Mussolini’s Grandson Wants Dictator Exhumed
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ROME — The descendants of Benito Mussolini were engaged in a verbal battle yesterday over whether or not to dig up the body of the fascist dictator to attempt a belated post-mortem inquiry.
A 69-year-old employee in a cheese factory and grandson of Benito Mussolini, Guido Mussolini has lodged a request with a court in Como to dig up the body.
But his cousin, Alessandra Mussolini, objected vehemently, saying that Il Duce’s wife, Rachele Mussolini, would have disapproved.
“What is the point? [There is] none,” Alessandra Mussolini said. She claimed that Guido Mussolini had failed to consult other relatives before proposing to exhume the body from the family crypt in the small northern town of Predappio.
Ms. Mussolini recalled how Rachele Mussolini buried the bullet-riddled body of her husband after he was shot by partisans, strung up in a Milan square, and attacked by crowds toward the end of World War II.
She said her grandmother buried a letter with the body, saying: “No one must dare touch it any more.”
But Guido Mussolini dismissed his cousin’s complaints and insisted that it was necessary to dig up the body to find out how his grandfather died.
“There are 3,000 versions of his death, and no one knows which one is true,” he said.
He has submitted a 60-page dossier to the court, outlining at least 19 of the theories.
Guido Mussolini’s lawyer said that, with modern technology, a further autopsy could determine how many times the dictator had been shot. The dictator is thought to have been trapped by communist partisans in the village of Dongo on Lake Como as he tried to flee to Switzerland in April 1945.
However, the story has been disputed by another partisan, Bruno Lonati, who claimed that he killed Benito Mussolini with help from a British officer of the secret services.
The presiding judge at the court in Como, Alessandro Lodolini, said his office would examine the request before reaching a decision after September 14.