il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

“Protecting the memory of Holocaust is of public interest”

Themes of the stricter actuality of Italian Judaism were the object of an in-depth interview with President of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities Noemi Di Segni featured on the Sunday edition of Il Sole 24 Ore, the main Italian national daily business newspaper. It was an opportunity to explore the most strategic and urgent issues at stake and the goals of the second mandate as president that she just started. Among the most significant challenges, pointed out Di Segni, is that of “being a bridge to civil society and, as Judaism, contributing to the growth of Italy maintaining our identity”.
The distinguishing mark of this effort is the constant dedication to “be a community, in addition to family and work, so to be able to count also on this circle of cohesion”. It is an element that qualifies as “of strength and mutual protection: knowing that we are not alone, especially in a moment of great difficulty” like the present one. The article by Carlo Marrone- defines Di Segni as “a public resource, a woman with a position of great commitment and visibility” and highlights her battle against hatred and antisemitism. It reminds that UCEI, as well as being the reference point for “a population of 25,000 Italians, spread over 21 communities”, is also a publisher “with a solid journalistic editorial staff” present for several years on print, web, and social networks.

Il Sole 24 Ore focuses on the latest distortions of the memory of the Holocaust by opponents to vaccines and Green Pass, the domestic COVID-19 passport indicating if someone is fully vaccinated or has recently tested negative. “There is an ongoing phenomenon of misappropriation of symbols, themes, and words related to the context of the Shoah, in truly shocking ways”, Di Segni stressed. It is remarkable also at a legal level: “We are unable to fit these manifestations into a specific category, and it is all so insane that the legislator has not foreseen this type of offense”. The main issue, Di Segni pointed out, is “how to really deal with this appropriation of something that offends the victims, the survivors, an entire people, but also the whole of Italy”. As a matter of fact, she said, protecting the memory of the Holocaust “is a public interest”. And so, “words are not enough: we need concrete facts from the legislator and the judiciary”.
The interview also lingered on the personal side, starting from President Di Segni’s first biblical name. “Noemi’s story – she explained – is read on the holiday of Shavuot. But it is also a name closely linked to my family history. A sister of my grandmother with the same name, during WWII, managed to save herself from deportation to the extermination camps, taking the last boat leaving for France”.
“I was born in Israel and lived there for 20 years. But I am also deeply Italian, Roman. Two strong identities, for me”, Di Segni said.
Israel is a country of education from many points of view. As in the case of military conscription, which is mandatory also for women: “The service is required, but it is also lived as a choice, with a spirit of service to the country. We are not pawns. Therefore, in the recruitment phase, one follows their own aptitudes. Today this is even more pronounced than when I did it since the spirit is of hiring human resources rather than conscription of recruits”. Throughout that experience, the UCEI President said, “I never received an indoctrination to the hatred of the enemy”.