Rome Backtracks on Naming Street for Neo-fascist Leader After Jewish Uproar

Rome's Jewish community branded the motion of far-right Brothers of Italy party 'a disgrace to the history of the city'

Rome's Mayor Virginia Raggi waves to reporters as she leaves the Rome's Vittoriano Unknown soldier monument, after laying a wreath, June 23, 2016
Gregorio Borgia/AP

Rome will not have a street named after Giorgio Almirante, one of the country’s most notorious post-war neo-fascist leaders, after all.

Almirante, who died in 1988, founded the neo-fascist MSI party in 1946. Under fascism, he had signed the anti-Semitic 1938 “Manifesto for the Defense of the Race” and served as an editor of the anti-Semitic journal “Defense of the Race.”

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi on Friday blocked a city council motion passed on Thursday to name a street or piazza for Almirante.

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The motion had been put forward by the far-right Brothers of Italy party. Italian media reported that almost all council members of Raggi’s populist Five Star Movement had voted in favor of the motion.

Rome’s Jewish community had branded the attempt “a disgrace to the history of the city.” It said in a statement: “Someone who held the position of editorial secretary of [] the Defense of the Race, without ever repenting, does not deserve a street named after him.”

As leader of the MSI, which was dissolved in the 1990s, Almirante was one of Italy’s most prominent far-right politicians, serving for many years in Parliament. There are streets named after him in several towns around Italy.