Courtesy Reuters

Racism in Italy

ITALY is one of the last countries in Europe where anti-Semitism might normally be expected to gain much headway. Roughly estimated, one Italian out of a thousand is Jewish -- an exceedingly small proportion when compared for instance with the situation in Poland, where the ratio is one in ten, or in pre-Nazi Germany, where it was one in a hundred. Consequently, the relentless "race" campaign inaugurated by the Fascist Government early last summer surprised and puzzled Italians and non-Italians, Jews and non-Jews.

The first overt official step was taken on July 1 when the Italian Government issued a decree forbidding the public sale of translations of books by foreign Jews. Italian Jews were, for the moment, still allowed to publish books, but under such restrictions that their literary and scholarly output was sure to decline materially. Prior to the promulgation of this decree the government had avoided sensational acts, confining itself to the elimination of individual Jews from public office. With the July 1 decree, however, a period of active anti-Semitism began.

That the Fascists were preparing for more drastic measures was indicated on July 14 by the publication of a report, prepared for the Ministry of Popular Culture, laying down the "scientific bases" for an "Aryan" racial policy in Italy. This report, drawn up by a number of Italian university professors, sought to establish ten propositions, of which the following two will suffice to give the general tenor:

Seventh: It is time that the Italians frankly proclaimed themselves to be racists. All that the Régime has done in Italy has a racial foundation. The Chief [Capo] has very frequently had occasion in his speeches to refer to the concept of race. The question of racism in Italy must be treated from the purely biological point of view without philosophical or religious implications. The concept of race in Italy must be essentially Italian and Aryan-Nordic in trend. This does not mean that German racial theories should be introduced into Italy as they

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