Last week marked the 45th anniversary of the shooting of Mikis Mantakas, a 23-year-old Greek who studied medicine in Rome and engaged in activism with the Italian Social Movement (MSI).
The MSI, which campaigned as the successor of the socialist and nationalist ideals of the Italian Social Republic (RSI), was a force to reckon with in the 1970s, counting hundreds of thousands of members and a strong parliamentary presence. In response, communist organizations began a campaign of terrorism against the MSI.
In 1973, members of an "antifa" group called Potere Operaio firebombed the home of Mario Mattei, killing two of his children, one of them 22 and the other 8, leaving the slogan "DEATH TO FASCISTS" scrawled on the pavement outside. When firefighters entered the remains of the home, the two brothers were found burned to death in tight embrace.
The culprits were arrested and put on trial in 1975. Youth members of the MSI clashed with communists outside of the courthouse during wild protests, and a journalist was hit in the head with a brick.
Soon after, a crowd of anti-fascists besieged the local offices of the MSI. They managed to break into the building, and when the heavily outnumbered Mantakas tried escaping through the backdoor, a leftist pulled out a gun and shot him in the head.
Mantakas has been commemorated by a march every year since his death by Greek, Italian and other nationalists, who remember him as the "Son of Europe."
On Facebook, Fabio Rampelli, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, put out a statement remembering Mantakas' sacrifice:
"He was born in Greece, he studied in Rome, he was killed by gunshots in Piazza Risorgimento. Was it his fate, or did he choose to become a martyr?
Farewell Mikis, enjoy your tour of triumph in paradise today, the tour of those who sacrificed their lives to prevent Italy from becoming a subject of communism.
Mikis Mantakas, the son of Europe."
Robert Fiore of Forza Nuova and representatives of the Golden Dawn of Greece gave rousing speeches on the anniversary of his killing as well, comparing him to Spanish Falangist martyr Jose Antonio Prime de Rivera.
Mantakas' killer, Alvaro Lojacono, was tried and sentenced in 1981 for the crime ,but was able to escape justice by fleeing to Switzerland. Lojacono, a seasoned left-wing extremist, was involved in numerous high profile murders yet remains a fugitive from Italian law thanks to protection from the French and Swiss governments.