Historiography and Memorials

Culture and politics

Historiography and Memorials

Storia tragica e grottesca del razzismo fascista

1946: The first volume, 'The Tragic and Grotesque History of Fascist Racism', on the subject was written by a well-known Jewish journalist and writer. The introduction of Racial Laws in Italy is presented as a direct German imposition ("by order of Adolf Hitler", p.65). This concept is reaffirmed in the appendix by the authoritative former Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando according to whom if Mussolini made those laws, "it means that he obeyed a condition that was imposed on him" (p.142). As for the Italians, Momigliano talks of an authentic "conspiracy to disobey" carried out by the population against those provisions. The book praises their “silent and often courageous daily solidarity” given to the Jews (p.136).

Eucardio Momigliano

Einaudi rejects "Se questo è un uomo"

1947: The manuscript of Primo Levi's Se questo è un uomo (“If This is a Man”) is rejected by the publisher Einaudi, based on the reviews of the Italian writers Cesare Pavese and Natalia Ginzburg, who was also of Jewish origin. Subsequently, it was printed by De Silva, a small publishing company, selling only 1500 copies and having very little impact.

Primo Levi

Culture and politics

1945: On January 15, while the war is still in progress, the motion of the Italian Zionist Groups is approved, expressing gratitude for the "silent, often heroic solidarity" shown by the Italians towards the Jews.

1946: On June 22, the De Gasperi government approves the so-called “Togliatti amnesty”, wanted by the Minister of Justice Palmiro Togliatti (leader of the Italian Communist Party, PCI) to promote in the post-war period the social pacification of “all good Italians” . It also included racial offenders.

“Nobody, in any environment, wanted to hear talk of Auschwitz and what had happened to people like me. I also wanted to go back to normal.”

Liliana Segre
(from 'La memoria rende liberi', p. 174)