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International Holocaust Remembrance Day: an interview with Dacia Maraini in Detroit

The Consulate of Italy in Detroit and the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan commemorated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day with two screenings: an interview with writer Dacia Maraini, who shared her experience in a concentration camp, and the movie “Un cielo stellato sopra il ghetto di Roma” [A Starry Sky above the Roman Ghetto], directed by Giulio Base, who explained the reasons that motivated him to make the movie.

“Never like in a pandemic is it relevant to talk about a virus. And today, we will also talk about a more subtle virus, because there is nothing as scary and repugnant as the virus of hatred, racism and antisemitism”, said the Consul of Italy in Detroit, Allegra Baistrocchi, introducing the event.  The event also highlighted the importance of not forgetting: to remember is to protect the memory from oblivion. That is so, also considering that in a few years, there will be no more first-hand testimonies. We will only be left with the books, movies, and recollections that document the horror of the Holocaust.

According to the data provided by the American Jewish Congress, one in four Americans thinks antisemitism is not a problem in today’s society. Differently, 80% of the local Jewish community think it is a growing phenomenon, especially following the recent attack that took place at the Colleyville synagogue, where some people were held hostage by a gunman.

Italy has always been at the forefront in the defence of human rights, in the fight against xenophobia and all forms of discrimination. The Italian Parliament proclaimed 27 January – the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – as “Remembrance Day”, five years before the United Nations decided to designate it as such internationally in 2005.