il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

Books in a suitcase/ Toulouse, writing not to forget

“Nothing was ever the same again”. A sentence you could hear very often when – the last year on March 19th, with the speech of President Macron and of the highest officials of the République – France stopped to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attack on the Toulouse Jewish school. Four victims fell under the blows of Islamic fanaticism – Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his children Gabriel and Aryeh, and the little Myriam Monsonégo.
Processing those events is yet an open and tearing matter. How to cope with such a trauma? How to look at the present? And, most of all, what kind of future to imagine for yourself and for your loved ones? These are daily issues on the agenda of French Jews and of their institutions, which in the years that followed the attack have been repeatedly hit by an increasingly resurgent anti-Semitic hatred that targeted communities as well as individuals (even the ones in particularly vulnerable conditions, e.g., violating domestic intimacy). Eloquent are the stories, for which much has been mobilised in Italy as well, of two elderly women who have been murdered- Sarah Halimi and Mirelle Knoll. There’s a courageous book, that’s been published just before the anniversary, which can help us: “Toulouse, 19 mars 2012, L’attentat de l’école Ozar Hatorah par ceux qui l’ont vécu”. The author is Jonathan Chétrit, ex-student of the Jewish school in Toulouse. He was 17 the day in which his life changed forever. “Right after the attack – he explains – I started thinking about what I had experienced, trying to express my emotions and my feelings. As we all know, our memory is not infallible and it is also because of this that I felt the need to put down on paper a few points. I wrote not to forget and it’s been therapeutic.” Some other survivors spoke out as well. A choral testimony in which “every voice counts, in which every story complements the others”.

Adam Smulevich

Translation by Margherita Francese, revised by Martina Bandini, students at the Secondary School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.