Speaking on the TV programme Mattino Cinque, Berlusconi likened the leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) to a string of historical figures.
“Italians must learn to be scared because Grillo, you can see in the way he organizes his sect, reminds me of Robespierre, or Marx and Lenin,” Berlusconi was quoted in Corriere della Sera as saying, referring to revolutionary figures from France, Germany and Russia.
“Grillo is the prototype of these men including Hitler,” he added.
The comments by Berlusconi come just a day after the former prime minister refused to apologize after saying Germans denied Nazi concentration camps.
The German government dismissed the remark as “absurd”, while Jean-Claude Juncker, candidate to head the European Commission, said he was “sickened” by Berlusconi’s comments and demanded an apology.
But Berlusconi yesterday said he found the reaction “surreal” and declared himself a “friend” of Germany, Israel and Jewish people.
He is not the only politician to resort to Second World War references to attack his political opponents, nearly 70 years after Rome was liberated from the Nazis.
Earlier this month, Grillo himself was criticized after writing a parody of a poem by Primo Levi, which charted the Jewish-Italian writer’s experience of the Holocaust. The Five Star Movement leader used his own version to attack the political leadership, describing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as a “buffoon” and President Giorgio Napolitano as a “frightened old man”.