NEWS After Decades, Naples Wipes Out Homage to a Fascist Judge

pirozziBy Adam Smulevich

After 45 years, the city of Naples has finally renamed the street formerly dedicated to Gaetano Azzariti who had been a prominent Italian judge who ran the Tribunal of Racial Laws. It was his court that stripped Italian Jewish citizens of their most basic rights during the Fascist era.
The street is now named after a very young Neapolitan Jewish baby girl whose name was Luciana Pacifici. She died on a train bound for Auschwitz when she was only 8 months old.

This highly symbolic decision was taken as the result of a mobilization of local institutions and the Jewish Community of Naples after an appeal was launched by journalist Nico Pirozzi. He had written an article denouncing the street’s name, which was published in the local daily Il Mattino in 2014. The battle to change the name was later picked up by Gian Antonio Stella, a columnist for the main Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

During the ceremony, the speakers pointed out how Azzariti could be held morally accountable for Luciana’s death. However, this responsibility did not prevent him becoming Minister of Justice and President of the Italian Constitutional Court in the Fifties and Sixties. It is one of the shameful and paradoxical pages of the history of the Italian Republic.

“If Naples decided to rewrite a page of his recent past, it is because the majority of Neapolitans wanted it. If Naples gives the example of how you can correct one of the most infamous moments in the history of our country, it is because the majority of Neapolitans did not stay silent this time,” Pirozzi said during the ceremony which was attended by Mayor Luigi De Magistris, member of the board Nino Daniele, president of the Jewish community Lydia Schapirer, chief rabbi Umberto Piperno and the Counselor of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Sandro Temin.