Within three years, the building, which will be close to Mussolini’s former home of Villa Torlonia park, should open its doors. In 1943, there was a roundup of Jews in the Italian capital.
Rome, the location of a roundup of Jews in October 1943, will now have a Holocaust museum after receiving approval from the far-right government of Giorgia Meloni on Thursday night. The government stated in a news statement issued at the conclusion of the most recent Council of Ministers that Italy wished to “contribute to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and present” through “the institution of a national museum of the Shoah in Rome”. After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Rome, the announcement was made.
At the conclusion of the Council of Ministers, the Italian Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, announced the release of ten million euros “to begin to realize in our capital” a Holocaust museum, which had been “present in all the major capitals of Europe” but had taken 25 years to develop in Italy. As a very symbolic move, the museum will be constructed on property next to Villa Torlonia Park, which served as Benito Mussolini’s home while he was in power from 1922 to 1943.
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similar to other European cities
The Jewish community of Rome hailed this news, but its president Ruth Dureghello urged “choices that may be taken in a short time to give the capital of Italy a museum like all the great European capitals” in a press statement “. The architect in charge of the project, Luca Zevi, told AFP on Friday that the museum should open “in three yearsto the maximum” and that it “will have toto be an instrument of education in democracy, in pluralism (…) because unfortunately we see that things that we considered as acquired and as definitive conquests are not.
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The business of extermination of the Jews of Europe carried out by Hitler’s Germany, which claimed at least six million people, also devastated Rome, where there was one of the oldest Jewish communities in Europe. On October 16, 1943, Nazi troops attacked Rome’s historic ghetto with the assistance of fascist government employees. 1023 Jews were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp for murder. Giorgia Meloni honored the victims of “Nazi-fascist wrath” by remembering this “tragic day” last year. Ignazio La Russa, president of the Senate and controversial co-founder of Fratelli d’Italia, also referred to “one of the darkest pages of our history” and expressed “his most genuine support” on this occasion “to the Jewish neighborhood.
Italian Jews had already been persecuted before any direct action by Nazi forces. Mussolini’s government enacted a number of “race laws” in 1938. A number of forms of discrimination against Jews were introduced under this anti-Semitic law, including the ban on marriage to Italians and the exclusion of Jews from public employment and education.