Palazzo Salvadori

 

The foundation of a demolished Synagogue supports a palazzo in Trento, Italy. In a sinister twist, the entrance to the Salvadori Palazzo displays a stone medallion illustrating the murder of Simon of Trent. The placement suggests the dehumanizing effect of the blood libel and the normalization of its belief. The medallion was likely intended to honor the "martyr" Simon of Trent at face value. It also served to desecrate the sacred space where a Synagogue once existed. In that sense, the palazzo serves as a physical representation of the intense hostility towards Jewish people. The placement of the medallion of an ancient Synagogue suggests anti-Semitic motives. The depiction of Simon of Trent was not used only to decorate the exterior but to normalize the blood libel publically.

At a time when Anti-Semitism is rising, the Italian government, the City of Trent, the Catholic Church, and the Salvadori Palazzo must be intentional in dismantling and correcting the atrocities committed in Trent. The Government of Trent did not apologize until 1990 when a plaque was placed near Salvadori Palazzo that stated the infanticide "never actually occurred ." Despite this, a popular Italian tourism website listed as "visititaly.com" ignorantly states, "the decorations on the façade have a religious character: the medallions of Martyrdom and the Glory of Simonino, created great controversy among the Jewish community of Trento ." The site alludes to Simon of Trent as a religious character despite Pope Paul VI declaring him uncanonized. Furthermore, the site refers to the Blood libel and wrongful persecution and murder of Jewish people as "great controversy" rather than mentioning the criminal and shameful actions of the community of Trent. 

     What happened in Trent is just one example displaying the need to address the physical representation of the Blood libel. Another case is shown in the story of "Young Hugh of Lincoln." In 1255, the Lincoln Cathedral was complicit in the wrongful persecution of Jewish people for infanticide, painted little Hugh as a Martyr, and created a shrine for Hugh that would symbolize his death and thus the blatant anti-Semitism. The shrine is mostly dismantled due to the reformation. However,  In both cases, the only reformation act was a nearby plaque declaring that it never occurred. It wasn't until the year 1955, 700 years, that a plaque was put by the shrine saying that the murder never happened. The medallion and the shrine were decorated and treated as art honoring false martyrs. It is time to acknowledge them as a stain on society and looked upon with universal faces of shame as we all attempt to address the anti-Semitism rampant in our world.