Don't mention the war

September 17, 1999

While the Jewish community apparently supported moves by the University of Pisa to lay a stone for Giovanni Gentile, the late Italian fascist politician and former education minister, the idea has not gone down well with Gentile's grandson.

Giovanni Gentile junior, who is seeking legal advice on how best to sue the university, objects to the reference to and condemnation of fascism in an inscription on the stone. "The University of Pisa is no different from the Japanese," he says.

"For the past 50 years both have been engaged in fighting a major war. They still have not realised that the war has ended."

While Pisa's vice-rector, Guido Paduano, insists the stone carries nothing defamatory, history professor Marco Tangheroni takes the Gentile line.

Mr Paduano would prefer the university to have written simply: "Giovanni Gentile taught here".

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