ROME (JTA) – The granddaughter of Benito Mussolini unleashed a storm of protest from the Jewish community with a tweeted threat to sue anyone who posted “pictures or phrases” that were “offensive” regarding her grandfather, Italy’s Nazi ally fascist dictator.
Alessandra Mussolini, a longtime right-wing politician and currently an Italian member of the European Parliament, posted the tweet on Oct. 17.
Italian Jews and others took to social media to protest.
An article in the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore called it a “surreal tweet” that forgot “the ban on apology for fascism enshrined in our legal system.”
One of the Italian Jews whose response was most shared was the Florence-based actor and musician Enrico Fink, who wrote an open letter to Mussolini on his Facebook page and posted a photo of his grandfather. The grandfather and 10 other members of his father’s family, Fink told Mussolini, were deported from Italy to their deaths in Auschwitz “under orders signed by your grandfather.”
The media picked up the post, which went viral – it had been shared nearly 20,000 times by Monday.