#81 / Editorial

There has been much speculation throughout Europe over the past two weeks about the victory of Giorgia Meloni and the nature of her party, Fratelli d’Italia: fascist, post-fascist, neo-fascist, free of its historical links with fascism? Simone Disegni revisits this question, but this time from the perspective of the Italian Jewish community’s relationship with the party. He wonders what dilemmas and certainties Italian Jews will have during the Meloni era…

We wanted to revisit also the documenta and the anti-Semitism controversies that have surrounded the world’s largest contemporary art exhibition in Germany all summer. At the beginning of July, Julia Christ reported on a crazy week of discussions and excuses about a work that was incriminated for its obvious anti-Semitism, and gave an account of the twists and turns that the controversy had provoked. The exhibition ended a week ago: an opportunity for her to review, in an epilogue to her first article, the last acts of a debate that shook the art world and the world intelligentsia, in order to know if, as the author writes, anti-Semitism should be allowed in Germany, in Europe, in the “West” in general – but also just about anywhere; or if legitimately, hatred of Jews is everywhere redhibitory.

The Babi Yar massacre committed on September 29 and 30, 1941 by the Nazis. To mark this anniversary, we are republishing this week’s article by Lisa Vapné, who tells the chaotic story of the monuments and commemorations on a site that symbolizes the extermination of the Jews of this land in the Soviet and post-Soviet collective memory – a site that was hit on March 1 by Russian strikes that targeted the Kiev television tower. In a tweet addressed to the “duty of memory” of the Western conscience, Volodymyr Zelensky expressed himself in these terms: “What is the point of saying ‘Never again’ during 80 years, if the world remains silent when a bomb falls on the same site of Babi Yar?”

The Italian elections that have just taken place mark a first. Not only because never before had a woman become Prime Minister in Italy, but above all because never before had the party that won the relative majority been a political force that had inherited – more or less directly – the fascist tradition. Therefore, the question arises: does the consecration of Fratelli d’Italia represent a danger for Italian Jews?

What happened that caused the newspaper published by the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to demand that the Minister of Culture resign? The presence of a blatantly anti-Semitic painting in the world’s largest contemporary art exhibition – the documenta, which has been held every five years since 1955 in the city of Cassel. It was due to the presence of the painting but also the result of a long debate before the fact about the anti-Semitic character of the 2022 edition of documenta, on which the minister did not want to take position in the name of freedom of art. Julia Christ reports on the crazy sequence of discussions and false humility consequent to the appearance of this work.

Exactly eighty years ago, on September 29-30, 1941, nearly 34,000 Jews from Kiev were executed at Babi Yar, a ravine located west of the Ukrainian capital. The question of the memorialization of the site, raised at the end of the war, has still not found a clear answer to this day. Lisa Vapné gives us a glimpse of the long and conflicting history, full of twists and turns, of a memory that has yet to be built on the very site of the crime.

With the support of:

Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.