Hundreds of runners and walkers yesterday positioned themselves behind the former Israeli runner Shaul Ladany, 85, the testimonial of Run for Memory, the race for remembrance organized in Novara by the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities in collaboration, this year, with the Jewish community of Vercelli, Biella, Novara. “We are here to say ‘never again’. Remembering serves to prevent the tragedies of history from happening again”, said Ladany just before covering the 10 kilometers of the race.
At 85 of age, he is the symbol of the life message of the event. Survivor of the Shoah and later of the massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich 1972, he showed up with a smile at the start, lending himself to the various requests of photographs. “The idea is that we are all part of the same society. We live and run together. Together we carry on the Memory, with responsibility, stopping so as not to forget”, remarked President of the Union of Jewish Communities Noemi Di Segni. “We are here with Shaul Ladany to remember and to say no to distortions of memory, abuses, and comparisons with other real or invented pains”.
On the occasion, two Stolpersteine, the stumbling stones ideated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992 to commemorate individuals at the last place of residency before being deported, persecuted, and forced to leave, were installed in memory of Giacomo Diena e Amadio Jona. On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, stumbling stones were installed in Rome, Venice, Trieste, and elsewhere.
“In Italy, about 1500 stones have been placed in different cities”, said the president of the Memorial of the Shoah in Milan Roberto Jarach. “The names they bear are a way to return their humanity to the victims of deportation, to give them life”. An initiative of the Union of Italian Jewish youth, “Restoring the Memory”, is committed to protecting these installations meant to honor individuals and groups who fell victim of the persecutions. “We clean the stones where necessary and at the same time we remember the stories of the people after whom they are named”, says David Fiorentini. As Alberto Jona Falco, a distant relative of Amadio Jona, to whom a stumbling block was dedicated in Novara, “this ceremony as well as the Run For Mem are a way to honor Liliana Segre’s message against indifference”. “Then, during the deportations, many turned away and remained indifferent. We are here to say that it will never happen again”.
From top, the start of Run for Mem and Saul Ladany with his niece Shaked during the race in a photo by Andrea Schiavon.