Home News Gianni Oliver, the “maestro”, is gone: he was a living testimony of the Vajont

Gianni Oliver, the “maestro”, is gone: he was a living testimony of the Vajont

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Gianni Oliver, the “maestro”, is gone: he was a living testimony of the Vajont

On the night of 9 October 1963 he lost 28 family members, he was saved because he taught outside: for years he told the tragedy to the world

THE MOURNING. The memory of Vajont loses an important witness with the death, after a long period of illness, of Gianni Olivier. Olivier, who would have turned 88 in July, was known by all with the nickname of “teacher” because of his profession, even if his relentless commitment was that of a witness to the Vajont. His was a tragic story: he lost 28 relatives, including his parents and his brother, captain of the local football team who was only 24 years old, with his body found months later. Instead, he was saved because on 9 October 1963 he was working as a teacher in the Feltre area. Immediately after he taught in Longarone where he trained the new generations of reconstruction. He was on the board of the survivors association, now “Vajont, the future of memory” and a tireless popularizer: he has participated in countless publications and television broadcasts, including national ones.

«From my home I see the landslide and therefore the thought is always there», he said in a recent interview, «it is said that everyone loves their country and I think of young people. The kids who will one day take over the fate of the nation must understand that nature must not be violated. I think that young people must be trusted, they are full of enthusiasm and life: I have confidence ».

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«He was a man of depth», remembers Renato Migotti of the survivors association, «always present in the city culture. He was modest, methodical and with a great ability to maintain balance and calm judgment. In his life he worked hard to collect many documents and photos on the Longarone of the past, which were then used for exhibitions and publications. His research work was fundamental, which allowed a precise count of the number of victims, 1910 people, and his photographic census of the tombstones of the old cemetery of Fortogna. He was a point of reference, he was invited all over Italy to schools, universities and meetings ». Furthermore, the contributions of historical researcher for many Longaronese voluntary associations are not counted; the one most dear to him was probably the Recalchi photographic circle, which won the Longarone award in 2018 thanks also to his long contribution; but he also participated in the creation of the civic library and was a guide for the Pro Loco.

«Our community will be forever grateful for what he has given us», is the moved comment of the mayor Roberto Padrin, «I personally remember him as his pupil and I will thank him infinitely for the values ​​he passed on to me; as mayor instead we have lived many moments together. He said that during his life he had accompanied as many as 30 thousand people to places of memory. A great moment was in 2019 with the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella at the portal of the Fortogna cemetery. At the time I wanted to choose him to ideally represent the whole community of survivors. Perhaps he is the person who knew the history of the Vajont most of all, which he told with emotional transport and humanity despite his heart swollen with pain. The ultimo great event was last October in Roncade. Everyone present was excited when he pulled out the ring that belonged to his brother: an object that made it possible to identify him in the mud ». The funeral will be held tomorrow at 15.30 in Longarone.

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