04 May 2018

The Giro D’Italia 2018 starts in Jerusalem this year in memory Gino Bartali

On the eve of this international cycling race, which starts this year in Jerusalem, the late cyclist Gino Bertali, accaimed in Israel as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations”, is remembered at the Holocaust Musem.

Actuality and events

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Jerusalem is tinged in pink on the eve of the start of the Giro d’Italia. The 101st race gets under way for the first time outside Europe, starting in Jerusalem on Friday, the 4th of May.

MAURO VEGNI
Director, Giro d’Italia
“
We selected Jerusalem because it represents a great deal, not simply as far as religion is concerned, but also because of the city’s associated cultural backround. In addition, there is incomparable scenery.”

The start, requiring four thousand police, and attracting thousands of tourists, was preceded by a special ceremony at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, in the presence of the Israeli Giro team, and many officials. There, the center’s director accorded honorary Israeli citizenship to the Gino Bartali, who had been proclaimed “Righteous Among the Nations”, handing the relevant certificate to his granddaughter, Gioia.

AVNER SHALEV

Director, Yad Vashem
“
What emerges from this memory of Gino Bartali, is a path: something which must serve as guidance for all of us: advising us never to keep silent in the face of evil anywhere in the world. We should try to do what we can to support good and to put a stop to evil.”

GIOIA BARTALI
Niece of Gino Bartali

“Speaking of a man such as he is, in my opinion, to speak of peace and solidarity. My grandfather was a man of great merit, and above all he was human. He was a very great champhion, yes, but today it is good to recall him as a champion of life.”

“Ginettaccio”, as he was nicknamed, has his name inscribed in a roll of honor for having saved the lives of 800 Jews during the Nazi persecutions by hiding documents within the crossbar off his bicycle. 

“To make the world a better place”, said the Italian Ambassador to Israel, Gianluigi Benedetti, “Courage and determination are not enough: compassion and trust are necessary.”

His Excellency GIANLUIGI BENEDETTI
Italian Ambassador in Israel

“Saving other people’s lives means putting one’s own life at risk, but it also means having great confidence in the midst of dark, diffficult and evil moments. I think there is a lession here for all of us, even today. We need be to be positive in recognizing where good can be achieved.”

The first leg of the Giro is dedicated to the champion, but this was preceded by months of controversy, but Bartali is give us an example which goes beyond cultural and religious differences.

GIOIA BARTALI
Granddaughter of Gino Bartali

“My grandfather was was a Catholic of extraordinary, yet above all authentic faith. In his letters to my grandmother over twenty years, he aways said, “Remember to say a prayer to Saint Theresa for me.” In this way, he kept faith, and always did his best to do good. We are also here today to honor this attitude.”