Italy / 04-06-2012
Pavia - Giuseppe Imbalzano, a senior officer in the city of Pavia told in a meeting with health care practitioners an antisemitic joke and was thus forced to resign immediately.
The director of the local health authority of Pavia, who has managed the local health authority of Lodi, Bergamo and Milano, is being targeted by critics following his unfortunate statement: "It was not meant to be an offensive statement against those who had suffered".
Pavia - "What's the difference between Jews and cakes? When cakes are put into the oven they do not scream..." Media storm rages over the statements of the director of the local health authority of Pavia, Giuseppe Imbalzano, aged 59, who has administered for a long time the local health authority of Lodi, and was subsequently transferred to the local authority of Bergamo and then Milano. He said those words during the meeting with city council and province representatives. Criticism was heard immediately, but Imbalzano, who was approached yesterday in the late hours of the evening by Milano's Il Giorno journalists, defends himself by saying that "when I told that joke, people smiled", he says. "It was not meant to be an offensive statement against those who suffered and were treated without consideration for their dignity as human beings. It was a foolish joke, without any intention of hurting anyone".
Imbalzano continues: "I could not imagine that such nonsense would bring about such a strong reaction, even in view of the context in which it was told". And he reiterates: "I didn't mean to hurt the feelings of the Jews; during the course of my life I have never demonstrated any insensitivity towards Jews and other minorities".