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April 6, 2015 11:53 pm

Jewish Group Representing Nazi Camp Victims Withdraws From Italian Liberation Day Parade Following Attacks

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A Jewish Brigade banner at the annual Italian Liberation Day parade stirred an uproar for featuring the Star of David. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

A group representing Jewish fighters in Italy’s resistance against Nazism during World War II announced they will not attend a major annual parade celebrating Nazi liberation after they were attacked by anti-Israel groups at the 2014 event, blogger Elder of Ziyon reported on Sunday citing local media.

The National Association of Former Deportees in Nazi camps (ANED) released a statement saying they had arrived to the “bitter and difficult decision” after negotiations failed with the other groups that participate in the event. The parade is scheduled to take place on April 25, Italy’s annual Liberation Day. It marks the 70th anniversary of Italy’s liberation from Nazism and Fascism at the end of World War II.

“After long hours of discussion conflicting with the organizations present…many of them … showed the same unacceptable conditions that, in past years, have resulted in real episodes of intolerance,” ANED said. “We who represent the former deportees in Nazi camps, both political and racial, cannot accept that the spirit and meaning of April 25, of the Resistance and Liberation, is so totally distorted that even facts become indictments against the victims of fascism. We can not accept that representatives of the partisan struggle and liberation, are banned exclusively for intolerance. With great sadness in our hearts this year, we cannot be there.”

Riccardo Pacifici, the president of Rome’s Jewish community, said Jews will not attend the parade since it falls on Shabbat but also because Palestinians who applied to participate were allies with the Nazis during the war.

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Commenting on the ordeal that took place at the 2014 parade, he said, “last year was a climax of insults and tensions that are repeated every year. April 25 should be a day of celebration, however last year they called me a fascist. ”

Representatives from the Jewish Brigade of the Resistance were verbally attacked by Palestinian supporters for marching in last year’s parade in Rome, according to the Anna Lindh Foundation. Fabio Perugia, spokesperson for Rome’s Jewish Community, said the Jewish group’s flag caused an uproar for featuring the Star of David.

“We had a meeting at 9:15 to march with the flag of the Jewish Brigade, which is similar to the Israeli flag, but not the same,” Perugia said. “Suddenly around 50 people with Palestinian flags came out of the Colosseo metro station and started to attack us verbally. If the police had not been there, they would have attacked us physically.”

Police removed the Palestinian flags, according to Perugia, but a member of a pro-Palestinian organization said her group was authorizied to carry the banners. She claimed her group was attacked by the Jewish Brigade. Later that day a synagogue in Rome was vandalized with graffiti saying “Juden Rauss” and depicting a Star of David hanging from a gallows.

Jews and anti-Israel protesters also exchanged verbal assaults at a liberation event in Milan.

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