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

Enzo Bonaventura (1891-1948)

Other headings: Enzo Joseph Bonaventura

Pisa 24 December 1891 - Jerusalem 13 April 1948

Lives on the move

Emigrant family members

  • Matilde Passigli Bonaventura (Palma de Mallorca 1895 - Jerusalem 1984), wife: in Florence since 1921, she emigrated to Jerusalem in September 1939 with her children in order to join her husband; she never returned to Italy.
  • David Bonaventura later Ashery (Florence 1925 - Jerusalem 2000), son: emigrated to Jerusalem (then Palestine) in 1939 with his mother and brothers and became a university professor of Greek and Roman history; he never returned to Italy.
  • Emanuel Bonaventura later Ashery (Florence 1928), son: emigrated to Jerusalem (then Palestine) in 1939 with his mother and brothers; he went into the shipping business, living mostly in Italy from the Fifties and then in Paris.
  • Daniel Bonaventura later Ashery (Florence 1936 - Tel Aviv 2018), son: emigrated to Jerusalem (then Palestine) in 1939 with his mother and brothers and became a professor of Experimental Nuclear Physics at Tel Aviv University; he never returned to Italy.

Aid organisations

  • American Friends of the Hebrew University, New York
  • American Psychological Association, Committee on Displaced Scholars, New York - Cambridge (MA)
  • Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, New York 
  • Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, London


References declared by Bonaventura in the SPSL questionnaire:

  • Edouard Claparède, Geneva; 
  • David Katz, Stockholm; 
  • Henri Wallon, Paris; 
  • Giovanni Calò, Florence;
  • Agostino Gemelli, Milan; 
  • Cyril Burt, London. 

Actual references: 
  • David Katz, German psychologist in Stockholm; 
  • Cecil Roth, historian of Judaism, London; 
  • Federigo Enriques, mathematician, Zionist; 
  • Tullio Levi Civita, mathematician, Zionist.

Support network

  • Chaim Weizmann, London, president of the World Zionist Organization; supported Bonaventura's application to attend Hebrew University of Jerusalem in November 1938.



Birth and education

  • Student

University studies and position

  • High school in Florence; student at the Istituto di studi superiori, later at the Università di Firenze; assistant, libero docente (qualified to teach at university level) and director in charge of the Gabinetto di psicologia sperimentale, Università di Firenze.
  • Student,Fixed-term employment
  • Untenured professor

Emigration to Palestine

  • Jerusalem, Hebrew University, from March 1939 university instructor with 4-year contract; then professor and director of the Istituto di Psicologia; sabbatical year in Italy from circa October 1947 to March 1948.
  • Fixed-term employment,Stable employment
  • Untenured professor,Tenured professor

Travel to Italy for sabbatical year and possibility of reintegration at the University of Florence


Return to Palestine