Berlusconi: Mussolini Wasn't So Bad

He did a lot of 'good' for Italy, sided with likely WWII winner, Hitler

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 27, 2013 10:40 AM CST

(Newser) – On the occasion of today being a day that ends in "y," Silvio Berlusconi said something asinine and offensive: Speaking to reporters at a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust, the former premier decided it was the perfect venue to expound on all the "good" that one Benito Mussolini brought to Italy. "Certainly the (Italian) government then, fearing that German power would turn into a general victory, preferred to be allied with Hitler's Germany rather that oppose it," said Berlusconi, adding that the unfortunate side effect of that alliance was "the imposition of the fight against, and extermination of, the Jews."

He continued: "Racial laws," which banned Jews from universities and various professions, were "the worst fault of Mussolini, who, in so many other aspects, did good." The AP notes that Mussolini deported some 7,000 Italian Jews to death camps; almost 6,000 of those died. Cue the outrage, along with a call for dear Silvio to be prosecuted for promoting Fascism: "Only Berlusconi's political cynicism, combined with the worst historic revisionism, could separate the shame of the racist laws from the Fascist dictatorship," said one opposition politician. Click for more on Holocaust remembrances.

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, foreground, sits in front of Northern League party's leader Roberto Maroni, in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi smiles during a rally for the upcoming elections in Rome Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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