A small Italian town has built a mausoleum and a memorial park honouring a ruthless fascist commander serving under Benito Mussolini and later convicted of war crimes.
Field marshal Rodolfo Graziani, the notorious military commander in colonial wars in Ethiopia and Libya where he carried out massacres and used chemical weapons, was honoured with the memorial in Affile, a small town near Rome. The decisions were taken even though the Italian constitution prohibits the glorification of fascist veterans.
Ercole Viri, mayor of the village of Affile, attended the opening ceremony last week, together with a representative from the Vatican. Images of the opening ceremony were posted in a gallery on the village's website, which lists Graziani as one of its "famous sons".
Corriere Della Sera reported the €127,000-mausoleum was taken from a regional funding programme intended to finance school building, street maintenance and lighting, sidewalks and parking areas.
The Italian left condemned the glorification of the Mussolini commander. In an open letter, Esterino Montino, head of the centre-left Democratic Party for the region of Lazio, asked the Rome Prefect and the judiciary to investigate possible glorification of fascism and diversion of public funds.
Libyan authorities also criticized the glorification of Graziani, who was responsible for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of nomadic tribes in Cyrenaica, many of whom perished in concentration camps in the desert. Italian companies willing to participate in the reconstruction of Libya are likely to be punished for the decision of the authorities in Affile, the Swiss website Le Courrier writes.
EURACTIV asked the European Commission to verify if EU funds have been used for building the mausoleum, and to specify if it intended to take action in what appears to be a case of fascist glorification. The EU executive promised to respond to the request.