Workshop: Who wants whom to remember what, and why?
October 25-27, 2023
The primary focus of this workshop was on Holocaust education and remembrance in Italy, with a particular emphasis on the involvement of Jewish organizations in this field. 80 years after the Nazi raid against Jews in Rome on October 16, 1943, the community is working together with other actors to remember the persecution of the Jews of Italy. The debate is shaped by the question of the role of the Pope and the Vatican, the responsibility of the non-Jewish population of Italy in resistance, collaboration and indifference to the fascist Mussolini regime and the German occupation, and the effort to gain recognition and resources for remembrance work and education critical of Antisemitism and racism.
Using this as a foundation, we explored and examined the educational approaches presented by our European partners from the MuRem networks. Through hands-on exploration, participants gained valuable insights into the educational initiatives undertaken by different institutions, including meta-level discussions of current challenges, methods, and concepts. Engaging in meaningful discussions, we had the opportunity to delve further into the topics covered in the presentations and reflect on how these perspectives can be effectively integrated into our own educational practices. The title of the workshop, a quote by Peter Burke, was at the same time the overarching question of the workshop:
“It is important to ask the question, who wants whom to remember what, and why? Whose version of the past is recorded and preserved …?” (Peter Burke, Collective Memory, 2012)
Wednesday, October 25th: We started our workshop by joining the ‘Ricordiamo insieme’, a memorial ceremony commemorating the Nazi raid against Jews in Rome on October 16, 1943, with speeches of representatives of both the Jewish as well as the Christian community of Rome. This was followed by a welcome speech by Noemi Di Segni, President of the Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane (UCEI) about the activities and challenges of the Jewish community in Italy regarding remembrance and education.
Thursday, October 26th: We started the day with participants reflecting on their thoughts and feelings about the recent Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, the Gaza-Israel war that has been going on since then and the influences these events have on public debates and our educational work in different European countries. Subsequently, the specific characteristics and challenges of Italian remembrance of Nazi crimes and in particular the Shoah in Italy were presented and discussed. In the afternoon, we visited the Fondazione del Museo della Shoah, learned about their educational work and met an eye-witness. In our first two dialogue and hands-on sessions, European partners from the MuRem network presented and discussed their practical approaches in the fields of 1) Remembering/working at/with a historical site and 2) Working with school classes .
Friday, October 27th: Our third dialogue and hands-on session included two projects that aim to including transnational perspectives. After final round of discussions, feedback, and an outlook for future collaboration, we finished the workshop with a guided tour of the Jewish Museum of Rome.
Please find the detailed program below.
The “Ricordiamo Insieme” at the Peter’s Square in Rome, 25 October 2023. © Minor
Workshop participants following the traces of Roman Jewish life in the neighboorhood of Trastevere, 2023. © Minor
MuRem Workshop discussion in Rome, 2023 © Minor
Guided tour to the Jewish Museum of Rome, 2023 © Minor
MuRem workshop participants in Rome, 2023 © Minor