“For nearly ninety years, my father has been a promulgator of the Memory. Ironically, the ability to remember was the first thing he lost because of his disease. I then found myself with a father who bore the wounds from the beatings received from the SS, but could no longer remember what they were. Unfortunately, the pandemic kept us apart. Throughout this period, it came pouring something like a natural flow of memories that he no longer shared. A sort of solo conversation with his missing memory”.
Nedo Fiano passed away a month ago. His son Emanuele shares his father’s life and lessons from an unusual perspective in his new book, Il profumo di mio padre (My father’s perfume), published by Piemme. In pages coursing with emotions, he describes in a clear and passionate way; what it truly means to be “a son of the Shoah”. The author talked about it during the first livestream presentation of the book, organized in collaboration with The Shoah Memorial and with the patronage of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.
Introduced by Susanna Barki, Fiano discussed these themes with the journalists Maurizio Molinari and Pierluigi Battista. Opening the event was a video message from Senator for life Liliana Segre, who wrote the preface to the book. “Nedo – she points out in one of the most meaningful passages – was tall, handsome, strong, innovative, extroverted: He reported accurately the facts, the situations, the characters of the tragedy he had gone through, but he impersonated them like an experienced actor, he raised his voice or reduced it to a whisper, he cried for his fate and that of all his family members assassinated by the Nazis. Quite the opposite of me, who don’t cry in public and never raise my voice”.
Hard to imagine two witnesses any more different, though from the same school. “But – continues the senator for life – I liked it, it was right, because we were and are two individuals, not two robotic slaves like our torturers wanted to turn us into”.
“I received a gift from my father”, said Fiano. “Memory as a way of reasoning, as an invitation to look at the world and to therefore strive on the basis of that he has lived”
Translated by Oyebuchi Lucia Leonard and revised by Silvia Bozzo, students at Trieste University and the Advanced school for interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.