Versione italiana | Search in site:

The Righteous for global responsibility at Monte Stella hill

the annual ceremony in Milan


10 March 2020, 10.30 a.m. 

Garden of the Righteous Worldwide, Monte Stella hill
Six new Righteous honored
Public ceremony

The theme chosen by the Association for the Garden of the Righteous of Milan for the ceremony of the Day of the Righteous of the Humanity 2020 is "Global responsibility. The challenge of the Righteous to save the planet and Humanity".

A new decade that begins with the need to deal with some urgencies never faced before, which could seriously undermine our existence as a human species and as people. We are facing an unprecedented climate change that, in the absence of immediate and unified action, before the end of the century could make a large part of our planet inhospitable, leading to new forced migrations, the death of thousands or millions of people, to possible new wars and genocides. All this aggravated by a climate of hatred, racism and intolerance that pollutes societies and seems to resonate insidiously from the darkest eras of our history.

The memory of the genocides and the Shoah together with the role of the Righteous around the world then appear as a more important warning than ever to contrast the dramatic drifts that could arise from the new fanaticisms, from the growing xenophobia for which "the other" is an enemy or threat to be eradicated. For this reason, for the Day of the Righteous 2020, we have chosen to honor six exemplary figures who demonstrate to us, from the past until today, the importance of acting always and in the first person in the face of life under threat, the violation of human dignity, the irresponsible and dangerous conduct of unscrupulous governments. We want to tell the stories of those who fight for the truth, even if uncomfortable and against the current, testifying at their own risk on a society emptied of values and deaf to the cry for help of men, and of those who intervene without hesitation to save the persecuted, and the victims of a world driven by unbridled individualism.

We celebrate those who defend the environment, and therefore Humanity, from the catastrophe, who with their own strengths and abilities acted for the good and peace in one of the most difficult places in the world, Syria, and who in the worst period of the last century did not bow to the terror established by the Nazi and fascist regimes but did its best to fight it.

On the occasion of March 6, the Day of the Righteous, we will then place new plaques in the Garden of Milan for Rosenstrasse Women, who saved 2,000 Jews, their husbands, from persecution through a bold protest in Berlin’s Rosenstrasse. They gather for over a week, despite the threats made by Nazi authorities; Piero Martinetti, founder of Milan School, was the only philosopher among university professors who refused to take the oath to the Fascist regime in 1931 and preferred to give up his professorship and his own freedom of conscience; Wallace Broecker, an American geophysicist and climatologist, can be defined as the “pioneer” of climate change, as in 1975 he predicted the growth of global average temperature and led to debate about global warming in a moment when few were ready to listen; Valerij Alekseevič Legasov, a chemist, mitigated damages caused by Chernobyl disaster. After the explosion, he insisted on evacuating Pripyat inhabitants and worked regardless of radiations he was exposed to. In Vienna he witnessed on the responsibilities of the incident, arousing the hostility of his Soviet colleagues; Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer, with her sister Sarah she saved the migrants who fled with her to the Greek coasts and with an accurate appeal from the United Nations denounced the drama of the refugees. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, she walks under the banner with the five circles on the Refugee Team; Hevrin Khalaf, a Kurdish activist, dedicated her life to women’s rights and to the fight for peaceful coexistence of Kurds, Christian-Syrians and Arabs. Party leader of the Future Syria Party, she was brutally killed in 2019 by Islamic militiamen, immediately after the Turkish invasion of Syrian Kurdistan.

After the institutional greetings by the Mayor of Milan and the intervention of the President of Gariwo and Vice-President of the Association for the Garden of the Righteous, Gabriele Nissim, we will listen to the testimonies of the new Righteous' representatives, including that of Hevrin Khalaf's mother, Saadie Mustafa, Rita Khun, daughter of one of the surviving women of Rosenstrasse and witness of the arrest of the Jewish husbands and their release following the protest, Enrico Bonatti, internationally renowned Italian geologist and collaborator of Broecker at Columbia University, Maria Cristina Fenoglio Gaddò, president of the Piero Martinetti Onlus Foundation and Inga Legasova, daughter of Valerij Legasov. 

11 February 2020

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.

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.


Klaas Smelik's words

remembering Etty Hillesum

Featured story

Sonita Alizadeh

the rapper who denounced the tragedy of child brides