Without memory, there’s no future

January 27th, 2022 – Remembrance Day

Immediately after the Second World War, there was a desire to forget, to turn page, to close with the past, to look forward. The Nazis, fleeing, had tried to erase and burn the evidence of the extermination camps, to make the traces disappear. It was better, for everyone, to pretend not to know.

If today we have memory of what happened, it is only thanks to witnesses, survivors, former deportees, who have preserved indelible memories, who have told, who have maintained an alert conscience. Thanks to associations such as ANED (National Association of Former Deportees to Nazi Camps), ANPI (National Association of Italian Partisans), and the Historical Institutes of the Resistance, today we know perfectly well how Nazi-Fascism planned the extermination, how it was possible that this happened in the heart of Europe. It’s this “memory” that explain to us how the Holocaust was not the work of a small group of crazy Nazi leaders, but was a capillary political and military operation, prepared, funded, sustained and implemented with the consensus of millions of people.

The tragic world war, which brought to its knee the entire Europe, was a consequence of that planification: the trains, the crematoriums were the necessary corollary of that militaristic policy. That’s the truth that Memory passes down to us. The immense massacre of millions of Jews, Roma people, homosexuals, the disabled or mentally ill people, the political opponents, conscientious objectors, deserters, draft dodgers and other “different” people, it would not be possible if the Nazi fury had not found fertile ground in the collaboration of the institutions and in a large part of the populations of the occupied countries. It was e.g. Italian officials, obedient to the racial laws of 1938, who prepared the lists that would later be used by the SS to arrest and deport. This would not suffices the Nazi army to exterminate the Ukrainian, Hungarian, Romanian, French, Greek and many other Jews, if in each of those countries racism, anti-Semitism, collaborationism and spying had not paved the way for murderers in uniform.

Only with nonviolent resistance, with conscientious objection, with civil disobedience to the barbarism that wants to return, only with the promotion of Human Rights and respect for the Constitution, it will be possible to stop the extermination still in place today. We must recover the memory of the past, to find the strength to act in the present. Each of us is called today to build the resistance to this barbarism. Thus, we must be infinitely grateful to those women and men, those who opposed with nonviolent resistance to Nazi violence, to those who have not kept silent, to those who said no, if today we celebrate Remembrance Day.

Worlds of hope wrote by Anne Frank in her diary were addressed to us:

I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more.

It’s up to us, here and now, to raise up our head to look up at the sky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *