In the Name of Luciana

italicsBy Daniela Gross

Luciana Pacifici was only eight months old, when she was deported to Auschwitz along with her parents, her grandparents, and an uncle. She didn’t survive the horrible train transport, and all her family met its death in the extermination camp. Luciana was born in Naples on May 28, 1943, in a central neighborhood near Gaetano Azzariti Street, as it was named in 1970. The journalist Gian Antonio Stella wrote an article on Sette, the magazine of the Corriere della Sera, on Friday, where he remarked “on the exact day in which she would have turned seventy-two years, Luciana’s name should appear on the street signs which are now named after Azzariti.”

On Holocaust Remembrance Day the mayor of Naples Luigi De Magistris promised to do this, explaining that “there are, in our city, some streets we don’t like, named after people we don’t like.” Gaetano Azzariti was, indeed, “the highest and most influential official of the Ministry of Justice during the fascist regime”. Since 1939, he held the presidency of the Tribunal for defense of the race. This latter contributed to the racial anti-Semitic laws and is considered, with other fascist institutions, “morally responsible for the deportation of 6,800 Italian Jews, 5,969 of them perished in the extermination and concentration camps.”

Azzariti’s political career lasted also after the fall Fascism. He came back to the Ministry of Justice and finally became president of the Constitutional Court. Now, after a long struggle supported by historians, intellectuals and the Jewish Community of Naples, his name is about to be removed from public honors, and replaced with that of little Luciana. It is a dutiful tribute to the Memory of the Holocaust, against the persistence of Holocaust denial.