Italy / 12-10-2007
Italy - Neo-Nazis vacation in German concentration camp
A group of neo-Nazis from the northern Italian city of Bolzano have travelled to the German concentration camp of Dachau where they posed for photos giving the Nazi salute.
Seven members of the group went to the camp, located outside Munich in southern Germany, where they took several photos and later showed them to their friends and supporters.
The controversial photos were published on Friday in the investigative Italian weekly L'Espresso. The shots were seized by police during an inquiry about Nazi organisations in the Italian region of Alto-Adige which borders Austria.
"I believe the phenomenon of the neo-Nazi movement has been underestimated, and even tolerated," said the public prosecutor of Bolzano, Cuno Tarfusser.
"Certainly the potential to cause offence and the danger posed by this group has not been fully understood."
Tarfusser said there were at least five neo-Nazi organisations operating in the region of Alto Adige.
The group who travelled to Dachau reportedly took photos in front of the main entrance below the camp's sign, "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "work will set you free" and posed in front of the camp's crematoriums giving the Nazi salute.
The neo-Nazis come from an organisation called the Sudtiroler Kameradschaftsring for the liberation of the South Tirol and reportedly had an internal hierarchy based on a military model.
They are reportedly committed to the veneration of Hitler and instigating racial hatred.
Aged between 18 and 26, the group members who went to Dachau were charged under Italian law and received conditional jail sentences between 12 and 30 months. They are now free.
The area of the South Tirol or Alto-Adige region was formerly part of Austria. Despite separatist tensions in the 1960s, it has has remained a peaceful area.
The Jewish Community of Rome said on Friday the action of the neo-Nazis was unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
"We should not remain silent or indifferent," Riccardo Pacifici, a spokesman for the organisation, told Adnkronos International (AKI). " We should reflect on what happened."
The Mancini law introduced in 1993, permits the prosecution of individuals for inciting violence for a broad range of hate crimes. It was not applied in this case.
Date: Oct. 12, 2007