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Gariwo's Call for the European Parliament

to set up EU Day of the Righteous

Il Corriere della Sera: Thursday May 10th 2012. Antonio Carioti.


Translation: Marc-Henri Fermont for Gariwo


Europe will celebrate a European Day for the Righteous on March 6th


Dr Moshe Bejski honored in Italy and in Europe


 


A European Day for the Righteous of the whole world will be celebrated annually on March 6th. 382 Euro-MP, namely the absolute majority, approved this commemoration in honor of those who saved the lives of persecuted victims or who defended human dignity when confronted with totalitarian regimes or with the genocides of the twentieth century, like the Shoah, the Gulag, the Armenian genocide or the huge massacres which took place in Rwanda or in Cambodia.


 


This initiative was put into motion by the Milan based Association «Gariwo, Gardens for of the Righteous Worldwide” led by Gabriele Nissim. It received initially the support of five Euro MP of whom three are Italians, namely Gabriele Albertini (Pdl) David Maria Sassoli (Pd) and Nicolo Rinaldi (Idv), as well as the Polish Euro-MP Lena Kolarska-Bobinska.


 


The date chosen for honoring the Righteous of the whole world is March 6th which is the day on which Israeli Supreme Court Judge Moshe Bejski passed away in 2007. Supreme Judge Moshe Bejski was the President of the Yad Vashem Righteous Commission during twenty years from 1975 to 1995. Yad Vashem is the impressive monument in Jerusalem dedicated to the memory of the Shoah victims, as well as to those who helped and saved the Jewish victims of the Nazi persecutions. The proposal for an annual commemoration for the Righteous was presented to the EU Parliament in January 2012 and was sponsored initially by the five Euro-MP’s mentioned. Gradually, other Euro-MP’s signed the proposal, at first mostly Polish and Italian Euro-MP’s, then others joined in to reach in May the absolute majority required to pass the decree.


 


Gabriele Nissim is elated: « It is indeed a great success, as it is the first time such a proposal receives a wide approval. This initiative encompasses all genocides without any ideological limitations. We had to overcome the reluctance of those who keep an indulgent judgment on the Soviet Union and the Gulags, of those who refuse to compare the Gulag and the Shoah or who are  fearful to dilute the Shoah amidst other genocides of the twentieth century or who wish to keep a low profile on the Armenian genocide in order to avoid hurting Turkish susceptibilities. Nissim adds: In the end, we succeeded because we were able to rally prominent personalities in support of our initiative, like the recently deceased Czech President Vaclav Havel’s widow.


 


Gariwo President who recently published a philosophical essay about the Righteous under the title «Senseless Goodness » published last year by Mondadori stressed that the celebration must carry a positive message. He adds « By honoring all those who oppose totalitarian regimes, we defend a a fundamental European value, namely individual responsibility. In a period marked by spiritual disorientation, it is an essential dimension to promote. Finally, the fact that this successful initiative is Italian is also a beautiful victory for our country”


Judge Moshe Bejski was born in 1921 in Dzialoszyce in Poland. He survived the WW2 on Oskar Schindler’s list. He immigrated to Palestine in 1946 and received a doctorate of law at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950. From 1979 to 1991, he was Judge to the Israel Supreme Court. He served as President of the Yad Vashem Righteous Commission from 1975 to 1995 and was Chairman of the Massuah Holocaust Institute from 1990 to 2006. His wife Erica Bejski, born Eifermann, was born in Czernowitz in Bukowina and survived WW2 thanks to Mayor Trajan Popovici’s protection.  


Non-profit association Gariwo, the forest of the Righteous, which has promoted Wefor, the European project for the building of the Virtual Gardens of Europe’s Righteous, has launched a call for the European institutions – the Parliament in Strasbourg, the Commission in Brussels and the Council of Europe, to establish a European Day dedicated to the Righteous.


The call has received the support of outstanding Italian, European and international personalites and institutions.


Recently, we have received the endorsement of the Geremek Foundation. So reads the message: 
 


LETTER OF ENDORSEMENT TO THE PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A EUROPEAN DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS 


On behalf of Bronisław Geremek Foundation we express our full endorsement of the initiative of the committee GARIWO, the Forest of the Righteous for the establishment of a European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous.


In our opinion the idea of remembering the people who have helped rescue human dignity and life during totalitarian genocides is fully compliant with the life and values of the patron of our Foundation: professor Bronisław Geremek.


The establishment of a European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous will be a chance to promote the values of totlerance, civil courage, respect towards the other. This is why we urge the members of the European Parliament to sign the Written Declaration relating to this initiative.


 


Jolanta Kurska                                                                        Maria Starzewska




As we presented Wefor, approved by EACEA within the programme "Active citizenship" for the year 2009-2010, the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek sent us the following message:


"As President of the European Parliament and former Solidarnosc activist, I praise very mach this cultural initiative wich creates a virtual space with information on exemplary figures of moral resistance to totalitarianism in our European history".


Jerzy Buzek, 26 July 2010


CALL


A European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous




The Righteous saved Europe’s honour at the time of the Holocaust: in a period dominated by passive onlookers and slaughterers they allowed us not to despair of mankind, because they did not hesitate to risk their own lives to save those of their fellow human beings. In France, in Italy, in Poland, even in Germany itself, all over Europe there were men and women who hid, protected and rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazi fury.




The Righteous have also acted in other situations, opposing the Armenian genocide, helping victims in Rwanda, in Cambodia or during the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia.




The Righteous are also the men and women who defended dignity and freedom in totalitarian regimes, who denounced the gulag and who, with their courage, flung the doors wide for the reunification of Europe.




Such examples have a universal value, their deeds constantly remind us that Good can prevail, they exhort us to emulate their heritage and their steadfast opposition to all forms of racism and discrimination on ethnic, social, political and religious grounds.




The deeds of the Righteous stand as warnings against persecution and for the prevention of genocide wherever its pernicious seeds are sown.




In the violent world we live in, remembering the deeds of the Righteous, paying tribute to Good, demonstrating that every individual, however humble, can make a gesture that will save the life of another human being, has a huge educational value for today’s youth!




For these reasons we are appealing to the European Union and the Council of Europe to institute a day of remembrance for the Righteous.


By MAREK HALTER, Writer and human rights activist, PIETRO KUCIUKIAN, Honorary Consul of Armenia in Italy and GABRIELE NISSIM, Historian, essayist and Chairman of Gariwo, the forest of the Righteous


 


 


First signatories


GABRIELE ALBERTINI, Member of the European Parliament 


MAGDI CRISTIANO ALLAM, Journalist, Member of the European Parliament 


SERGIO COFFERATI, Member of the European Parliament


TIMOTHY KIRKHOPE, Member of the European Parliament


LENA KOLARSKA-BOBINSKA, Member of the European Parliament


CLAUDE MORAES, Member of the European Parliament


CRISTIANA MUSCARDINI, Vicepresident Foreign Trade Committee, European Parliament


IOAN MIRCEA PAŞCU, Vicepresident Foreign Affairs Committee and  Delegation for the relations with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Nato, European Parliament  


GIANNI PITTELLA, Vicepresident European Parliament


NICCOLÒ RINALDI, Member of the European Parliament, Vicepresident ADLE – Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe


DAVID SASSOLI, Journalist, Member of the European Parliament


BRIAN SIMPSON, Member of the European Parliament


PATRIZIA TOIA, Member of the European Parliament


GIOMMARIA UGGIAS, Member of the European Parliament


 


FAIZA ABDUL-WAHAB, Daughter to Khaled Abdul-Wahab, rescuer of Jews in Tunisia


WLADISLAW BARTOSZEWSKI, Former Minister of the Foreign Affairs, Poland


PAVEL BRATINKA, Politician, Former Viceminister of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic 


SVETLANA BROZ, Chairwoman of Gariwo Sarajevo and author of Good People in an Evil Time


ZBIGNIEW BUJAK, Former Solidarnosc Member, Former Member of the Polish Parliament, professor at Warsaw University


IWO  BYCZEWSKI, Former Viceminister and Ambassodor of Poland in Belgium, Member of the Executive Board of the Polish Diplomatic Academy


TADEUSZ CHUDECKI, Polish actor and writer


PIERANTONIO COSTA, Italian Consul in Kigali, nominated for the 2011 Peace Nobel Prize


PATRIZIA DI LUCA, President of the Sanmarinese Commission for the UNESCO, Republic of San Marino


RAKEL DINK, Chairwoman Hrant Dink Foundation, Istanbul


HAN DONGFANG, Independent unionist in China, director of organization China Labour Bulletin


ANNA DRABIK, Chairwoman of the Association Children of the Holocaust, Poland


MARC-HENRI FERMONT, Economist and historian, Villefranche sur Mer, France


KONSTANTY GEBERT, War correspondent and former Solidarnosc activist


DAVID GLASSER, Director Ben Uri Art Gallery, London


DANIEL J. GOLDHAGEN, Essayist, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners and Worse than War, United States


AGNES GRUNWALD-SPIER, Holocaust survivor, author of The other Schindlers, Trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in the United Kingdom


AGNES HIRSCHI, Daughter to Carl Lutz, Swiss Viceconsul in Budapest from 1942 to 1945, recognised as Righteous among the Nations in 1964 


RICHARD G. HOVANNISIAN, Historian, US


MILAN HORÁCEK, Founder of the German Green Party, Former member of the Bundestag and the European Parliament


KRYSTYNA JANDA, Actress, Poland 


RAYMOND KEVORKIAN, Historian, France


MAJA KOMOROWSKA, Actress, Poland


DANUTA KURON, Chairwoman of the Jacek Kuron Educational Foundation, Poland 


JAROSLAW KURSKI, Vice Chief-Editor Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland


ANDREAS MAISLINGER, Founder and chairman of the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service


TADEUSZ MAZOWIECKI, Former Prime Minister, Poland


ANTONELLA MULARONI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of San Marino


YOLANDE MUKAGASANA, Nominated for the Peace Nobel Prize 2011, Rwanda


SIOBHAN F. NASH-MARSHALL, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at  Manatthanville College New York


ANNA NEHREBECKA-BYCZEWSKA, Actress, Poland 


MARTIN PALOUS, Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Czech Republic 


PATRUK PLESKOT, Researcher for the Institute for National Remembrance (IPN), Poland


ADAM DANIEL RORFELD, Former Minister of the Foreign Affairs, Poland 


ESMOND SIDNEY ROSEN, Author of educational booklet 'The Role of Righteous Muslims', Birmingham


ANDRZEJ ROTTERMUND, Director of Warsaw Royal Palace


DAVID RUSSELL, Chairman Survivors Fund, London


ROBERT SATLOFF, Executive director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


PAULA SAWICKA, Chairwoman of the Association Otwarta Rzeczpospolita (Open Republic), Poland


VICTORIA SHALDOVA, Executive director of Riga ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum


DORIS STIEFEL, Associate Professor Emeritus, School of Dentistry, University of Washington 


KRZYSZTOF STRZALKA,  Poland’s Consul General in Milan


ANNA STUPNICKA – BANDO, Chairwoman of the Polish Association of the Righteous Among the Nations


JERZY TRELA, Polish Actor 


ANDRZEJ WAJDA, Director, Poland


RAFAL WIECZYNSKI, Director, Poland 


EWA WIERZYNSKA, Director of the Jan Karski Project of the Museum of Polish History, Warsaw


MALGORZATA ZAKRZEWSKA, President of the Culture Committee, Warsaw City Hall


KRZYSZTOF ZANUSSI, Film director, Poland


RAGIP ZARAKOLU, Publisher, journalist and human rights activist, Turkey


 


MILAN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL


ALBERTO FRANCHI, Chairman of the Catholic-Democratic Cooperative association for Culture, Brescia


BIANCA GAUDIANO, Director of Asteria Culture Centre


FRANÇOISE KANKINDI, Chairwoman association Bene Rwanda, Italy 


KARTA, Documentation center on the history of Poland and Eastern Europe, Warsaw


MEMORIAL ITALIA,  Association for the preservation of the remembrance of historical sources of the 20th Century  


HOUSE OF TERROR, Budapest


FRANCO PERLASCA, Chairman Giorgio Perlasca Foundation, Padua 


SENZA CONFINI (WITHOUT BORDERS), Association for Human Rights, Peace and Memory, Meda – Monza and Brianza


ZNAK, Foundation for Christian Culture, Cracow


 


DARIO ALLEVI, President of Monza Province


ANTONIA ARSLAN, Writer, Author of The Lark Farm


DANIELE BASSI, Professor at University of Milan


LORENZO BERTUCCELLI, Associate Professor of Contemporary History, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia


MARCO BERSANELLI, Astrophysicist, Professor at the University of Milan, Coworker with the European Space Agency


PAOLA BIGATTO, Director and actress, Italy 


FRANCESCO BIGAZZI, Journalist and essayist, Italy 


PEPPINO CALDAROLA, Chief editor Il Riformista , Italy


MARCO CANGIOTTI, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, University Carlo Bo, Urbino


GIANCARLO CASELLI, Judge, State Attorney in Turin


FURIO COLOMBO, Journalist and writer, Italy


VALENTINA COLOMBO, Professor of Geopolitics of Islam, European University, Rome 


NANDO DALLA CHIESA, Writer and activist, Professor of Sociology, State University of Milan


FERRUCCIO DE BORTOLI, Editor of Corriere della Sera, Milan


DONATO DI GILIO, President of Italian-Polish Chamber of Commerce 


UMBERTO ECO, Essayist, writer and philosopher, University of Bologna


EMANUELE FIANO, Architect, Member of the Italian Parliament 


ANTONIO FERRARI, Editorialist Corriere della Sera, Milan


MARCELLO FLORES, Historian, Professor at the University of Siena 


DARIO FO, Literature Nobel Laureate 1997


GUSTAV HOFER, Journalist, director, author of movie Italy love it or leave it


GUEGUEL KHATCHADOURIAN, Chairwoman of Association of Armenian Benevolence (UGAB), Milan branch


STEFANO LEVI DELLA TORRE, Professor, Politechnical Institute of Milan


GAETANO LIGUORI, Musician, teacher at Milan’s Conservatory


PIERGAETANO MARCHETTI, Chairman Fondazione Corriere della Sera, Milan


SALVATORE NATOLI, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy


MARINA MAVIAN, Director of The Armenian House, Milan


SALVATORE NATOLI, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, State University of Milan


FIAMMA NIRENSTEIN, Journalist and Member of the Italian Parliament


VITTORIO EMANUELE PARSI, Professor of International Relations, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan


LILIANA PICCIOTTO, Historian, CDEC researcher, Milan  


LUCA RAGAZZI, Journalist, director, author of movie Italy love it leave it


FRANCA RAME, Playwright and actress, Italy 


ANDREA RISCASSI, Journalist, Association AnnaViva, Milan


DARIO RIVOLTA, International Politics analyst, Former Member of the Italian Parliament


FARIAN SABAHI, Professor of History of Islam, University of Turin


ANDRÉE RUTH SHAMMAH, Director, Teatro Franco Parenti, Milan


BAYKAR SIVAZLIYAN, Professor at the University of Milan


RITA SIDOLI, Former university professor, member of the Center of International Solidarity - Università Cattolica, Milan


CLAUDIO SILINGARDI, Director of the Historical Institute, Modena


MASSIMILIANO SPEZIANI, Actor, Italy 


UMBERTO VERONESI, Director of the European Institute of Oncology and essayist, Milan


MISCHA WEGNER, Son to Righteous among the nations and Righteous for the Armenians Armin T. Wegner

7 February 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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