Chronology• 1935 the "Nuremberg Laws" defined the exclusion of German Jews from the Reich citizenship, and prohibited them to marry people of "German or German-related blood.”
• 1937 Royal Decree 880 prohibited the “acquisition of concubines and the marriage of Italian citizens with subjects of the Italian colonies”.
• July 1938 - Giornale d’Italia anonymously publishes the Manifesto of Racist Scientists.
September-December 1938 -Promulgation of the Racial Laws.
• The Fascist government issues a series of provisions regulating, with separate bills, the exclusion of foreign and Italian Jews from the school, the academia, politics, finances, professional world, and all sectors of public and private life.
• Italian citizens of the Jewish religion were no longer allowed to:• attend school• marry non-Jew• to be drafted in the Army• to own or administrate firms• to own or administrate land and real estate over a certain value• to hire non-Jewish employees• to be hired in the public administration, by political parties, banks, insurance companies, newspapers, publishing houses, artistic, research, and educational institutions.
• July 1940 - New taxes are imposed on Jewish professionals.• February 1941 - The State agency that regulates the seizing of Jewish properties receive authorization to liquidate them.• April 1942 - The use of theatrical and musical materials authored by Jews is prohibited.• October 1942 - New limitations are imposed and enforced on Jewish citizens residing in Libya.• November 30, 1943 - The police issues the order to arrest Jews residing in Italy and territories under Italian control.• January 1944 - New rulings are issued to seize and liquidate Jewish assets.
Articles of the Manifesto:• •Human races exist.• •There are great races and small races.• •The notion of race is purely biological.• •The majority of the current Italian population is of the Arian origin and of Arian civilization.• •It is a mere legend that large masses of migrants came into the country.• •There is today a pure “Italian race”.• •It is time that Italians proclaim themselves genuinely racist.• •It is necessary to make a distinction between the Mediterranean people of Europe (Westerners) and Eastern and African people.• •The Jews do not belong to the Italian race.• •The purely European physical and psychological characters of the Italian people must not be altered.
Civil Society and ExileAmong the public figures who were forced to leave Italyafter the promulgation of the racial laws are many manand women in the worlds of science, art, and thehumanities, including:• the psychiatrist Silvano Arieti,• composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,• Islamist Giorgio Levi Della Vida,• economist Franco Modigliani,• mathematician Salvador Luria and Emilio Segrè,• architect Bruno Zevi, the family of Tullia and Eugenio Calabi,• physicist Enrico Fermi,• and many others.
“Discrimination letters”Discrimination letters can be a useful tool tobetter understand how well integrated in theItalian civil society the Jewish Community was.
We mustn’t forget that many Jewishpoliticians, officials, etc. had supported theFascist party in coming to power.Guido Jung, of Jewish origins, was Minister ofFinances from 1932 to 1935And Margherita Sarfatti was not only one ofMussolini’s closest friends but also his lover andbiographer.
Many high ranking officers in the Royal Armywere Jewish but with the promulgation of theRacial Laws in 1938 they were dismissed.We must understand that identity is not a fixedconcept and that the many aspects thatcontribute to the formation of one’s peculiaridentity can (but don’t have to) includeethnicity, sex gender, language, politicalorientation, nationality and religion.
At the beginning of the ‘900s, after an historicalperiod known as “Risorgimento”, the NationalIdentity constituted for many the mostimportant factor in determining one’s identity.Being Italian came first.Religion played a secondary role.
Many letters requesting Mussolini to ignore the“racial” belonging began to flow in the“Demorazza” offices.This handwritten letter (see next slide), was writtenby Moshe Cohen a Lieutenant Cornel of the ItalianRoyal Army.He declares ready to give his life for the Fatherlanddying as a faithful Italian and asks to be“discriminated” from other Jews (i.e. not to beconsidered as a Jew).He’s request will remain unheard and he will bedismissed.
This example gives us an idea of the complexityin defining identities and should make us awareof the fact that creating “macro-categories” isnot only imprecise, but also dangerous beingthe first step towardsxenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism and allother forms of discrimination.