Versione italiana | Search in site:


Nissim: “My mother also escaped from the Nazis thanks to the fishermen”

At 3:30, last night, was presented "New Hope", the memorial to remember all the victims of the 3 October 2013, edited by Vito Fiorino and Gariwo.

LAMPEDUSA (AG), 3 OCTOBER At 3:30, the silence of the memory of the 368 victims was interrupted by the embrace between some survivors and Vito Fiorino, the man who saved 47 people that night with his fishing boat.

Too few, compared to the huge number of names reported in the memorial New Hope, the work desired and conceived by Fiorino together with Gariwo, which for over twenty years is committed to seeking and remembering those people who have made the decision to save lives in times of emergency and injustice. Like six years ago, off the “Rabbit Beach”.

"Massacres without the memory of names are useful for those who want to remove suffering and anesthetize consciences," explained Gabriele Nissim, president of Gariwo, in front of a touched Fiorino, who, with the memorial, sees a dream come true that he had been carrying on for a long time. So Piave Square, crowded with Lampedusans and migrants, tried to restore dignity to all the victims of the 3 October 2013.

"Whoever dove into the sea not only saved lives - continued Nissim - but showed that each of us, in his own small way, always has a choice”.

Nissim also launched a provocation towards those who diminish the tragedy of the Mediterranean compared to the great injustices of history: "If I could come into the world, I owe it to the fishermen who brought my grandparents, my mother and her sisters with their boat in 1943 from the Island of Evia in Greece to the coasts of Turkey. At that time, the Germans, who had just arrived in Greece, began preparations for the destruction of the Jewish community. My mother had survived thanks to the responsible choice of fishermen in the face of the persecution of the Jews”.

The celebrations will continue in the afternoon: at 16:30, will be held a ceremony, during which an olive tree will be planted and will be unveiled the plaque dedicated to the "Righteous" who helped to save the survivors of the tragedy, figures like Fiorino who "have not been indifferent and have assumed a responsibility in the face of those who died in the Mediterranean”.

The Turin-based street artist Neve (Danilo Pistone) decided to take part in the project too. Near the memorial he painted a mural dedicated to the tragedy of migrants.


The interior of the memorial is meant to be the skeleton of a boat; around it, a spiral that wraps it from top to bottom; on it, the 366 names of all the shipwrecked people, at the base, a blue patch that wants to symbolize the sea. That sea which has tragically swallowed them and that, together with the indifference of those who saw them that night thinking to recover them the next morning, has not allowed them to see the dawn again.

Why is this memorial born? “In all these years, since the 3 October 2013, I had the fixed thought of how these human beings, women, children and men had been numbered from 1 to 366 and scattered in the various cemeteries of Agrigento without a common point to be honoured and remembered - said Vito Fiorino - So, when I went to Stockholm to visit some of the boys I saved that night, I expressed the desire to create a memorial in Lampedusa. I started talking about it with associations and ordinary people, I prepared a first sketch of the idea and I asked for help to my friend Gaia Rossi, architect, who in a few hours developed my thinking”.

An idea shared by Gariwo: "When Vito told us he wanted to create a monument that reminds everyone of the tragedy of 2013, I felt great tenderness, because I thought of his personal trauma and the fact that he almost conceived that monument as a restorative act for not being able to save everyone”, explain the president Nissim. “But then, promising him all our support, I suggested that the monument was not just a symbol of mourning, but that it would testify to future generations the possibility of choose of every human being”.


Considered one of the most renowned exponents of neomuralism in Italy, Neve has painted freehand hyper-realistic walls of titanic dimensions throughout Europe and has exhibited works all over the world. In fact, each of his works proposes a message, a question or at least a food for thought, with the intention of dialoguing with the observer on archetypal themes of the human being or on current events.

4 October 2019

Don’t miss the story of the Righteous and the memory of Good

Once a month you will receive articles and events selected by Gariwo Editorial Board. Please fill out the field below and click on subscribe.


Remember the past in order to build a future

The International Committee of the Armenian Righteous. Memory is the Future was founded by Piero Kuciukian in order to commemorate those who went against the genocide of 1915. The title emphasises the function of the memory, which is not a nostalgic look back in history, but a a clear sense of the past to build a future without making old mistakes.
The memory has many solutions and presents conflicting results, either positive or negative depending on how it is treated. Reflections on the previous events help us to understand the present, which means to search for the coordinates that allow us to interpret new situations with awareness of the dangers or opportunities that are triggered by certain mechanisms such as cultural, social and individual. The experience of the genocides of the twentieth century, the phenomenon of totalitarianism, resulted in the devastating world war, the balance of power during the Cold War, provide very precise indications on the geopolitical hegemony and humanitarian frifts to be avoided, while the example of the Righteous, their varied efforts on behalf of the persecuted, the demand for freedom, independence of thought and the instance of the defense of human dignity, are to be taken to avoid the pitfalls of arrogance, denial of truth, the rejection of diversity, closing the other, unilateral decision.

read more


Theatrical show based on Gabriele Nissim's books

Il Memorioso. Short guide to the memory of Good

Featured story

Carlo Bianchi

he dedicated his life helping those in need, saving the Sonnino-Shapira Jewish family from persecution