Holocaust Remembrance event has its speaker


GLOVERSVILLE — La Rabinessa Liora Kelman, granddaughter of Holocaust survivors from Milan Italy, will be the keynote speaker at the Holocaust Remembrance at 7 p.m. on May 1, at Knesseth Israel Synagogue 34. E. Fulton St.

At the time of the Holocaust, her maternal grandfather, Dr. Alfredo Sarano, was the executive director of the Jewish Community in Milan, according to a news release. The situation was becoming very dangerous for the Jews in Italy by 1943; even though the Saranos had lived in Milan for generations, Sarano realized it was time to leave. He also realized that the roster of Milan’s Jews in his possession as director would put the Jewish Community in grave danger. He took his family and the rosters and went into hiding in the small town of Mombraoccio.

At this point, the story of the Sarano family opens to include the courageous acts of the local priest, Padre Sante Raffaelli and the Ciaffoni family in Mombraoccio. Raffaelli introduced the Sarano’s to the Ciaffonis who provided the family with a place to live, food and most important, protection until the end of the war. Only the priest and the Ciaffonis knew that the Saranos were Jewish. When the air raid signal sounded, they hid in the church’s underground caves with the other village families. When there was a manhunt for Jews, Igino Ciaffoni delivered the Sarano family deep into the woods for safety. A lasting bond grew for the Sarano family with the Ciaffonis, Raffaelli and the town of Mombraoccio.

There are many Holocaust stories of the victims and the perpetrators and also the people who “followed orders” without question and the bystanders who looked away and did nothing. The story of the Sarano family includes people who didn’t look away and say ‘this doesn’t affect me.'”

The Ciaffonis and Raffaelli risked their lives to save fellow human beings because it was the “right thing to do” and in doing so, they saved a family.

Kelman will relate the story of her family, the people who helped them, and what happened after the Holocaust, including the surprise discovery about the Nazi officer in charge of the town.

The program will also include a traditional lighting of six memorial candles to commemorate the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis, readings by members of the local clergy, and presentation of 2018 winner of the Nessel Family Holocaust Memorial Scholarship.

The program is free to the public.