The Holocaust is one the most traumatic historical events for humanity, and it shows us what humankind is possible of doing regarding the other people of a certain ethnicity.
Venice is famous for its beauty and history that have long been the source of legend and inspiration. Less known is the fact that for centuries, Venice was also a focal point of Jewish life and culture. The Ghetto, founded in 1516 as a place of segregation, became an important crossroads of various Jewish communities and a place for dialogue between Jews and non- Jews, the model for all subsequent ghettos, beginning with the name itself which derives from the Venetian geto (foundry). Today tens of thousands of people visit the Ghetto every year: they tour its synagogues and museum, gaze in wonder at the tall tenements and remnants of its famous ‘banks’, they read the memorial plaques dedicated to the Holocaust. The small but vibrant Jewish population treasures its own traditions and participates in the civic and cultural life of Venice. However the key stories and intellectual achievements of the Ghetto remain hidden and unexplored and the Ghetto still remains the most misunderstood and misrepresented monument of Venice. The approaching 500th anniversary of the founding of the Ghetto in 1516 is a unique opportunity to open a new phase in the history of this site and to highlight its global relevance, through a modern approach to its heritage. At a time of political uncertainty in Europe, the Ghetto has precious ethical and cultural lessons to educate the public about the Jews, about human rights, cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue.
The Holocaust has always fascinated me
The object of such historians and their sympathizers is to make it seem that, however tragic and terrible the Holocaust, it certainly was but one of many wartime calamities. The Jewish tragedy becomes more understandable in that context, especially when compared with all the other horrible events of the twentieth century. Why, therefore, is there any need to focus on a single crime? There was, after all, the Armenian annihilation during World War I. There was, after all, the Ukraine famine, and there was the Stalin’s terror, both of which claimed millions of lives. There was Vietnam. There was Pol Pot and Cambodia. There is Burundi and Rwanda. There is the Balkans. There are many other places, and, therefore, why is the Holocaust so different when viewed in comparative and relative perspective?