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Investigation continues on men who descended on diners in Italy praising Hitler, Mussolini

The advocacy of racism and fascism is illegal in the country.

The city of Ferrara in northern Italy. Credit: Threecharlie via Wikimedia Commons.
The city of Ferrara in northern Italy. Credit: Threecharlie via Wikimedia Commons.

A group of 24 men reportedly in their 20s and 30s wore orange, prison-style jumpsuits to a restaurant in the Jewish part of the northern Italian city of Ferrara on Dec. 20 to proclaim the value of totalitarian leaders, distributing propaganda that praised Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

They also mocked the young, German-born Jewish diarist Anne Frank, who died in 1945 in the Bergen-Belson concentration camp in the last months of World War II and the Holocaust.

When diners opposed their rantings, the group made death threats against them, continuing even after police demanded that they stop.

Investigators have since conducted search warrants against the men’s homes—all in Ferrara, according to police—and have seized weapons, documents and electronics. In Italy, advocacy of racism and fascism is illegal.

One group tracking antisemitic incidents in Italy found an increase from 241 in 2022 to 454 in 2023. Italy’s interior minister reported that the government had seen 135 incidents from Oct. 7 through Dec. 31.

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