Italian Holocaust Survivors to Skip Liberation Day Parade After Jewish Group Banned

Group of 5,000 Jewish volunteers in British army who served during World War II won't be allowed to march in annual Italian parade in protest of Israeli occupation.

Italians at Liberation Day celebrations in Milan, Italy, 2007.
Italians at Liberation Day celebrations in Milan, Italy, 2007.Credit: Pino / Wikimedia Commons

An Italian organization made up of concentration camp survivors said it will not attend the country’s annual Liberation Day parade because a Jewish group was banned.

ANED, the national association of former Italian political deportees from Nazi concentration camps, said Monday it will not attend the April 25 march because of the ban on the Jewish Brigade, a past parade participant. The Jewish Brigade was a group of 5,000 Jewish volunteers in the British army who served in Europe during World War II.

Liberation Day marks the anniversary of the end of World War II and the Nazi occupation of Italy.

In 2014, a group of pro-Palestinian supporters verbally attacked Jewish Brigade marchers and tried to assault them physically. This year, the Palestinian groups, Fronte Palestina, Rete Romana Palestina, and Rappresentanza Palestina, are among the organizers of the parade.

The Palestinian groups are presenting Palestine as an occupied country to free, like Europe in the 1940s, and the Jewish Brigade as the occupying power Israel.

In saying it would not join the parade, ANED denounced the hostility among the organizers of the parade, which is being coordinated by the Italian Partisans National Association, toward the Jewish Brigade.

“Representing former Nazi camp deportees, both political and racial, we cannot accept that the spirit of this celebration is distorted and that people who took part in the partisan struggle and Liberation of Italy are banned exclusively due to intolerance,” ANED wrote in a statement.

In an open letter, the Jewish Community of Rome called on parade organizers to restore the real meaning of the Liberation Day celebration.

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