On March 24th 79 years ago, in 1944, 335 civilians, political prisoners, Jews, soldiers, common prisoners, were killed by the Nazis in retaliation for an ambush by the Gap partisans the previous day, which went down in history as the attack on via Rasella.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni recalled the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine with a note, which was particularly contested by the opposition. “Today Italy honors the victims of the Fosse Ardeatine massacre – writes the premier – a massacre that marked one of the deepest and most painful wounds inflicted on our national community: 335 innocent Italians massacred just because they were Italian. It is up to all of us – institutions, civil society, schools and the world of information – to remember those martyrs and to tell the younger generations in particular what happened on that terrible March 24, 1944. May memory never be a mere exercise in style but a duty civic duty to be exercised every day”.
It was precisely on that “just because they were Italian” that the controversy arose. “They were killed because partisans, politicians, Jews, dissidents, along with many free men and women, killed in retaliation. The darkest night of Nazi-fascist violence”, writes Chiara Braga, Pd deputy and secretary of the Presidency of the Chamber on Twitter.
The national secretary of the Italian Left, Nicola Fratoianni, speaks directly to the Premier: “No, President Meloni: 335 people were not killed by the Nazi-fascists at the Fosse Ardeatine just because they were Italian. Because they were Italians and anti-fascists, Jews, partisans. Will she be able to write that word one day? ANTI-FASCIST”.
For the commemorations, the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella arrived at the Mausoleum of the Fosse Ardeatine at 10, listened to the long list in memory of the victims and then entered the shrine for a private moment of meditation.
From the Jewish community the words of the Roman president Ruth Dureghello: “March 24 is an indelible date in Italian history. A date that commemorates the martyrdom of men whose lives were despised and used for a cowardly and brutal retaliation. This is why it is significant to be here together with the President of the Republic Mattarella, with the institutions, with the families of the victims to name those martyrs one by one, despite the fact that time passes, discrimination and hatred persist. Our commitment is to counter them by keeping the memory alive”.
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