A leaflet claiming responsibility for il 1978 kidnapping of the Italian statesman Aldo Moro by the ultra-left Red Brigades has been sold at auction, despite criticism the sale was in poor taste.
Rome’s Bertolami auction house sold the historical document for €26,000 ($28,960) di giovedì, far surpassing its original estimate of €1,300-1,700.
A former prime minister and leader of the Christian Democrats, Moro was kidnapped and later killed by the Red Brigades, who were responsible for hundreds of deaths in a wave of bombings during Italy’s “Years of Lead” in the 1970s and 80s.
Bertolami wrote in the auction notes that the leaflet was an original propaganda flyer the Red Brigades distributed to the press the day after the kidnapping, and the first of a series.
Printed on Red Brigades letterhead and featuring the group’s characteristic star within a circle, the document opens with the statement, “Thursday March 16 an armed cell of the Red Brigades kidnapped and imprisoned in a prison of the people ALDO MORO, president of the Christian Democrats.”
Moro’s bullet-ridden body was found in the boot of a car parked in Rome 55 days after his kidnapping.
Five bodyguards were also shot dead when Moro was seized.
“These pages are dripping with blood, they can’t be bought and sold, become a collector’s item,” said Mario Calabresi, a former editor of La Repubblica newspaper and son of a police commissioner killed in 1972 by a far-left group.
The only fitting place for the document, Calabresi said, was in a memorial archive “to remind us of the barbarity of terrorism”.
On Twitter, a Democratic party deputy, Filippo Sensi, wrote that the auction involving such a “painful record” was “very sad”.
But a former Red Brigades member, Paolo Persichetti, claimed the document was not the original, but a copy, of which hundreds exist in state archives.
The killing of Moro was the Red Brigades’ most high-profile action.
As leader of the powerful Christian Democrats, Moro had supported a historic coalition with Italy’s Communist party, who were hostile to the extremist Red Brigades.
The two-sided letter denounces the imperialism of the state, and calls Moro the “political godfather and most faithful executor of directives issued by the imperialist powers”.
Moro, dice, is directly responsible for the state’s “counter-revolutionary programmes wanted by the imperialist bourgeoisie”.
The letter is signed, “For Communism, the Red Brigades”.