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Remembrance Day: Tokyo hosts a concert and a film screening

Giorno Memoria, a Tokyo un concerto e un film
Giorno Memoria, a Tokyo un concerto e un film

The Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo celebrated Holocaust Remembrance Day with a concert and the screening of the film ‘’1938. Quando scoprimmo di non essere più italiani’’, by director Pietro Suber.

The concert is a journey into the Klezmer music culture and Yiddish songs, a genre that vaunts a four-century-old history and having travelled through a troubled itinerary that brought it from Eastern Europe to the United States, where it made a contribution to jazz music through figures of the calibre of George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Mickey Katz and John Zorn. On stage will be Gabriele Coen, one of the major performers of Klezmer music in Italy, with pianist Pietro Lussu and singer Barbara Eramo. The film is screened at approximately 80 years from 1938, the year in which racial laws were passed, and it describes the vicissitudes of Italian citizens, both Jews and non-Jews, from that year until the deportations stopped at the end of the war in 1945. The film is an important collection of testimonials that tries to explain what the racial laws actually implied and what they entailed for Jewish citizens: the burden of not being able to send their children to school, the ban on marrying non-Jews, on owning or managing companies of national interest, on being employed as civil servants and on exercising a number of professions, including that of medical doctor, pharmacist, lawyer, engineer, architect, teacher and university professor.

The testimonials are from the persecuted but also from some persecutors and from simple witnesses who disapproved of the racial laws but did nothing to oppose them. The screening will be preceded by an introduction by Makino Motoko, professor of Italian literature and history of the Jews, who will also speak of the volume containing the Japanese translation of the latest public testimonial made by Senator for Life Liliana Segre.

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