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

Maria Vittoria Todesco Rosselli (1905-1998)

Padua 9 August 1905 - Bagno a Ripoli (Florence) 30 July 1998

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Emigrant family members

  • Silvia Rosselli Forti (Rome 1928), daughter: after her uncle and father’s murder, she emigrated with her mother to Switzerland in 1937 when she was nine and later followed her family to the UK in 1938, the US in 1940, and Italy in 1946. She became a psychoanalyst, a pupil of Ernst Bernhard. In 1948, she married Francesco Forti and had three children: Manuela, Flaminia and Giovanni (1954-1992), who became a journalist for "L’Espresso" and a prominent figure in the homosexual liberation movement in the 1990s. She returned to Italy.
  • Francesco Forti (Florence 24 May 1927), son-in-law, Silvia’s husband: musician and critic, pioneered jazz in Italy. He took refuge in Switzerland with his family in 1943, when he was 16, until the end of the war. In 1948, he married Silvia Rosselli; the couple had three children. He eventually remarried Donatella Ziliotto. He returned to Italy.
  • Paola Rosselli Forti (Florence 6 November 1929), daughter: emigrated to Switzerland when she was eight with her mother and siblings in 1937 and then followed her family to the UK in 1938, the US in 1940, and Italy in 1946. She married Marco Forti in 1948 and had three children: Laura and Camilla in 1949 and Nello in 1954. She worked as a translator. She returned to Italy and lives in Milan.
  • Marco Forti (Florence 3 October 1925 - Milan 9 May 2019), son-in-law, Paola’s husband: a literary critic, emigrated to Switzerland as a boy with his family in 1943 until the end of the war. In 1948, he married Paola; they had three children. He worked for Olivetti and Mondadori. He returned to Italy.
  • Aldo Rosselli (Florence 8 December 1934 - Rome 2 October 2013), son: emigrated to Switzerland with his mother when he was three, after his uncle and father’s murder in 1937. He then followed his family to the UK and US and returned with them to Italy in 1946. A writer, he worked in the publishing industry. He married Emilia Ca’Zorzi and had three children: Monica, Giacomo, and Niccolò. He eventually remarried Lily Smith. He returned to Italy.
  • Alberto Rosselli (Florence 1 May 1937), son: he was only 40 days old when his father was murdered. He was temporarily entrusted to his maternal grandmother when his mother emigrated to Switzerland in 1937. After rejoining his family, he followed them to the UK, the US, and Italy in 1946. He worked in theatre and lived in Florence; he married Tania Gensini and has two sons: Tommaso and Gabriele. He returned to Italy.
  • Carlo Rosselli (Rome 16 November 1899 - Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, France, 9 June 1937), brother-in-law: descendant of a wealthy family tied to the Risorgimento, after the beginning of his academic career in Genoa he soon became a target for the regime because of his anti-fascist activities. In 1927, he was sentenced to confino in Lipari as the organiser and perpetrator of Filippo Turati’s escape from Italy. He escaped in 1929 and emigrated to France, where he was soon joined by his wife Marion and son Giovanni (John). In Paris, he founded Giustizia e Libertà with other prominent anti-fascists, continuing his fight against fascism. In 1936, he was a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War and returned to France the following year. He was murdered with his brother Nello in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne on 9 June 1937. He never returned to Italy permanently.
  • Marion Cave Rosselli (Riseley, UK, 1 December 1896 - London 13 October 1949), sister-in-law: descendant of a quacker and socialist family, arrived in Florence after graduation with a scholarship in 1919. She taught English at the British Institute and, through Gaetano Salvemini, met Carlo, whom she married in 1926. In 1929, after a short arrest for complicity in her husband's escape from the confino in Lipari, she emigrated to France with her son John. There she had Amelia (Melina) and Andrea (Aghi). Widowed, she spent periods in France, Switzerland, and the UK with her children. In August 1940, she reunited with her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and children in Larchmont, NY. Despite being ill, she kept fighting against fascism. She returned to Italy in 1946 with her family but decided to return to the UK in 1947. She never returned to Italy permanently.
  • John Giovanni Andrea Rosselli (Florence 8 June 1927 - Cambridge 16 January 2001), nephew: in 1929, he emigrated to Paris with his mother when he was two and followed her to the US in 1940, where he attended university. In 1946, he moved to the UK, became a journalist for the "Guardian" and, since 1964, a history professor at the University of Brighton. In 1956 he married Eleanor (Nicky) Timbres, and they had two sons: Mark and David (1958); he was widowed in 1989. In 1995, he moved from Cambridge to San Rocco a Pilli (Siena) and then to Florence with Elisa Benaim Sarfatti. He returned to Italy when he was 68.
  • Amelia "Melina" Rosselli (Paris 28 March 1930 - Rome 11 February 1996), niece: in 1937, she was brought by her grandmother Amelia to Switzerland with her siblings and then followed her family’s relocations: in 1938 to the UK and in 1940 to the US. She returned to Italy in 1946 but immediately went back to the UK to study, where she also took an interest in theatre, music, and poetry. She returned to Italy in 1949. In 1950, she moved to Rome, where she later committed suicide. She returned to Italy.
  • Andrea (Andrew) "Aghi" Rosselli (Paris 12 March 1931 - Columbus, Indiana, 31 July 2021), nephew: from Paris, he followed his family: to Switzerland in 1937 (when he was six), to the US in 1940, to Italy in 1946, and then immediately to the UK, where he studied at the Imperial College in London and married Christine Muriel Davies (London 25 December 1927 - Columbus, Indiana, 24 January 1996); they had two sons: Nicholas and Paul. In 1967 they moved to the US, where Andrea worked as an engineer specialising in diesel engines. He never returned to Italy permanently.
  • Amelia Pincherle Moravia Rosselli (Venice 16 January 1870 - Florence 26 December 1954), mother-in-law: married to musician Giuseppe Emanuele (Joe) Rosselli (Livorno 10 August 1867 - Florence 9 September 1911) until 1903, she had three sons: Aldo (Wien 1895 - Pal Piccolo, Udine, 1916), who died in the war, Carlo in 1899, and Sabatino "Nello" in 1900, both murdered on 9 June 1937. A writer, theatrical author, suffragist, and anti-fascist, in 1937, she went to Paris and emigrated at first to Switzerland, then to the UK, and to Larchmont, NY, in 1940 with her daughters-in-law and grandchildren. She returned to Italy in 1946, when she was 76.