Today, January 27, the day that the Auschwitz concentration camp in Germany was liberated in 1945, is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Every year, on this occasion, the government of the Region of Tuscany organizes a series of events. This morning in Florence, the European, Italian and City flags in front of Florence’s City Hall were lowered to half mast. City officials laid wreaths at the main city monuments, including at track 16 of the Santa Maria Novella train station, from which the trains carrying Florentine Jews deported to Nazi concentration camps departed.
In the afternoon, the Florence City Council gathered for a special session in Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento where Holocaust survivors Andra Bucci and Tatiana Bucci were made honorary citizens of the city.
Students from Florentine schools gathered for the all day meeting ‘You, Who Live in Safety: Welcoming and Rejecting, Yesterday and Today‘, where students heard from 8 guests, including Holocaust survivors and members of the Tuscan Resistance, and were invited to reflect on “the value of a welcoming culture, and personal and collective human dignity”.
At the Palazzo Medici Riccardi Museum, accounts of deportees were read in an event organized with the Historical Institute of the Tuscan Resistance, the National Association of Ex-Deportees and the Jewish Community of Florence. The readings concluded with a ceremony in front of a plaque that lists the names of the 1,821 Tuscans deported to Nazi concentration camps between 1943 and 1945.
The Biblioteca delle Oblate is currently hosting the photography exhibition La persecuzione ebraica a Firenze e in Italia 1938-1945 (The Persecution of Jews in Florence and Italy, 1938-1945) which draws on documents and photographs from the City of Florence’s archives, and, on January 28, the Caffe Letterario delle Murate will host a performance of ‘Persone Libro’ (Human Books), where the written memories of survivors will be performed orally and the public is invited to circulate among the collection of ‘Human Books’ to hear their experiences, underlining the importance of the oral transmission of memory. This is part of the Le Murate’s initiative Vecchie e nuove discriminazioni (Old and New Discriminations).
For a full program of events in Florence and Tuscany, click here.