Per non dimenticare (So as not to forget)

jewish memorial day

The Province of Pesaro and Urbino have organised a series of conferences around the Jewish Day of Remembraance and on Sunday afternoon there was a conference in San Giorgio on the theme of The years of the Anti-semetic Laws in the Province.

There were four talks: Anti-semitism: blessing and curse of the Jewish people; The birth of the jewish stereotype in Italy: from Abyssinia to the passing of the race laws (1935-1938); The application of the anti Jewish laws in the Province after 1938; personal testimony of the persecution.

The first speaker gave an interesting talk on the influence of Jews from Pesaro on the history of Italy. He gave the example of the transfer of Jewish merchants from Ancona to Pesaro in the 16th century. This followed a massacre of some Jewish families in Ancona and led to the development of Pesaro as a port. The other example was Sara Levi Nathan who after her marriage moved to London and played a major part in raising funds for Mazzini in his fight for a United Italy.

The second speaker gave a very interesting talk on the rise of antisemitism linking it to the change in Italian attitudes following the defeat in Abyssinia. He showed how sustained the campaign became in defining Italians as a race and that jews could not belong to this race. He didn’t feel that blaming Italian anti-semeticism on German influence was valid and that it was something home grown.

Unfortunately the 3rd and 4th speakers were less good or at least their Italian was diffiult for me to follow. However, it was worth going just for the first two speakers.

There was also an interesting exhibiton of documents and photographs of the Jews in Pesaro.

The meeting was due to start at 3.00 but began at 3.30 and then two mayors had to speak to introduce the conference. This meant it didn’t begin until 4.00. It was due to finish at 5.45 and be followed by a taster of Jewish food and wine. The speakers finished at 6.00 and I left without hearing questions from the floor or tasting the food.

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