President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Giorgia Meloni both recalled Italy’s role in the Shoah as they marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday.
“The principles that shaped our Republican Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the radical rejection of the universe that led to Auschwitz,” Mattarella said.
“Unfortunately, today we see those principles threatened around the world by bloody wars of aggression, by obtuse repression and summary executions, by a worrying re-emergence – fed by the distorted use of social media – of anti-Semitism, intolerance, racism and denialism, which is the most sly and insidious form of racism”.
Mattarella recalled the Fascist regime’s 1938 racial laws and complicity of the Nazi puppet Italian Social Republic in deporting Jews to the death camps between 1943 and 1945.
“In 1938 the Fascist regime cruelly acted against a part of its people,” said Mattarella. He added that the Constitution says Italy must “never again” be a racist State.
The “abyss of humanity”
Prime Minister Meloni said “the Shoah represents the abyss of humanity” in her message for Holocaust Memorial Day.
She further said it was “an evil that touched in depth our nation too, with the abomination of the 1938 racial laws.
“It is our duty to make sure that the memory of those events and of what happened is not brought down to a mere stylistic exercise,” she continued.
“The challenge that all of us – institutions, civil society, educational agencies, information and mass media organs – have before us is to cultivate our commitment to the memory (of the Holocaust) every day, raise awareness in young generations and intensify the effort to combat anti-Semitism in every form it manifests itself”.
Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre presided over the most recent opening of Italy’s Parliament.