Milan commemorates the Shoah

A week of events in Milan for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A series of events around the city this week will commemorate the Holocaust or Shoah, when Germany’s Nazis persecuted and killed millions of “undesirables”, most of them Jews.

On Friday 25 January, a ceremony in Piazza Beccaria at 11.30 will be attended by 88-year-old Milanese Life Senator Liliana Segre, survivor of Birkenau death camp, and by Gunter Demnig, the German artist whose “stumblestones” mark over 70,000 spots in 2,000 cities in 21 European countries where Holocaust victims were arrested and deported.

Starting the previous day, city dignitaries led by deputy mayor Anna Scavuzzo will install another 30 stumblestones around the city, adding to the 32 brass plaques, measuring 10 x 10 cm, already set in the pavement outside the homes of victims deported from Milan.

On 25, 27 and 28 January, entry will be free to the “Binario 21” memorial at Milan’s central railway station, where thousands of Jews, dissident politicians and other undesirables were forced into freight wagons for the journey to the death camps. Liliana Segre will explain the significance of the memorial in person on 30 January, the very date when the 13-year-old was rounded up in 1944.

The entrance is in Via Ferrante Aporti, alongside the station. Given the expected surge of visitors, booking is obligatory on the TicketOne site, which will charge only a €1.50 booking fee.

On Sunday 27 January, the traditional free concert in the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Via Conservatorio will offer excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with Italian and international singers and musicians, starting at 20.00. During the evening, texts by Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, whose books won international acclaim, will be read by television personality Geppi Cucciari to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 27 January each year, was designated by the United Nations in 2005 to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by Soviet troops in 1945.