Mussolini iPhone withdrawn

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, February 4, 2010

Italy’s best-selling iPhone app is a collection of speeches by the country’s Second World War dictator Benito Mussolini, now withdrawn from sale.

The success of the “iMussolini” app sparked media debate and protests from Holocaust survivors.

“iMussolini” was launched on Italy’s iTunes store on January 21, less than a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is widely marked in Italy. Three days later, it topped the Italian iPhone app sales list.

The app contained audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches of Mussolini dating back to 1914.

Mussolini came to power in 1922. Under his rule, Italy became an ally of Nazi Germany; his regime introduced harsh antisemitic legislation in 1938.

On the app’s iTunes page, its creator, Luigi Marino, 25, wrote that iMussolini was a “history-related application” that “does not celebrate Fascism”. He has now withdrawn the app following legal complaints

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants called Apple’s decision to allow the app to be sold “a disgrace and a surrender to crass commercialism.”

Last updated: 6:33pm, February 4 2010