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