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The leaves all around us

EU Day of the Righteous in San Marino

Gariwo interviewed Patrizia Di Luca, Director of the Emigrant's Museum of San Marino, to learn about the commitments of this virtuous State that sheltered the Jews persecuted by Hitler's and Mussolini's regimes for 6 March. Focus of the event are art and the involvement of children, who will reflect on individual responsibility, generosity and sharing also thanks to the work of recognition of the Righteous among the nations carried on by Yad Vashem.

What are you organizing in San Marino for 6 March?
This year the Republic of San Marino will commemorate European Day of the Righteous by presenting a beautiful tree whose leaves have been created by the 4th and 5th graders of San Marino.
The tree is the final outcome of a teaching activity carried out by the Gallery of Modern Art, in cooperation with the elementary school.
The educational pathway started from the study of some "places of remembrance" of the Nazifascist persecutions and some events linked to the Sanmarinese territory, which sheltered refugees and persecuted people during the Holocaust. Little boys and girls have been helped reflect about the Holocaust and the deeds performed by some people who were later recognized as "Righteous among the nations", in particular Giorgio Perlasca and Gino Bartali.
The title of our project, "The leafs around us", Il titolo del progetto, “Le foglie a noi intorno”, draws our attention back to our present times and daily lives, and the importance to perform righteous and respectful deeds.
Leafs were realized with the technique of origami, without cuts; we wanted to create a tangible end-product precisely to point out that ideas must be put into practice and choices must become behaviours. Another figure we remembered is that of Irena Sendler, who organized a protection network to rescue over 2,000 little boys and girls of the Warsaw ghetto. Although Sendler was a socialist militant, the memory of her actions to rescue Jews was opposed by the communist regime. Despite being recognized as a Righteous among the nations in 1963, the Polish government allowed her to get to Jerusalem only in 1983.

In what spirit does San Marino face commemorations of European Day of the Righteous? 
This second annual European day of the Righteous needs to be tackled with a special care, because on 22 January San Marino signed an agreement with Yad Vashem to comparatively study the solidarity deeds performed by our community towards the Jews during the Holocaust. Besides this research we tackled a reflection on the meaning that those choices have today, and the commitment we want to keep to a concrete promotion and defence of human rights.

In your opinion, which role does European day of the Righteous play and why is there a need for this appointment to be there besides Holocaust Remembrance Day of 27 January?
Holocaust Remembrance Day is an absolutely essential commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, and first of all it is an act of respect towards those who have been persecuted and those who are still facing the psychological consequences of the inhumane violence.
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a key moment to reflect about the consequences of racial prejudice and hatred and to increase our awareness of the fact that History is the outcome of the choices of men and women, the result of the personal choice between perpetrating evil and accomplishing good.
European Day of the Righteous especially highlights the importance of individual responsibility. 
It is strictly connected with Holocaust Remembrance Day and it emphasizes what established by Yad Vashem, which first placed the attention on aid, generosity, sharing. The task of identifying the indelible traces of good throughout History is of the utmost importance as it allows us to assess that it is possible to oppose cruelty, violence and injustice. There is an interesting document of 2011 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that invites us to reconstruct a common memory of humanity by remembering not only war but also solidarity gestures.

Patrizia Di Luca, Person in charge of the Museo dell’Emigrante – Research center on Emigration Rep. San Marino; translation by Carolina Figini

26 February 2014

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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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