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Report: Italy Arrests Four Neo-Nazis Running in Local Elections

Four young men - three of whom candidates for National Socialist party - distributed anti-Semitic propaganda, officials say.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/19/2014, 9:35 PM

Neo-Nazis
Neo-Nazis
Reuters

Four young men who belong to the Italy's National-Socialist party were investigated by Milan's MEDIGUS (Department of General Investigations and Special Operations) division Monday, Kikar HaShabbat reports, for promoting racist and anti-Semitic propaganda.  

Three of them were running for political office in Terranova dei Passerini, a town 36 miles south of Milan. 

Authorities in Milan recently ordered several searches at the suspects' homes in relation to the political propaganda, according to the report. Police found and confiscated racist and anti-Semitic material at the scene.

The party's website celebrates the birthday of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and praised the memory of Joseph Goebbels; legal authorities are examining whether or not there is enough precedent to ban the party from the elections. 

A number of anti-Semitic fliers had surfaced in 2013, prompting another investigation into the neo-Nazi group, which had been tracked by authorities since 2002. 

Anti-Semitism has become more prominent in Italy over the past several years. Last month, Italy's former premier Silvio Berlusconi made a number of controversial remarks about the Holocaust; he later retracted his statements after an international outcry. 

Earlier this year, anti-Semites sent boxes containing pigs' heads to the Israeli embassy in Rome and the city's synagogue. The parcels were accompanied by the appearance of fresh graffiti in a Rome suburb, reading "Holocaust fake" and "Anne Frank liar." A 29 year-old man was later arrested for the crime. 

In 2012 an ADL poll of anti-Semitism found that 43% of Italians, when asked if Jews have too much power in international financial markets, said the statement was "probably true." Likewise, 35% of Italians said at least 3 out of the 4 anti-Semitic stereotypes suggested were "probably true."