Friday, November 22, 2013

Italy: Italians downplay the Holocaust

Even outside conservative and ultra-conservative circles, it is common to downplay the role played by Mussolini's regime, and Italians in general, in the extermination of Jews.

The dominant narrative is the one of “Italiani brava gente,” or “Italians are nice people.” Many Italian history book focus on making a distinction between Nazism (bad) and fascism (not-so-bad): “Antisemitism and racist ideology was the main difference between Hitler's regime and that of Mussolini,” wrote Renzo De Felice, a prominent historian who also noted that under Fascism “only 7,000 Jews lost their lives” (emphasis my own).

Moreover, a recent study on the representation of the Holocaust in Italian movies (“La Shoah nel cinema italiano”, edited by Andrea Minuz and Guido Vitiello, both professors at the University of Rome) shows that the majority of them tend to downplay the role of fascism in the persecution of Jews. Moreover, an impressive number of movies about World War II bear no reference of the Holocaust at all.

More: The Daily Beast

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