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Interview with Wojciech Soczewica
executive director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation

Interview with Wojciech Soczewica

Topical News

Farewell to David Sassoli, a President on the side of the Righteous

The Gariwo Foundation learns with deep sadness the news of the death of the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli. First as a journalist, then as a representative of the European institutions, Sassoli put a deep civil commitment at the basis of his actions. We remember him for having fought hard for human rights and for having been among the first signatories of Gariwo's proposal to establish a European Day dedicated to the Righteous of humanity, approved by the European Parliament on 10 May 2012.


New Righteous chosen for Milan Monte Stella Garden

The Committee of Guarantors of the Association for the Garden of the Righteous in Milan, of which Gariwo and the Municipality are part, ratified the choices expressed by the Assembly last December 22 regarding the theme and the figures for the celebrations of March 6, 2022 at Garden of the Righteous of Monte Stella in Milan: "Preventing genocides and mass atrocities. The stories of the Righteous against silence and indifference". The approved figures are: Raphael Lemkin, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Henry Morgenthau, Ilham Tohti, Evgenija Solomonovna Ginzburg, Godeliève Mukasarasi. 


Auschwitz never ends

Gabriele Nissim, on the occasion of the fifth Gariwo Network "Preventing genocide through the example of the Righteous", explains how Gariwo intends to bring alive the spirit of the Convention for the Prevention and Suppression of the Crime of Genocide, so that the Gardens of the Righteous can become a fundamental cultural support in society. By Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman 


Gariwo’s philosophy: educate to optimism and responsibility through the memory of the Righteous

It may seem paradoxical, but even few Righteous can save the idea of ​​hope and of the future, because they show that human beings, though fragile, can become the judges of their destiny. Thus an optimistic message is conveyed from extreme evil. If every human being takes his or her responsibility, situations can be overturned, even if the outcomes are not quantifiable and immediate. By Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman


Polish heroism during World War II

This is probably the only recorded story to emerge from the Holocaust of a close and intimate collaboration between Polish diplomats (mainly in Switzerland, but also in other countries) and Jewish rescue activists that led to a major effort to rescue thousands of Jews, and succeeded in saving certainly many hundreds and perhaps even more. The major rescuers in this story, headed by Aleksander Ładoś, need to be acknowledged, praised and made universally known. By Mordecai Paldiel


Teaching skepticism to prevent genocide

If the abandonment of skepticism is necessary for propaganda to be effective enough to allow genocide to happen, then the presence of skepticism can prevent genocide. The Righteous communicate their skepticism when that behaviour counts most. By Craig T. Palmer, anthropologist 


Michael Žantovský: "The lesson of Vaclav Havel during the pandemic"

Micheal Žantovský is the official biographer of Vaclav Havel and the director of the Prague's Vaclav Havel Library. But, first of all, Michael was one of the closest friends of the former President of the Czech Republic, honored at the Garden of Milan as Righteous. We talked with him about Havel's heritage during the complex age we are living today. 


Sima Samar. Doctor and activist for women’s rights in Afghanistan

When she was born in 1957 in Jaghori, Afghanistan, Sima Samar’s destiny seemed to be marked: she was a woman, in a place where women’s rights were violated and forgotten and she belonged to the Hazara ethnic group, among the most persecuted in the country. However, it was precisely these two characteristics that marked her path and her desire for change. First Afghan woman to graduate in Kabul, she dedicated her life to defending the rights of women in her country, against fundamentalism.


Stories

Rodolfo Walsh

On March 24, 1977, the day before his death, Rodolfo Walsh wrote an open letter to General Videla and the military junta, the Carta Abierta de un Escritor a la Junta Militar, which criticized the censorship of the press, the persecution of intellectuals, and described in detail the totalitarian and military nature of Jorge Rafael Videla's regime which was established exactly one year earlier.


Raphael Lemkin

Lemkin, a Polish and Jewish jurist, is the coiner of the notion of "genocide". He devoted his life to add this notion to international law and to preventing this crime from recurring. He formulated a proposal for making the destruction of national, social, and religious groups an international crime. On December 9, 1948, this proposal was approved unanimously at the UN: the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was born, and Lemkin’s huge, extenuating efforts had finally been rewarded.


Sadia Hussein

Sadia Hussein, from Kenya, underwent FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) at 10. At 21, she painfully gave birth to her first daughter and decided she’d never have to go through the same hell. Her daughter was the first of many girls that she saved from the knife. Today, Sadia Hussein, aged 34, is one of Kenya’s most powerful advocates for the eradication of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). She is building a mass movement and undertaking the difficult task of eradicating a collective and deeply ingrained social practice.


Dolkun Isa

Uyghur Human Rights laureate of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in 2016 and exiled in Germany for over 20 years, Dolkun Isa has never stopped fighting to denounce injustice and violence suffered by his people. A victim of constant intimidation, he raised the Uyghur issue before the United Nations, before EU institutions, and in individual states. In 2017, he was also elected Vice-president of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), of which the World Uyghur Congress is a member. 


Berta Cáceres

Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores was a Honduran activist who fought for the protection of the land and the rights of the Lenca people. In 1993, when she was still a student, she co-founded the Consejo Civico de Organizaciones indigenas Populares (Council of the People’s Indigenous Organizations or COPINH). Due to her activism, Cáceres was threatened by the local police more than once. On March 3, 2016she was murdered by armed men in her home in La Esperanza, in Honduras. Her death has sparked international outrage. 


Hrant Dink

Born on 15 September 1954, Hrant Dink was a Turkish-Armenian intellectual, editor-in-chief of Agos, journalist, and columnist. In 1996, he founded "Agos" (The Furrow), a bilingual newspaper for Istanbul’s Armenian community. From the columns of this paper, he tirelessly advocated reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and between Turkey and Armenia. On 19 January 2007 he was shot dead by an assassin as he was leaving his "Agos" office.


Ilham Tohti

Ilham Tohti - 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders - is an Uyghur university professor born on October 25, 1969, in Artush, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Province. In 2014, Chinese authorities sentenced him to life in prison on charges of inciting "separatism." In 2016, he received the Martin Ennals Prize, which many consider the Nobel Prize for Human Rights. 


The Charters for responsibilities

Web reality. Tips for online awareness

To foster the development of personal awareness in conscious use of the Web and say no to the violence of words, Gariwo has proposed the Charter for social media, made up of suggestions to stay online in a conscious way.


Good competition. Tips for responsible sport

The behaviour of athletes, fans and even sports journalists can positively influence our society. Stories of virtuous actions in sport create a spirit of emulation in stadiums and sports fields.


The responsibility of a fragile planet

Gariwo wants to make his voice heard about the urgency of doing something to save the world we live in. This is why we have proposed the Charter for the environment, made up of reflections and virtuous practices to understand and deal with the climate emergency.


Charter of Remembrance

Remembrance has been extremely educational in that it has made us understand how genocides were not an extra-historical catastrophe, but rather happened due to the responsibility of human beings. This happened on a battlefield where there were executioners, accomplices, indifferent, resistant, spectators, Righteous individuals and all the intermediate nuances which, as Primo Levi knew and described to us, are very numerous.


  • About us

    Gariwo is the acronym of Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide.

    We are a Non-Profit Organization based in Milan, with international coworkers.

    Since 1999 we have worked to make the people aware about the Righteous: we think that the memory of Good is a powerful educational tool and can help prevent cases of genocide and crimes against Humanity.

    This is why we create Gardens of the Righteous worldwide and use the communication means, social networks and public events to spread the message of responsibility. From the European Parliament we have obtained the establishment of the European Day of the Righteous - 6 March.

    Our activity is supported by institutions, schools, volunteers, an International Scientific Committee and our 'Ambassadors'.

  • ​The Gardens of the Righteous

    The Gardens are like open books that tell the Righteous’ stories.

    They are public spaces, places of memory, meeting and dialogue. Here it’s possible to organize initiatives for students and citizens, to keep alive the examples of the Righteous all the year round, not only by planting new trees.

    The Garden of Milan was born in 2003 at Monte Stella Park. The Association for the Garden of the Righteous - formed by Gariwo, Milan City Hall and UCEI - was created in 2008, and it takes care of the Garden activities.

    Every year, a lot of Gardens arise in cities and schools in Italy and all over the world.

    Our aim is to create a widespread network to connect everybody who believes in these topics.

  • European Day of the Righteous

    On 10 May 2012, the Parliament in Strasbourg approved Gariwo’s call establishing the European Day of the Righteous on 6 March - remembering the death of Moshe Bejski, the creator of the Avenue of the Righteous. On 7 December 2017 Italy became the first country to officially join the marking of that recurrence, with the law that establishes also at the national level a Day in memory of the Righteous of the humanity.  Starting from Yad Vashem, we have extended the meaning of the term “Righteous” including men and women who saved lives in all the genocides and defended human dignity during totalitarianisms.

    Every year we celebrate the example of the Righteous of past and of the present, to spread the values of responsibility, tolerance and solidarity.

  • The Charter of responsibilities 2017

    The Charter of responsibilities 2017 arises from the collective reflection proposed by Gariwo through the series of meetings The crisis of Europe and the Righteous of our time, held in cooperation with Teatro Franco Parenti - Accademia del Presente and under the patronage of Università degli Studi di Milano and the Corriere della Sera Foundation.

    The Charter, inspired by the experience of Charta ’77 and subscribed by important personalities from the world of culture and society, represents our ethical commitment for the memory of Good and the education to responsibility, to reaffirm the value of plurality, of peace and non violence, as opposed to the culture of hatred and enemy.

Waiting for 6 March

European Day of the Righteous 2022

The Day of the Righteous 2022 is coming! To discover together the six new exemplary figures that will enrich the Garden of the Righteous in Milan, we will follow a six-week journey in which we will tell you something about them. Click to discover the page dedicated to March 6th!

Do you organize a celebration for the Day of the Righteous?
Tell us about your event

Raphael Lemkin

Born into a Jewish family in eastern Poland in 1900, Lemkin devoted his life to ensuring that genocide be added to international law and to preventing this crime from recurring. As a child, in Poland, he was struck by his mother’s tales of heroism, suffering and struggle, and he was later to experience anti-Semitism first hand...

From Bulgaria

the analysis

Fortytwo worthy Bulgarians: the saviors we have never heard of

editorial by Daniel Pangev, 15 November 2021

How exactly did the Bulgarian people save the Jews? In 2021 the Bulgarian and world community continue to be bombarded with the cliché that "the Bulgarian people, the church and Peshev saved the Jews." This is a half-truth, and every half-truth is a whole lie as said Benjamin Arditi’s son from Holon.

GariwoNetwork - speeches

Speech by Gabriele Nissim
Raphael Lemkin and the role of the Gardens in the prevention of genocide
Conversation with Liliana Segre
Senator for life and Holocaust survivor
Speech by Francesco M. Cataluccio
The ethical value of the discussion on Memory and on the Righteous
Speech by Piero Fassino
The role of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the prevention of genocide

Afghanistan

I wanted to be the voice of my people, of Afghan women and children: yes I took the risk

Rahel Saya is an Afghan activist and journalist who fled Afghanistan thanks to an international rescue operation. She criticized the Talibans especially for their behaviour regarding women and children rights and she suffered great risks for that. Since we know that the voice of a reporter is the voice of the people of the society, I wanted to be the voice of my people, especially the voice of Afghan women and children and tell the truth to everyone. Yes I took the risk, but because I loved my job and activities, I never gave up and I will never give up.

Genocide prevention

Memory and knowledge for the prevention of genocides

Genocides and mass atrocities reappear in history in different ways but with similar mechanisms, languages, and dynamics. Therefore, knowing how to read, recognize and bring them to the world's attention is fundamental for preventing such crimes. That is why the knowledge of what happens inextricably links to memory so that we can keep the promise of "never again." But what are the most severe and urgent scenarios of genocide and mass atrocities today?