23 February 2011
Rome’s Mayor Gianni Alemanno and the municipal authorities of the Italian capital have announced the construction of a Holocaust museum over the next ten years, the ‘Jerusalem Post’ reports. The Italian government and the state-run broadcaster RAI are currently sponsoring a television spot, which will be shown repeatedly until June, calling for Italians to submit any relevant wartime family records or material for exhibition. Italy’s first Holocaust museum is based on preliminary plans drawn by architects Luca Zevi and Giorgio Maria Tamburini will be built in the central area of Villa Torlonia. The building will be part of a designated area adjacent to both former dictator Benito Mussolini’s villa, and to the two millennium-old Jewish catacombs, which will be restored and opened for visits.
The museum’s director, Marcello Pezzetti told the ‘Jerusalem Post’ that his aim was to heighten awareness among Italians of their own role in the Holocaust. “Italy, like Austria, was a partner of Nazi Germany – not a victim, as the populace generally holds. Unlike Germany, we have never even begun the process of soul-searching. Italians don’t feel involved – they do not consider themselves as having collaborated. This museum, which will cover global Holocaust history but will have a special section on Italy, will speak directly to Italians, and not just Italian Jews,” Pezeetti said.
The museum will be divided into three sections: archives, a library and a vast video collection. It is projected to cost about US$ 30 million. The mass murder of Gypsies, mentally and physically disabled people, homosexuals, political prisoners, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others will be part of the permanent exhibition, the newspaper reported.
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