ROME (JTA) – The Italian government has released thousands of previously classified documents related to fascist and Nazi war crimes committed in Italy during World War II.
On Tuesday, the historical archives of the Chamber of Deputies put an index of some 13,000 pages of material on its website. The documents concerned specifics of crimes ranging from anti-Jewish persecution to massacres of civilians that in total resulted in 15,000 deaths.
Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, called the move a “historic breakthrough.”
The documents were declassified by a parliamentary commission after it investigated the concealing of files related to the crimes. Specifically, the commission had dealt with what was dubbed the “cabinet of shame” – a wooden cabinet discovered in 1994 in a storeroom of the military prosecutor’s headquarters in which 695 files on war crimes had been hidden for decades. Original documents were hidden in the cabinet.
Users can consult the online index and request digital copies of specific documents.
Opening the cabinet of shame to the public, Gattegna said, “fills a serious gap and announces the start of a new season of awareness about the crimes and responsibilities of fascism and Nazism in Italy.”