Thursday, 6 March 2014


“Do you have the right to be silent in the face of evil, do you have the right not to stand witness; do you the right to let your fear speak for you?” – Esad Kocan
March 6 is the European day of the Righteous, a celebration established in 2012 by the European Parliament to commemorate those who have stood up against crimes against humanity and totalitarianism with their own moral responsibility. By this celebration the concept of Righteous as worked out by Yad Vashem is broadened to all genocide cases and forms of totalitarianism thanks to the commitment of Moshe Bejski. The European day of the Righteous is celebrated every year on 6 March, the anniversary of Moshe Bejski’s death.
Moshe Bejski (Dzialoszyce, 29 December 1921 – Tel Aviv, 6 March 2007) was an Israeli judge, President of “Yad Vashem” Righteous Commission. Moshe Bejski’s quest for the Righteous demonstrates that it is possible to act against evil with a simple act of good, and not necessarily having to become a martyr. As long as one has the moral inclination to do so one may make a big difference. There are no barriers, neither ethnic, nor religious; neither ideological nor sociological, when one puts human beings at the centre of one’s world of values.
The call for the European Union and the Council of Europe to set up a European day in the memory of the Righteous came from a hundred prominent Italian and European personalities of the world of culture under the aegis of non-profit association Gariwo, the forest of the Righteous. It soon received the support of important institutions such as the Presidency of the Republic of Poland, the Václav Havel foundatioon, the association run by father Luigi Ciotti “Libera, numeri e nomi contro le mafie” and many other influent entities from all over Europe. The most famous signatories include Umberto Eco, Dario Fo, Daniel Goldhagen.
The educational charity Gariwo is part of the network Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide ( and was registered in Sarajevo in 2001. The organisation campaigns to develop civil courage among young people in the Balkans to stand up against ethnic and religious antagonism, bigotry, intolerance of diversity, all kinds of group prejudice, corruption, intimidation, bullying, physical abuse and violence.
Specific Aims of the Programme Education for Civil Courage are:
To raise public awareness of moral and social issues and their chief purpose
To encourage citizens to think in terms of their whole society rather than identify mainly with ethnic groups
To persuade citizens to take responsibility for changing their society
To inspire self-confidence that individual and collective action can succeed
To train particularly young people in the practical skills for constructive opposition.


  1. I really, really do hope that the programme and it's aims are a success.......

  2. You highlighted a very important topic. In lectures, we can cover the individuals concerned, and their heroic lives, in quite some detail. We can also refer to books that students can use to flesh out the unbelievable few who stood up at great risk to themselves.

    In the blog, however, I have only managed to write in detail about 10. My particular favourites are:
    1. Irena Sendler
    2. Hiram Bingham
    3. Varian Fry
    4. Ernst Leitz
    5. Sir Nicholas Winton

    Thanks for the link

  3. "Righteous" - a wonderful word and an even more important meaning. We seem to be forgetting words like this. It is an excellent day to commemorate and the Gariwo programme is fantastic!