Remembrance day, Liliana Segre at Platform 21: 'I chose not to hate'

The senator for life on Rai1 with Fabio Fazio from Milan Central Station recalled the tragedy of Nazi deportation: 'Better to be victims than perpetrators'. The readings of Pierfrancesco Favino and Paola Cortellesi, the Va' Pensiero of the Coro della Scala. Over 4 and a half million viewers

  19201-1012x506 Senator Liliana Segre with Fabio Fazio during the live Rai broadcast from Platform 21 at Milan Central Station

A reappropriation and a delivery. What Senator Liliana Segre did with Fabio Fazio yesterday evening, live on Rai1 from Platform 21 of Milan Central Station (with audiences booming: 4.65 million viewers, 22.5% share), was journey through time – painful and then happy – and into space, of horror then and of the defense of memory today. A journey during which the ninety-two-year-old Liliana told how she gave back to the thirteen-year-old self, discriminated against and deported, life and freedom, one piece at a time. A proud and public vindication of a little girl that history has done everything to defeat. A young girl whose photo Fazio shows, taken a few months before her deportation during a holiday in Bormio: 'I was like that when they deported me'. – video

Charlene Wittstock, return to public for Santa Devota Charlene Wittstock, return to public for Santa Devota

'THEY CAN NOT' – Remember everything, Liliana. She remembers the day in 1938 when, at the table, her family told her that she would not go back to school, in third grade: the racial laws had been signed. It was the day when she, the only child in a secular family, discovered that she was Jewish and as such she was excluded from school, as well as adult Jews from everything else. An exclusion reconstructed, prohibition after prohibition, by Pierfrancesco Favino and Paola Cortellesi, who have read the long list of 'cannots' that year after year, starting from that 1938, will transform Jews into ghosts. Necessary condition for undisturbed extermination, in indifference. The word that Liliana Segre wanted to welcome the visitor, in large letters, at the entrance to the Shoah Memorial which today stands at Platform 21.

Remembrance Day, Liliana Segre and that number on her arm: “The shame of whoever did it

FROM SCHOOL TO TRAIN – Segre remembers the day when, during an attempt to escape to Switzerland, she was arrested and taken to San Vittore prison. She remembers the day when from there, kicked and beaten with 604 others on a truck, she was taken to Platform 21, January 30, 1944. “It was morning, it wasn't night. But no one looked out the windows. Everything happened in indifference. For years we have wondered why no one ever stood in front of a train. Never. When that Chinese, in his shirt, in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square, I wondered why no one ever stood in front of a locomotive'. Segre walks with Fazio along the platform of this underground level of the Station. The one on which 'zealous Republican officials' loaded the trains, before 'hoisting' them with a sort of lift up to the upper floor of the station, from where they departed. A loading area, up to there, for mail, goods, livestock. Liliana shows the carriages, explains the hell it was to travel inside in 40 or 50 people, standing up, even though it was designed for '8 animals'. “Like those 8 possible animals, we too went to the slaughterhouse”. One of the carriages is open so that anyone who comes to the Shoah Memorial can enter and at least try to imagine. 'I'm not going in. I can choose not to enter it,” says Segre. A caress to the little Liliana that she couldn't do.

ONE CARESS AFTER ANOTHER - The whole story of the senator is propped up with caresses like this one. Like when the luminous writing that since yesterday has stood over the entrance to the Memorial and which reads 'Invite me at night to imagine the stars' is turned on. It is a Martellata, as the works of visual artist Marcello Maloberti are called, a writing created by reproducing Segre's handwriting. She recalls the saving dialogue which the little Liliana clung to in Auschwitz, with a little star that she noticed in the sky as soon as she arrived: 'I looked at her and said: as long as you shine, I'm alive'. Or like when, recalling the moment in which, at the end of the Death March, he had the opportunity to pick up a pistol and take revenge on one of his executioners, now on the run and defeated by History, he says: 'I had this crazy temptation to shoot him, because I had seen so many times shot at helpless, weak beings. But then it was a wonderful moment in my life when I understood that I wasn't like him. I was lucky that I had been loved in my childhood, in my early youth, and I couldn't hate, I couldn't kill anyone, for any reason. I ignored it. I was free. Woman of peace. Better to be victims than perpetrators”. It's the moment of choice after years of being alive or dead by chance, lucky or unfortunate. «For a yes or a no», as Primo Levi writes in If this is a man , read by Paola Cortellesi. “I have often been asked 'how did you manage to save yourself?'. That was always the case.' But if that was what saved her, her choices were needed to come back to life. 'When I came back I had only me, but I was still alive.'

Read 'La stanza' by Liliana Segre every week on 'Oggi' - guard

HAPPINESS WITHOUT HATE – After a long intimate work, in the 45 years in which he was unable to speak of the concentration camp, Segre today does not hate but neither does he forgive. “I am very envious of those who have been able to forgive. I'm not able. But I have managed over the years and – because I was very lucky afterwards, I met love and I gave love, I had 3 children – not to hate. While I was nursing my children I could no longer hate anyone. Being at peace is a viaticum, even for an old woman like me », she says. And the words of Wislava Szymborska and her poetry, I hate it , read by Pierfrancesco Favino, echo her. Before the mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala gives her the golden Ambrogino, the highest city honor, in memory of her father Alberto. And before the mayor, Fazio, Cortellesi, Favino and the senator read the names of six children who died in the fields, chosen by Senator Segre to represent the six million Jews exterminated by Nazi-fascism. A minute of silence, before the Choir of the Scala intoned, live from the Station, Go thinking , observed above and below the station by passing travelers and by the many friends of Segre in the audience: Roberto Bolle, Paolo Maldini, Ferruccio de Bortoli, Antonio Diodato and many others. And also by those who followed the whole evening from the street, beyond the window of the Holocaust Memorial. Who waited for the senator, at the exit, for an applause and 'Thank you Liliana'. On behalf of everyone.