King Vittorio Emanuele III’s choices
as an admonition for future generations

The Union of the Italian Jewish Communities stated:
“The crimes of fascism and King Vittorio Emanuele III’s signatures on the racial laws constituted an abomination, a tragic offence in Italian history and they’ll serve as an admonition for generations to come. The republican Constitution reminds us this so clearly, and its very existence is the most eloquent condemnation of that period, of the regime and its leaders.
Today, after 82 years, the king’s descendant, his great-grand-son Emanuele Filiberto expresses his sentiment of disavowal and condemnation of the events. It’s a very generous period of time, so one might ask, why now?
It’s a personal choice anyway, everyone answering for their deeds and to their own conscience.
Neither the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities nor any Jewish Community can in any way grant forgiveness on behalf of all the Jews who were discriminated, denounced, deported and exterminated. In Judaism, even the perpetrator of the offense can’t ask forgiveness to God if first, perceiving the insult and the guilt, did not apologize to the offended party.
The moral condemnation of the regime and of his deeds – that Emanuele Filiberto pronounced for the first time today – has been a waving flag and a torch in the fight for survival for thousands of Jews, resistance fighters and staunch anti-fascists, many of whom have sacrificed their life for their homeland.
For the six million Jews exterminated in concentration camps, the imprisoned Italian soldiers, the politically persecuted, Gypsies and Sinti, disabled people and homosexuals: it’s to honor their memory that any nostalgia for that regime must be sternly fought and stemmed. The condemnation – and not an apology to rehabilitate the family name – must be directed towards the young men and women of Italy, of that Europe that gather us in accordance with fundamental human values, so that they will claim the strongest “never again”.
We acknowledge the consternation and repentance recently expressed through media, ahead of the 27th January. We shall see what concrete daily actions will consequently follow and be an example for the future.

The Jewish Community in Rome commented:
“We take notice of Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy’s declarations. The dramatic relationship with the House of Savoy is well-known throughout history and memory. What happened with the racial laws, at the apex of a long-standing collaboration with a dictatorship, is an offense to Italians, whether they are Jews or not, that cannot be forgotten or erased. The silence on these events from that House descendants, lasted more than eighty years, and it’s an ulterior aggravating circumstance. The victims’ descendants have no authority to forgive, nor does it pertain to Jewish institutions to rehabilitate people and events on which History’s judgement is embedded in our country history.

Translated by Silvia Bozzo, student at theAdvanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.