Trieste was the city where Mussolini made antisemitism a law. On September 18th 1938, he announced the issuing of racist laws in Piazza Unità d’Italia to an immense cheering crowd. And a few years later, in a former rice husking facility on the outskirts of the city, the Risiera di San Sabba, the sole Nazi extermination camp in Italy was set. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, a touching ceremony took place in this former camp, visited last week by the Minister of Interior Piantedosi, which was
attended by the institutional representatives and a delegation from the Jewish community of Trieste led by its president Alessandro Salonichio and Rabbi Alexandre Meloni.
“If the seed of hatred was sown in our city in September 1938, – pointed out mayor Roberto Di Piazza – it is equally true that it did not take root in Trieste. Instead, the tree of love and coexistence grew strong where cultures, religions, and races find each other, meet, and together contribute to our social, cultural, and economic growth”. The ceremony opened with the deposition of a laurel wreath in memory of the victims by the prefect Pietro Signoriello, the president of Friuli Venezia Region Giulia Massimiliano Fedriga, and Di Piazza. “If it is true that State antisemitism represents a historically significant but fortunately outdated phenomenon, at least in the democratic West, the same cannot be said about the persistence, within our societies, of pockets of intolerance, creeping or manifest, towards the Jewish communities and Israel”, remarked Fedriga on the sidelines. “January 27th – added – is therefore not only an occasion to remember the victims of the Holocaust but also to remind us all that the past, if forgotten, is destined to repeat itself”.
Photo by Giovanni Montenero.