Conversation with Piotr M.A. Cywinski
The director of Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Piotr M.A. Cywiński told us about the responsibility he feels in running such an important place (“not sacred but of death”, as Wlodek Goldkorn defined it), where over a million men, women and children lost their lives. He mainly spoke of visits to Auschwitz as “the awakening of moral restlessness that has no meaning unless it is a ritual of passage”, through which the life of those who pass through that gate as ‘tourists’ cannot remain the same.
The Gariwo method
It is important to reflect on the pedagogical and educational purpose of the Gardens of the Righteous for the moral growth of society. We may call it the Gariwo method: a new bottom-up experience aimed at making young people and citizens the protagonists of human and international affairs, in a framework where a passive spectator behaviour almost always prevails. By Gabriele Nissim, President of Gariwo
World Press Freedom Day 2023
Against the mystification of reality, in the Garden of the Righteous, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian journalists and activists talked about a year of military invasion. Without the filter of censorship and beyond the language of propaganda. People and places of the war, through the testimony of the journalist Ilia Krasilshchik and the exhibition of the photographer and artist Danila Tkachenko have been at the core of the initiative.
Serving the community, despite the threat of Islamist extremism, corruption, and drought
If there is a Garden of the Righteous in Halabja, much of it is due to the determination of Qayssar Ahmed. A survivor of the 1988 genocide, once he returned from the tent cities in Iran, Qayssar became a journalist and communications expert. Director of Radio Dangi NWE, a community radio station for young people and women, he is a member of the Kurdistan journalists' union and the International Federation of Journalists. But above all, together with his wife Hero, he is the driving force behind the NWE organization, which pioneeringly fights to connect the memory of the genocide to today's struggles: freedom of expression, women's rights, environmental protection.
Hitler, Stalin, and Mr Jones – the story of a true Welsh hero
There are many unsung heroes throughout Welsh history. People who have fought for human rights, struggled against oppression and repression, challenged those in power, and championed the underdog. Importantly, there are also those who exposed corruption and told the truth. The erudite and courageous investigative Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who was tragically murdered so young for telling the truth, certainly falls into the hero category. Today in Milan, a plaque was unveiled by the Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide (Gariwo) to honour Jones as a defender of human rights and for his role in uncovering the horrors of the Great Soviet famine of 1933. By Christopher Evans for Nation.Cymru
"We remember the legacy of your work for the recognition of human rights for the individual"
As a non-lawyer myself, I would like to mention two areas of Hersch's work that have touched me deeply, writings that are relevant for a broader audience. There is his remarkable book, An International Bill of the Rights of Man. And, then there is his role in the famous Nuremberg Trials. It was he who introduced the concept of Crimes against Humanity into the Statute and international law, and he wrote large parts of the seminal opening and closing arguments for the British prosecutor, Sir Hartley Shawcross. By Gabriel Cox
"Gareth revealed that millions were dying across the Soviet Union"
Gareth’s aim was to reveal that millions were dying across the Soviet Union, not just Ukrainians but Kazakhs, Cossacks, German colonists and yes Russians, too. They were all, as precious individuals, victims of Stalin’s disastrous policies, not least collectivization. They all deserve to be remembered and given a voice. And, thanks partly to Gareth as a brilliant journalist and a true humanitarian, Stalin’s crime against humanity was revealed to the world as it was taking place. He gave them that voice. By Philip Colley
Saving the Humanity in Humankind—Literally!
On the same day that I read Gariwo’s theme for this year’s Day of the Righteous would be “Saving the Humanity in Humankind. The Righteous and personal responsibility,” a disturbing story was circulating through the American news. Before I can explain why that particular news story gave extra urgency to Gariwo’s theme, I must first explain why I think Gariwo’s avoidance of painting gardens in any specific “political coloring” is so important. By Craig T. Palmer
Gareth Jones was born on August 13, 1905 in a port town not far from Cardiff, called Barry. His mother was a tutor, who worked for the nephews of John Hughes, a Welsh steal industrial who founded the city of Juzovka (or Hughesovka), todays Donetsk, Ukraine. It is probably thanks to Huges’ stories that Gareth begins to hear about Ukraine...
Alfreda “Noncia” Markowska
“Noncia” was a Polish-Romani woman from Stanisławów. She had a mission: wherever there was a massacre, whether of Roma people or Jews, she would go and try to rescue as many children as possible. She saved more than fifty of them in this way.
A British jurist, he placed individuals at the core of the law and fostered the idea of personal responsibility in the face of inhumane orders in Nuremberg. A pivotal part of his work was the creation and publication in 1945 of An International Charter of Human Rights, a pioneering piece of writing that argued for a treaty protecting fundamental human rights.
An Azerbaijani writer, Akram Aylisli, defied in solitude his government by publishing a book about Armenians. He found some copies set on fire under his house and a $12,700 bounty on his head, offered to whoever will cut off the elderly writer’s ears. He was stripped of his pension and the high state honour he had been awarded for cultural merit, that of People’s Writer. His wife and son were dismissed.
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.
In the night of 24 April 1915, the Armenian élite of Constantinople was arrested, deported and eliminated. Then, the army disarmed and massacred the Armenian militaries, and compelled them into forced labour on the railway Berlin-Baghdad. In Spring, the government started the systematic deportation of the Armenian population to the desert of Der es Zor.
A Foundation for the Righteous
Gariwo along with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation
On January 9th, in Warsaw, Gariwo’s and Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation’s representatives, along with a member of the Warsaw Garden of the Righteous Committee, Jozèf Wancer, instituted the International Garden of the Righteous Foundation. The establishment of the Foundation was announced in a press conference held in Warsaw in occasion of the 2023 European Day of the Righteous.
A dance with the Iranian community at the Milan's Garden
A gallery of the pictures taken during the event organized by Gariwo Foundation, along with the Association of the Iranian’s diaspora Maana, in occasion of the Sizdah bedar, the Iranian’s Day of nature. It was a morning of celebration, but also of discussion on very important topics alongside the Iranian community. A very emotional moment was, particularly, the dancing one, which was guided by the professional Iranian dancer Saba Poori.
Garden of Milan
A “good cop” to prevent genocide. We can help him/her with the Garden of the Righteous
We envision these Gardens as a great agora, a civic temple dedicated to the value of the human person, where visitors are urged to become citizens who take responsibility, not only for their own country, also for the destiny of the entire world. They thus represent the place, as Liliana Segre suggests, that teaches us not to be indifferent. Unlike in the past, when passivity allowed for the worst crimes.
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?