Historical memory

Auschwitz survivor Edith Bruck rejects a prize "from a people who still honour Mussolini"

The Jewish writer had been recognised with an award in the Italian city of Anzio

2 min
Benito Mussolini

BarcelonaItalian Jewish writer Edith Bruck, 90, a survivor of the Auschwitz extermination camp, has refused an award from Anzio after learning that the Italian city holds honorary citizenship for fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. "I appreciate it, but I cannot accept the Peace Prize where active nostalgia for the most shameful era ferments, indelible for those who lived through it", Bruck wrote in an open letter to the mayor of Anzio, Candido de Angelis, of the Lega.

Bruck, who was born in Hungary but has Italian citizenship, had been awarded the Peace Prize with which the municipality of Anzio commemorates the landing of the allied troops in January 1944, during the Second World War. The prize, as reported by the Efe news agency, was intended to recognise Bruck's "contribution and social commitment" as a survivor and witness of the Holocaust and her work to raise awareness among the younger generations. The writer has rejected it because in 2019 the consistory of Anzio had not wanted to honor Adele Di Consiglio, a persecuted Jew, and instead maintained the distinction for Mussolini.

"Dear Mayor, I would have gladly returned to your city for the Peace Prize if I had not known that the recognition was denied to a colleague of mine, Adele Di Consiglio, a single woman and survivor of the Nazi-fascist barbarism that destroyed her family and mine", writes Bruck, who reproaches the mayor for having "revalidated the honorary citizenship of Mussolini, who still has many followers in his territory and in Europe itself, which has a short memory".

The mayor of Anzio regrets Bruck's decision, which, according to him, despises "the whole city", which was awarded the Gold Medal for Civil Merit for "the admirable example" of physical and social reconstruction after the violent battles of the war. Mussolini has held honorary citizenship of Anzio since 1924 and no mayor has ever withdrawn it, neither the three communists, nor the two socialists, nor the republican, nor the Christian Democrat, as the current mayor recalled.