Italy Reuters

The president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities spoke out sharply against the return to Italy and reburial of the body of Italy’s fascist-era king, Victor Emmanuel III, whom she denounced as an accomplice of the fascist regime of Nazi ally Benito Mussolini.

Under fascism, he supported Mussolini’s policies and along with Mussolini signed sweeping anti-Semitic laws in 1938.

Victor Emmanuel reigned from 1900 until his abdication in 1946; he died in exile in Alexandria, Egypt in 1947 and was buried there. His remains were flown to Italy from Egypt on Sunday and reburied next to his wife in Italy’s northwest Piemonte region.

In a statement, Union of Italian Jewish Communities President Noemi Di Segni said that “in an era marked by the progressive loss of [historic] memory and fundamental values,” the return of his remains could only “engender deep concern.” She noted that next year marks the 80th anniversary of the fascist racial laws that imposed anti-Semitic discrimination and persecution, and last year marked the 70th anniversary of the post World War II referendum that abolished the Italian monarchy.

“Victor Emmanuel III was an accomplice of that fascist regime whose rise and violence, which was openly manifested since the first months of the fascist period, he never hindered,” Di Segni said.