Holocaust survivor kicks off Turin fair after neo-fascists kicked out
Altaforte, a publisher linked to the Italian far-right party CasaPound, was at the centre of the controversy.
It was excluded from the fair on Wednesday, at the insistence of Turin’s municipal and regional authorities.
“I thank you for the courageous decision that allowed me to be here,’’ Halina Birenbaum, who represented the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, said in her opening speech, as reported by the ANSA news agency.
“This is another proof for me that evil will not win.
“May this example reach Italy, Europe and the world,’’ the 89-year-old Polish-Israeli novelist and poet was quoted as saying in a tweet by the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum.
Earlier this week, the museum said in a letter to the city of Turin that Birenbaum’s presence at the book fair was “incompatible with that of a neo-fascist publisher which openly spreads a revisionist culture.’’
“I am a fascist. Anti-fascism is the true ruin of this country,’’ Altaforte’s boss, Francesco Polacchi, told ANSA on Monday.
Italian media also reported that he has been investigated several times for beating up political rivals.
At the fair, the publishing house planned to present a book interview with Interior Minister and deputy premier Matteo Salvini, who is often accused of pandering to neo-fascists.