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Bringing Out the Dead

Reflections on Uday, Qusay, and il Duce.

12:00 AM, Jul 31, 2003 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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A YEAR AFTER Mussolini was buried in an unmarked grave outside Milan, a Fascist sympathizer named Domenico Leccisi entered the cemetery and recovered the remains. According to Bosworth, "Leccisi himself jumped into the hole he and his friends had made and prised open the coffin to reveal Mussolini's mouldering head, set, so Leccisi thought, in a sad smile . . . the final departure was hurried, and some pieces of skin and bone . . . spilled out on the parapet of the 2-meter cemetery wall."

It took more than three months to track down Mussolini's body to a monastery in Pavia where it was "meanly wrapped in plastic sheeting and crammed into a box which had itself been concealed in a wall-cupboard of a monk's cell." Not until 1957 did the body reach its final destination of Predappio, where it was interred in the family crypt.

THE HANDLING and treatment of deceased criminals is no small matter. Executed Nazi war criminals, like those in Nuremberg and Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, were cremated, leaving sympathizers no relic to cling to, no grave to rob. There are currently no plans to have Uday and Qusay cremated. As of now, their bodies lie in wait under U.S. command until a family member comes forward to claim them. Preferably their father.

Victorino Matus is an assistant managing editor at The Weekly Standard.