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Sat Jun 6, 2020, 03:49 AM

C.virus Claims Some of WW II's Last Witnesses, Gives Rising Far-Right Chance To Recast History

Last edited Sat Jun 6, 2020, 10:11 AM - Edit history (2)

'Coronavirus Claims Some of World War II's Last Witnesses,' The New York Times, June 5, 2020.

In Europe, the virus has taken some of the last witnesses of its grim history.

For years, Gildo Negri visited schools to share his stories about blowing up bridges and cutting electrical wires to sabotage Nazis and fascists during World War II. In January, the 89-year-old made another visit, leaving his nursing home outside Milan to help students plant trees in honor of Italians deported to concentration camps.

But at the end of February, as Europe’s first outbreak of the coronavirus spread through Mr. Negri’s nursing home, it fatally infected him, too.

The virus, which is so lethal to the old, has hastened the departure of these last witnesses and forced the cancellation of anniversary commemorations that offered a last chance to tell their stories to large audiences.

It has also created an opportunity for rising political forces who seek to recast the history of the last century in order to play a greater role in remaking the present one.

Throughout Europe, radical right-wing parties with histories of Holocaust denial, Mussolini infatuation and fascist motifs, have gained traction in recent years, moving from the fringes and into parliaments and even governing coalitions.

The Alternative for Germany is looking to capitalize on the economic frustration the coronavirus crisis has triggered. In France, the hard-right National Rally had the country’s strongest showing in the last European Parliament elections.

And in Italy, the birthplace of fascism, the descendants of post-fascist parties have grown popular as the stigma around Mussolini and strongman politics has faded. *More Below....


*EXTENDED: ~ 'Coronavirus Depletes the Keepers of Europe’s Memory,' By Jason Horowitz, NYT, 6/6/20.
The pandemic has hastened the departure of witnesses to the wrenching conflicts of the last century, allowing rising political forces to recast history.

..Italy is especially vulnerable to the loss of memory. It has endured a severe epidemic and has the oldest population in Europe. It is also a politically polarized place where areas of consensus in other countries are constantly relitigated, with recollections of Nazi and fascist atrocities countered with retorts of summary executions by Communist partisans.

In the three quarters of a century following Italy’s defeat and de facto civil war with Mussolini’s short-lived Nazi puppet state in the north, the people who lived through the war and fascism have offered a living testimony that shined through the muddle. That generation was to get a final close-up and megaphone on the 75th anniversary of the war’s end, in Italy and throughout Europe.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, Germany had spent more than a year booking flights and hotels and organizing wheelchairs and oxygen tanks for 72 survivors and 20 American soldiers who liberated the camps. For five days starting on April 29, they were to meet one another and tell their stories. The pandemic made that impossible.

Instead, only four officials took part in the event.

“Many survivors had been living for the day,” said Gabriele Hammermann, who runs the Dachau concentration camp memorial, and was one of the four participants. “In these times of change in which fewer and fewer survivors are able to come to the memorial site, it was of particular importance that the baton of remembrance be handed to the next generations.”...

More, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/world/europe/coronavirus-europe-italy-elderly-deaths.html

- National Youth Groups: Italian Fascists

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Reply C.virus Claims Some of WW II's Last Witnesses, Gives Rising Far-Right Chance To Recast History (Original post)
appalachiablue Jun 6 OP
appalachiablue Jun 6 #1

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Jun 6, 2020, 08:57 AM

1. Honoring Partisans Who Died in WWII, Italy Liberation Day April 2020

- On Italy’s Liberation Day in April, residents of Milan placed flowers in memory of the partisans who died during World War II. The ranks of those who remember the war have been diminished by the coronavirus.
(Credit…Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times)


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