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PostITALY: Jews in fascist Italy (Alain de Benoist, France) (John Eipper, USA, 04/17/06 7:46 am)
Alain de Benoist says: Carmen Negrin writes that in Fascist Italy the racial laws started in 1936, not in 1938. This is a very original statement. All historians know that the so-called Italian racial laws were adopted at the end of 1938, mainly under German pressure. By chance, they were often moderately applied (there was no imprisonments, no concentration camps, no deportations) and this moderation was strongly denounced by the Nazi Germany. Deportations began after the occupation of the Northern part of Italy by the Germans, in September 1943. 7800 Italian Jews were deported by the Germans, out of a total of 48 000 members of the Jewish community.
I am afraid that Carmen Negrin has no academic knowledge of the history of Italian Fascism. The historiography of Fascism has been completely renewed since 15 or 20 years, mainly by historians like Renzo De Felice (author of a biography of Mussolini in eight volumes), Emilio Gentile, Giuseppe Parlato, etc. Carmen Negrin could at least read a good recent synthesis: Danilo Breschi, Recent Italian Historiography on Italian Fascism, in Telos, New York, 133, Winter 2005-2006, pp. 15-44. On the fate of Italian Jews under Fascism, the classical works have been written by Renzo De Felice (Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo, Einaudi, Torino 1961; English translation: Jews in Italy, Enigma Books, 2002) and Meir Michaelis Mussolini and the Jews, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1978).
Before 1938, the Fascist government never adopted any antisemitic position. This is of course a big difference with German Nazism. In 1932, Mussolini declared to the German Jew Emil Ludwig: Antisemitism does'nt exist in Italy [...] The Jews always behaved themselves as good citizens, and as soldiers they fought always with courage. In 1934, Nahum Goldmann, then president of the Jewish Delegations Committee, was cordially received by Mussolini, who said to him: You are a great people. You will stay a great people, long after this stupid Adolf Hitler will have disappeared. The complete text of the interview has been published, as has been published the text of the very interesting conversations between Mussolini and Chaim Weizmann on February 17, 1934. Between 1934 and 1937, 153 young members of the Zionist movement run by Vladimir Jabotinsky were officilly trained by the Fascist Party in the Naval School (Scuola Maritima) of Civitavecchia. Mussolini even agreed to become honorary president of th Italian-Zionist Federation.
In 1919, five of the founders of the future Fascist Party were members of the Jewish community. Among the first Fascists killed before the March on Rome (October 1922) one find Gino Bolaffi, Bruno Mondolfo and Duilio Sinigaglia, all Jews. In 1933, the number of Jewish members of the Fascist party was 4920, slightly more than 10 % of the total number of Italian Jews. In the twenties and the thirties, many Jews occupiied the highest positions in the Fascist regime : Aldo Finzi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior and member of the Great Council of the National Fascist Party (PNF), Maurizio Rava, governor of Somalia and general of the Voluntary Militia for National Security (MVSN), Dante Almansi, deputy chief of the Police, Renzo Ravenna, mayor of Ravenna, Giorgio Del Vecchio, first fascist rector of the University of Rome, Guido Jung, minister of Finances between 1932 and 1935, Gino Arias, Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, etc.
At that time, Mussolini himself shared his life with his mistress, the famous Margherita Sarfatti, one of the main member of the Jewish community, who wrote a biography of him and was then more or less the great primadonna of the cultural and artistic life in Fascist Italy (she was also the editor of the official ideological journal of the Party, Gerarchia). To suggest that these people were not even aware of their supposed Jewishness is just ridiculous.
Plan to attend the WAIS conference on "Critical World Issues " at Stanford July 31-August 1, 2006. It will be a rare opportunity to meet other WAISers. Tell interested friends.
Ronald Hilton, Editor, 2006