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

    From persecution to reparation

    On 8 December 1943 the draft of a legislative decree relating to the reinstatement into state administration of Italian citizens persecuted for political reasons was brought before the Council of Ministers of the first Badoglio government (27 July 1943 – 17 April 1944). It was the first act in a long legislative and bureaucratic process that would continue until 2000. The three measures that bore the signature of Badoglio were the product of this draft. In the first of these decrees dealing with reparation and reinstatement, the regio decreto-legge n. 9 del 6 gennaio 1944 (GU no. 28, 15 January 1944), the definition «discharged or dismissed for political reasons» was used without distinction for:

    a) those to whom the racial legislation was applied

    b) those who refused to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the fascist regime

    c) those who were deprived of employment as a result of a penal conviction for political crimes or those who had been sent into internal exile for political reasons

    d) those who could demonstrate that their discharge from service or dismissal resulted exclusively from political reasons.

    It was not until the following Decree-Law, n. 25 del 20 gennaio 1944 (GU no. 5, 9 February 1944), that the substance of the racial legislation was addressed, with the repeal of the nine Royal Decrees promulgated between 7 September 1938 and 9 October 1942 and also of «all measures that require the determination or mention of race with regard to any action or relationship, and any other measure or regulation promulgated in any form which is contrary to the present Decree or incompatible with it».

    In 1944, Italy’s geo-historical framework was one in which two states co-existed: the so-called Regno del Sud and the Italian Social Republic (RSI). While in the first, the provisions of the Badoglio government in the January initiated the legislative process required for the reinstatement and compensation of political dissidents and Jews, in the Italian Social Republic the already pernicious punitive measures against Jews were made more stringent.

    The decreto legislativo del duce del 4 gennaio 1944, n. 2 (GU-RSI no. 6, 10 January 1944) which contained «new measures relating to assets owned by citizens of Jewish race», instigated an ex-officio confiscation in favour of the Italian Social Republic not only of assets owned directly by Jews, but also of all claims relating to movable and immovable assets Jews had against citizens, businesses and branches of public administration. In addition, any contract that sought to transfer ownership of assets belonging to «persons of Jewish race» entered into later than 30 November 1943 was rendered invalid, thus cancelling in practice any expedient intended by Jews to save their possessions.

    The following list sets out the further legislative decrees against Jews enacted by the Italian Social Republic:

    Decreto legislativo del duce 31 marzo 1944, n. 109New statute and rules of procedure for the Agency for the management and liquidation of real estate (EGELI) (GU-RSI no. 81, 6 April 1944).

    Decreto ministeriale 16 aprile 1944, n. 136 - Conversion of the Directorate General for Demography and Race into the Directorate General for Demography (GU-RSI no. 93, 20 April 1944).

    Decreto legislativo del duce 18 aprile 1944, n. 171 - Establishment of the General Inspectorate of Race (GU-RSI no. 111, 11 May 1944).

    Decreto ministeriale 15 settembre 1944, n. 685 - Adjustment of tax regime with regard to all assets managed by the Agency for the Management and Liquidation of Real Estate (EGELI) (GU-RSI no. 251, 26 October 1944).

    Decreto ministeriale 30 dicembre 1944, n. 1036 - Modification to the statute of EGELI and establishment of the position of Director General (GU-RSI n. 58, 10 marzo 1 945).

    Decreto legislativo del duce 28 febbraio 1945, n. 47 - Rules of administrative procedure for the General Inspectorate of Race (GU-RSI no. 52, 3 March 1945).

    This last provision marked the end of the series of laws, decrees and circulars promulgated by the fascist state and subsequently by the Italian Social Republic against the Jewish population.

    In the wake of the liberation of Rome in June 1944, the isolated initiative of the Badoglio government in January 1944 was followed by intense legislative activity aimed at reinstating the civil, political and property rights of Jews and political dissidents. The second Bonomi government – 18 June to 25 December 1944 – put into effect the proposal of the Action Party (Partito d’Azione) to create a commission to draw up a Comprehensive Text dealing with the complete abolition of the racial legislation which would at the same time set out measures designed to rectify its consequences. Among those who took part in the work of the commission were Edoardo Volterra, Arturo Carlo Jemolo, Enzio Volli, Federico Comandini and Silvio Ottolenghi. The draft of the Comprehensive Text was a reference point for subsequent provisions of a similar nature promulgated by the government.

    Finally, the decreto legislativo luogotenenziale n. 252of 5 October 1944 (GU-RI no. 71, 20 October 1944) saw the publication and enactment of Royal Decree-Law no. 26 of 20 January 1944, which contained «measures for the reinstatement of patrimonial rights to Italian and foreign citizens declared to be or considered as being of Jewish race». This Decree-Law had not hitherto been published because of the fear, shared by the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories, that its publication could have negative consequences for Jews in the Italian Social Republic. This measure to restore patrimonial rights brought to an end the first crucial phase in the process of repeal of the racial legislation. Below are listed the provisions passed by the second and third Bonomi governments dealing with further measures of reinstatement and reparation:

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 20 luglio 1944, n. 209 - Regulations for the professional readmission of notaries affected by the racial provisions or removed from office for political reasons, and modifications to the regulation of the notarial profession (GU-RI no. 60, 26 September 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 10 agosto 1944, n. 195 - Rectification of civil status documents relating to persons affected by the racial legislation (GU-RI no. 55, 14 September 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 24 agosto 1944, n. 183 - Readmission to the judiciary of magistrates removed from office for political or racial reasons (GU-RI no. 52, 5 September 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 7 settembre 1944, n. 264Modifications to the current regulation of universities (GU-RI no. 74, 28 October 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 14 settembre 1944, n. 287 Provisions relating to the reform of civil legislation (GU-RI no. 79, 9 November 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 5 ottobre 1944, n. 249 - Legislative framework for the liberated territories (GU-RI no. 70, 18 October 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 19 ottobre 1944, n. 301 - Re-assessment of the careers of employees in public administration (GU-RI no. 81, 14 November 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 19 ottobre 1944, n. 306Complementary regulations to the measures of Royal Decree-Law no. 25 of 20 January 1944 regarding the reinstatement of civil and political rights to Italian and foreign citizens previously declared to be of Jewish race or considered as such (GU-RI no. 82, 16 November 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 1° novembre 1944, n. 388 - Readmission in office of stock brokers dismissed for racial reasons (GU-RI no. 100, 28 December 1944).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 5 aprile 1945, n. 238Provisions on higher education (GU-RI no. 63, 26 May 1945).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 12 aprile 1945, n. 222Complementary and supplementary regulations and implementation regulations relating to Royal Deputy Legislative Decree no. 26, 20 January 1944, regarding the reinstatement of patrimonial rights to Italian and foreign citizens affected by the racial measures (GU-RI no. 61, 22 May 1945).

    Decreto del Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri 7 maggio 1945Inapplicability of the «legge di guerra» to stateless persons affected by the racial measures who were previously German citizens (GU-RI no. 66, 2 June 1945)

    The legislative process to annul the effects of the Leggi fascistissime and the racial legislation continued with the government of national unity led by Ferruccio Parri, secretary of the Action Party, and with the first government of the Christian Democrat Alcide De Gasperi. 

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 14 giugno 1945 n. 348Admission to school leaving or professional qualifying examinations in secondary schools for young people who for racial reasons or for serious grounds arising from the state of war found themselves unable to attend courses and sit the examinations (GU-RI no. 81, 7 July 1945).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 12 ottobre 1945 n. 668Deferral of deadline for the confirmation or nullification of acts promulgated by authority of the self-styled Italian Social Republic (GU-RI no. 130, 29 October 1945). 

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 30 novembre 1945, n. 880Supplementary regulations to the measures on readmission into service and re-establishment of the careers of public employees persecuted for political reasons by the former regime (GU-RI no. 36, 12 February 1946).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 18 gennaio 1946, n. 87Readmission into service of military personnel of the Royal Financial and Tax Police previously discharged for political or racial reasons (GU-RI no. 66, 20 March 1946).

    Decreto legislativo luogotenenziale 5 maggio 1946, n. 393Reclamation of assets confiscated, impounded or otherwise taken from persons persecuted for racial reasons by authority of the self-styled government of the Italian Social Republic (GU-RI no. 128, 4 June 1946).

    Regio decreto legislativo 27 maggio 1946, n. 535Readmission in post of university professors previously discharged for political or racial reasons (GU-RI no. 145, 2 July 1946).