Far-Right Leader Adds Condemnation of Horrific Event

Giorgia Meloni calls leader of Rome's Jewish community on anniversary of 1943 roundup
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2022 3:50 PM CDT
Far-Right Leader Adds Condemnation of Horrific Event
Forza Italia's Silvio Berlusconi and Brothers of Italy's Giorgia Meloni attend a rally in Rome on Sept. 22.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

Italy's far-right political leadership marked the 79th anniversary of the World War II roundup of Rome's Jews on Sunday with calls for such horror to never occur again, messages that took on greater significance following a national election won by a party with neo-fascist roots. Giorgia Meloni, who is expected to head Italy's first far-right-led government since the war's end, phoned the leader of Rome's Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, to commemorate the anniversary, a community spokesman said. In a statement, Meloni said the anniversary serves as a "warning so that certain tragedies never happen again," per the AP. She said all Italians bear the memory "that serves to build antibodies against indifference and hatred, to continue to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms."

On the morning of Oct. 16, 1943, during the German occupation of Italy, 1,259 people were arrested from Rome's Ghetto and surrounding neighborhoods and brought to a military barracks near the Vatican, bound for deportation to Auschwitz. Only 16 survived. Meloni called it a "tragic, dark and incurable day for Rome and Italy," that ended with the "vile and inhuman deportation of Roman Jews at the hands of the Nazi-Fascist fury: women, men and children were snatched from life, house by house."

Meloni's Brothers of Italy party won the most votes in Sept. 25 national election—about 26%—and is expected to head a government along with the right-wing League and center-right Forza Italia. Her party traces its roots to the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, or MSI, which was founded in 1946 by the remnants of Benito Mussolini's final government in the Nazi puppet state in Salo, northern Italy. It remained a small right-wing party until the 1990s, when it became the National Alliance, which sought to distance itself from its neo-fascist origins.

(Read more Italy stories.)

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