01 December, 2020

A Refuge In Memory

Europe and the world must remember refugee crises of the past

A Refuge In Memory

The scale of man’s capacity to inflict suffering on other men is matched only by that of his incapacity to learn the lessons of history. Perhaps the most ignored lesson of history is that wars rarely solve problems. If anything, they create new problems for future generations.

A railway station is an unlikely place to be reminded of this. Especially the magnificent central railway terminus in Milan, Europe’s fashion capital. But housed in a once-hidden part of this station is a memorial to the victims of one of worst war crimes committed by the fascist regime of Mussolini in Italy in collusion with Hitler’s Germany. Between 1943 and 1945, thousands of deportees, mostly Jews, were secretly herded into livestock compartments of trains at this station and sent to death chambers in Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

On a cool September night, my Italian friend Ulderico Maggi took me to this Shoah Memorial of Milan (‘shoah’ in Hebrew means catastrophe). After I went around it, and read a heart-wrenching testimony by Liliana Segre,...



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