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November 13, 1992 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-11-13

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Centerforfewish Studies
City University of New York


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Rome Jews
Attack Skinheads

Rome (JTA) — Tension re-
mained high in the Italian
capital over the weekend
after dozens of young Jews
staged an attack on the
headquarters of a skinhead
group in retaliation for anti-
Semitic incidents.
Roman Catholic church of-
ficials issued statements
strongly condemning anti-
Semitism, and anti-racism
demonstrations were
scheduled in cities
throughout Italy.
Police called in at least six
Jewish youths for question-
ing as security remained
tight around the main syn-
agogue and other Jewish
buildings, offices and shops
for fear of skinhead retalia-
tion timed to coincide with
the anniversary of the 1938
Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom
against Jews.
Security measures also
were taken around the
skinhead group's office.
A 26-foot-long banner
bearing the slogan "Death to
Jews; You will never win;
Long live Christ the King"
was found near the Rome
exit of a superhighway Sat-
urday, and two right-wing
extremists in Naples were
detained while handing out
anti-Semitic leaflets.
Police received anonymous
phone calls threatening to
attack Jewish meeting
places, the newspaper La
Stampa reported.
Police and Jewish com-
munity leaders condemned
acts of violence, called for
calm and urged that the ac-
tions of extremists not be
overly exaggerated.
But some members of the
Jewish community applaud-
ed the raid on the skinhead
headquarters as a necessary
act of self-defense. And even
Tullia Zevi, president of the
Union of Italian Jewish
Communities, said she
understood the motivation
behind the attack.
"I know that in a dem-
ocratic state, citizens must
not, or should not, take upon
themselves the problem of
carrying out justice," she
"But these boys reached a
level of exasperation which,
in a certain sense, explains
the decision they took," she
Asked whether the state
could do more to combat
violence, she said, "Yes, the
state must apply its laws.
There are precise laws

against the formation of the
fascist party, against
hooligan activities, against
the apology for genocide. Let
these laws be applied."
The cycle of violence and
tension began on the morn-
ing of Nov. 2, when it was
discovered that big yellow
Stars of David bearing the
slogan "Out with the
Zionists from Italy" had
been affixed to the shutters
of more than two dozen Jew-
ish-owned stores, most of
them in one district of the
city where many Jews live.
It was also revealed that a <
Jewish cemetery in northern
Italy had been vandalized a
week or so earlier.
Police in Rome questioned
and then released a member
of a far-right skinhead
organization, the Political
Movement of the West, who
confessed to putting up some

Police received
anonymous phone
calls threatening
to attack Jewish
meeting places.

of the anti-Semitic signs
after police found some dur-
ing a search of his home.
Last week several dozen
young Jews armed with
crowbars rushed to the
headquarters of the Political
Movement of the West,
located in a working-class
district of Rome, and se-
verely damaged the
premises, touching off a
street brawl in which
several people were hurt.
The Jews brought back a
trophy — a Political Move-
ment banner bearing the
group's swastika-like sym-
bol. Fearing reprisals, hun-
dreds of Jews maintained a
vigil outside the main syn-
agogue throughout the
Security there was beefed
In a show of official sup-
port for the Jewish commun-
ity and an attempt to calm
the situation, Italian police
chief Vincenzo Parisi and
other top police officials met
at the synagogue with
Rome's chief rabbi Elio
Toaff. They urged that the
situation not be ove•-

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