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|Born||December 22, 1871 |
|Died||July 6, 1942 |
|Title(s)||Prefect of Palermo|
Cesare Mori was a prefect (prefetto) before and during the Fascist period in Italy. He is known in Italy as the Iron Prefect (Prefetto di Ferro) because of his iron-fisted campaigns against the Mafia in Sicily in the second half of the 1920s.
In 1925, Benito Mussolini declared war on the Mafia after visiting Sicily. He appointed Mori as prefect of Palermo and gave him unlimited powers. Mori started by suspending the rule of all judicial courts in Sicily and bypassing all legal safeguards of Sicilians. He flooded Sicily with troops who were ordered to shoot and ask questions later. He arrested and deported entire villages. Proud Mafiosi, who adhered to the law of omertà, resisting even the dreaded cassetta, were shot. So-called conspirators were exiled to small isolated islands in the Mediterranean. In a year the island of Sicily was decimated, the Mafia destroyed as a governing force. Mori's campaign ended in 1929 when Mussolini recalled him to Rome. The campaign had decimated the Sicilian Mafia and many mafiosi had fled to the United States.