I would like to thank each and every one of you who supported my project in celebration of the Remembrance Day of the Holocaust which occurred in Europe under Nazi occupation during World War Two. I really believe it is important to remember such events in order for such an atrocity never to happen again, to no people on Earth. The future always has foundations in the past, and as long as we keep memory alive we can learnt from our mistakes and try to make the world at least a little bit better.
Unfortunately, not only not everybody seems to share my point of view, either in general or about these historical facts which, I think, have been proved beyond any confutation, but they even go as far as taking their hatred out on innocent people. In the past days some very serious things happened in Italy, the country in which I have resided for over thirty years.
Someone anonymously sent three boxes to the Synagogue, the Remembrance Museum and the Israeli embassy in Rome, each containing a pig head. This happened right before the beginning of the Shabbat and subsequent Remembrance Day. It was no random prank or tasteless joke, but a very deliberate and carefully planned action aimed to disrespect the memory of those who perished during the Holocaust and the Jews who live in Italy today.
I am not religious, nor am I even a Jew myself, but this events made me sick. This gratuitous disrespect makes me feel deeply disgusted and ashamed on behalf of my fellow compatriots. I can totally relate to the Jewish people not only because, looking objectively back at history they are the people who suffered the most out of any historical event affecting Europe, but also because my own people, the Belarusians, were to endure a totally similar fate during the Nazi occupation: the Belarusians were to be obliterated without leaving any trace, and one out of four of them died either during the war or in concentration camps. My own father were deported to and survived a concentration camp in Finland during the war, while my mother narrowly avoided that because the partisan mayor of her village falsified the documents of those who were to turn old enough to be deported. This tragedy directly affected my family just one generation prior me, so it is still recent history and a relevant topic today. Moreover, my thought goes to those Italian who were forced to leave their families behind and go into hiding to fight the fascist regime and try to free their own country: not only the events of the last days disrespected the Jewish people, or those like the Belarusians who were to share their fate, but also the Italians who died fighting the injustice their government bestowed upon them.
I do not justify or tolerate such hate, nor do I understand such a lack of historical perspective. When there is a war, nobody wins except hate. There are so many more victims than one might think: not only those who were persecuted, not only those who fight against the regimes, not only the soldiers who die because of other people's orders, but also civilians who have to endure hardships, bombings, injustice committed before their eyes, or the stigma of relatives who took part in the atrocities. Everybody ends up a loser in a war, and while the Remembrance Day focuses on those who suffered the most during those events, it actually reminds us of everybody who had to suffer because of the hate. The events which occurred in Italy last Friday and Saturday are an insult to all of us. Even though I am as far as I can be from those who did that, I want to apologise on behalf of all Italians.