Italian government amends racial persecution and compensation laws

Important changes to the law governing how victims of racial persecution in Italy and their relatives could seek compensation were made on 30 December, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) announced early this week.  

Obstacles to compensation of victims 

The Terracini Law, Law No. 96 of 10 March 1955, had provided for a lifelong pension for those who had been politically or racially persecuted and their surviving relatives. However, the law included great obstacles as well. For example, Jews, as victims of racial persecution, could seek compensation only if they could demonstrate their active participation in anti-fascist resistance activities or could provide evidence of persecution and torture using original documents or testimonies.  

The challenges presented by the weighty burden of proof were compounded further by the law’s time limit, which only accounted for persecution prior to 8 September 1943, when Italy surrendered to the Allies and Nazi Germany occupied the country’s northern and central areas.  

Revised law after tireless efforts 

The revised law now accounts for persecution from the entirety of the Nazi-fascist period, ending with the Day of Liberation on 25 April 1945. It also shifts the burden of proof away from the victims and their relatives. Now, claims are credible unless proven otherwise. This change implicitly acknowledges that the discriminatory laws had been applied against the Jewish population rigorously.  

The amendments come following the review of the law and its effects by a special commission put together by the Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte, the Ministry of Economy and Finances, the Ministry of Justice, and Giovanni Canzio, the president emeritus of the Supreme Court. Among others, UCEI, Aned (National Association of Italian political deportees from Nazi concentration camps) and Anppia (National Association of Politically Persecuted Anti-Fascist Italians) worked closely with the governmental institutions and experts towards the changes.