#WeRemember: It is our duty as human beings to honor the victims of the Holocaust and make sure it never happens againMore than 1,000 people joined together in Bologna, Italy on Sunday morning for a remembrance road race passing through Jewish historical sites, including those of Holocaust remembrance, as part of a series of events in Italy marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an event co-hosted by the Italian Union of Jewish Communities, in partnership with the Jewish Community of Bologna, and the Italian Coordination Committee for Celebrations in Memory of the Shoah, and with the support of the World Jewish Congress and local organizations.
It is the only official sports race in Europe designed to commemorate the Holocaust, a feat of in itself, and an event of accolade, and in its second year in Italy. It took place just a day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and after a dizzying three weeks of witnessing key influencers and sports teams from around the world, including Chelsea FC, Bayern Munchen, and Dortmund, joining the World Jewish Congress in its global campaign to say #WeRemember. It’s a message heard globally already, with hundreds of millions exposed to the call and more than a million participants, and we hope it will only grow stronger.
As a representative of the World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomatic Corps (WJC JDCorps) in Turkey, I took part in this race to help spread this critical message, and to honor the memory of all Holocaust victims, including Arpaud Weisz, the former coach of Bologna’s national team who perished in Auschwitz. The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization that represents Jewish communities and organizations in over 100 countries around the world, and its flagship program is the JDCorps, is a global network of more than 200 young Jewish professionals from over 40 countries acting to help promote its critical messaging. It was an honor to take part in the efforts of the Italian community to commemorate its past.
More than 1,000 people joined the race to show their solidarity with the 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust and to remind the world of its promise to “Never Forget” and ensure that these horrors never happen again.
In a moving tribute, 81-year-old Holocaust survivor and two-time Olympian Shaul Ladany - who still holds the world record in the 50-mile walk – also joined and finished the race and gave testimony to what he had endured during the Holocaust. The Italian Jewish Communities Association described the race as “a precious occasion to overcome barriers and borders regardless of religion, creed, gender or cultural background”. It is for our past, and our future.
The participants of the race bore t-shirts with the words ‘We Remember,’ as part of World Jewish Congress’ global social media initiative that has taken a life of its own since it was first launched in 2017. It has become a grassroots movement from the heart, and a message to the world on Holocaust Remembrance Day. We aimed to reach 500 million with this message, and based on what we have seen in recent days, it seems the world shares the same hope.
We are using the power of social media and community action to commemorate the Holocaust, beyond the echo chamber; we must avoid repeating the horrific mistakes of our past. Millions of people, irrespective of religion or faith, have joined our message to condemn the crimes committed against the Jewish people during the Holocaust, and stand proud in our initiative to stop such horrors from ever happening again.
It is our duty to raise our voices against antisemitism - not just as Jews, but as human beings.