Nazi Salute and Roman Salute Contrasted


by Eugenio Battaglia

Jordi Molins (December 21st) is outraged because of the apparent "saludo nazi" and for singing "Cara al Sol" or another song commemorating the División Azul.

In a sense, I too am rather outraged.

However, very correctly, the Spanish Army has punished the culprits for "falta disciplinaria leve." Indeed the "saludo" and the hymns are to be performed in a very dignified way, especially if remembering the "gloriosos Caídos por Dios y por la Patria."

It may be worth remembering that, theoretically, the Nazi salute is different from the Roman salute.

The Roman salute has the right arm high at 135° and was adopted between the World Wars in many countries by parties in someway similar to Italian Fascism, including the Spanish Falange. The Nazi salute has the right arm extended at 90°.

The meaning can be very different.

The Roman salute is an indication of peace, as the right arm toward the sky with the extended palm of the hand shows no weapon, it is used also for acclamation and joy.

The Nazi salute instead with the arm extended horizontally may be the indication of defense ready to attack if necessary.

At present, the Roman salute is prohibited in Italy if it is made in the context of fascist tendencies. The penalty is from 6 months to 2 years of jail with a fine of 200 to 500 euros. However, in 2018 the Italian Corte di Cassazione established that the Roman salute is not a crime if performed as an act of "commemoration"--for instance paying tribute to a deceased camerata in a cemetery.