European cities mark second Day of the Righteous

ROME (JTA) – Italy was among several countries to mark the second European Day of the Righteous honoring those who stood up to totalitarianism and crimes against humanity.

Events took place on Thursday in Milan, Rome and several other Italian towns and cities, as well as in Sarajevo, Prague and Warsaw.

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Modeled on the way Yad Vashem in Jerusalem honors righteous gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, the Day of the Righteous was established in 2012 by the European Parliament. The date March 6 was chosen to commemorate Moshe Bejski, a former Israeli Supreme Court justice and Holocaust survivor who was saved from the Nazis by Oskar Schindler. Bejski chaired the Yad Vashem Commission of the Righteous from 1970 to 1995; he died on March 6, 2007.

In Warsaw, the establishment of a “garden of the righteous” was announced, to be inaugurated in June, with trees planted in memory of the late prime minister and human rights activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki; Marek Edelmann, a human rights activist and one of the commanders of the World War II Warsaw Ghetto uprising; Jan Karski, a resistance hero who brought word of the Holocaust to the West during World War II; the slain Soviet journalist Anna Politkowskaja and others.

In Milan, a Garden of the Righteous Worldwide was inaugurated in 2003.

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