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'Quake helped me speak out' says Italian Holocaust survivor

'Experiences so atrocious I thought nobody would understand'

27 January, 18:27
'Quake helped me speak out' says Italian Holocaust survivor (ANSA) - Vicenza, January 27 - An Italian survivor of the Holocaust on Monday told authorities in the north-eastern city of Vicenza that a deadly 2012 earthquake triggered his ability to speak out about his memories.

"Before the earthquake, I couldn't tell anyone, not even my family. The brutality I experienced was so atrocious I didn't believe anyone would understand", painter Enzo Ronchetti, 89, told Mayor Achille Variati at an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event.

A 5.9-magnitude quake two years ago killed seven people in the north-central Emilia Romagna region, where Ronchetti was born. "Those very experiences are what make me want the new generations to practice tolerance", said the painter, who was interned in Buchenwald and Bremervorde concentration camps in 1943.

"The hatred and intolerance that fed a totalitarian ideology that planned the annihilation of millions of people are a always a current threat," added Variati of the murders of six million Jews during the Holocaust.

"When the gates of (death camp) Auschwitz were opened on January 27, 1945, the whole world found out about the crimes committed against Jews and other internees: 69 years later, it is our job to make sure such horrors are never repeated, especially by reaching out to the younger generations".

Designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005, International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the victims of the Nazi genocide that resulted in the mass murder of six million Jews, two million Roma and Sinti people, 15,000 gays, and many others.