Press Release: 26th August 2012 for immediate release

Anti-fascists from around the world came together last week to demand the
Italian Government issue a public apology after the mayor of Affile, Ercole
Viri, opened a mausoleum and memorial park dedicated to wartime Fascist
general Rodolfo Graziani. At a cost of €127,000 (£100,000) to local
taxpayers, the event was attended by local politicians as well as a
representative from the Vatican. At the opening ceremony, Mayor Viri
expressed hope that the site will become 'as famous and as popular as
Predappio' - the burial place of Franco Mussolini and a pilgrimage
destination for neo-Fascists.
A group of London-based campaigners has called for a candlelit vigil and
demonstration outside the Italian Residence in London's Grosvenor Square to
take place on Friday 31st August from 2pm to 8pm. A spokesperson for the
campaign said: 'To think that in 2012 a member state of the European Union
would use public money to celebrate a man who is known as the Butcher of
Fezzan [in Libya] and the Butcher of Ethiopia is not only shocking but
beneath contempt. In which direction does this take Europe?'
An online petition calling for a public apology from the Italian government
and the mayor of Affile as well as a re-dedication to all those who died as
a result of Graziani's policies in Italy, Libya and Ethiopia reached over
500 signatures in just two days. The figure is set to rise.
The campaigning team said: 'When we read about the story we were disgusted,
as were our Italian friends. Graziani's policies in Libya and Ethiopia were
directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians. He
set up concentration and labour camps in Libya. In Ethiopia, he massacred up
to 30,000 civilians over three days. And, as a Nazi collaborator, he was
responsible for murdering thousands of his own countrymen.'
The petition calls upon the EU and national governments to use current
European and international legislation to:
1. Demand the Italian government and the Mayor of Affile to issue an
apology for allowing the memory of Graziani's victims to be desecrated in
this way
2. Demand the Italian government and the Mayor of Affile to remove all
allusions to Graziani, both direct and indirect, from the memorial
3. Demand the Italian government and the Mayor of Affile to dedicate the
memorial to all those in Italy and around the world who gave their lives in
the struggle against Fascism
4. Demand the Italian government and the Mayor of Affile to install a
specific memorial at the site which commemorates those Africans who died
resisting foreign occupation of their countries
1. Photos and interviews available upon request.
2. Petition:
3. Facebook vigil and demonstration page:
4. In the 1920s, Graziani was commander of the Italian forces in Libya
where he was directly responsible for suppressing the Senussi uprisings and
the construction of concentration and labour camps. He was also directly
responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Libyans including Omar
Mukhtar in eastern Libya.
5. From 1935 to 1936, Graziani implemented the invasion of Ethiopia,
becoming viceroy of Italian East Africa and governor-general of Addis Ababa
in 1937. In an attempt to consolidate Italian control over the country,
Graziani's occupation army murdered up to 30,000 civilians in just three
days in February 1937.
6. As Mussolini's minister of defence in 1943, Graziani was also
responsible for putting down dissent in the Nazis' puppet republic of Salò
in Italy. He drafted a decree, which threatened any Italian who refused to
serve in the army with execution and many were killed as a result.
7. Both the League of Nations and the United Nations failed to carry out
trials against Graziani - even though the charges and evidence against him
were presented to the UN War Crimes Commission, which agreed that there was
a self evident case against eight Italians including Graziani.
8. In 1950, an Italian military tribunal condemned Graziani to 19 years for
collaborating with Nazis. He served only four months. He was never charged
or prosecuted for specific war crimes.
9. In the 1950s until his death, Graziani was the head of the neo-Fascist
Italian Social Movement party.
Ms Mahlet Mairegu
Italy Stop celebrating war criminals!