A PLAQUE in the Rome Ghetto commemorating the persecution of Jews..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
JANET LEVY Contrary to the prevalent view that Italians were primarily among the so-called “righteous gentiles” who saved Jews during the Holocaust, Italy played a significant role in the genocide of its Jewish citizens. Italians advanced blood libels, instituted persecutory racial laws, and later actively participated in the arrest and deportation of Jews to Auschwitz. In The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews in Italy, modern history professor Simon Levis Sullam explodes the myth of the “good Italians” promulgated after the war and exposes, for the first time, the cover-up of Italian responsibility.As early as 1938, under the centralized authority of the Italian Social Republic (RSI), Italy introduced racial laws for its Jewish citizens that limited their economic activities, demonized them as inferior and enemies of the country, and persecuted them in employment, education and property ownership. The Ministry of Popular Culture set up local centers to study the Jewish problem and crank out antisemitic propaganda for the media. A telling sentiment expressed on Radio Roma was the hope that “the Jews be burnt, one by one, and their ashes scattered in the wind.” All of this ultimately paved the way for Jewish annihilation.
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