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NEWS Italy Discloses Thousands of Documents about the Nazi-Fascist Crimes

ardeatineBy Adam Smulevich

The president of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, Laura Boldrini, released thousand of documents related to crimes committed by Nazis and Fascists in Italy during the Second World War. Published in the historical archives of the Chamber website, the material includes some significant revelations acquired by a parliamentary committee in charge of the so-called “armadio della vergogna” (the armoire of shame), a secret cabinet discovered in 1994 which contained an archive of 695 files documenting what happened during those months on Italian soil.

“A truly democratic country should not be afraid of its past,” said president Boldrini. “Opening the armoire fills a serious gap and announces the start of a new season of awareness about the crimes and responsibilities of Fascism and Nazism in Italy,” stressed the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Renzo Gattegna.

Many historians shared with Pagine Ebraiche their first impressions about the material published online.

“The fact that this material is available is extremely positive,” said Anna Foa. “I hope that this can mark the beginning of a deeper study of that period, providing new answers and clarifying points that still remain obscure. We all need it very much.”

“If the documents are read and studied properly, new important elements could emerge, elements of continuity, or fracture which have matured in the postwar period,” agreed Claudio Vercelli.

“For many years the silence was felt inexorably. Today, in the name of transparency, a new step forward has been taken,” stressed Mario Avagliano.

Less enthusiasm was expressed by Marcello Pezzetti: “How many criminals would have been sentenced if this material had been disclosed before? The regret is that we have prevented German justice from taking its course.”

(The picture documents the choice of prisoners to be executed at the Ardeatine Caves in 1944)