AN INTERFAITH FOUNDATION
HONORING THE ITALIAN PEOPLE
Italian Goodness co-existed with Italian Tragedy because the fascist rule did not succeed in snuffing out the Italian soul. That is why so many individual Italians share the honors among the righteous listed in Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, located in Jerusalem, Israel. And this is why I am proposing the establishment of foundation which -- as part and parcel of the homage to those who perished at the hands of the fascists -- will make sure that the collective example of the good people of Italy during WWII becomes known and not forgotten.
I would like to live and see such a non-profit foundation pay homage to and promote the truth of the humanity the Italian people showed to Jews during World War II. While the fascist government in Rome was an ally of Nazi Germany, and as such introduced racial laws imitating Hitler's, the people of Italy by and 149
large resisted racism. While millions perished in Europe, thousands of Jews who survived the Holocaust owe their lives to the fact that the majority of Italians never lost their human soul to the hatreds of the time. On the contrary, ordinary people of Italy — and even some of their lower rank clergy — played pivotal role in helping, hiding and protecting Jews against the Nazis and Mussolini‘s Salò Republic. The number of those deported would have been more tragic but for the active resistance of Italians to the raids and deportations.
In the absence of general knowledge about this truth, and indeed against an unexpected resistance to it, it is my wish that the foundation should provide a balance by publicizing testimonies of survivors, spread documents on the righteousness of Italians in the face of grave danger to themselves, and promote the knowledge about the humane role of the Italians -- in the media, on campuses, in schools and universities, as well as in Holocaust Museums worldwide.