Tesi di laurea di Emanuela Dolcini - 1938: L'opinione pubblica britannica e l'antisemitismo fascista
Imperial and Foreign
ITALY'S DRIFT TO ANTI-SEMITISM
The Fascist "RaKes Progress" WITHIN THE NAZI ORBIT
[From a Correspondent]
With the publication by a group of university professors, under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Propaganda, of a document approving of racialism and all the "Aryan" mouthings of Nazi theorists, it has become clear to the world at large that Italian Fascism has at last entered a phase where anti-Semitism is likely to become as integral a part of it as of German Nazism. Indeed, the German Nazis have been quick to realise this, and have hailed the publication of the professors document as an event of international importance.
The latest reports are that Italian anti-Semitism is shortly to be given a legal basis by the introduction of a numerus clausus for Jews at the universities and in the civil service. Signor Gayda, Mussolini's adviser on foreign policy, last week declared in the giornale d'italia: "The problem of race is of concrete and immediate importance. The Fascist regime places it at the base of its national construction." The tribuna asserted that " Fascism is the purest manifestation of the Aryan spirit." Mussolini is stated to have approved plans for the publication of a review to be called " The Defence of the Race," and to be devoted to the discussion of racial problems. The first number is to appear next Monday. An article in the popolo d'italia, attributed to the Duce, declared that "without a clear race consciousness the Empire cannot be preserved. Italian women and men neither have nor had anything to do with other races Semitic or non-European. Only in a period of total national humiliation could such serious insults to the Italian people be given." General Starace, the Secretary of the Fascist Party, this week received the university professors and announced that a study of racial policy would shortly begin at all Italian cultural institutions. Starace added:
"Our racial campaign must be followed by precise political action."
The Vatican has protested vehemently against the new development, and the Rome diocesan magazine, distributed to Catholics throughout the city, states: "As Catholics and as Italians, we shall reject this new religion of blood ...
which means the essence of haired, warfare, and persecution." Similar denunciations have appeared in the Vatican osservatore romano, but were kept from the general Press by ths censor.
Those who have followed events in Italy over the past few years will not be greatly surprised by the present development. It is the logical outcome of a process which has been making headway ever since the coming to power of Hitler in 1933. But until 1934, there was still strong hostility to the Nazis and their theories; and the Italo-German tension over Austria, culminating in the murder of Chancellor Dollfuss, increased the antagonism between the two countries. The first noticeable signs of a concerted anti-Jewish movement appeared at the end of 1935, coincident with the Abyssinian conflict, a section of the Press leading the way. However, the attack failed to win sympathy, and about a year passed during which Italy's 50,000 Jews breathed freely.
Then, with surprising abruptness, the attack was renewed with increased violence. Roberto Farinacci, Editor of REGIME fascista and a leading member of the Fascist Party, placed himself at the head of it, directing it with Macchiavellian cunning. Jews were not being attacked because they were Jews, so it appeared, but because " world Jewry" was pro-Zionist and anti-Fascist. And, curiously enough. not all the assurances of loyalty made by alarmed Jewish leaders had any effect. The regime fascista intensified its campaign. Still more significant, it began to express tentative approval of the Nazi persecutions.
The latter half of 1936, which saw the beginning of the Spanish conflict and Italian and German intervention, also saw the growing tendency to accuse the Jews of opposing Italian foreign policy. The anti-Jewish outburst in the Italian North African colony of Tripoli, .about the same time, was a dangersigrial. Jews, it will be recalled, .were publicly flogged for refusing to open their shops on the Sabbath. One leading paper, the gazzetta del popolo, formerly notable for its opposition to the Nazis, began to attack "Jewish Communism," and the popolo d'italia, in January, 1937, published one of the fiercest anti-Jewish attacks that had yet appeared.
In vain did Signer Gayda, then a holder of more moderate views, urge that Farinacci and his associates be restrained. By March, 1937, matters had reached a stage where the extremist Press, led by the scurrilous tl tevere, was calling for anti-Jewish legislation on Nazi lines. Signor Preziosi, the Editor .of the Italian version of the "Protocols of Zion " forgery, was received by Mussolini himself.
The Berlin-Rome Axis
Increasingly, Italian policy towards the Jews began to revolve round the Berlin-Rome axis. The popolo d'italia declared point-blank, in the early part of 1937, that Italian-Jewish opposition to Nazi racialism was irreconcilable with Italo-German friendship. Italians began to visit Germany in order to study Nazi racial policy, and Italian newspapers published interviews with Julius Streicher.
The Government, however, still continued to assure the Jews that there was no cause for anxiety. Dr. Prato, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, raised the matter with Count Ciano, the Foreign Minister, and was told that the Government's policy towards the Jews remained unchanged. Crisis followed crisis within the Jewish Community itself, as groups of Jews hastened to dissociate themselves from Zionism. The Jew-baiters, however, intensified their praise of Nazi racialism. Press attacks and official reassurances followed each other in bewildering .succession. July, 1937, marked a new and ominous development. The poison of Jew-hatred, injected by the Press, was taking effect, and latent anti-Semitism began to rise to the surface. It was reported that sports clubs were beginning to boycott Jews. A manifesto issued by Jews reaffirming their loyalty was followed by a short respite. Then a campaign was launched for the boycott of Jewish hotels and .restaurants.
The end of 1937 saw a tightening of Italo-German relationship, and with it a ban on the publication by the Italian Jewish Press of news from Germany from other than official Nazi sources. Julius Streicher visited Rome and was received by the Propaganda Minister, Signer Alfieri. His stuermer was now being sold openly in the streets. So was a cheap edition of the "Protocols."
This year has seen a tremendous speeding-up of the process. There were numerous Visits by Nazi leaders to Italy, culminating in Hitler's visit in May; A drive commenced against Jewish immigrants, especially students. The regime fascista took up the campaign for a numerus clausiis. Protests by the Vatican against the spread of Nazi racial theories proved fruitless in checking the onslaught.
" Numerus Clausus " Threat
In February of this year, the Government made its first official pronouncement on the Jewish question. While denying that it was about to inaugurate an anti-Jewish policy, it warned Jews not to occupy a "disproportionate part" in public life - an obvious numerus clausus threat. il tevere was jubilant.
In June, Farinacci was appointed Minister of State, to the accompaniment of the congratulations of the Nazis. Simultaneously, his paper, the regime fascista, renewed its attack. This month. Dr. Frank, the Nazi Minister of Justice, addressed and urged Italy to adopt German legislation based on blood and race. Signer Solmi, the Italian Minister of Justice, who was present, is said to have promised that Italian lawyers would study German law and co-ordinate it with Roman law. Another Nazi visitor was the notorious Colonel FIeischhauer, the head of the anti-Jewish " Welt-dienst," who had conversations with Prcziosi and other Italian anti-Semites. Interviews with him appeared in the regime fascista and the giornalissimo, a gutter-sheet of the stuermer type. It was announced that the Nazi "Exhibition of Degenerate Art" was to be displayed in a number of Italian towns.
il tevere, in a series of articles on "Racialism in Italy," praised Nazism and attacked Italian Jewry; and there was an assault on foreign Jewish students at Padua University, Evian has supplied the latest opportunity for an outburst of Jew-baiting. It preceded, by a few days, the publication of the present racial pronouncement. To-day, after four years' preparation, the stage seems finally set for yet another onslaught against a helpless Jewry.
GERMAN RACIALISTS REJOICE
"No Contradiction Between Nazism and Fascism"
Dr. Gross, the head of the Nazi Race-Political Department and one of the leading Nazi race-theorists, describes the new developments in Italy as an "epoch-making event." Writing in the voelkischer beobachter, he declares that the sensation caused in democratic countries is comprehensible in view of the belief hitherto held by them of an "alleged ideological contradiction between Fascism and Nazism." He goes on: "For years, attempts were made to console themselves over the growing political understanding between the two authoritarian nations by the childish opinion that the philosophical differences between Germany, and Italy were nevertheless so strong that, in the long, run, a weakening of the axis would be inevitable. We are aware how considerably, in, certain quarters, the alleged differences as regards conceptions of nation and race were taken into account in this reckoning, .and how zealously efforts were made, right until recently, to construct a gulf between Nazi racial ideas and the Fascist idea.
Dr. Gross goes on to claim that the Fascists arrived at their new racial ideology independently of the Nazis (this despite the constant visits and lectures of Nazi theoris!). It arose, he says, from Fascists' own experience and investigations.
"There is no doubt," Dr. Gross concludes, "that the Italian declaration and the subsequent formation of a central department has powerfully strengthened the ties and friendship between the axis Powers."
Dr. David Kleinlerer, Rome Correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and a resident in Italy for fifteen years, was last Friday ordered to leave the country .within eight days. No specific reason for the expulsion was given. The order, which was issued by the Ministry of Propaganda, merely referred to Dr. Kleinlerer's "general attitude." Dr. Kleinlerer was recently decorated by King Victor Emmanuel with the Order of Knights of the Crown of Italy. He is a Polish citizen, is well known as a writer on international jurisprudence, and has been a frequent contributor to Italian legal and learned publications. The American Embassy in Rome has been informed of the case. Two other Jewish Press correspondents are also being expelled.
© Morashà 2001 - Emanuela Dolcini 2001.
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