The introduction by Gariwo Chairman Gabriele Nissim
To honour the Righteous of the past without closing our eyes in front of the threats to human dignity that lurk in the present. This was president of Gariwo Gabriele Nissim’s exhortation during today’s ceremony at Milan’s Garden of the Righteous. The ceremony, which was meant to take place in March on the Day of the Righteous of the Humanity but was postponed due to the pandemic, has been dedicated to honouring the new Righteous of the Virtual Garden – an extension to the one of Monte Stella hill.
“Let’s take this opportunity not only to honour such great examples of civil courage, but also to recall two international crises that we want to bring to both the public’s and the institutions’ attention: the war in Nagorno Karabakh, which is putting the Armenian population at great risk, and the political repression in Belarus, where hundreds of peaceful protesters have been arrested for having expressed their dissent against the regime,’ explained Gabriele Nissim.
Lamberto Bertolè, president of Milan’s City Council and of the Association for the Garden of the Righteous’ board (constituted by Milan’s City Council, Gariwo and UCEI), also stressed the importance of using the Garden not only as a place where to remember the past, but also as a place from where to reflect on the present. In his words, the ‘Righteous are not only those people who did good and saved lives by risking their own, but they have come to be real examples of moral virtuousness, courage and humanity for us all. We do have a duty to remember them and keep their memory alive.’
‘This Garden – added Bertolé, addressing the families of the Righteous during the ceremony – has become a worldwide model for how to remember the past.’ ‘After all, there are righteous people who have saved lives during some of humanity’s worst tragedies such as the Shoah and others whose action contributes to prevent evil,’ explained Giorgio Mortara, vice president of UCEI.
These are the names of the Righteous who were remembered during the ceremony: Francesco Quaianni, Emily Bayer, padre Italo Laracca, Carlo Bianchi, padre Andrey Sheptytskyy, the De Regibuses’ family, Leonilde Simonazzi, Reinhold Chrystman, Carlo Tagliabue, Nella Molinari and Luigi Cortile.
All of them were citizens who, during the Second World War, put their own life at risk in order to save that of Jews. Besides them, Franco Basaglia was also remembered. He was a psychiatrist who first introduced a mental health therapy technique in Italy that was based on the respect of the patient’s integrity. Such innovation laid the premises for the Law 180, also known as ‘Law Basaglia’, for the reform of psychiatric assistance and the closure of madhouses.
Finally, it was in their honour that a violin and piano concert took place at the Ulianova Radice Amphitheatre, inside the Garden. The concert featured duo Lazzaroni, constituted by piano and harpsichord player Angela Lazzaroni and violin player Carlo Lazzaroni. They performed some classical pieces by Mozart (Sonata in G mayor), Dvorak (Sonatina Op. 100), Williams (Schindler’s List) and Piovani (La vita è bella). The concert was preceded by some readings by Massimilano Speziani and can be viewed on Gariwo’s Facebook page following this link.