The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, said: “Racial laws are an indelible stain on our history.”
The head of the Italian state in a celebration at the Quirinale rails against fascism, continued, “It is wrong to say that it also did good things.” And speaking on the Shoah, he said, “It remains unique in the history of Europe.”
President Mattarella took the field on the Day of Remembrance to repudiate those – just as the Northern League political party is running for candidacy for the presidency of the Lombardy region – who trample on the principle that there is no discrimination between Italian citizens of any kind, religious, sex, or race, although perhaps politically.
He said the crime and shame of the laws of fascism against the Jews have never been repeated. The President then named Italian Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre as a Senator for Life.
Sergio Mattarella has harsh words for the sins committed by fascism for the racial laws and the persecutions of the Jews in 1938, saying it was “a regime that had no merit, and in which the hunt for the Jews was not at all a deviation but was itself inherent to the violent nature and intolerance of that system.”
War and racism, therefore, were not deviations of the Black Twenties but in the character of that regime made of prevarication and persecution. In the words of the head of state, there is not only the excommunication of the past, but also the claim of a constitution that was born in opposition to the regime of Mussolini, as he also warns against the dangers of the present.
“The ghosts of the past, the risk of opening the gates of the abyss again, must always be kept in mind; our society has antibodies to avoid it, but it is up to each of us to work to prevent the past from coming back,” he added.
We must not “minimize the outbreaks of hatred”
Our country, adds the head of state, has the strength and the ability to “deal with its own history” eighty years after the infamy of the racial laws, and the country should not be afraid to remember that “those laws were signed on their own, fisted by Mussolini but found complicity and justification within the state and society of the time: intellectuals, jurists, scientists, historians signed the Manifesto of the race that gave the theoretical support to that ignominy.”
As for the resurgence of racism and neo-fascism today, Mattarella launched an appeal against the “prophets of death” who act in the shelter of new social media on the web, sowing hatred, fake news, and violence. A speech that calls all Italians to the “duty of memory” to drive away the ghosts of the past and at the same time aimed especially at younger generations, are a warning to distance themselves from any new racism.
The guest of honor, together with Piero Terracina, Liliana Segre, was interviewed by students in the Quirinale cuirassiers’ salon. Asked, “why did you not want to go back to Auschwitz?” she replied, “Some cancel – the heart and the mind can no longer overcome them, and that lager today for some has even become a sort of Disney World.”
Then she spoke of the phone call with President Mattarella who gave her the news of the appointment as Senator for Life, saying “I felt it like a sort of compensation for my life, the State that closed the door of the school to that girl because a Jew, now reopens to her the doors of its highest institutions, the Senate.”
Italy – full accomplice of Nazism, remembers Mattarella
Even if in our country there were no gas chambers, the “wilful executioners of Hitler” found in the regime and especially in the Republic of Salò, the full accomplices of the “mad and wicked project of reducing human beings to cold numbers, to objects, destined in the general indifference to the machine of the German extermination that annihilated 6 million Jews and 200,000 gypsies.” It is an “indelible and infamous stain” of Italian history. These facts come from an article written by Umberto Rosso published by Repubblica.it
The day of January 27 took on a symbolic meaning over time: that it was the end of the persecution of the Jewish people. There are many initiatives planned for the Day of Remembrance on January 27, when in 1945 the soldiers of the Red Army entered the Auschwitz concentration camp and freed the surviving prisoners.
From this date, for a week in Lombardy region, there will be commemorations, workshops, films, flash mobs, and a confrontation-debate with young people so as not to forget the drama of the Holocaust.
Photos © Mario Masciullo