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Parchments delivered to 16 New Righteous

they were added to Virtual Garden in a public ceremony in Milan

The Awarding of Parchments at the CIty Council

The Awarding of Parchments at the CIty Council

The Virtual Garden “Giusti del Monte Stella” (Righteous of Monte Stella Hill), created in 2017 to mark the 6 March recurrence, keeps on growing hosting new figures, messengers of Good who today and yesterday acted to defend the other and human dignity.

The ceremony of delivery of the parchments, which saw the participation of Lamberto Bertolé, president of Milan City Council, Gabriele Nissim, Gariwo Chairman e Giorgio Mortara, deputy-president UCEI, was completed with the addition of 16 new exemplary figures to the Virtual Garden.

Following is a list of the Righteous honoured (in the Insights box you will find their detailed biographies with the relevant parchments):

Vito FIORINO carpenter of Sesto S. Giovanni and recreational fisherman, he was among the first ones to step in, with his own fishing boat, in the course of the tragic shipwreck of 3 October 2013 in front of the Isola dei Conigli (Lampedusa) taking 47 migrants to safety. The human connection that was established under such tragic circumstance turned into sincere friendship between Vito and many rescued migrants.

Emilia KAMVISI An octogenarian born in 1922 in Lesbos into a family of refugees, though frail, did not spare energies to rescue the migrants who landed by the thousands on the pier of Skala Sikamineas during 2015, hosting many of them at her home and sharing with them the little she had.

Stratos VALIAMOS Fisherman from Lesbos, the first to step in to rescue and take into safety the migrants in the sea stretch between the island and Turkey, launching the alarm to the Coast Guard. Confirming the innate hospitality of the isle inhabitants, Stratos continued his rescue and hospitality work for the whole year 2015.

Melinda McROSTIE Witness to the mass arrival of migrants on the island of Lesbos in 2015, she did the utmost to provide them with the necessary aid and relief, in a spate of selfless generosity. From then on she devoted her life entirely to the needs of those who were hosted.

Eric KEMPSON Artist and sculptor of British descent, dweller of the Lesbos island, besides personally doing everything possible to help the migrants who had landed on the island in 2015, he also shook the world's conscience on the plight of the island through the use of the social network, demanding, at the same times, the institutions to step in to solve the immense tragedy.

Efi LATSOUDI Coordinator of Pikpa Solidarity Camp, on the island of Lesbos, besides rescuing the migrants she made a huge effort to provide an identity and decent burial to the dead, effort, which would deeply scar her in her soul. Her selfless and generous deed earned her the Nansen Prize 2016 from the UN High Commission for the Refugees (UNHCR).

Christoforos SCHUFF Greek-Orthodox priest of Californian descent, resident in a monastery on the mountains of Lesbos, he contributed in an authentic rush to the rescue thousands of migrants arriving on the island. His work to make the wider audience aware of the theme of the refugees places him among the reference points of the United Nations for such humanitarian emergency, up to receiving several honours for his solidarity initiatives.

Daniela POMPEI In charge of the services to the immigrants, the refugees and the Roma on behalf of Comunità di S. Egidio and promoter of the “Humanitarian Corridors”, project stemmed from the cooperation between Comunità di S. Egidio, the Federation of the Italian Evangelic Churches and the Waldensian Table, she made it possible to host in Italy about 1000 Syrian refugees. She received numerous international honours for steady commitment to hospitality.

Maria QUINTO Teacher committed ever since 1986 to the immigrant services of Comunità di S. Egidio, in charge of the project “Humanitarian Corridors”, she took care, in the years of the Syrian conflict, of the refugees coming from Aleppo and Homs, personally moving to the places affected by the exodus.

The schoolgirls of RORSCHACH Pupils of 2^C of Rorschach High School (CH), on 7 September 1942 they wrote the Swiss Federal Government a letter of vibrant protest criticizing the frequent pushbacks of Jewish refugees at the borders. The initiative of the schoolgirl aroused a strong embarrassment among the federal authorities.

Mons. Andrea GHETTI Presbyter, educator and founder of the O.S.C.A.R. scouting organization together with Mons. Giovanni Barbareschi, from 8 September 1943 to 25 April 1945, risking his own life, he unceasingly did the utmost to take into safety numerous Jews, political persecuted and allied militaries.

Gen. Guglielmo BARBÒ di CASALMORANO Much-decorated official, after joining the Piedmontese Resistance following 8 September 1943, escaping capture from Germans, on 16 August 1944 he was arrested and deported, as a political prisoner, to the concentration camp of Flossenbürg in Germany, where he kept on taking care of the soldiers captured with him and where he died on 14 December 1944.

Corrado BONFANTINI Politician and partisan, he took part in the Resistance as Commander General of the Matteotti Brigades and founder of the “Republic of Ossola”. In Spring 1945, he took part in the liberation of Milan. As a politician, he always focused on the defence of the weaker with outstanding altruism and generous abnegation.

Erwin KRÄUTLER Austrian priest, missionary in Brazil, he fought in 1988 to have the rights of the indigenous people acknowledged by the Brazilian Constitution. He pursued his commitment to the rights of the weaker, including the natives of Amazon, receiving, for his deserving activity, death threats that compelled him to live under escort.

Fritz Michael GERLICH German journalist, exponent of the German anti-Nazi resistance and fierce opponent of Hitler, in 1932 he founded “DerGeradeWeg” (“The upright way”), a paper openly sided against Nazism. Arrested after the rise of the Führer and deported to the concentration camp of Dachau, he was subject to harrowing torture. He was shot dead on 30 June 1934.

Maria Vittoria ZEME Redcross nurse and volunteer medic, after 8 September 1943 she was interned in a lager in Germany, in Zeithain, together with the soldiers who had refused to join the Republic of Salò. Despite her frail conditions, she kept on taking care of them and managed to keep a secret diary with her testimony of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis.

21 March 2018

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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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