The Road to Righteousness – Remembering Giorgio Perlasca
By Avi Greenstein
On Sunday, December 8, the Boro Park community will participate in the renaming of a street. The corner of 17th Ave and 42nd St. will be renamed as Giorgio Perlasca Street.
The meaningful day is one long in coming for a hero of such a high caliber. Giorgio saved an estimated 5,281 Jews (four times more than the number saved by Oskar Schindler) from deportation to concentration camps – some from under the very nose of Adolf Eichmann. His heroic actions in saving the Budapest Ghetto from being liquidated with 60,000 Jews still living there saved even more lives, the number of which is impossible to estimate. The one thing we do know for sure is that Giorgio Perlasca is a name that will be remembered by a people known for hakaras hatov.
When the street is renamed on December 8, Giorgio Perlasca’s name will not be forgotten. Instead, it will reverberate on the lips of the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of those he saved. It will echo across the generations and serve as a place fixed in the heart of Boro Park. At the same time, the horrors of the past will remain fixed in our memory. We will always remember when one man risked his life and singlehandedly accomplished so much through sheer force of will and brazen chutzpah – necessary components to survive the horrors of a world gone mad.
In a time when anti-Semitism is again on the rise, in a time when there are those mad enough to deny the very fact that a Holocaust took place, Giorgio Perlasca’s memory will remain forever in the forefront of our minds and hearts. It will be etched on the very signs that will stand out to those who are observant in the midst of the everyday hustle and bustle of Boro Park amidst a nation that doesn’t forget and that remains thankful l’dorei doras.