Forza Italia party member Alessandra Mussolini
Forza Italia party member Alessandra Mussolini Reuters

The granddaughter of Italy’s Nazi ally fascist dictator Benito Mussolini unleashed a storm of protest by the Jewish community with a tweeted threat to sue anyone who posted “pictures or phrases” that were “offensive” regarding her grandfather.

Alessandra Mussolini, a longtime rightist politician and currently an Italian member of the European Parliament, posted the tweet on October 17.

Italian Jews and others took to social media to protest.

An article in the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore called it a “surreal tweet” that forgot “the ban on apology for fascism enshrined in our legal system”.

One of the Italian Jews whose response was most shared was the Florence-based actor and musician Enrico Fink. He wrote an open letter to Mussolini on his Facebook page that was picked up by the media and went viral – it had been shared nearly 20,000 times by Monday. In it, Fink posted a photo of his grandfather. He and 10 other members of his father’s family, Fink told Mussolini, were deported from Italy to their deaths in Auschwitz “under orders signed by your grandfather”.