ROME (Mar. 27)
Dr. Pietro Blayer, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, died Friday at the age of 76. He took a leading part in restoring Jewish communities in Italy at the end of World War II and had been president of the Union since June 1976.
Blayer was a bank employe in Fiume, northeast Italy, when fascist dictator Benito Mussolini introduced racist laws in 1938. He was forced to give up his post and took a job in the paper industry until forced to go into hiding. He took over the job as president of the Union when his predecessor, Sergio Piperno Beer, died.
Until his death, Blayer had been involved, as were the leaders of other religious communities, in talks with the Italian government on the position of various religions in Italy. At the moment, the Catholic religion has certain privileges in the country which are likely to be revised in negotiations between Rome and the Vatican.