Distasteful & Disgusting: Note announcing murdered Italy PM’s abduction sold at auction

Aldo Moro during his captivity

A note claiming responsibility for the abduction of Italian ex-PM Aldo Moro has been auctioned despite accusations that the sale was in poor taste.

Moro was kidnapped in 1978 by the communist guerrilla group, Red Brigades, who accused him of complicity with “imperialist” powers in the two-page flyer. He was later murdered by the group.

Rome’s Bertolami auction house sold the document for €26,000 (£21,700) on Thursday. The price was significantly above the note’s initial valuation, which ranged from €1,300 to €1,700.

Printed on a letterhead bearing the Red Brigade’s logo, the document states that “an armed cell of the Red Brigades kidnapped and imprisoned in a prison of the people ALDO MORO, president of the Christian Democrats”.

It goes on to accuse the centre-right politician of engaging in “counter-revolutionary programmes wanted by the imperialist bourgeoisie”. The sale, which has been going on for several weeks, has attracted condemnation from a host of prominent figures across the country.

Democratic Party MP Filippo Sensi wrote on Twitter that he was “very sad” to see the auction of such a “painful record”. And the journalist Mario Calabresi, whose father was also gunned down by far-left insurgents in 1972 while serving as a police commissioner in Milan, also condemned the sale. “These pages are dripping with blood, they can’t be bought and sold, become a collector’s item,” he said.

He added that the most appropriate site for the documents was in a museum or at a memorial “to remind us of the barbarity of terrorism”. But one former Red Brigades member, Paolo Persichetti, has cast doubt on the document’s valuation, claiming that it is not the original, but rather a copy, of which hundreds exist in state archives.

Mr Persichetti wrote in a recent blog post (in Italian) that there is “a clear difference” between the original note sent out by his group and the one auctioned on Wednesday.

Moro, the former leader of Italy’s Christian Democrats, was the dominant figure in Italian politics when he was attacked by Red Brigades guerrillas as he travelled in his car through Rome. Five bodyguards were shot dead when he was seized.

His body was later discovered in the boot of a parked car in Rome 55 days after his kidnapping, riddled with bullet wounds.

The murder was the group’s most high-profile action and came during Italy’s so-called “Years of Lead”, where far-left and far-right groups were responsible for a spate of violence that lasted throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

This isn’t the first time documents relating to Moro’s kidnapping have been sold at auction.

In 2012, Milan’s Bolaffi auction house sold 17 propaganda leaflets and statements issued by the Red Brigades, including the infamous “Communication number 6”, which announced his death sentence.

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