The great-grandson of the Italian king who signed the racial laws against Jews in 1938 has apologized and asked for forgiveness in a letter to the Jewish communities. The laws are “an unacceptable document, an indelible shadow over my Family, a wound for all of Italy that is still open.”
Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia dated his letter on January 27, the day of Holocaust remembrance. Its contents became known this weekend. His great-grandfather, Vittorio Emanuele III, sat on the Italian throne from 1900 to May 1946. He resigned after fierce criticism of his association with the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. A month later, the Italians chose a republic as a form of government in a referendum.
Racial laws were the beginning of discrimination against Jews in Italy. Many Jews lost their jobs and property; deportations from Italy to concentration camps did not begin until September 1943, when Germans took power in the northern part of the country. It is estimated that between 7,500 and 8,000 Italian Jews died in concentration camps.
“I condemn the 1938 racial laws, the full weight of which still rests on my shoulders and that of all the Royal House of Savoia,” writes the 48-year-old prince, who also wrote his letter. via Twitter and Facebook spread.
The Union of Jewish Communities wonders in a comment wonder why it took so long for the Savoia family to unambiguously distance themselves from racial laws. “The moral condemnation of the regime and its actions – which Emanuele Filiberto now expresses verbally for the first time – has been a banner and guideline in the struggle for survival for thousands of Jews, partisans fighting and committed anti-fascists,” writes the newspaper. Union.
The Jewish community in Rome is also skeptical. The family has been silent about the persecution of the Jews for eighty years, according to a response. “The descendants of the victims have no authority whatsoever to forgive, nor is it up to Jewish institutions to rehabilitate persons and facts that have been judged in the history of our country.”