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Anti-Fascists, Jews criticize ex-Italian royals' demand for damages

Anti-Fascists, Jews criticize ex-Italian royals' demand for damages

A demand by Italy's former royal family for compensation from the Italian state for their 56 years of forced exile was met with deep scorn Wednesday by anti-Fascist and Jewish groups.
"We are astonished by the absurdity of this demand," said Massimo Rendina, head of Italy's largest anti-Fascist association ANPI.
"The royal family benefitted financially from the Fascist regime. Remember the harm Victor Emmanuel III did by signing laws against civil liberties to fight opponents of the regime, causing them moral and financial harm," Rendina told AFP.
"There were also racial laws (against Jews). Without the king's signature, those laws could not have existed," he added.
Vittorio Emmanuel III, the grandfather of the current head of the House of Savoy, co-signed laws that allowed nearly 8,000 Italian Jews to be deported by the occupying German forces starting in 1943.
Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, 70, the grandson of the last king of Italy from 1900 to 1946, and his son Emanuele Filiberto, 35, lodged the demand for US$385 million plus interest on Tuesday.
They are also seeking the return of assets that were confiscated by the Italian state after their forced exile in 1946.
The property the Savoys are seeking "wasn't stolen, but seized under a law passed by the democratic Italian state," Rendina said, dismissing the demand as "indecent."
Ricardo Pacifisti, spokesman of Rome's Jewish community, was equally indignant.
"Decency would demand that the royal family remain silent as a sign of respect for all Italians, including Jews," he said.
"If anyone has the right to damages plus interest, it's the former subjects of the royal house, and among them the Jewish citizens whose lives were shattered by the king's signature on the racial laws," Pacifisti told AFP, noting in particular that Jewish students were forced to leave universities.


Updated : 2021-10-16 14:54 GMT+08:00