26 Feb. () –
The town of Salò, capital of the Italian fascist republic puppet of Nazi Germany, will be the headquarters of the Museum of the Italian Social Republic, a museum on the fascist stage that will house fascist posters, photographs and busts and recorded speeches of the dictator Benito Mussolini.
The funds also include press clippings, the recording of the Italian Social Republic and other objects related to the fascist stage, according to the newspaper ‘The Arts Newspaper’.
The opening of the museum is scheduled for autumn of this year and the headquarters is an old bomb-proof shelter that has been reconstructed. The cost of the project is estimated at 235,000 euros.
The initiative has been highly criticized given the rise of far-right formations throughout Europe. In Italy itself, Giorgia Meloni, leader of the ultra-right party Brothers of Italy, direct heir of the National Fascist Party, governs. One of the party’s co-founders, Ignazio La Russa, the current president of the Senate, has recently been filmed in his house along with busts of Mussolini.
The museum is named after the Italian Social Republic, the puppet government established in September 1943, in the midst of World War II, after the Cassibile Armistice in the northern part of Italy not controlled by the Allies. This government was overthrown by the partisans who gave a markedly anti-fascist character to the new Italian state that emerged after the war.
In fact, historical memory and anti-fascist associations have warned that the new museum could become a place of pilgrimage for fascists, while its promoters defend that it will serve to “shed light” on a “controversial” period of Italian history that has not been taught “adequately” in schools.
“After the war, fascism was seen as something totally negative, an issue that was not worth talking about,” say its promoters, Roberto Chiarini, Elena Pala and Giuseppe Parlato. “We are not interested in demonizing or defending the fascist era,” explained the director of the Salò Museum, Lisa Cervigni, who also supports the initiative.
Similar initiatives have already sprung up in Rome and in Predappio, Mussolini’s hometown and burial ground, although both projects finally closed their doors due to the controversy generated.
The National Association of Italian Partisans has explained that it is “not against” the creation of the museum, but asks to provide a context with the crimes committed during the fascist period. Thus, they have highlighted that many of the objects that will be exhibited come from private collections of “nostalgic for fascism” and have indicated the pro-fascist businessman Marco Bonometti as one of the patrons of the museum.