On Tuesday 17 May 2022, the symbolic inauguration of the Garden of the Righteous in Marseille took place at the Center Fleg. During the ceremony the first three trees dedicated to Righteous were planted. This is the first step of a long term collaboration between the Gariwo Foundation and the Center Fleg that will led to the creation of the first Garden of the Righteous on French soil.
The first three trees are dedicated to Varian Fry, an American journalist who contributed to save 4,000 French Jews during the Holocaust, Vice Admiral Louis Dartige du Fournet, who rescued over 4,000 Armenians during the genocide and Félicité Niyitegeka, a Hutu nun who in 1994 preferred to die rather than abandon the Tutsis she had tried to rescue.
Gariwo was represented by president Gabriele Nissim, co-founders Pietro Kuciukian and Anna Maria Samuelli, Manuela Rippo, responsible for the Gardens of the Righteous. The Fleg Centre was represented by president Evelyne Sitruk. Aurore Bruna (president of UGAB) and Marcel Kabanda (president of the IBUKA association) also participated. Deputy Mayor Pierre Huguet represented the city of Marseille.
Established in 1964, the Edmond Fleg Center, is a cultural reality active in Marseille to combat racism and anti-Semitism; to promote the cultural heritage of Jewish communities; to fuel the dialogue among the different cultural, spiritual, philosophical and religious realities of French society.
"This partnership with Gariwo", explain the leaders of the Center Fleg, "represents an extraordinary opportunity to expand our commemorative action and to promote personalities who have saved lives by having the courage to oppose any kind of barbarism. This approach is above all educational and the purpose is to transmit an active memory to the younger generations, in particular through educational actions done where the Gardens of the Righteous are established (150 to date)".
From today, the Center Fleg will also host an exhibition that explains the worldwide work of Gariwo Foundation and tells the stories of the first honored Righteous.