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Posted Saturday, October 30, 1999

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October 27, 1999

Mussolini's personal effects found in ministry cellar

ROME (AP) -- Some of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's personal effects, including the overcoat he was wearing when he was shot by partisans in 1945, have been found in a Treasury Ministry storeroom.

The discovery was reported Wednesday by Italy Daily, an English-language supplement to the International Herald Tribune newspaper.

The report said three boxes and a crate labeled "Objects pertaining to the ex-Duce" had been languishing in the cellar since 1953.

The Treasury Ministry vaults were transferred to the custody of the Bank of Italy last year and a massive housecleaning has been under way.

The storerooms have proven to be a genuine treasure trove. Bags of gold confiscated during World War II from Jews in Trieste were discovered last year and returned to the Jewish community.

The Mussolini items were some of the last to be cleared from the vaults and only the crate has been opened so far. It contained the overcoat as well as an army cape and a decorated military collar.

When Italy was liberated by the Allies at the end of the war, Mussolini tried to flee in a German convoy.

He was caught by partisans near Lake Como and shot, along with his mistress, on April 27, 1945. Their bodies were taken to Milan and hanged upside down in a public square.

The Treasury Ministry said Wednesday that no decision has been made about the eventual placement of historical material from the Mussolini boxes. It did not say when the remaining boxes would be opened.


Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

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