ottolenghi has long been at the helm of the family-owned company, the Petrolifera Italo Rumena. The company was founded in Ravenna in 1920 and it has been exclusive property of the Ottolenghi family since 1926. It works in the logistics in both Italian and foreign ports. It boasts a brilliant entrepreneurial history which has now been solemnly recogniZed from the President of the Republic as well. In the past few hours, Guido Ottolenghi was awarded the Order of Merit for Labour by the head of state Sergio Mattarella, along with other 24 Italian entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields.

Several generations of workers shaped the company’s story. Ottolenghi, who led the Jewish Community of Bologna and is now the President of its Jewish Museum, has reconstructed this history in a book, “Il merito dei padri. Storia de La Petrolifera Italo Rumena 1920-2020” (“The fathers’ merits. The story of the Petrolifera Italo Rumena 1920-2020”), which has just been published by the publishing house “Il Mulino”.

Their family history has also been celebrated in a photo exhibition and in a video, called “Sulla punta della Baiona”, which provides a detailed description of the events relating to the time of persecutions. These were the days of fear and anxiety, and also the heroic days when everything restarted after the machinery destruction.

On the plate which was affixed a few days ago at the company offices, Emilio and Guido had the following message written: “Today the Petrolifera Italo Rumena, founded on 24th May 1920, is proud to celebrate a century of work. Happiness and growth, persecution and battles, discouragement and redemption, isolation and smart infrastructure development, opportunities were seized and denied: these are some of the elements to be found here, alongside with honest people’s eagerness and solidarity among people of good will, respect for work, community and clients. Serious people have been collaborating fruitfully within this company for one hundred years. May this continue to happen for many more years to come”.

Translated by Sara Facelli, student at the Advanced School for Interpreting and Translation of Trieste University and intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.