The Gardens of the Righteous
Memory of civil and humanitarian conscience
The task of the “Gardens of the Righteous” in Europe – modeled on the Yad Vashem Garden in Jerusalem, dedicated to the “Righteous among the Nations” for the Holocaust – is twofold: to remind future generations of the exemplary figures of moral resistance to the totalitarian regimes that stained the history of the XX century with blood and to uphold the rights of peoples and of individuals to know the truth, without which neither individual nor collective identity can exist.
In 2003 Gabriele Nissim and Pietro Kuciukian, of the Committee for the Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide, inaugurated the “Garden of the Righteous Worldwide” in Milan – with contributions from the City of Milan and the Jewish Community – while a “Wall of Remembrance” was erected in Yerevan, alongside the Genocide Mausoleum, to honour the “Righteous for the Armenians”.
In Sarajevo, Svetlana Broz founded Gariwosa, the Bosnian section of the Committee for the Gardens of the Righteous. She continues to defend the value of civil coexistence and to ensure due recognition for those who refused to submit to the rationale of ethnic cleansing.
In Moscow, amid endless difficulties, the Memorial Association is trying to keep the memory of the victims of the GULag alive, while in St. Petersburg, Anatolij Razumov is battling to build the Memorial of Recovered Names, to preserve the identity of all those assassinated and thrown into common graves in Levashovo at the height of Stalinist terror.
A young German soldier and man of letters, Armin T. Wegner, stationed in Turkey in World War I, risked his life in 1916 to document the deportation and extermination of the Armenian people, secretly photographing the camps and the deportation route through the desert. In 1933 Wegner himself addressed a letter of protest to Hitler, appealing to the dignity and honour of the German people against the persecution of the Jews. His gesture cost him arrest and torture at the hands of the Gestapo.
At the beginning of the last century a famous Norwegian scientist, sportsman and diplomat, Fridtjof Nansen, fought to defend the disenfranchised, including the Armenian survivors of the genocide.
At different times and in different places but with the same humanitarian spirit: the Italian Consuls Giacomo Gorrini and Guelfo Zamboni who did their utmost to rescue victims – Armenians and Jews – from extermination, the former in Trebizond in 1915, the latter in Salonika in 1943; Vaclav Havel and the other “dissident” intellectuals and students of Charter ’77 in Czechoslovakia, without forgetting the terrible sacrifice of Jan Palach in Prague; Adam Michik and Jacek Kuron of the KOR, in Poland, along with young priests such as Father Popielusko, massacred by the secret police, and the Danzig shipyard workers that founded the independent trade union Solidarnosc; the writers and poets Anna Achmatova, Osip Mandelst’am, Alexander Solzhenitzyn, Varlam Shalamov in the USSR, the free spirits who fell victim to the GULag: all these courageous men and women had the moral fortitude to preserve their own human dignity, to uphold the right of freedom of thought, intimately convinced that they were only serving truth, by responding to their own consciences.
Alongside the real and extant “Gardens of the Righteous”, Wefor presents other imaginary or “virtual gardens” in European capitals that pay tribute to the exemplary figures whose moral courage enabled them to take a stand, in diverse historical circumstances, against totalitarianism and crimes against humanity.
These virtual Gardens have been created in 3D in order to make them lifelike and to enable users to interact with and within them, surfing, chatting with each other in real time, using other ways of marking their passage, such as leaving a note, a bunch of flowers, a thought, a tribute, or asking questions, suggesting books, films and events, exchanging opinions, agreeing to meet up in the garden, in a precise point, beneath a specific tree …..
Communicate with the Righteous
- Choose a Garden to leave your dedication to a Righteous
Ho appena studiato i Giusti a scuola e ne sono rimasto colpito. Farò tesoro di quello che ho imparato e non lo dimenticherò. Lorenzo
Una donna campione di tolleranza e rispettosa di tutte le identità
God Bless you!
Virtual tour of the Righteous among the nationsVisit to the Garden of the Righteous of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
Wefor is our Website dedicated to the figures of moral resistance against totalitarianism. The virtual Gardens of Europe’s Righteous and the teaching section YouFor are the core of this project realized by Gariwo, the forest of the Righteous. Through the establishment of the European Day of the Righteous by the Brussels Parliament, Wefor has received its highest recognition.