Mussolini lost honorary citizenship of Ustica, pictured, after they voted to remove it from the deceased.

Ustica strips Mussolini of honorary citizenship

By Region News The Islands

On Friday 19th April, the Sicilian island of Ustica on Friday stripped Benito Mussolini of the honorary citizenship of the island he was granted during his 20-year rule in Italy.

On Ustica, several Fascist ‘gerarchi’ or high officials were stripped of the honour, alongside the late Fascist dictator, and Walt Disney.

A new law decreed that only living individuals could hold such distinctions, paving the way for the removal of Mussolini from the roll of honour.

Despite being long deceased, and with an atrocious humanitarian record, Mussolini still holds honorary citizenship in hundreds of Italian towns and cities, much to the chagrin of many residents.

During Mussolini’s rise to power, nearly all of Italy’s approximately 8,000 municipalities bestowed him with honorary citizenship under orders from fascist authorities. While some towns began liberating themselves from this burden in 1944, progress was slow, with places like Naples and Matera leading the way, followed by Arezzo in March 1945.

However, the issue persisted for decades. Shockingly, until 2015, Liliana Segre, a 93-year-old Italian senator-for-life and Holocaust survivor, shared honorary citizenship of Tricase in Lecce with the dictator who deported her to Auschwitz.

Renewed efforts to address the issue

Recently, the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), an anti-fascist group, has renewed efforts to tackle this issue.

“Many municipalities are still unaware of Mussolini’s presence among their honorary citizens due to lost archives during the war,” noted Natalia Marino, a member of ANPI’s national committee, as reported in the Guardian. “Some face resistance from political parties unwilling to revoke the honour, while others are constrained by laws preventing its cancellation.”

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