SU Florence honors European Holocaust Memorial Day
SU Florence honors European Holocaust Memorial DayJanuary 15, 2008Daeya Malboeufdmking04@syr.edu
In a unique collaboration involving SU Florence (SUF), its students and Italian institutions, SUF is offering a series of reflections on the Holocaust from Jan. 21-30, culminating in an exhibit featuring the joint efforts of SUF students and Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea (CDEC) in Milan.
The initiative will be inaugurated Jan. 21 by one of Italy’s most influential journalists, Furio Colombo, senator of the Italian Parliament; SUF students hear Colombo’s thoughts and reflections on the importance of memory as a means to fight the notion of the past as an unstructured passing of time, rendering life a vast void. Colombo was a key proponent for Italy’s adherence to the European Holocaust Memorial Day that was instituted by the European Parliament in 2005. In a resolution adopted on Jan. 27, 2005, the European Assembly called on all governments of EU member states “to reinforce the fight against anti-Semitism and racism by encouraging — notably among the young generation — more information on the Holocaust, discussing its lessons for today.”
(Pictured above: One of the many store fronts throughout Italy which was covered with Antisemitic graffiti, late 1930s.Photo: CDEC Archive, Milan.)
In the following week, on Jan. 30, SUF students are able to attend the SUF Art Gallery opening of the exhibit “1938-1945: The Persecution of Jews in Italy.” The exhibit was originally created by the CDEC. In fall 2007, SUF students translated the exhibit’s texts into English in their Italian classes as part of a study of Fascist Italy and World War II. This project makes the information on the fate of Italian Jews in the Fascist period available to a wider audience — a direct answer to the European Parliament’s urging to educate on the Holocaust in order to prevent future genocide.
“With this project, SUF makes an important and lasting contribution to the study of Jewish history in Italy,” says SUF Director Barbara Deimling. “I am pleased to see this engagement of SUF with the host culture in such an important theme of acceptance of diversity without racism and religious defamation.”
The initiative will wrap up after the inauguration of the exhibit on Jan. 30, with a concert by Enrico Fink, one of the major figures in the Jewish music scene in Italy. Fink will be presenting “ItalyJazzKlez,” a musical trip to Jewish Italy. In his show, Fink revisits traditional Italian synagogue songs, updating them with a mixture of jazz and a touch of Klezmer. In the morning of his concert, Fink will discuss his artistic heritage and musical tradition with SUF students in their Italian classes.