By Alexis Herr
Rome’s Grand Synagogue received a pig’s head in the mail on Saturday, just days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January). The Israeli embassy in Rome and an Italian museum holding an exhibition on the Holocaust also received similarly offensive packages. As vile as these actions are, it is encouraging to read Italian newspapers condemning such attacks.
Italian leaders spoke out against the antisemitic aggressions. Nicola Zingaretti—president of the Lazio region in Rome—remarked, “this is a vile and cowardly act.” Ignazio Marino, Rome’s mayor, commented that such an attack “offends all Romans.”
Antisemitic attacks such as those which occurred in Rome just last week must be viewed in the shadow of the Holocaust. They are a bold reminder of the dangerous ignorance still present in society 69 years after the genocide of European Jewry. The outspoken condemnation of racial hatred by Italy’s leaders, however, provides us with a positive response to such negativity. Few Italians and Europeans spoke out against an onslaught of xenophobic and racial persecution of minorities in the 1920s and 1930s that preceded the gas chambers at Auschwitz. While it is disheartening that Jews and other minorities remain targets for racially motivated attacks, it is nonetheless encouraging that leaders in today’s society speak out against such injustices.
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