• Italy's news in English
 

Beppe Grillo attacked for Holocaust poem parody

Published: 15 Apr 2014 12:19 GMT+02:00

The blog post was published on Monday morning under the title ‘Se questo é un paese’ (If this is a country), a play on the title of Jewish-Italian writer Primo Levi’s classic ‘Se questo é un uomo’ (If this is a man), which is based on his experiences of the Holocaust.

In the controversial post, Grillo describes Italy as a country controlled by the mafia and the Propaganda Due (P2), a masonic lodge operating between 1945 and 1976.

President Giorgio Napolitano is described as “a frightened old man” and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi a “buffoon from the provinces”.

The poem is published under a photo of the infamous gates to Auschwitz but with the slogan “P2 Macht Frei” instead of the original “Arbeit Macht Frei”.

Quoted in Corriere della Sera, Renzo Gattegna, from the Union for Italian Jewish Communities condemned the post.

“In the latest infamous provocation, Beppe Grillo publishes an image of the entrance to Auschwitz with the phrase ‘P2 Macht Frei’ on his blog and mangles the words of Primo Levi’s famous verses which open ‘If this is a man’ to advocate the lowest anti-Semitic sentiments and ride the popular discontent that thickens in these times of crisis,” he said.

“It’s an obscenity that cannot be ignored. Indeed, it’s a criminal profanation of the importance of the memory and the recollections of millions of innocent victims that offends the whole of Italy.”

Defending his blog post on a television show on Monday night, Grillo said: “Primo Levi is one of the greatest writers of the century, he wrote an extraordinary book. I am evoking it to honour him, because the teaching is that one should never lower one’s guard, because there is a Holocaust around the corner.”

The outspoken leader, whose party took a quarter of the votes at last year's national election, continues to hit headlines in Italy for his outspoken views. Earlier this month, the leader reportedly told an Italian prostitute to ply her trade online in order to stay safe.

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Boy survives after 42 minutes under water
The accident happened when the boy jumped into the Naviglio canal in northern Italy. Photo: Friedrichstrasse/Wikimedia Commons

Boy survives after 42 minutes under water

A 14-year-old boy has survived after 42 minutes under water in the northern province of Milan, an "exceptional event" according to the child's doctor, Italian media has reported. READ  

Relocate 24,000 refugees from Italy: EU
Some 500 Syrian would be immigrants arrive aboard the Ezadeen ship at Italy's Corigliano harbour on January 2nd 2015. Photo: Alfonso di Vicenzo/AFP

Relocate 24,000 refugees from Italy: EU

The EU on Wednesday announced plans to relocate 24,000 refugees from Italy to other European countries, part of wider plans to ease the migration burden currently weighing heavily on Mediterranean countries. READ  

Heysel Stadium Disaster
Italian Heysel survivor: 'I almost lost my life there'
Luciano Barelli, a survivor of the Heysel stadium tragedy poses in his house on May 22, 2015 in Blevio near Como. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Italian Heysel survivor: 'I almost lost my life there'

Luciano Barelli was 35 years old and an AC Milan fan when he escaped with his life from the Heysel football stadium disaster that claimed the lives of 39 fans on May 29th, 1985. READ  

Tide turning in Italy over gay marriage
Two men kiss as they register their civil union at Rome city hall, part of a creative move by the mayor to support same-sex unions. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Tide turning in Italy over gay marriage

Italian public opinion has moved decisively in favour of legally recognizing same sex couples after Ireland's "Yes" to gay marriage, the first poll issued since the landmark referendum revealed Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
7 ways Italian culture will change your life
Long-term expats may find themselves eating more, but snacking less. Photo: Alessandro Valli/Flickr

7 ways Italian culture will change your life

Everyone loves a brief taste of Italian culture, but for those of you looking to stay longer, and possibly even set down new roots, you may find your life starting to change in unexpected ways. READ  

Gallery
US returns haul of robbed Italy artefacts
A 17th century Venetian cannon was picked up by authorities as it was being smuggled into the US. Photo: Ambasciata USA Italia

US returns haul of robbed Italy artefacts

Italy has recovered 25 valuable pieces of cultural heritage stolen in recent decades and smuggled into the US, including frescoes from Pompeii and a Venetian cannon. READ  

Italian 'paedophile' priest posed as US manager
The Italian priest allegedly posed as an American manager in his communications with others in the suspected paedophile ring.

Italian 'paedophile' priest posed as US manager

An Italian priest who allegedly posed as an American manager online has been arrested as part of an investigation into a global paedophile ring. READ  

EU expands Triton mission to help Italy
A child waves as a lifeguard carries him off a ship in Sicily, February 2015. Photo: Marcello Paternostro/AFP

EU expands Triton mission to help Italy

The EU on Tuesday said it will expand its sea rescue mission, Triton, in a direct move to help Italian authorities cope with the number of boat migrants crossing the Mediterranean. READ  

Brazil arrests mafioso on the run since 1980s
The alleged mobster told police he had fled Italy for fear of being murdered. Police photo: Shutterstock

Brazil arrests mafioso on the run since 1980s

A crime boss convicted of more than 20 murders and sentenced to life in prison in his native Italy was arrested in Brazil on Tuesday after nearly 30 years on the run, police said. READ  

Milan court bans UberPop app across Italy
UberPop has already been banned in Spain and the Netherlands. Taxi photo: Shutterstock

Milan court bans UberPop app across Italy

UPDATED: A Milan court has blocked the controversial ride-sharing app UberPop across Italy, citing unfair competition with the country's cab drivers. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
US finds Pompeii frescoes robbed in 1950s
National
Italian town sets new Tiramisù record
Travel
10 things to do in Milan when you visit Expo
National
Producer warns of global Prosecco shortage
IN PICTURES: Berlusconi joins Instagram
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Sponsored Article
Student life in Rome
National
Italy starts to show the strains of migrant influx
Migrant gets permit for saving drowning woman
Features
Rude Italian terms that just don’t translate
National
Amazing Italian homes for less than €100,000
Politics
'UK exit from the EU would be a disaster'
Features
Forgotten resistance: Italian freedom fighters
National
5 reasons why Italy is on the up
VIDEO: How to stay clean while floating in space
National
Italians welcome 'royal baby' born on boat
National
Life's better in Italy, say expat mums
National
Are Italians becoming boozier than the Brits?
Travel
Ten must-see places within reach of Rome
National
Italian astronaut has first espresso in space
Politics
Italy approves radical new electoral law
International
Brits in Italy could face health 'black hole'
National
Top ten problems of growing up multilingual
National
How to live in Italy without speaking Italian
Politics
Revealed: the Italians who worship Mussolini
National
My Italian habits that foreigners just don’t get
Culture
Illnesses that only seem to strike Italians
Ferrara lawyers want crucifixes back in court
National
'Italy’s probably the worst place for business'
Ten ways Italians celebrate Easter
National
'I don’t see signs of a turn in the economy'
Business & Money
Ten 'Italian' firms that aren't actually Italian
Opinion
Why are Italians such crazy drivers?
Culture
Pompeii Villa boosts Italy heritage hopes
National
'I want Knox extradited if verdict upheld': lawyer
Culture
Seven ways to get tongue-tied in Italian
Technology
Scientists reconstruct DNA from fascist sperm
National
Italian police: 'Isis flag' was jacket in tree
National
Furore over Naples nude nun billboard
Politics
Berlusconi: Two decades of courtroom saga
Health
Italy's C-section rate among Europe's highest
National
Rome bans Ben Hur filming at ancient site
International
Why Libya is ringing alarm bells in Italy
National
How Islamic college plan has split Italian town
National
James Bond's best Italian moments
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,637
jobs available