Italy’s defence minister has ignited a second row over apparent Nazi sympathies in as many days.
While paying tribute to Italian World War Two troops who fought to overthow the Alliance with Germany in 1943, he said he felt compelled to mark those who fought alongside the German’s too.
“I would betray my conscience if I didn’t mention the other men in uniform, those of the Nembo parachute division, who fought for the Italian Social Republic believing they were defending their country,” said the minister, Ignazio La Russa.
The mayor of Rome had already said he didn’t think fascism was “absolute evil”. The Italian president countered the criticism.
“The Italian republic was created from the war of liberation and the resistance, and therefore our constitution has anti-fascism as its founding value,” said President Giorgio Napolitano.
Under Mussolini anti-semitic laws saw thousands of Jews shipped to Nazi death camps. Silvio Berlusconi’s government is facing renewed accusations of fascism.