President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Noemi Di Segni participated in the demonstrations for the Liberation of Italy from Fascism in Milan.
She gave an interview to the prestigious newspaper Corriere de la Sera about the importance of the Liberation Day in Italy. You will find a English translation:
What does April 25 mean for Italian Jews?
«On that day in 1945 it meant being able to go out on the streets, look at the sun, breathe without being afraid of having to hide in order not to be killed, captured, deported. On the 24th all of this was still possible. Within a few hours everything changed: for the Jews, for the partisans, for every Italian. And it’s impressive to think about it. Today April 25th is a celebration for all Italians, an essential moment of national identity. A celebration of the whole country: not only of the left or of those who are politically linked to the legacy of the Resistance. It is also a celebration of us Jews because we are an integral part of all the historical phases of our country: an important common thread, we were and are part of this nation. It is good to reflect on what Italy would have been like if the Nazi-fascists had won: the victory of the Allies and the Resistance benefited all the Italians who found their freedom and defeated Nazi-fascist totalitarianism. That freedom is not taken for granted and must be defended every day”.
After the controversial declarations of the president of the Senate, Ignazio La Russa, the debate on the Constitution and its anti-fascist identity is open . What do you think?
“I don’t want to respond to individual statements. But the Constitution of the Republic, in its fundamental principles and in the arrangement of the constitutional bodies, intended to rebuild the country on precise values which are, in their very substance, a response to the dictatorship and a barrier to the risk that an experience could be repeated devastating like fascism, dictatorship, totalitarianism. Many values already appeared in the Albertine Statute but the Constitution places them at a higher level than any other ordinary norm. It locks them down.”
You have often insisted on asking Giorgia Meloni to take a clear anti-fascism position.
“If this is a right-wing government that believes it is the bearer of democratic values and is able to take, in its full right, positions internally and in the European field in matters of labour, the market, foreign policy and all the rest, there should be no no difficulty in condemning, in a linear and coherent way, the aberrations of fascism. And therefore in clearly distancing oneself from it, condemning any possible nostalgia for that tragic chapter of our history”.
Do you think there have been steps backwards compared to Gianfranco Fini who defined fascism as “absolute evil” in 2003?
“I don’t feel like saying that. And I don’t think so. Nor do I believe in a revisionist project. I see figures with new responsibilities who express themselves lightly. Lightness that risks becoming legitimization of what cannot be legitimized, that is, precisely fascism.
Luciano Violante, interviewed yesterday in Corriere della Sera by Roberto Gressi, stated that the real danger today is represented by racism and antisemitism.
«Today we see contexts and facets of these two obscure phenomena emerging in Italy on a daily basis. The Meloni government has chosen the prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro as national coordinator for the fight against antisemitism: an important recognition of the problem, together we have outlined initiatives to be carried out. The theme of antisemitism also includes hatred for Israel, its delegitimization as a democratic state. A problem that is not within the government but in some sectors of Italian society”.
Very often the representatives of the Jewish Brigade are challenged in the demonstrations of April 25, despite the many Jewish partisans killed during the Resistance. Why?
«Here we return to the theme of antisemitism as hatred and demonization of Israel. The banner of the Jewish Resistance Brigade inspired the current flag of Israel. And so April 25 records a sort of automatism: the liberation of all peoples, everywhere, therefore also of the Palestinians against certain attitudes of Israel that many come to compare to Nazism. A real aberration. There have even been rumblings of threats and physical raids against those planning to demonstrate in the streets on April 25 under the banner of the Jewish Brigade. And I’m not just talking about Milan».