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PM Draghi’s speech at the Historical Museum of the Liberation in Rome

Sunday, 25 April 2021

President of the Council of Ministers Mario Draghi’s speech at the ‘Museo Storico della Liberazione’ in via Torquato Tasso, Rome, to mark the 76th anniversary of Italy’s Liberation.

[The following video is available in Italian only]

I would like to thank you for inviting me here today and, above all, for this extremely moving visit. Through these photographs, displays, alarms and threats, it is clear to see the daily suffering of a defenceless population, who were without freedom and without food, living in terror. 

I would like to offer my sincere thanks on this anniversary. This museum is a symbol of Italian national remembrance. Via Tasso evokes the horror of Nazi occupation and the ferocity of the dictatorships, also in family memories. 

When museums open their doors again, of course with the due precautions, I hope that many young people will have the opportunity to walk through these rooms, learning about the stories of the many freedom fighters who were tortured and killed here, and truly understand the meaning of their sacrifice, as well as the fact that, without their courage, we would not have the freedoms and rights that we enjoy today. These freedoms and rights have not been won forever; they cannot be traded in for anything. They are more fragile than we think.

It is not only young people we must engage, but all our fellow citizens. Everyone has a duty to remember, with no exceptions.

Today, we often look on with dismay at the clear signs of our collective memory regarding the events of the Resistance gradually being lost, bearing in mind that the Italian Republic and our Constitution are based on the values of that Resistance. We are also seeing too much reductive and misleading historical revisionism. This is why Liberation Day celebrations must never get old, they must not succumb to the ravages of time. 

By gaining in-depth knowledge about the history of those years, fascism and Nazi occupation, we can become more aware of just how important the values of the Italian Republic are, and of the fundamental need to defend them, every day.  

It is also concerning to see that the lines drawn by history between democracies and authoritarian regimes are becoming blurred, sometimes even those between victims and oppressors. We are seeing a growing and perverse fascination with autocrats and persecutors who limit civil liberties, especially when it comes to feeding prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities. 

The language of hate, often leading to racism and antisemitism, continues to be a source of potential violence. It must not be tolerated. It is an evil that generates support for those who trample on freedoms and rights, almost as if to avenge wrongs that have been suffered; above all, it spreads the poison of indifference and apathy.

Senator Liliana Segre asked for the word ‘Indifference’ to appear at the entrance to the Shoah memorial in Milan to remind us that, as well as the partisans and freedom fighters, there were also many who looked the other way because, as she says, it is easier to pretend that nothing is happening.

As we honour the memories of those who fought for freedom, we must also remember that not all us Italians were ‘good people’. We must remember that not choosing is immoral, as Artom put it. It means condoning the death of those who showed courage before their occupiers and their allies and who sacrificed themselves so that we can live in a democratic country.

It is only by rebuilding the present that we can achieve reconciliation, a present where remembrance serves as a reminder of the things we do not wish to repeat. To reach reconciliation, we must rebuild based on brotherhood, solidarity, love and justness.

These rooms that once bore witness to such horrors, from tomorrow will once again be welcoming visitors keen to learn about Italy’s history, many of whom we hope will be young people.

This is why I am so glad to be celebrating Liberation Day here with you. Although this place symbolises one of the darkest chapters of Rome’s history, today, it also symbolises the rebirth of the whole of Italy. Thank you.

[Courtesy translation]