Napolitano endorses making Holocaust denial a crime
Italian president calls the amendment 'a merit' of parliament16 October, 17:40
With passage in the Upper House nearly assured, the amendment has yet to clear a critical hurdle in the Lower House.
Napolitano called the measure “a merit of our parliament”. “I am convinced that the process of its approval will be completed soon,” Napolitano added while leaving a synagogue for a 70th anniversary commemoration ceremony of the round-up.
Napolitano said that the measure would also “serve as an example” for other, foreign parliaments.
The president of the Roman Jewish Community, Riccardo Pacifici, on Tuesday also called on the Lower House to quickly approve the amendment.
“If the Chamber also gives the green light to the bill on revisionism without a single vote against it, we will be the fifteenth European country to have introduced that law. It is a medicine, however, that will never substitute education about the Holocaust,” Pacifici said. Italian MPs from across the political spectrum on Tuesday introduced an amendment to Italy's criminal code that would make denying the Holocaust a crime.
The amendment was signed by senators from the center-left Democratic Party (PD), the center-right People of Freedom Party (PdL), the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and other smaller parties.
It was later approved almost unanimously by the Senate justice commission. Democratic Party (PD) Senator Monica Cirinna', who sits on the Justice Commssion, said on Monday, ''It would be a significant response to all those episodes of revisionism, alas all too present in Italy and in Europe, that seek to distort history and memory. Particularly on the eve of the tragic 70th anniversary of the Nazi raid on Rome's Jewish ghetto. On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Roman Jews were deported to Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. Only seven returned.'' Approving the amendment would also be a definitive answer to Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, whose controversial funeral was held (Monday) near Rome, the senator added. The former SS officer negated the existence of the gas chambers in the concentration camps.
''A hateful attitude, which now becomes a prosecutable crime,'' Cirinna' concluded.
Holocaust denial is explicitly or implicitly illegal in 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Romania.