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The institutional concealment of the Romanies’ culture: the ongoing legacy of Fascist Italy
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Riccardo Armillei
This paper presents the case of the Romanies in Italy and the ‘forgotten’ nature of their genocide. The crimes committed by the Fascist regime towards these peoples during the Second World War were not disclosed until recently. In past decades it was commonly believed that Fascism had targeted Romanies merely as a problem of ‘public order’, rather than as a racial issue. This study argues that a lack of official acknowledgement, together with recent authoritarian approaches towards them (such as the introduction of 2008 ‘Nomad Emergency’ and the ongoing adoption of the highly criticized ‘camps policy’), could all be interpreted as an indirect consequence of the government's incapacity to deal with a shameful past and its unbroken ties. The existence of ‘gaps’ in Italian collective memory is now harming the health of Italy's democratic polity, allowing racism to re-emerge, while resuscitating a deep-seated belief in the ‘legendary generosity’ of Italians.