Davide Romanin Jacur – council member to the financial statements of the UCEI with a career as councillor spanning forty years and one as president spanning fourteen – has many stories to tell. His first thoughts go to Rav Achille Viterbo, Rabbi of Padua from 1955 to 1999. One of the most representative figures of the post-war Community. “There was no one – he affirms – he would not know or look after. I greatly admired his way of working”. He showed tenacious commitment he would perform on the field, “Almost like a country priest”, smiles Jacur.
The years of his commitment to the Community, he continues, coincided with a turning point in terms of relationships. “Until the 1990s, the relationship with the authorities was rather narrow, mostly limited to contacts with the police headquarters and the prefecture. A change, in terms of a greater intensity, was introduced with the establishment of the European Day of Jewish Culture and most of all with that of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, especially with the latter”.
Jacur deeply committed himself on a personal level, as well, taking fifty trips and accompanying thousands of students to the main centres of European Remembrance. Thanks to this experience a book was recently written, KZ, for publishing house Ronzani, with a path “both rigorous and emotional” through 23 concentration and extermination camps, also seen through the testimonies of children.
Another book about not-visited places is in the works and will be released soon. “This – says Jacur – is my greatest satisfaction: to have left something to the new generations, motivating them to make a contribution to create a better society”. An experience that – from Padua, along the profitable line of collaboration between the Municipality and the Community – became very popular.
According to Jacur, the relationship with the diocese is also positive. “Since the early 2000s, a relationship has been established, which I would define as almost idyllic. Much has been done, presiding over the territory, and leaving nothing to chance”. Looking at the glorious history of the Paduan Jews, the UCEI assessor allows himself another joke: Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, all the major elected offices were assigned to Jews, such as the offices as mayor, rector or president of the hospital, but also parliamentarians like my ancestor Leone Romanin Jacur, who was a key figure in the reclamation program. Luigi Luzzatti, President of the Board, was also a Paduan by adoption. Only the bishop, I might say, was not a Jew”.
A unique story, retraced also inside the Museum of Jewish Padua: a museum, he points out, “of relationships between the Jews and the city”. Among all the projects successfully completed, it is one of the achievements he is most proud of. It can be compared to the restorations of the Italian and the German synagogues and of the graveyards, realised by means of own funds, but also public funding and bank foundations. Romanin Jacur also said to be proud of having contributed to making Veneto – at the beginning of 2020 – “the first Italian Region to pass a law specifically dedicated to the knowledge of the Shoah and to the Holocaust Remembrance Day”.
Translated by Antonella Losavio and revised by Gianluca Pace, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.