10,300 Nights in the Gulag

Letter From Albania

The memory of the victims of communism has been honored with various initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic.  To that end, a spate of symposia and panel discussions were held in November and December 2003 in Italy, mostly in Rome and Milan.

The symposium “Memento Gulag—Communism in the history of the XIX century,” jointly held November 7-8, 2003, in Rome by two cultural think tanks (Associazione Fiducia and umbrella Comitatus pro libertatibus-Freedom Committees), and the Milan event of December 9-11, 2003, “The Righteous in the Gulag—The value of moral resistance to Soviet totalitarianism,” organized by GARIWO (Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide) shared many facets.  Probably the most significant of these was the idea that all totalitarianisms—Nazism and communism—must be rejected, so much so that the concept of the “Righteous of the Shoah” should be extended to those innocent victims of Soviet Gulags who championed an uncompromising human dignity in the face of totalitarianism.

Gabriele Nissim, one of the organizers of the Milan event who has authored many books on the Nazi persecution of Jews, said that it is time for the stories of the victims of Soviet terror to be unearthed and recounted to the public.  In his column in Corriere della Sera (December 8, 2003), senior editorialist Paolo Mieli agreed, predicting the usual lament of...

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