(JTA) — Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti promised his country’s Jews that he would stand beside them in the fight against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
“We know that anti-Semitism has not been eradicated in Europe,” Monti said at a ceremony Tuesday night marking the 69th anniversary of the World War II roundup and deportation of 1,024 Roman Jews to Auschwitz. “We will not leave you alone.”
Monti, who was joined by Rome’s mayor, several government ministers and other officials, spoke before several thousand people gathered outside Rome’s Great Synagogue to mark the anniversary. Earlier, many had taken part in a torchlight memorial march through the city.
Monti promised that the government would act against mounting racial prejudice and xenophobia in Europe.
Remembering racist persecution during World War II, he said, “means also assuming a responsibility to combat every form of anti-Semitism and racism, and to work so that minorities are protected and not discriminated against.”
Warning against the dangers of Holocaust denial and revisionism, Monti urged the crowd to remember what Holocaust survivor Primo Levi once wrote: “Those who deny Auschwitz are ready to do it again.”