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

Ezio Levi D’Ancona (1884-1941)

Other headings: Ezio Levi

Mantova 19 July 1884 - Boston 28 March 1941

Lives on the move

Emigrant family members

  • Flora Aghib Levi D’Ancona (Livorno 1895 - Florence 1982), wife: emigrated with him to the USA in 1939. She returned to Italy in 1950.
  • Antonio Giacomo Levi D'Ancona (1917 - Florence 1986), brother: sought refuge in Switzerland in January 1944, he returned to Italy after Liberation.
  • Mirella Luigia Levi D'Ancona (Florence 1919 – Florence 2014), daughter: sought refuge in Switzerland in January 1944, returned to Italy after Liberation, emigrated to the USA in 1946 with her brother Viviano Ludovico Emanuele; became a full professor of Art History at CUNY; she returned to Italy after retirement.
  • Vivaldo Ernesto Levi D'Ancona (Florence 1921 - Campinas, Brazil, 2009), son: emigrated to the USA in 1940, moved to Brazil in 1949; engineer and entrepreneur. He never returned to Italy permanently.
  • Pier Lorenzo Arturo Levi D'Ancona (Florence 1926), son: sought refuge in Switzerland in January 1944, he returned to Italy after Liberation.
  • Viviano Ludovico Emanuele Levi D'Ancona (Florence 1937), son: sought refuge in Switzerland in January 1944, returned to Italy after Liberation, emigrated to the USA in 1946 with his sister Mirella; returned to Italy with his mother in 1950.

Aid organisations

  • Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, New York
  • The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Committee for Service to the Foreign Born, El Paso (TX) and New York
  • The Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America, New York


Declared references:

  • Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947), Columbia University (USA); 
  • Henry Carrington Lancaster (1882-1954), Johns Hopkins University (USA); 
  • Roger Sherman Loomis (1887-1966), Columbia University (USA);
  • Emmanuel Pontremoli (1865-1956), École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris; 
  • Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944), Senato del Regno, Rome; 
  • Nicholas Iorga (1871-1940), Senat, Bucarest; 
  • Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955), Hispanic Society, New York.

Support network

  • Laura Capon Fermi (1907-1977), cousin twice-removed: took in Flora and her husband Ezio Levi, newly arrived in the USA, December 1939.
  • Mary Sinclair Grawford (1879-1964), University of Southern California, Los Angeles: she helped him in the search for an academic position.
  • Henry Carrington Lancaster (1882-1954), Romance languages professor at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore: he recommended him to ECADFS.
  • Fanny Hutman Zlabovsky (1879-1969) field worker for the Committee for Service to the Foreign Born (NCJW), El Paso (TX): she assisted the couple in their immigration procedure;
  • Mildred Helen McAfee (1900-1994), president of Wellesley College, Wellesley (MA): in 1941 she offered him a teaching position.



Birth and education

  • Student

University education

  • Student at the Collegio Ghislieri and graduate in Lettere [Humanities] at the Università di Pavia in 1906; specialization at the Istituto di studi superiori in Florence.
  • Student

Humanities teacher

  • High schools of Lucera (FC) and Naples
  • Stable employment
  • Teacher

Teacher in Livorno

  • Professor of Italian Literature at the R. Accademia militare di Livorno (1912-18)
  • Stable employment
  • Teacher

Start of university career

  • Position in compared literatures at the Istituto superiore di Magistero femminile in Florence
  • Fixed-term employment
  • Untenured professor

Move to Palermo

  • Position in Romance literatures at the Università di Palermo
  • Fixed-term employment
  • Untenured professor

Full professor in Naples

  • Università di Napoli, Facoltà di Lettere; professor at the University of Madrid; summer courses at the University of Santander (1934-36).
1939New York

Emigration to the United States

  • Unemployed
1939Lubbock (Texas)

Brief university position

  • Techological College, Lubbock
  • Fixed-term employment
  • Untenured professor
1939Ciudad Juàrez (Mexico)

Trip to Mexico to obtain a visa

1940El Paso (Texas)

Looking for a position

1940Wellesley (MA)

New temporary position

  • Wellesley College, Wellesley (MA).
  • Fixed-term employment
  • Untenured professor