The i-italy network (www.i-italy.org) has been online for about a year now. As you know, periodically we publish thematic issues on paper. This one is dedicated to Remebrance Day, and it is our contribution to the many initiatives the Italian and Italian/American communities promote in New York to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz.
We are addressing this particular issue for a variety of reasons.
First of all, as Italians we feel the civic duty to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, to which Italy sadly contributed by passing the Racial Laws in 1938 and fighting the war from the wrong side of history. Several contributors to this magazine underline this aspect of celebrating Remembrance Day from an Italian point of view. And it is particularly important to highlight, as the Consul General of Italy in New York Francesco Talò says in his opening comment, that “Italy does not forget.”
Second, as Italian Americans we are concerned with a topic that seems to have been largely buried in our memory: the historical and contemporary experience of Italian Jews in the United States and of Italian/American Jews. These are “minorities within a minority,” as pointed out in our interview with Anthony Tamburri; and historically they experienced a peculiar clash or overlap of identities—religious, political, and cultural.
Third, as non-Jews we intend to dedicate this special issue of i-Italy to an uncompromising critique of racism, past and present. We are aware that, in our societies, on both sides of the Ocean, anti-Semitism is not dead—neither are other forms of racial intolerance, xenophobia, and ethnic violence. Though most of them only pale in comparison to the Holocaust, they are a heinous offense to our civilization. One can only quote Amos Luzzatto in this regard, when he writes in his article that we should realize that “we are all, in fact, minorities.”
Last but not least, as Americans we cannot overlook the coincidence between the celebration of this year’s Remembrance Day and the inauguration of the first African/American president of the United States. These pages, and the online multimedia section you will find on our website, are also a tribute to a major symbolic achievement in the struggle against racism in the world.