Patrizia Guarnieri

Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy.

Migrants, Exiles and Refugees Fleeing for Political and Racial Reasons

©2019 Author(s) Published by Firenze University Press
e-ISBN: 978-88-6453-872-3 | DOI: 10.36253/978-88-6453-872-3

Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy

    Work in progress

    The list of first names and surnames, and the life stories are «open», allowing for new material, updates and modifications to be inserted. This «in progress» aspect is determined by the complexity and distinctiveness of a migratory phenomenon that for decades has been played down and hidden. Its traces have to be sought in different and distant places, in public and private archival collections that often are not catalogued or properly ordered, and are sometimes accessible only through personal contacts, or in the delicate baggage of transmitted memory. Much was abandoned in the course of departures and moves, other things were lost and destroyed at various times, or were never documented by institutions or individuals who systematically dedicated themselves to disbarring, removing and excluding. The protagonists themselves were also unwilling to speak of what had happened.

    Alongside loss, silence and erasure, is the presence of «false news» which, as Marc Bloch has taught us, persists even when barely believable. Indeed, this is more useful in salving consciences, in constructing a fictitious respectability for those being purged for their close involvement with the fascist regime, or in protecting individuals and those close to them from the humiliations they had undergone.

    The sources used are cited in the biographical texts. This is all the more important given the significant discrepancies between the sources and versions of what happened that have been kept alive, probably not by chance, without being checked properly. For some men and women the available information is very scant, but their essential data, as required by international standards, has been entered on the list in the hope that we will receive notification of further data. We are counting on the contributions of witnesses, of those to whom memories, documents and photographs were entrusted, and of anybody who can suggest further sources or obtain additional evidence.

    So, please contact us.

    The initial listing of names covers those intellectuals who, in the course of their lives, whether through birth, residence, education or work, had a link with Tuscany, a region which had several universities and Jewish communities with a very active Zionist involvement, and which also experienced powerful political conflicts. Each person listed almost always had relatives who did not necessarily live in the same region of Italy or even in the same country. In cases where they emigrated as a family group the presence of relatives has been noted, with a biographical entry on them if they too were intellectuals. With a research project focusing on mobility, it has not been judged either possible or advisable to place too narrow a limitation on geographic location. For the moment, we have a list of 330 names, a greater number than was initially anticipated, and many more than one would expect given the dozen or so full professors expelled from Tuscan universities, not all of whom in any event emigrated. If there is sufficient interest and sensitivity – after all the silence and amnesia – the survey can be extended. For this reason, the current research has been published online and is open access and open source.