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France and the European Day of the Righteous

Interview to Patrick Cabanel

In view of the first European Day of the Righteous, the next 6 March, we suggest you some interviews and articles about the subject of “becoming Righteous”, that is what drove people to help Jews during the Shoah or what drive people everywhere to give aid to other men during genocides or totalitarisms. 

Today we questioned Patrick Cabanel, histiorian, sociologist, Professor of the University of Toulouse, who wrote the History of the French Righteous.

You wrote the volume “Histoire des Justes de France”. Would you like to talk about it? 

Of course. It is about 3.700 Righteous of France, that is the third country for number of Righteous, after Poland and Nethelands. The Righteous of France are from different social, cultural, religious and maybe political classes, and my research wants to be this: an historic, sociologic and religious study to explain this reality.

What is the importance of the European Day of the Righteous in France?

In France the population and the media don’t know the European Day of the Righteous. The decision of the European Parliament is recent and we have different days to commemorate the Shoah, the roundup at the Winter Velodrome and also the Righteous, at a French level.

If you should name-dropsome Righteous to commemorate during the European Day, maybe French Righteous to be presented in Italy, who would you mention?

The Catholic Cardinal of Toulouse Saliège and the protestant pastor André Trocmé with his wife Magda, who was Italian. This couple created the organization for the protestant resistance called Cimade, thanks to which the town of Chambon-sur-Lignon won an honour degree - Yad Vashem can’t give the title of Righteous bodies that are not natural person.

You direct a magazine that will host an article of Irena Steinfeldt of the Commission of the Righteous of Yad Vashem. Would you like to talk about this project? 

I direct the magazine Diasporas and in the next number I will talk about forests, gardens and trees that commemorate the Righteous all over the world. I will talk also of your organization Gariwo and I will host the opinion of the President of the Garden of the Righteous of Yad Vashem.

30 January 2013

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The European Day of Righteous

The value of individuals and personal responsibility

On May 10, the European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted the Written Declaration establishing March 6th as European Day in memory of the Righteous.
The concept of Righteous, born from the elaboration of the Yad Vashem Memorial to remember the non-Jews who rescued the Jews, becomes the patrimony of all humanity.
The term "Righteous" is no longer confined to the Holocaust only; it becomes a point of reference for those who remember the genocide and totalitarianism in all their efforts to defend human dignity.

The significance of this decision is reminiscent of one of the cornerstones of European culture: the value of the individual and personal responsibility.


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