The Jews in Mussolini's Italy: From Equality to Persecution

TitleThe Jews in Mussolini's Italy: From Equality to Persecution
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSarfatti, Michele
Number of Pages419
PublisherUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Often overshadowed by the persecution of Jews in Germany, the treatment of Jews in fascist Italy comes into sharp focus in this volume. Beginning with a history of Italian Jews in the decades before fascism--when Jews were fully integrated into Italian national life--the author provides a deft and comprehensive history from the rise of fascism in 1922 to its defeat in 1945. From the beginning of his regime, Mussolini degraded the relationship between Italian Jews and the state. In 1938, anti-Jewish legislation deprived Jews of their rights and their livelihoods--with laws that sometimes preceded the concurrent German legislation--and 1943 marked the beginning of physical persecution of Jews in areas not yet liberated by the Allies. This volume is a vigorous condemnation of Mussolini and his regime. Most forcefully, the author demonstrates that Rome did not simply follow the lead of Berlin.  Rather, Mussolini showed the ability to independently develop a hostile relationship with Italy's Jews, one that eventually led the Italian regime to cooperate in Hitler's "Final Solution."

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