On January 25, the Embassy of Italy in Washington commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day by hosting a conversation between Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and Federico Rampini, columnist for the Corriere della Sera, on the topic of “Antisemitism and the Vulnerability of Democracy.”
The Italian Ambassador to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, gave an opening speech underlining the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, quoting Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tajani just a few hours earlier at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
The conversation between the two columnists began with Bret Stephens’ recounting his family’s story, starting from his mother, born in Italy at the beginning of the Second World War to Jewish parents who fled from Nazi Germany. His mother’s family, he said, changed their surname and found refuge in a house in Milan until the end of the war. “The story of the Holocaust in my family profoundly influences what I strive to be as a political commentator,” added Stephens, “which is not being afraid to take a different stance from everybody else if I believe it is the right thing to do.”
At the heart of the conversation, the importance of nurturing memory was highlighted, especially in light of the resurgence of antisemitism in the United States and throughout the West, following the terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel and the ensuing conflict.
In addition to the foundation B’Nai B’Rith International, representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, Freedom House, Department of State, and other organizations of the Jewish community attended the event, as well as ones from renowned museums, such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Museum of the Bible, and many universities and local Israeli research centers.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls on January 27th, is commemorated by Italy’s diplomatic-consular and cultural network in the United States through a series of events in many cities, which include New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Detroit, Boston, and Philadelphia.