You know a politician has lost all shame when he enlists the memory of the Holocaust to describe his legal or business troubles. But when that allusion is used by Former Italian prime minister Silvio “bunga bunga” Berlusconi, the closest thing Italy has had to the emperor Caligula since 37-41 CE, it gets special attention.
OMG, Silvio Berlusconi, who was charged with paying for sex with a minor, is complaining that his children feel persecuted just like Jewish families in Nazi Germany, their father was being hounded by Italian magistrates who want to destroy him.
The children, have pity on the children… not the ones I’ve used for nightclub entertainment—my own children…
On June 24, 2013, Berlusconi was found guilty of paying nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug for sex when she was 17 years old, and of abusing his powers in the cover up of that sensitive event. He was sentenced to seven years in jail, and banned from public office for life.
This was not his first bizarre use of the Holocaust. Back in 2003, during a particularly raucous of the European Parliament, Berlusconi compared Martin Schulz—a German Social Democrat now serving as president of the assembly—to a Nazi concentration camp “commandant.”
Frustrated at the criticism launched at him from the Social Democrat speakers, Schulz included, Berlusconi declared: “Mr Schulz, I know that there is in Italy a producer producing a film on Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of commandant. You would be perfect for that role.”
Later, he tried to backtrack by saying it was all just an ironic jest: “If people are not able to understand irony, I am very sorry, that’s too bad, but I am not withdrawing what I said with irony.”
Reuters is citing Berlusconi’s newest Holocaust comments from an advance excerpt, released on Wednesday, of an interview with him by Italian television journalist Bruno Vespa.
Vespa asks the disgraced former prime minister if his five children are asking him to sell his media empire and leave Italy to get away from his legal troubles. Berlusconi responds: “My children say that they feel like Jewish families in Germany under Hitler’s regime. Truly, everyone is against us.”
At this point, the Reuters reported quips, for the record: “Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler murdered an estimated six million Jews during World War Two.”
So now we know how the Berlusconi kids must be feeling.
Some of us just live with the memory of the Holocaust every day…
Such as last January, when, at a Holocaust memorial in Rome, Berlusconi defended dictator Benito Mussolini, but without outright endorsing Il Duce’s 1938 anti-Jewish legislation.
In Berlusconi’s abridged Italian history, the government at that time, out of fear of the Germans, preferred to ally itself with Hitler. And, so, “as part of this alliance, there were impositions, including combating and exterminating Jews,” he told reporters, while actual Jewish Holocaust survivors were standing nearby. “The racial laws were the worst fault of Mussolini as a leader, who in so many other ways did well.”
Trains ran on time. At least the ones loaded with Jews.