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Holocaust in Italy?

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  • Holocaust in Italy?

    I realize that the Italian movie, Life is Beautiful, conflates the years 1939 and 1943, I believe after the fall of Mussolini. The movie depicts the arrest and internment of Italian Jews and then their mass murder. Did this actually happen in Italy? Or, were Jews transported to Germany where they were murdered? Thanks for you help.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Inspector71 View Post
    I realize that the Italian movie, Life is Beautiful, conflates the years 1939 and 1943, I believe after the fall of Mussolini. The movie depicts the arrest and internment of Italian Jews and then their mass murder. Did this actually happen in Italy? Or, were Jews transported to Germany where they were murdered? Thanks for you help.
    Afaik the Holocaust wasn't implemented until Italy capitulated to the Allies and the Germans took over the north of the country properly, through the Salo Republic. But then the Germans, and their Italian cronies, rounded up Jews they could find and transported them to the death camps.

    Going by this, estimate for Italy is a pre-war Jewish population of approx. 48 000, out of which 6000-9000 were killed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_W...locaust_deaths

    The Italian Fascists weren't particularily antisemitic. Afaik the first Fascist cell in Venice was formed under the leadership of a member of the Jewish Gennaro family. And Venetians to this day are kind of proud that as good as the entire Jewish population of the city survived the war. The other Venetians hid them.

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    • #3
      Pretty much as Johan tells. Until Italy surrended and switched sides, they did what they could to protect jews under their protection, also the ones in the captured territories. but as soon as germany got in control. The jews there were seized by the Reich.
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      • #4
        Although there wasn't much in the way of your "traditional" Holocaust incidents in Italy, there were still a good deal of atrocities that took place in Italy.

        About 3/4 of the way down for Italy:

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Inspector71 View Post
          I realize that the Italian movie, Life is Beautiful, conflates the years 1939 and 1943, I believe after the fall of Mussolini. The movie depicts the arrest and internment of Italian Jews and then their mass murder. Did this actually happen in Italy? Or, were Jews transported to Germany where they were murdered? Thanks for you help.
          As far as I know in most cases Italian citizens (Jews, Communists, etc.) were transported outside of Italy. Admiral Luigi Rizzo was sent to a concentration camp along with his daughter Guiglielmina because he gave the order for the scuttling of the Italian fleet to prevent the ships from falling into Nazi hands; they both survived. The father of one of my mom's friends (Guglielmo Bravo) was sent there for partisan activity; he never came back. After the armistice the Nazi's committed quite a few atrocities on Italian soil as well, see the movie "Miracle at Santa Anna" for example.
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          • #6
            The Germans did commit a few crimes in Italy. Mostly it was on Italian civilians they rounded up after partisan activity. One thing about Italy was the Catholic Church was smuggling Jews out long before they smuggled Nazis out.

            Pruitt
            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
              The Germans did commit a few crimes in Italy. Mostly it was on Italian civilians they rounded up after partisan activity. One thing about Italy was the Catholic Church was smuggling Jews out long before they smuggled Nazis out.

              Pruitt
              Only because the lower levels of the Vatican hierarchy and local perishes did so. The Pope and higher levels did little. The Papacy's prime mission was to stay in power during WWII. But the sacrifices and the bravery of the Perish Priests, etc. should not be forgotten.
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              • #8
                While the Pope did his high wire act, I believe some of the offices close to the Vatican did some behind the scenes work. There were a lot of Papal and Vatican passports handed out. These can not be handed out by Parish Priests and lower level hierarchy offices.

                Pruitt
                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                • #9
                  SS death camp staff and Trawniki men were posted to Trieste after Action Reinhard ended.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RichardS View Post
                    Only because the lower levels of the Vatican hierarchy and local perishes did so. The Pope and higher levels did little. The Papacy's prime mission was to stay in power during WWII. But the sacrifices and the bravery of the Perish Priests, etc. should not be forgotten.
                    Nor should it be forgotten that some clergy participated actively in fascist allied/puppet states and their killing sprees. Not only were some of them subsequently protected by the Vatican, but I'm not aware that any were excommunicated or otherwise expelled for their behaviour even after the war (they may have been, but I've never seen reference to it).
                    Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RichardS View Post
                      Only because the lower levels of the Vatican hierarchy and local perishes did so. The Pope and higher levels did little. The Papacy's prime mission was to stay in power during WWII. But the sacrifices and the bravery of the Perish Priests, etc. should not be forgotten.
                      We all know, (admit it or not) that the Pope turned a blind eye toward the Holocaust and every other unforgivable event that took place in WW2. lcm1
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                      • #12
                        In other words the church acted like so many others in Europe, some collaborated, others resisted, and others just tried to survive.

                        The hierarchy acted in my view, somewhat like Switzerland and Sweden in their "neutrality". Even there, some highly placed officials resisted the Nazis, there was a good film with Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer called The Scarlet and the Black with Gregory Peck playing a priest who helped Jews, there was an anti-nazi priest in the Italian film Rome: Open City as well.

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                        • #13
                          One thing the Italian Fascist regime did run was concentration camps for their Slavic population. The Slovenes and Croats in Friuli and Fuime were subject to considerable repression by Mussolini's government.

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                          • #14
                            One of the Duce´s more longstanding mistresses was the Jewish art critic, and M.´s biographer Margherita Sarfatti.

                            The affair lasted into the 1930´s, until Sarfatti was supplanted by the much younger Clara Petacci. Sarfatti got the message and went into exile in 1938 Argentina before turning up in Paris.

                            Can´t say if there was a connection between the dumping of Sarfatti and the gradual enactment of racial laws more to the taste of the partners in Berlin.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                              One thing the Italian Fascist regime did run was concentration camps for their Slavic population. The Slovenes and Croats in Friuli and Fuime were subject to considerable repression by Mussolini's government.
                              Fabio Galluccio gives number of camps for civilians (for largest part Yugoslavs,followed by Jews,and also in few cases POWs,then political dissidents,foreigners,homosexuals and Gypsies) to 200 but some other historians like Luciano Casali gives figures up to 250/260 camps all over Italy.Some,like Renzo De Felice in his book "History of the Jews under Fascism",speaks to about 400 confinement and internment camps.Number of prisoners varied from 100 to 5000-6000 but those camps were never at scale of German concentration camps.

                              Italian Fascism was never racist in it's nature.Mussolini himself knew Italians can't be defined biological race (as actually none of Europe ethnicities)

                              Only after he vowed to Hitler,racial laws were first introduced in 1937,followed by large propaganda campaign in 1938. Minorities,since early '20 (mostly Slavic and German) were forced to assimilation,in particular Slavs had to change their names and surnames,or face consequences like loosing job and home.

                              However except purges among ranks of Fascist party and higher institutions,laws against Jews took some time to take full steam.

                              Only on 4th September 1940 Mussolini signed a decree whichb set the first 43 "internment camps for citizens of enemy countries".Those camps however contained various categories of people.

                              Italian Jews were officially not affected by this measure,and they were not interned as Jews (although documents always pointed out their "Jewish race"),but rather as anti-fascists or individuals deemed "dangerous in war".

                              Another category consisted of subjects of foreign enemy countries,Jew or less,who were in Italy at the outbreak of war (British,French,but also Chinese,Spanish and others) as well foreign Jews who had fled ongoing persecution in their respective countries,resident in Italy or passing through.
                              Jews with Italian citizenship,but born outside if Italy were classified as foreigners.
                              Gypsies were also interned in large numbers.Finally,there were convinced anti-fascists.

                              According to recent studies,in June 1940,upon entry into war,in Italy there were just under 4,000 Jews and stateless persons liable for internment.
                              They were Germans,Austrians,Poles,Czechs and stateless persons (almoust exclusively Jews with revoked Italians citizenship) and they formed the first large contingent of Jewish inmates in Fascist concentration camps.

                              Between '41 and '42,the second contingent arrived from areas belonging to ex-Yugoslavia,Croatia and territories annexed to Italy,which comprised some other 2,000 Jews,mainly Slavs,and which also included 500 survivors of the "Pentcho",river ship departing from Bratislava in May 1940 which Palestine as objective,only to run aground,after six months,near Rhodes.

                              General consensus is that about 200 concentration camps were opened (but they were small,as I said most had only 100-200 inmates),plus other types of camps.Larger were far less.

                              Every region had them but they were located in isolated and unhealthy places,often in the mountains where winter was hard.
                              The buildings used to house the inmates varied,but forget German barbed wire and barracks with guards.They varied from monasteries,confiscated villas,farms,abandoned factories,schools,simple barracks,and in one case even a movie theater (Isernia) and a former slaughter house (Manfredonia).

                              In general, living conditions were extremely scarce,primitive and humiliating,but nevertheless those were not death camps but only concentration camps.

                              Even if roughly 30 camp commanders were sought after the war by Yugoslavia for war crimes,holocaust in Italy never reached dramatic levels until German have occupied them.Then most of Jews were rounded up and sent to German death camps.
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