Giorno della Memoria
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 16, 2008 – Centro Primo Levi jointly with the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute to sponsor a series of programs and city events to commemorate the day in which the Soviets entered and liberated Auschwitz.

January 27, at 5 pm at the Center for Jewish History – 15 West 16 Street, NYC, Centro Primo Levi will premiere “The Island of Roses. The Tragedy of a Paradise” a documentary film by Rebecca Samonà (59′ in Italian with English subtitles). Through the memories of women including her mother, the author reconstructs the life and annihilation of the Jews of Rhodes from the beginning of the Italian colonization in 1912, to the deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. Combining era footage with a delicate personal commentary, Samonà offers a glimpse into a centuries-old culture, which a handful of survivors infused into a younger generation that is today scattered around the world. Andrea Fiano (journalist) will interview Stella Levi, survivor from Rhodes, on her experience of the anti-semitic persecutions and the extermination camps. Reservations can be made by e-mail only at For full program:

On January 28, between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm the pedestrian traffic on Park Avenue at 68th Street, in front of the Consulate General of Italy will be interrupted by a public reading of the names of the Jews deported from Italy and the Italian territories. The reading is sponsored by a committee including, Governor Mario and Matilda Cuomo, Consulate General of Italy, Centro Primo Levi, and the Italian academic institutions in New York.

On January 30 at 6:00 pm at the Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue, NYC a program on women and the memory of the Holocaust will feature readings from the memoirs of Piera Sonnino, Giuliana Tedeschi e Rosetta Loy by actress Maria Tucci, and a panel with Marianne Hirsh (Columbia University), Millicent Marcus (Yale University) and Stella Levi (Centro Primo Levi).

The Italian Academy at Columbia University and the Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimó at New York University will join the commemoration with two symposia respectively held on January 29 at 5:30 pm and February 5 at 6:30 pm. Alexander Stille and Ruth Ben-Ghiat at the Italian Academy will explore the instauration of the Racial Laws in Italy. Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimó will present a new book by Italian historian Michele Battini entitled “The Missing Italian Nuremberg. Cultural Amnesia and Postwar Politics” (Palgrave: 2007). Tony Judt (Remarque Institute, NYU) will introduce the author.

Historical Background on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day
In the year 2000, January 27, the day on which, in 1945, the Soviet army entered and liberated Auschwitz, was chosen by Italy and other European countries to commemorate the victims of the Shoah and to promote the fight against racism. The commemoration was initially supported and ratified by the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, Research, chaired at the time by France; the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust; and the European Minister of Education. In 2006 it was observed for the first time by the United Nations, and has become a day of observance in all European countries.

On Tuesday, November 1, 2005 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Israel and designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In doing so, the assembly urged the nations of the world to observe the day so that future generations will be spared acts of genocide. Co-sponsored by 104 other states, the resolution rejects Holocaust denial and encourages countries to develop educational programs about the horrors of genocide. It also condemns religious intolerance, incitement, harassment, or violence based on ethnic origin or religious belief.