Synagogue in Jewish quarter of Venice, Italy
Synagogue in Jewish quarter of Venice, ItalyiStock

Italy’s education ministry has signalled that it will work to combat antisemitism in the country’s schools.

Italian Minister of Education Merit Giuseppe Valditara has signed a protocol of intent with the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) to cooperate on education initiatives in Italian schools to fight antisemitism.

The memorandum of intent between the Ministry and the UCEI “ratifies the collaboration to promote initiatives in Italian schools to combat antisemitism,” the Italian Ministry of Education said.

The signing ceremony was attended by UCEI President Noemi di Segni and Ariel Finzi, the Chief Rabbi of Turin.

Valditara recalled visiting the Dachau death camp and how this had a major impact on his life.

"When I was 21, the journey down memory lane didn't take place, I did it alone, in the Dachau camp, and I touched the depths to which human depravity can reach,” Valditara said. “In 2000 as provincial councilor in Milan I organized a meeting with students and Liliana Segre [Italian Holocaust survivor, named senator for life in 2018], and it was a touching moment.”

“We have the responsibility of remembering, because the real risk is that we eventually get used to it. In some European countries, 20 percent of students don't even know what the Shoah was, while antisemitism is resurgent in Europe: it means that we haven't worked enough with our consciences,” UCEI said.

“The Holocaust was caused not only by the Germans, but by all those who were accomplices, including some Italians. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the constitution, it is an opportunity to remember that our charter puts the human person first, at whose service the state places itself. This is our beacon, which must light the way to prevent these tragedies from happening again."