Italy's Jews from Emancipation to Fascism

Italy's Jews from Emancipation to Fascism

by Shira Klein


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How did Italy treat Jews during World War II? Historians have shown beyond doubt that many Italians were complicit in the Holocaust, yet Italy is still known as the Axis state that helped Jews. Shira Klein uncovers how Italian Jews, though victims of Italian persecution, promoted the view that Fascist Italy was categorically good to them. She shows how the Jews' experience in the decades before World War II - during which they became fervent Italian patriots while maintaining their distinctive Jewish culture - led them later to bolster the myth of Italy's wartime innocence in the Fascist racial campaign. Italy's Jews experienced a century of dramatic changes, from emancipation in 1848, to the 1938 Racial Laws, wartime refuge in America and Palestine, and the rehabilitation of Holocaust survivors. This cultural and social history draws on a wealth of unexplored sources, including original interviews and unpublished memoirs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108439350
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/23/2020
Pages: 379
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Shira Klein is an Associate Professor of History at Chapman University, California. She has won awards from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Barbieri Foundation, and the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The making of Italian Jewish patriots: emancipation, World War I, and Fascism; 2. A thriving Jewish life: Jewish culture in the Kingdom of Italy; 3. Five long years of Italian racism: anti-Jewish laws, 1938–43; 4. Hunting for Jews: the Italian and German manhunt in the Republic of Salò, 1943–5; 5. Imagining Italy: Italian Jewish refugees in the United States; 6. Fur coats in the desert: Italian Jewish refugees in Palestine; 7. Recovery and revival: postwar Italian Jewry and the JDC; 8. The myth of the good Italian: making peace with postwar Italy; Conclusion.

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