Feder Fauna, a union for people working commercially with animals such as breeders and farmers, said last week that the award, to be presented on November 24th, is named after Adolf Hitler because the Nazi leader created a law to protect animals while at the same time orchestrating the murder of millions of people.
The union, which has called on members to nominate those they consider “most worthy” of receiving it, describes the initiative as “a condemnation of those who trample on human rights in the name of animal rights”, and will likely be awarded to someone who has suffered violence from animal rights activists.
Actor Emilio Gobbi, who on his website says his Jewish family name Du Safra was changed because of Nazi persecution, has thrown his support behind the award.
“Hitler was vegetarian and promoted love for animals, but he condemned men, women and children to the furnace. Not only Jews, but also gypsies, homosexuals and so many other people that did not submit to his ideology and regime,” the actor said in a statement released by Feder Fauna.
When contacted by The Local, Gobbi was not immediately available to comment further about the prize.
But the prize has been condemned by others in the Jewish community.
Rabbi Barbara Aeillo told The Local last week that it was an example of “creeping Nazism” which demeans the memory of Holocaust victims.
The Hitler Prize “exemplifies a disturbing trend of intolerance and hate that is on the rise not only in Italy but throughout Europe,” she said. READ MORE HERE: Italian union hands out 'Hitler animal prize'
Feder Fauna is also a member of the CONF ASI federation of trade unions, which has members from a broad range of sectors including agriculture and transport.