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Two Jews, Jewish group honored with prestigious Milan civic awards

The city council sends a “strong signal” by shortlisting an “active Zionist Jew,” one winner said.

The Duomo at sunrise in Milan, Italy. Credit: ventdusud/Shutterstock.
The Duomo at sunrise in Milan, Italy. Credit: ventdusud/Shutterstock.

The publisher Andrea Jarach and psychologist Silvia Vegetti Finzi, both of whom are Jewish, and the Gariwo (“Gardens of the Righteous”) Foundation, which is chaired by the Jewish journalist Gabriele Nissim, are among the recipients of prestigious Ambrogino awards, which the municipality of Milan, Italy bestows.

The honor is named for the city’s fourth-century patron saint Ambrose, and is bestowed on people and organizations that have made significant contributions to culture, art, science, charity and other areas. The fashion designer Giorgio Armani and Queen Rania of Jordan received the award in previous years.

The nonprofit, which raises awareness of those who have sought to prevent genocide and defend human rights in extreme situations, will receive a certificate of civic merit.

A publisher and entrepreneur who is active in Milan’s Jewish community, Jarach told Bet Magazine that the city council was sending a “strong signal” by shortlisting an “active Zionist Jew.”

Finzi, born to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother in 1938, published a 2016 memoir A Little Girl Without a Star, detailing her memories of the Nazi occupation of Italy from 1943 to 1945. At that time, thousands of Italian Jews, or Italians with at least one Jewish parent or at least three Jewish grandparents, were rounded up and deported to concentration camps.

The author is known for her work on psychoanalysis and pedagogy. She dedicated the award to the women’s movement, in which she is an active participant. Finzi noted that she doesn’t agree with “the silence on the Israeli women victims of Oct. 7, an atrocity that will forever be written in the book of memory.”

The Ambrogino d’Oro awards ceremony will take place on Dec. 7, the Roman Catholic feast day of Saint Ambrose.

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