Holocaust survivors protest ‘iMussolini’ feature


ROME (JTA) — Holocaust survivors are protesting Italy’s best-selling iPhone application — a collection of the speeches of Italy’s World War II fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

"iMussolini," which sells for about $1.10 on the Italian iTunes store, was launched Jan. 21, just days ahead of Italy’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration on Jan. 27.

Subtitled "the man who changed the history of our country," iMussolini topped the iPhone app download list on Sunday.

Its creator, Luigi Marino, 25, told reporters over the weekend that it was being downloaded about 1,000 times a day.

The app contains audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches dating back to 1914.

Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922. Under his rule, Italy became a close ally of Nazi Germany; Mussolini’s regime introduced harsh anti-Semitic legislation in 1938.

"It is a disgrace and a surrender to crass commercialism that the Apple computing company has approved the release of this ‘app’ through their online iTunes store," Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement.

"We are protesting to them as their tight regulation and control of release of such apps makes them responsible," he said. "This is an insult to the memory of all victims of Nazism and Fascism, Jew and non-Jew, and should be condemned for its offense to decency and conscience."

On the iTunes page, Marino wrote that iMussolini was a "history-related application" that "does not celebrate Fascism," as it was simply a collection of original speeches. He also called on users to avoid posting comments about the app that celebrate or apologize for fascism. Apple already removed some extreme comments.

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