Letters to Mussolini

Italian Jews and Racial Laws
  • Iael Orvieto
Chapter

Abstract

During the fascist period in Italy, many Jews wrote directly to Mussolini in an attempt to cope with their problems after the promulgation of the racial laws. Scholars of this period have not previously accessed this remarkable set of documents in the Italian State Archives. The letters represent an important window to the self-understanding and identity of the individuals who wrote them. Each letter represents a specific individual, yet collectively, they offer a view of the conventions of daily life, and enable researchers to present a much richer analysis of how Italian Jews responded to the persecution and their separation from the civil society. I will examine how Jews understood the reality of racial legislation, how they saw their place in Italian society, and I will describe some of the solutions they sought for their problems.

Keywords

Economic Crisis Assure Alla Defend Zione 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Francesca Sofia, ‘Su assimilazione e autocoscienza ebraica nell’ Italia liberale’, Italia Judaica: Gli ebrei nell’Italia unita 1870–1945 (Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio Centrale per i beni archivistici, 1993), 33;Google Scholar
  2. Carlo Ghisalberti, ‘Sulla condizione degli ebrei in Italia dall’emancipa-zione alla persecuzione: spunti per una considerazione’, ibid., 19–31; Stefano Caviglia, L’identità salvata (Bari: Laterza, 1996).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Sergio Delia Pergola, ‘precursori, convergenti, emarginati: Trasformazioni demografiche degli ebrei in Italia, 1870–1945’, in Italia Judaica, op.cit., 48–81; Sergio Delia Pergola, Anatomia dell’ebraismo italiano (Roma: Carucci editore, 1976).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    For amplification of the issue see: Renzo De Felice, Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo, (Torino: Einaudi Editore, 1972);Google Scholar
  5. Meir Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews (Oxford University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  6. Michele Sarfatti, ‘Gli ebrei negli anni del fascismo: vicende, identità, persecuzione’, in Corrado Vivanti (ed.), Storia d’Italia — Gli ebrei in Italia, Annali 11 (Turin: Einaudi, 1997), vol.11, pp.1627–1827.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Simona Colarizi, L’opinione degli italiani sotto il regime, 1929–1943 (Bari: Laterza, 1991).Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Giancarlo Sacerdoti, Ricordi di un ebreo bolognese: illusioni e delusioni 1929–1945 (Roma: Bonacci editore, 1983), 63.Google Scholar
  9. 30.
    Luciano Morpurgo, Caccia all’uomo-pagine di Diario 1938–1944 (Rome: Casa Editrice Dalmatia, 1946), 43–45.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Iael Orvieto

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