The museum of fascism in Predappio is one of those stories that fit in discussions by accident.
First things first: welcome to Predappio, the birthplace of Benito Mussolini, six thousand souls south of Forlì. It’s a favorite place of nostalgia for the whole country, where people regularly visit the house where Benito Mussollini was born, and the crypt that holds his remains. And in the middle: souvenir shops with plenty of fascistic junk. Beyond this, Predappio could also be a country of comrades, so to speak, with PCI-PDS-DS-Democratic Party firmly at the helm of the town hall.
The question of a museum of fascism, to be set up in a restored house, exploded a few days ago after a couple of articles were published in La Stampa and Corriere della Sera. Specifically, the museum would be a “2,700 square meters documentation center” with a tower 40 meters high and three floors surrounded by marble facade in the rationalist style. The operating cost is about 5 million Euros, part of which should come from the government.
What’s inside? No one knows. Or rather, for now we know what should not be there.
Massimo Mezzetti, the Councillor for Culture of the Emilia Romagna Region, said, “It’s not a static museum, and even less nostalgic or reminiscent, but a living center for reflection, study, documentation and disclosure against all forms of dictatorship.”
The National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), in a statement, put it slightly differently, stating that he had participated “in the discussion of the project only as an observer” and otherwise “our position is firm opposition to any initiative of celebrating fascism. An alternative would be, as an example, the possibility of giving life to a study center on the twentieth century dictatorships that highlighted, in particular, the dominant feature of fascism – namely the atrocious crimes committed throughout its course.”
Going back a few months it turns out that the ‘scoop’ belongs to the Foglio, which broke the news last September in an interview with the mayor of Predappio, Giorgio Frassinetti. The mayor explained the issue in the tone that is not exactly uplifting: “We can not erase history, this is a cultural battle,” and again: “Our country is often acts as a child after a bad experience who decides to forget it and turn a blind eye. I want a museum of fascism, although I know that the museum is not the right word because monumentalizes, celebrates, and I just want to tell and to show.”
Frassinetti’s comments raise concern for those who fear that this could turn Predappio into the Medjugorje of Italian neo-fascists.
The conclusion of the interview seals the rest: “I already know that there will be controversy. But I know also that one day history will say that I was right. I am on the left, with a strongly left formation. I’m not afraid of criticism and complaints.”
Frassinetti claims to be in constant contact with Rome, as if the file is already in the hands of the Secretary Luca Lotti. Next week, in Romagna, technicians should arrive, sent directly from Palazzo Chigi to evaluate and see how to intervene.