It is like being a Jew under Hitler, claims angry Berlusconi
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has said his children "feel like the families of Jews ... under Hitler's regime".
In an interview for Italian television, the 77-year-old billionaire declared "the whole world is against us", as he complained of being hounded by the country's judiciary and compared his family's experience to that of the approximately six million Jews murdered by the Nazi's during the Holocaust.
Berlusconi is currently facing allegations of tax fraud, abuse of office, bribery, defamation and the soliciting of minors for sex. In August he was convicted for a €7.3m tax fraud committed between 1994 and 1998.
His latest comments immediately drew condemnation from Jewish groups, with Renzo Gettegna of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities saying they were "offensive to the memory of those deprived of every right and, after atrocities and unutterable suffering, their lives".
Nichi Vendola, head of the Left Ecology Freedom political party, tweeted: "To trivialise a terrible tragedy such as the Shoah for an everyday political polemic as Berlusconi has done is chilling."
This is not the first time Berlusconi has courted controversy with his reckless references to the World War II.
He previously compared the European Parliament's German president to a Nazi prison guard and reportedly once said "(Italian dictator) Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in eternal exile."
Later this month the Italian Senate will decide on whether Berlusconi should be stripped of his seat representing the Lombardy constituency under a law designed to block convicted criminals from working in parliament. (© Independent News Service)