Pig heads sent to synagogue, Israeli embassy and museum in Rome

(JTA) — Boxes containing the head of a pig were sent to the main synagogue in Rome, the Israeli embassy there and a museum showing an exhibition on the Holocaust.

The packages, sent via a courier service, were delivered Friday,  just days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

All three packages were turned over to Italy’s special terrorism and major crime police, who opened an investigation. The packages contained no message and had no information about the sender.

At the close of the Sabbath on Saturday, Renzo Gattegna, the president of the umbrella Union of Italian Jewish Communities, called the incidents “disturbing threats” that “arouse indignation and dismay.”

The “repugnant action,” Gattegna said in a statement, “recalled typically Mafia methodology.” He declared that whatever the intent of the action, “Italian Jews are not frightened now and will never be so in the future by those who demonstrate, with such blatant evidence, the profound ignorance and barbarism of their own behavior.”

He expressed gratitude for “the immediate and effective action by the forces of order that always, with great professionalism and commitment, ensure the safety of our institutions and communities.”

Rome Jewish community president Riccardo Pacifici called it a “disgusting provocation.”

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino condemned what he called a “disgraceful act” and expressed solidarity with the Jewish community.

“Whoever sent it,” he said, “committed an offense against the entire city.”

Condemnation of the action and solidarity with the Jewish community poured in from across the political spectrum.
Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Lazio region, where  Rome is located, called it “a vile and cowardly act which offends the Jewish community and all Romans on the eve of the memorial day.”

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on Jan. 27, is marked throughout Italy with commemorative ceremonies, educational programs, special broadcasts and publications, and other events, including organized student study and commemoration trips to Auschwitz.

In another development, graffiti declaring that the Holocaust was “a lie” and “ ‘Hanna Frank’ was a liar” were found Saturday on walls in an outlying district of Rome.

 

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