Italian Word of the Week LA MARCIA

italicsBy Daniela Gross

It happened a little over one century ago. La “Marcia su Roma”, the “March onto Rome” took place in 1922, from 22 to 29 October. The march itself comprised fewer than 30,000 men, but its symbolic and political consequences were devastating. It marked, in fact, the coming to power of the dictator Benito Mussolini and of the National Fascist Party. For the Italian Jewry, that was a hard and dramatically painful time. The Jews were progressively deprived of their civil rights, excluded from public offices, higher education and professional careers, stripped of their assets, and finally physically persecuted.

Although the dramatic impact of the Fascist dictatorship is clearly recognized by the Italian public opinion, traces, memories and nostalgia of the Fascism periodically come back. Obviously, anniversaries are key opportunities. Thus, a mass aimed at remembering Mussolini and the men fallen in Anzio and Nettuno in 1944 took place last week on the March on Rome recurrence, provoking a hard reaction by the Jewish Community of Rome as well as the National Partisans’ Associations. Another celebration, attended also by many students, recently took place in Predappio, the birthplace of Mussolini, with Fascist slogans and Roman salutes. Luckily, the same days registered also some better news.

In Predappio, the favorite location of nostalgic attitudes, the project of a new museum dedicated to Fascism is developing. “It will be a place for research and knowledge, certainly not for celebration”, explained the director Marcello Flores, professor of Contemporary History at the University of Siena and scientific director of the National Institute of the History of the Italian Liberation Movement . “We’ll try to show the entire reality, so everyone will be able to analyze it.”