Day of the Righteous 2023

in the twentieth anniversary of the Garden of Milan

March 3, 2023 h.10
Celebrations for the new Righteous
Milan Garden of the Righteous Worldwide

In 2012, the European Parliament accepted Gariwo's call to establish March 6 as the European Day of the Righteous, which then became a civil solemnity in Italy in 2017.
In Milan, the ceremony to lay the new plaques and deliver parchments to the Righteous is on March 3 at 10 a.m. at the Milan Garden of the Righteous together with representatives of the new honored Righteous and the Association for the Garden of the Righteous of Milan.

This year's theme is: “Saving the Humanity in Humankind. The Righteous and personal responsibility”.

We chose to honour with new plaques at Milan Garden: Gareth Jones, a Welsh journalist, he was the first one who documented Holodomor, clashing with Western indifference and Soviet censorship until his mysterious death; Alfreda “Noncia” Markowska, a Roma woman, during Porajmos she lost her family but risked her life to save as many Roma and Jewish children as possible from extermination; Hersch Lauterpacht, 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; Akram Aylisli, an Azeri writer, he denounced the violence of his country against Armenians and supported the dialogue between the two peoples, which he paid being “exiled” in his own land.

Can we still believe in humankind after the Shoah, the Gulag, the genocides of the 20th century and with a new war in Europe? It is a question we often ask ourselves. But it is also the question of Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate. His answer is in some ways paradoxical: evil cannot be eliminated from history since it comes with the temptation of Good. This was the appeal of totalitarian ideologies that convinced many men to kill in the name of building a paradise on earth. Yet, Grossman argues, evil never succeeds in changing human nature and suppressing the yearning for freedom inherent in human hearts.

This means that even in the face of extreme violence, the humanity in humankind cannot be eradicated. No form of violence, however strong and perfect it may be, can subjugate the force of life. A life can be taken, certainly, but it is not enough: even if life dies, it is still not defeated.

The people who helped Jews during World War II never thought of winning the war against Nazism, but simply acted, independently of the political context, so that their lives would not be corrupted by evil.

This is the secret of the Righteous, and we remember it on a special anniversary: the first 20 years of Milan Garden of the Righteous Worldwide.
This “secret” is revealed in the stories of people who save lives, denounce the horror of genocides, promote dialogue between peoples despite arrests and threats, and act so that the first signs of evil do not result in new exterminations.

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The initiatives in Milan

Friday, March 3, 2023 at 10 a.m.
A Ceremony for the New Righteous at the Garden of the Righteous in Milan

The celebrations are organized by the Association for Milan Garden of the Righteous, of which Gariwo Foundation is a member together with the City of Milan and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.


  • Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
  • Gabriele Nissim, president of Gariwo Foundation
  • Giorgio Mortara, UCEI
  • Philip Colley, great-nephew of Gareth Jones and coordinator of
  • Dijana Pavlovic, founder of the Kethane Movement in Italy
  • Gabriel Cox, granddaughter of Sir Hersch Lauterpacht
  • Pietro Kuciukian, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Italy and co-founder of Gariwo

During the ceremony there will also be the delivery of parchments in honor of the Righteous reported by civil society: Father Girolamo Tagliaferro, who during World War II worked in defense of the weakest and persecuted, Jews and political fugitives; Father Paolo Liggeri, who after the bombing of Milan in 1943 created the La Casa care center, organizing the escape of Jews and anti-fascists; Elvira and Ernesto Cattaneo and Mother Superior Teresa, who at the risk of their lives saved a Jewish child; Father Mussie Zerai, the Eritrean priest and activist who founded the NGO Habeshia, which has been assisting migrants for more than twenty years; Lodovico Targetti, the wool industrialist who during the German occupation hosted many Jews in his home in Moltrasio, accompanying them to the border; Luca Attanasio, the Italian Ambassador of Italy to Congo who has distinguished himself through his work and the Mama Sofia association for his great attention to the least and his defense of human rights in Africa.

After the ceremony, a discussion time is scheduled at the Ulianova Radice Amphitheater that will include school students, arriving from different parts of Italy, along with Father Mussie Zerai, Luca Attanasio's widow Zakia Seddiki, Sir Hersch Lauterpacht's granddaughter Gabriel Cox, Gareth Jones' great-nephew Philip Colley, the founder of the Kethane Movement in Italy Dijana Pavlovic, and the Honorary Consul of Armenia in Italy Pietro Kuciukian.

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