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Pouring Jewish Water into Fascist Wine

Studies in the History of


Christian Traditions

General Editor

Robert J. Bast (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Editorial Board

Paul C.H. Lim (Nashville, Tennessee)


Brad C. Pardue (Point Lookout, Missouri)
Eric Saak (Indianapolis)
Christine Shepardson (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Brian Tierney (Ithaca, New York)
John Van Engen (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Founding Editor

Heiko A. Oberman

volume 183

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/shct


Pouring Jewish Water
into Fascist Wine
Untold Stories of (Catholic) Jews from the Archive
of Mussolinis Jesuit Pietro Tacchi Venturi

Volume II

By

Robert Aleksander Maryks

leiden | boston
Cover illustration: Lantigrazioso (1912) by Umberto Boccioni (18821916). Private Collection.

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For Sara
CONTENTS

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
List of Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x
List of Illustrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
Map of Italy in 1938 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

PRIMARY SOURCES

1. Enrico Angioli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
2. Gabriella Aruch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
3. Gertrud Baumgarten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
4. Eugenio Berger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
5. Roberto Berger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
6. Giacomo Bergmann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
7. Aurelio Brckner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
8. Alberto Calderoni . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
9. Silvio and Lya Calimani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
10. Walter Cardoso. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
11. Augusto Cassuto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
12. Massimiliano Coen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
13. Nadejda De Poliakoff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
14. Giuseppe Ehrman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
15. Arrigo Gersony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
16. Emerico Gut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
17. Bindo Hannau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
18. Marfried(e) Jeannette Hettner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
19. Renato Hirsch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
20. Eugenio Lampronti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
21. Fulvio Levi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
22. Giorgio Levi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
23. Mario Levi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
24. Tullio Maestro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
25. Giorgio Mondov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
viii contents

26. Guido Morelli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258


27. Mario Paggi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
28. Giulio Davide Pauletti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
29. Umberto Sacerdote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
30. Mario Samaja . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
31. Jacob Schwarz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286
32. Max Sommerfeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
33. Erich Spitz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
34. Edmondo Tedeschi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
35. Antonio Toribolo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332
36. Gioconda Vitale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
37. Sigmund Weigl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358
38. Giulia Zacutti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
39. Adele Zangen Chodroner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
40. Guido Zargani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
41. Alfredo Zeller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I express my particular gratitude to those colleagues who have generously


assisted me in this project with their insightful comments and suggestions,
especially the translators of the Italian letters in this volume, John and Anna
Tedeschi.
I owe much to the current and former members of the staff at the Archi-
vum Romanum Societatis Iesu, including Mauro Brunello, Robert Danieluk,
S.J., Brian Mac Cuarta, S.J., James F.X. Pratt, S.J., and Jos Antonio Yoldi, S.J.,
for their friendly support and generous hospitality during my work there.
My special thanks go to my colleagues at Boston College: Gregory Kal-
scheur, S.J., the dean of the Robert J. Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences,
and Casey Beaumier, S.J., the director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit
Studies, who provided financial help for the production of this book.
I extend my thanks to the editors at Brill, especially Arjan van Dijk, for
their constant support of my work as author and editor.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

A.C. Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action)


A.O.I. Africa Orientale Italiana
Demorazza Direzione Generale per la Demografia e la Razza (General
Administration for Demography and Race)
F.U.C.I Federazione Universitaria Cattolici Italiani
G.I.L. Giovent Italiana del Littorio (Fascist Youth Organization)
G.U.F. Giovent Universitaria Fascista
M.V.S.N. Milizia Volontari Sicurezza Nazionale
On. or On.le Onorevole (Honorable)
O.N. Opera Nazionale
O.N.B. Opera Nazionale Balilla
P.N.F. Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party)
R. Reale (Royal)
R.D.L. Reale Decreto Legge (Royal Decree Law)
S.E. Sua Eccellenza (Your or His Excellency)
Spett. Spettabile (Respectable)
v. vedi or vide (see)
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

1. Photograph of Tacchi Venturi in liturgical vestments . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


2. Postcard with the sculpture Judas Betrayal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
3. Letter of Eugenio Boggiano-Pico to Pietro Tacchi Venturi
(April 22, 1938) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
4. Letter of Tacchi Venturi to Benito Mussolini (October 3, 1938) . . . . 30
5. Letter of Tacchi Venturi to Card. Eugenio Pacelli (January 6,
1939) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
6. Letter of Giovanni Battista Montini to Tacchi Venturi
(November 28, 1938) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
7. Letter of Guido Guidi Buffarini to Tacchi Venturi (December
1938) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
8. Letter of Domenico Tardini to Tacchi Venturi (November 29,
1938) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
9. Letter of Domenico Tardini to Tacchi Venturi (October 15, 1938) . . 39
10. Letter of Card. Pacelli to Tacchi Venturi (January 10, 1939) . . . . . . . . 41
11. Enrico Angiolis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
12. An unidentified family photo from Aruchs folder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
13. Gemma Jommis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
14. Coen Schioppas handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
15. Giovanni Lombards handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . 188
16. Enrico Guts handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
17. Roland Hettners racial certificate issued by the consul general
of Germany in Milan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
18. Giorgio Levis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
19. Guido Morellis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
20. Mario Paggis handwritten letter to Brother Lucas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
21. Giulio Davide Paulettis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . 273
22. Erich Spritzs typed letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
23. Antonio Toribolos handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . 333
24. Emma Bissis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351
25. Rabbi Zelikovitss typed letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
26. Giulia Zacuttis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374
27. Dittrich-Chodroners handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi. . . . . . . . 384
MAP OF ITALY IN 1938
INTRODUCTION

The aim of the second part of my project on the impact of the racial laws
under the Mussolini regime is to offer the reader a critical edition and the
very first English translation of 139 letters that were exchanged between
the victims of those laws (and their relatives and friends) and the Jesuit
Pietro Tacchi Venturi (18611956) whoas a liaison between the church and
stateinterceded with the Fascist government in order to circumvent or
alleviate various provisions of the 1938 anti-Jewish legislation, despite the
fact he himself was somewhat responsible for its promulgation, as I shall
explain below.
To put it briefly and simply for the purposes of this introduction (which
does not aim at providing a comprehensive discussion of the history of the
period but at contextualizing, and hence facilitating, the reading of the doc-
uments furnished in this volume), anyone born of parents who both were
of the Jewish race, even though professing a religion other than Judaism,
or no religion at all, was deemed to be Jewish. Consequently, the racial laws
affected not only those Italians who considered themselves Jewish, whether
secular or religious, but also a significant number of Catholics whose ances-
tors had been Jewish or who converted to Catholicism, as the majority of the
cases contained in both volumes show.1 In the documents of the time, they
were referred to as Jews by race, Catholics by faith, or Christian Jews, or
converted Jews, or baptized Jews, ormore frequentlyCatholic Jews

1 For a detailed account of the promulgation of the racial laws in Italy, see the most
recent publications, which contain an ample bibliography on the subject: Michele Sarfatti,
Gli ebrei nellItalia fascista: Vicende, identit, persecuzione (Turin: Einaudi, 2007); idem, The
Jews in Mussolinis Italy: From Equality to Persecution (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press,
2006); Joshua D. Zimmerman, Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule, 19221945 (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2005); Susan Zuccotti, Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and
the Holocaust in Italy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); Alexander Stille, Benevolence
and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families under Fascism (New York: Summit Books, 1991); and
Susan Zuccotti, The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival (New York:
Basic Books, 1987); and, more recently, David I. Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret
History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe (New York: Random House, 2014); Michael
A. Livingston, The Fascists and the Jews of Italy: Mussolinis Race Laws, 19381943 (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2014), and John A. Tedeschi and Anne Tedeschi, Italian Jews
Under Fascism, 1981945: A Personal and Historical Narrative (Madison, WI: Parallel Press,
2015).
2 introduction

(hence my choice of this term in the title of the book). In the historiography
on the subject, the latter are often dubbed of Jewish descent to distin-
guish them from actual Jews. According to the census that was conducted
by Fascist authorities in August of 1938, Jews by descent numbered about
2,600 and actual Jews about 46,656 (37,241 Italians and 9,415 foreigners),
or just 1 per thousand of the countrys entire population. By the time of the
promulgation of the racial laws, one Jew out of three took a spouse of a dif-
ferent religion, a Catholic in almost all cases (which is obvious given the
Catholic character of Italian society). Indeed, according to the census there
were about 7,000 non-Jewish children who were born to racially mixed
marriages.2
Whereas the first volume of Pouring Jewish Water into Fascist Wine con-
tains a representative selection of petitions for discrimination or Aryani-
zation which were sent to Tacchi Venturi either by the Vatican Secretariat of
State and the Office of Extraordinary Affairs or directly to him by the individ-
uals affected by Mussolinis racial laws, this volume consists of 134 personal
letters (in the original and in English translation) exchanged with Tacchi
Venturi between December 1938 (just after the promulgation of the racial
legislation) and August 1943 (soon after the fall of Mussolini). The collec-
tion comprises as well five letters addressed to others but copies of which
were forwarded to the Jesuit. I include these letters because of their impor-
tance to understand the circumstances of the particular cases presented in
this collection.
Most of the selected letters are addressed to Tacchi Venturionly fif-
teen copies of his own replies are found in his archive. They document
forty-one cases of Jews (or of those considered Jews in the eyes of the Fas-
cist regime) and their families who had been affected by various provisions
of the anti-Semitic legislation. Their stories are succinctly narrated in the
introductions to each case, based on the information contained not only in
the letters themselves but also in other published and unpublished mate-
rials that I have been able to consult, including genealogical and documen-
tary sources available at the Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contempo-
ranea in Milan. Regrettably, the fate of many of them is unknown. It is my
hope, however, that with the publication of this book, more information will
become available, as has been the case with several protagonists of the first
volume.

2 See Sarfatti, The Jews in Mussolinis Italy, 2330 and 127; and Iael Nidam-Orvieto, The
Impact of Anti-Jewish Legislation on Everyday Life and the Response of Italian Jews, 1938
1943, in Zimmerman, Jews in Italy, 165166.
introduction 3

The selection made for this volume is quite representative for a num-
ber of reasons. First of all, the authors of the letters came from various
regions of continental Italy: from Venice, Trieste, and Fiume (Rijeka) to
Trent, Verona, Ferrara, Brescia, Mantua, Milan, and Turin; from Genoa and
Livorno to Florence, Rome, and Naples; and from other parts of Europe and
Mediterranean Africa. Some of the authors were born and grew up outside
Italy but became Italian citizens due to the changed geo-political situa-
tion in Europe following WWI, including the disintegration of the Austro-
Hungarian empire. Some others were non-Italian citizens who were residing
in Italy for a variety of reasons when the racial legislation was promul-
gated.
They represent different social classes, although most of them were
middle-class urban professionals, typically physicians, lawyers, army offi-
cers, accountants, merchants, or journalists. Some of them were low-profile
citizens, others were well known figures in Italian cultural, economic, and
political life, including Gabriella Aruch Scaravaglio (b. 1889), a feminist jour-
nalist; Tommaso Berger (19292009), an entrepreneur; and Renato Hirsch
(18891977), a prominent industrialist who became prefect of Ferrara after
WWII.
What emerges more forcefully from the reading of the letters that follow
is how the racial laws affected their authors psychologically. The most com-
mon state of mind they shared with Tacchi Venturi was anxiety caused by
their dire economic situation resulting from the loss of employment and
by uncertainty about their future. This uncertainty was often caused by the
frustration with the slow bureaucratic process of obtaining a response from
the government regarding the status of their applications for discrimina-
tion and/or Aryanization and other petitions and by not being able to
provide the required documentation to prove their Aryan status. In some
cases, the frustration turned into anger, despair, agony, or even madness. The
authors of the letters reported feelings of being abandoned, deceived, dis-
tressed, paralyzed, sorrowful, and sleepless. A few even expressed a desire
to die or to commit suicide.
It is understandable, therefore, why these supplicants saw in the Jesuit
priest (or portrayed him as such in order to please him) a paternal com-
passionate consoler, ready to bring relief to their hearts. In their letters, they
praised Tacchi Venturis noble spirit of charity, magnanimous sense of jus-
tice, infinite goodness and exquisite courtesy, and great heart and warm
understanding soul. At the same time, they saw in him a highly authorita-
tive priest who was well connected to the regime and able to efficaciously
exercise his influence on Fascist officials and on Mussolini himself. The
4 introduction

rhetoric of their letters was certainly often dictated by Tacchi Venturis posi-
tion of power and their desperation.
For similar reasons, we find frequently in their correspondence affirma-
tions of their allegiance to the regime (in some cases claimed from the first
hour). In response to common anti-Semitic allegations of cosmopolitanism
and Judaeo-Bolshevism, Tacchi Venturis correspondents highlighted their
being Italian citizens with all the strength of [] being, immemorial Ital-
ian origins, unquestioned patriotism and innate spirit of Italianism, which
they expressed by their fervent devotion to the House of Savoy, generous
philanthropic activities, participation in the movements of Julian or Dal-
matian irredentism, and interventionism in the Great War, volunteering in
the wars for the expansion of the Italian empire in the Mediterranean, and
supporting anti-Communist movements both in Italy and abroad.
For some, but not for all, the growing devotion to Mussoliniwho signed
the concordat with the Catholic Church in 1929meant at some point
conversion to Catholicism, as if it were an intrinsic part of being Italian.
Historian Michele Sarfatti has argued that major Jewish Fascists, such as
Margherita Grassini Sarfatti (18801961), Guido Jung (18761949), Gino Arias
(18791940), and Carlo Fo (18801971) did eventually convert to Catholi-
cism, which would suggest that there was an irreconcilable difference
between commitment to the Party and the preservation of a Jewish identity,
or between that commitment and not belonging to the religion of the major-
ity.3 Indeed, a number of the letters reveal that embracing Catholic Fascism
(or Fascist Catholicism) sometimes meantsincerely or nota strong dis-
entanglement from Jewish origins. Impressive in this regard is Edmondo
Tedeschis letter to Mussolini, in which he wrote that the Jews were oppos-
ing him with all the venom of their racial solidarity and assured Il Duce
that he separated [himself] from the chains of the [Jewish] race and led
a life which gives absolute and undoubted proof of not belonging, except in
name, to the Jewish race, and to having nurtured a mentality and purpose
of life that conform to the directives of the Regime. Mario Paggi used in his
letter even stronger expressions of contempt for his origins:
I am unsurprised by clashes between Judaism and the peoples of Europe that
occurred in history and I am not surprised by the position of the Italian State
against us [Jews] in this crucial moment in history. Wrong was he who did not
want to foresee a tragedy, who did not know, especially now, how it feels to be
always deeply Italian, confident, and serene.

3 Sarfatti, Jews in Mussolinis Italy, 16.


introduction 5

Similar assurances of allegiance to Fascism were expressed, among oth-


ers, by Diana Castelfranchi, the mother of Edoardo (b. 1920), Alessandro (b.
1922), and Claudio (b. 1929) Gallico who, filled with desperation because of
her husbands illness, wrote to the government that she had raised her sons
in a family in which they have given all of themselves to the Institutions
of the Regime. Giulia Zacuttis dream was to be able to extinguish [her]
uniforms in hope of being able honorably to wear them again.
Disappointingly, the very few letters written in reply by Tacchi Venturi
that have been preserved in his archive do not allow us to fully appreciate
how he dealt with the cases described in the letters of his correspondents.
The brief expressions of compassion and grief in some of his replies sug-
gest that in spite of his involvement in the promulgation of the racial laws
in Italy, he felt it was his priestly duty to help those who found themselves
in sorrowful situations due to the impact of that legislation on their lives,
or perhaps he simply functioned as a fixer, as the Fascist official Roberto
Farinacci (18921945) dubbed him. In spite of the incompleteness of this
correspondence and missing information, the archival documents that fol-
low provide us with a unique window into one of Italys darkest periods of
history.

* * *
Before presenting the forty-one stories of (Catholic) Jews that follow,4 it
will be helpful to provide first a biographical sketch of the intriguing and
controversial figure of Tacchi Venturi, so that the reading of the seventy-
year-old archival documents may be understood within a historical context
of the period that was marked by two important parts of Italian history
between the wars: the so-called Roman question and Jewish question,
in which this Fascist Jesuit was one of the most important protagonists.5
The following biographical sketch, far from being exhaustive, yet based
on heretofore unknown archival material, should give the reader a better
understanding of the reasons why this Jesuit became such controversial and
notorious a figure, not only to his contemporaries but also to historians of
Italian Fascism, and how the documents published in this volume ended up
in his archive.

4 Three cases are of the Protestants of Jewish ancestry who were aliens residing in Italy
at the time of the promulgation of the racial laws for a variety of reasons.
5 For the sake of convenience, I provide here Tacchi Venturis biographical sketch I had
written for volume 1. It contains, however, an important update reflecting recent develop-
ments in the historiography on the subject.
6 introduction

Fig. 1. Photograph of Tacchi Venturi in liturgical vestments.


The Fascist official Roberto Farinacci poked fun at the Jesuit priest, arguing that
honest clergy do not like this mixture of sacred and profane in the same man
religious, who seems too fervent a fixer.
introduction 7

Pietro Tacchi Venturi was born to Antonio Tacchi Venturi and Orsola
Ceselli in San Severino Marche on August 12, 1861the memorable year in
the history of Italy for the proclamation of the reign of Vittorio Emanuele II,
as the Jesuit wrote at the outset of a memoir that he began to compose many
decades later. His highlighting of this synchrony is significant, for it deter-
mined his negative interpretation of the role the Risorgimento played in
curbing the secular power of the papacy, an interpretation that he inher-
ited from his father. It also determined his profound antipathy toward the
spirit of laicism that, in his view, characterized the post-1870 Italian regime.
Indeed, Tacchi Venturi described his father as a Guelph of pure blood,
or a convinced supporter of the authority of the pope over the lay ruler.
The Jesuit remembered years later that as child he used to play at home
with the heavy rifle that his father still kept from the time of the flight of
Garibaldis troops from Rome in 1849, which he had witnessed. Unhappy
with the occupation of Rome by the Piedmontese and their new secular gov-
ernment, Antonio Tacchi Venturi preferred to render service to the Vatican
as a lawyer of the Sacra Rota, or the supreme ecclesiastical and secular court
of the Catholic Church, and to later refuse a position in the state justice sys-
tem, even though it meant that he had to sell a portion of his land in order
to keep feeding his large family.
As the last of fifteen children, Pietros father had been born after the
death of his own father, Antonio Tacchi of Bergamo,6 who had married
Angela Ragni of Ancona. After the premature death of Antonio Tacchi, his
young widow married a professor of anatomy, Luigi Venturi, from her own
hometown, but the couple remained childless. Luigi Venturis role in raising
his wifes children was recognized by the addition of his name to that of their
real father, Tacchi. Thus the father of the Jesuitwho had been given his
deceased fathers name of Antonioregistered the double name of Tacchi
Venturi when he married the Jesuits mother, Orsola Ceselli (d. April 30,
1887). She was the daughter of Gioacchino Ceselli and Silvia Valenti, both
originally from Rome. Her father belonged to a wealthy family of merchants,
highly esteemed for their honesty and religiosity.7
Pietro Tacchi Venturi had five older siblingsSilvia (18511932), Luigi
(18331923), Mariano (18541937), Gioacchino (died as infant), Giovanni
Battista (18581930)and two younger: Beatrice (18641937) and Maria
(18681930). In his unpublished autobiography, he liked to highlight that

6 See also Fondo Tacchi Venturi (henceforth FTV), Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu
(the Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus) (henceforth ARSI) 1012, doc. 579.
7 FTV 46, Autob., 3.
8 introduction

his baptismal name of Pietro had been given to him because of his fathers
devotion to the Prince of the Apostles and as a sign of his immutable fidelity
to the successors of the Saint in the Roman pontificate.8
For the Tacchi Venturis, this devotion to the pope meant at the same time
a deep skepticism towards the liberal government that took Rome from
the pope in 1870. Pietro Tacchi Venturi reflected his familys political views
when several decades later he wrote in his autobiography that the devoted
Catholic families of the City [of Rome], eager to educate their children
according to their traditions of sincere faith and unaltered devotion to the
Roman pontiff, were deeply worried about the new governments fervent
anticlerical policy, whichinfluenced by the Masonic sectsaimed to
subvert all pious customs of the Christian nation.9
Because of his fathers transfer to San Severino in the Marche region, Tac-
chi Venturi continued his education in the gymnasium of the town and in
the high school (liceo) in the regions capital, Macerata, the birthplace of
the famous Jesuit missionary, Matteo Ricci (d. 1610). (Tacchi Venturi would
later publish Matteo Riccis works on China and in 1910 would promote a
celebration of the 300th anniversary of Riccis death.10) Subsequently, Tac-
chi Venturi moved back to Rome, where he attended the Roman Seminary
187678, with the purpose of deepening his knowledge in literary studies.
From the period of his school education in Rome, Tacchi Venturi remem-
bered three books that formed in him love for [the Catholic] religion and for
the Fatherland: Giannetto (1837) by Luigi Alessandro Parravicini and Gian-
nettino (1876) and Pinocchio (1880) by Carlo Collodi. The reading of these
enjoyable books had been offered to the future Jesuit by his master, Pacifico
Falusca, who also taught him how to hawk robins with an owla passion
that became so strong in the adolescent that his family feared he would not
be able to renounce it when he decided to join the Society of Jesus.11
With his mother crying hard at the Termini Railway Station in Rome,12
the eighteen-year-old Pietro departed on November 10, 1878 for the Jesuit

8 Ibid.
9 Ibid., 9. See also an unsigned (probably by Tacchi Venturi himself) and undated (proba-
bly from 1929) document about the alleged role of Judaeo-Masonic plutocracy in Italy that
is found in Tacchi Venturis archive (FTV 430a). It is transcribed in Appendix One, doc. 3 of
volume 1.
10 See Matteo Ricci and Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Opere storiche del P. Matteo Ricci, S.I.
(Macerata: Premiato stab. tip. F. Giorgetti, 191113).
11 Autob., 7.
12 Ibid., 14.
introduction 9

novitiate, located in the decaying castle of Aux Alleux in western France.13


There, he experienced during the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises his response
to Gods calling to leave the world and consecrate himself for life and death
to His service.14 Due to what Tacchi Venturi called the influence of Masonry
on the anti-Jesuit measures of the French government of Jules F.C. Ferry
(183293) in the 1880s, he and his confrres had to unexpectedly leave
France. Pietro was transferred to Naples to complete his novitiate with the
pronunciation of his first religious vows. Consequently, he studied rhetoric
first in Naples and then in Castel Gandolfo near Rome, where the Jesuit
community lived in a villa that Prince Alessandro Torlonia (180086) had
donated to them.15
Two years later (1882), Tacchi Venturi was sent to a Jesuit community in
Rome and then to Naples (1883) with a goal of completing his maturit, or
high school exams, which he had missed before joining the Society. Hav-
ing passed the exams at the Liceo Vittorio Emanuele in Naples, the young
Jesuit returned to Rome to continue his training in philosophy at the Pon-
tifical Gregorian University for another two years (188385). Subsequently,
Superior Provincial Ghetti sent Tacchi Venturi for the so-called regency, a
two-year internship, during which he was assigned the care of boys of the
nobility in the Jesuit boarding school, located in the sixteenth-century Villa
Mondragone in the region of the Castelli Romani (near Rome). This duty
of supervising students gave him enough time to write his first bookthe
biography of a Jesuit who had been instrumental in Tacchi Venturis deci-
sion to enter the Society of Jesus, Memorie biografiche del P. Camillo Mearini
(Citt di Castello, 1886). Toward the end of this experience, marked by an
unspecified illness, the young Jesuit was transferred to Rome with the new
task of pursuing studies in literature.16 He therefore enrolled at the Royal
University of Rome (La Sapienza), where, in 1891, he earned his Master in
Arts degree with a thesis on an unpublished Greek eulogy of St. Gregory of
Nazianzus (d. 390) by John Geometres (active 10th century).17
Thirty-year-old Pietro now could finally begin the final stage of prepa-
ration toward his priesthoodtheology, which he studied once again at
the Jesuit Gregorian University (until 1895). One year later, the young priest
received from the superior general of the order Luis Martn (in office 1892

13 Ibid., 1718.
14 Ibid., 1923.
15 Ibid., 3437.
16 Ibid., 4145.
17 Ibid., 9.
10 introduction

1906) his first major mission: to write a history of the Jesuits in Italy. Tac-
chi Venturi would continue to work on this project intermittently until he
was in his 90s. For the next fifteen years, he travelled extensively through
Europe to hunt archival and library materials to be used as sources for his
new publication. Part one of the first volume of the Storia della Compag-
nia di Ges in Italia narrata col sussidio di fonti inedite was published in 1910,
when the Jesuit was forty-nine. Part two of the second volume would be pub-
lished forty-one years later (1951), when Tacchi Venturi was ninety, before he
became almost blind and would die five years later.18
With the beginning of the Great War, Tacchi Venturis activity as a writer
was interrupted, when General Superior Franz Xaver Wernz (in office, 1906
14), shortly before his death, appointed him secretary general of the Society.
This office, which he held until 1921, became particularly crucial when
the new superior general Wodzimierz Ledchowski (in office, 191443),
whobecause of his Polish origins but Austrian citizenshipwas not al-
lowed to remain in Rome due to the Italian-Austrian conflict during WWI
and thus moved away to Switzerland, leaving much of the orders daily
affairs in the hands of Tacchi Venturi. This is when the aristocratic Jesuit
well connected to many prominent families of Romebegan weaving the
wide and dense web of contacts between the Vatican and governmental
officials of the city.
The Jesuits role as Vaticans fiduciaryas Tacchi Venturi presented
himself to Benito Mussolini (18831945)in dealings with the Palazzo Ve-
nezia began in 1922. In that year, Pope Pius XI (r. 192239), the former librar-
ian of the Ambrosiana Library in Milan, who became acquainted with Tac-
chi Venturi there in 1899,19 requested that the Jesuit negotiate with the newly
appointed minister of foreign affairs, Benito Mussolini, the purchase of the
precious Chigi Library for the Vatican, which the Italian state had owned
since 1916.20 Instead of selling it, Mussolini decided to donate the library to

18 See also Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Saint Ignace de Loyola dans lart aux XVIIme et XVIIIme
sicles (Rome: A. Stock, 1929); and Pietro Tacchi Venturi, La prima casa di S. Ignazio di Loyola
in Roma: O le sue cappellette al Ges (Rome: Societ Grafica Romana, 1951).
19 See Tacchi Venturi, La promozione del P. Pietro Boetto al Cardinalato, 1, in FTV 46,
folder I miei ricordi (186118911931); Eugne Cardinal Tisserant, Pius XI as Librarian, The
Library Quarterly 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1939): 389403; and Giulio Castelli, Storia segreta di Roma Citt
aperta. Con prefazione di Eugenio Boggiano-Pico (Rome: Quatruci, 1959), 244245.
20 See FTV 1, folder 1; 2, folder 55; 16, folder 1146; 17, folder 1212; and 46, folder I miei
ricordi (186118911931), folder P. Tacchi Venturi 19151931 (Dati biografici, 45), and La
Biblioteca Chigi al Vaticano. See also Mario Scaduto, P. Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Archivum
historicum Societatis Iesu [AHSI] 25 (1956): 760; and Amedeo Giannini, Padre Tacchi in
funzione diplomatica, Doctor communis 9 (1956): 229230.
introduction 11

the pope, thus symbolically initiating the process of the Conciliazione, or


reconciliation, which led to the concordat (Lateran Pacts) of 1929. It gave
juridical status to the Vatican and made Catholicism the official religion of
the Italian state, thereby ending the so-called Roman question that had
begun with the occupation of the Papal States by the Piedmontese troops
in 1861, the year of Tacchi Venturis birth. As he later put it, the donation
of the Chigi Library was the beginning of [his] acquaintance and conversa-
tions that [he] had with the Duce from December 1922 until the first months
of 1943.21
In 1956, The New York Times wrote in Tacchi Venturis obituary that the
Jesuit had engineered the Lateran Pacts.22 Indeed, his role in the reconcil-
iation between the Vatican and the Italian state is abundantly documented,
yet unstudied. Tacchi Venturis archive contains an ample file of correspon-
dence between the governmental officials (especially between the head of
Mussolinis cabinet, Amedeo Giannini [18861960]), and the Jesuit,23 and
the notes Tacchi Venturi made of his audiences with Mussolini himself,24
which unquestionably reveal the Jesuits zealous and constant engagement
in the church-state affairs leading to the Lateran Pacts and their subsequent
preservation.25 In his vision of Italian society as traditionally Catholic, Tac-
chi Venturi sought not only the reconciliation of the church-state animosity
that had resulted from the role the liberal and anti-clerical Risorgimento had
played in the limitation of papal temporal power but also the conciliation of
Fascist ideology with Catholicism, which for him would guarantee the moral
order of society. It is not surprising, therefore, to see Tacchi Venturi eagerly
collaborate with the Fascist government on a number of occasions related
to keeping Catholic culture and morality dominant in Italian society.
Tacchi Venturis archive contains numerous dossiers concerning his cor-
respondence with the Fascist government on an astonishingly broad range
of issues, including actions against the Masonic and Protestant propa-
ganda; the war with Ethiopia; Catholic assistance in the Italian colonies of

21 See FTV 46, folder P. Tacchi Venturi 19151931 (Dati biografici, 5).
22 Priest Who Aided in Creation of Vatican City Dies, New York Times, 19 March 1956. See
also Salvatore Cortesi, Italy to Indemnify Church, Rome Hears, New York Times, 11 February
1928, 4; Blet et al., Actes et documents, 1: 13; Giannini, Padre Tacchi in funzione diplomat-
ica, 232235; and Francesco Margiotta Broglio, Italia e Santa Sede dalla grande guerra alla
conciliazione: Aspetti politici e giuridici (Bari: Laterza, 1966), especially 110111, 151170.
23 See his recollections of Tacchi Venturis role in Giannini, Padre Tacchi in funzione
diplomatica, 227236.
24 See P. Tacchi Venturi: Udienze con Mussolini 19261939, in FTV 46.
25 See FTV 1, folder 11; 4, folders 257 and 269; 1018, docs 88290; and 46, folder I miei ricordi
(186118911931).
12 introduction

Ethiopia and Albania; the Muslim danger in Albania; diplomatic relations


with the Bolshevik government of Russia; legislation of the Fascist Youth
Organizations; exemptions from the military service for clerics; appoint-
ments of bishops and mayors; military promotions; petitions for grace, tax
exemptions, jobs, visas, passports, citizenship, titles of nobility, and read-
mission to the Fascist Party; the Italianization of the former Austrian
region of Alto Adige; the attempted assassinations of Mussolini; Austrian
prisoners of Hitler; the Fascist character of the Azione Cattolica; the censor-
ship of films to be shown in the theatres and of pictures to be published in a
fashion magazine; the case of the Italian politician Alcide de Gasperi (1881
1954); so-called houses of tolerance or brothels; the prohibition of balls; the
discussion over the Fascist Youth Organizations uniform to be worn at first
Communion and confirmation ceremonies; the type of swimming outfit to
be worn on public beaches; the nudity of public statues; banks; the marble
of Carrara; the presence of Catholic chaplains in various sectors of civil life;
the teaching of religion in public schools; acquiring and selling of churches,
convents, and other Catholic institutions; the abuse of ringing bells by polit-
ical parties; the diplomatic license plates for the Vatican secretary of states
automobile; the distribution of the Gospel among soldiers; the status of
Catholicism in Sweden; anti-religious stamps, and so forth. Appendix Two in
volume one shows the extent of Tacchi Venturis involvement.26 It lists more
than 3,600 affairs, including about eight hundred cases of people affected by
the racial laws, which he handled between 1922 and 1943.
Some journalists speculated that Mussolini made all these concessions to
the Vatican under the sway of Tacchi Venturi as his confessor and advisor.
After all, in 1923, he baptized Mussolinis three children and blessed his
marriage with Rachele Guidi (18901979) in December 1925.27 In 1928, the
Jesuit received a letter from Munich informing him that a German paper
contained an article which claimed that the Jesuit confessor of Mussolini
exercised a role similar to Rasputins at the imperial court of Russia.28 After
Tacchi Venturis death in 1956, a number of newspapers published articles
that in their titles underscored the Jesuits role as Il Duces confessor.29 The

26 See also an interesting document, probably by Tacchi Venturi himself, on how a certain
kind of Catholic discipline, corporal punishment included, would be beneficial for the
raising of the young man in new Fascist Italy (Appendix One, doc. 3 in volume 1).
27 See Philip V. Cannistraro and Brian R. Sullivan, Il Duces Other Woman (New York:
Morrow, 1992), 343 and 517.
28 See FTV 1009, doc. 356356a.
29 See, for example, La Cronaca di Roma (20 Marzo 1956), 4; Gazzetta sera (20 Marzo 1956),
3; Il Paese (19 Marzo 1956), 1.
introduction 13

Jesuit maintained in his personal writings, however, that he did not play
the role assigned to Pier delle Vigne (c.11901249) in the reign of Federico II
[11941250],30 which means that Tacchi Venturi did not have the keys to
Mussolinis heart.31 Whatever the truth is about their spiritual relationship,
which is worthy of a separate monograph, Tacchi Venturi, who was twenty-
two years older, did care about Mussolinis eternal salvation. In a letter
written a few weeks before his death to his spiritual daughter, a former
Carmelite nun and a noble woman, the Jesuit revealed that he was consoled
by reading the last letter of poor Mussolini, which opens to a hope for
Gods mercywe should remember that He wants all people to be saved.32
Instead, Tacchi Venturis relationship with Mussolinis lover and biogra-
pher, the Jewish journalist Margherita Grassini Sarfatti (18831961), seemed
to be more of a spiritual character.33 The Jesuits archive contains a few let-
ters that she wrote to Tacchi Venturi.34 Some letters from 1927 deal with the
preparation for baptism of Sarfattis daughter Fiammetta,35 and another one
dates from February 1956, one month before the Jesuits death. This letter
is signed Most devoted in Christ, Margherita Sarfatti. A Jesuit who had a
reserved access to Tacchi Venturis archive wrote on this letter a note: Lover
of Mussolini. A Jew converted and baptized by T[acchi] V[enturi], as were,
too, her son [Amedeo] and daughter [Fiammetta].36 Indeed, in her letter to
the American educator Nicholas Murray Butler (18621947), following the
promulgation of the racial laws, she wrote:

30 See Tacchi Venturi, La promozione del P. Pietro Boetto al Cardinalato, 5, in FTV 46,
folder I miei ricordi (186118911931).
31 In Dantes Inferno, Vigne described his relationship to Emperor Federico II to that of
Dante and Virgil with the following words: I am he that held both keys of Fredericks heart,/
To lock and to unlock; and well I knew/ To turn them with so exquisite an art (translation by
Dorothy L. Sayers, lines 5860).
32 FTV 1023, doc. 593. Tacchi Venturi alludes probably to Mussolinis letter to his wife in
which he begged her for forgiveness for all the evil he had done to her. See, for example,
Brenda Haugen, Benito Mussolini: Fascist Italian Dictator (Minneapolis, Minn.: Compass
Point Books, 2007), 94.
33 See Enciclopedia italiana 30:870871.
34 See Margherita G. Sarfatti, Dvx: 32 illustrazioni fuori testo e 5 autografi (Milan: Mon-
dadori, 1926). The biography was translated into many languages. See, for example, Marghe-
rita G. Sarfatti, The life of Benito Mussolini : With a Preface by Benito Mussolini (New York:
Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1925); Margherita G. Sarfatti and Fred Meyer-Balte, Mussolini: Lebens-
geschichte (Leipzig: List, 1926); and Margherita G. Sarfatti, Mussolini: Autor. Overs. fra Italiensk
ved Regitze Winge (Copenhagen: Kbh, 1928).
35 FTV 1009, docs 18, 19, 20. See also FTV 1013, doc. 86. For the correspondence between
Amedeo Sarfatti and Tacchi Venturi, see FTV 1013, docs 234 and 257.
36 FTV 1017, doc. 315. See also Cannistraro, Il Duces Other Woman, 533 and 538.
14 introduction

Fig. 2a. Postcard with the sculpture Judass Betrayal.


Tacchi Venturi received this postcard from an anonymous sender
after the Lateran Pacts had been signed in 1929. The caption
beneath the photograph of the Roman statue Judass Betrayal
was changed into The Jesuits Betrayal.
introduction 15

Fig. 2b. Postcard with the sculpture Judass Betrayal.


On the other side of the postcard, the sender (proverbial Pasquino)
wrote a rhymed verse: Fin che campa Tacchi Venturi/ Speriam la
cosa duri/ Ma se more il sor Benito/ Anche S. Ignazio bello e ito
[Until Tacchi Venturi is alive/ We hope the affair will last/ But when
Sir Benito dies/ Also St. Ignatius is gone forever].
16 introduction

You know what happened to us! I am a Catholic, & so are both my children,
both married to Catholics, & fathers & mothers of Catholic children. But
I myself as well as my husband, are of Jewish descent, therefore both my
children & myself are considered Jews, that most heinous (so it seems) sin of
today, being searched in us, in such a measure, that my sons glorious death, as
a hero, at 17 years of age in the War, & my husbands & mine own & my other
sons fascist & Italian faith & works during all our lives, account to nothing.37
Because of his intimate relationship with Sarfatti, the Jesuit was able to
obtain from her some private information regarding Mussolini, as Tacchi
Venturi himself revealed reporting on the church-state crisis of 1931, an
event described by him as the reconciliation of the Conciliation.38 What-
ever the influence of Tacchi Venturi on the Duce, Italian public opinion
saw the former as the man behind the scenes of the concordat agreement.
Not surprisingly, it has been suggested that Tacchi Venturis political engage-
ment was the motive for the attempt to assassinate him with a paperknife
on February 27, 1928,39 which both The New York Times and Time Magazine
did not fail to report:
To the House of the Jesuits at Rome there had come and yanked the ancient
bell pull a decently dressed youth who announced himself as Signor De
Angelis. He must, he said, he must make an important confession to good
Father Tacchi-Venturi. The porter, rubbing sleepy eyes, told the youth that his
desired confessor was immersed in study, could not be disturbed. Next day
Signor De Angelis returned, yanked the bell still more violently, and prevailed
upon the porter to usher him into the Jesuits study.
Father Tacchi-Venturi, upon raising his eyes from his papers, saw a pale,
demented face and a hand which grasped a slender, dagger-like paper knife.
Quickly, the assassin sprang. More quickly, the Jesuit dodged. As a result, the
knife barely lacerated the neck skin of Father Tacchi-Venturi. Meanwhile the
sleepy porter had valorously collared Signor De Angelis.
The incident closed when Father Tacchi-Venturis neck was neatly bound
up at the Santo Spirito Hospital. Later, seated in an armchair, he received a
visit of condolence from Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, suave Papal Secretary of
State.40

37 See Cannistraro, Il Duces Other Woman, 521522.


38 See Tacchi Venturi, Laccordo del 2 Settembre 1931 o la riconciliazione della Concili-
azione, and La promozione del P. Pietro Boetto al Cardinalato, in FTV 46.
39 Tacchi Venturis archive contains 879 documents, mostly letters of condolence, related
to this attempted assassination. See FTV 1009, docs 201, 204206, 212213, 231, and the entire
folder 1010. On the alleged responsibility of Free Masonry for this attempted assassination,
see Margiotta Broglio, Italia e Santa Sede dalla grande guerra alla conciliazione, 524527.
40 See Time, 12 March 1928, ITALY: Jesuit Stabbed. See also The New York Times, 29 Febru-
ary 1928, Stabs Jesuit Agent in Vatican Issue, 5.
introduction 17

The memory of the event must have been important to the sixty-seven-
year-old Jesuit; he preserved in his archive the many letters of condolence
that after the accident poured in to him from people of all ranks, Pope
Pius XI included.
In his recent book on Pius XI and Mussolini, David Kertzer gave a quite
controversial interpretation of Tacchi Venturis attempted assassination.41
It appears in the chapter provocatively yet misleadingly titled, Assassins,
Pederasts, and Spies. Here is the authors account of what happened on
February 27, 1928: Sixty-seven-year-old Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, con-
fidant of both the pope and the Duce, had narrowly escaped death. As he
would later tell the story, he had been working at his desk in the building
adjacent to the Church of Jesus [Il Ges] when he heard that a young man
wanted to see him. He told the doorman to let him in. As the young man
entered, he pulled a knife from his coat and, without saying a word, plunged
it into the Jesuits neck. Only the priests reflexes saved him, as he instinc-
tively recoiled; the wound narrowly missed the jugular. The assailant ran
from the building. Stunned, the bloodied Jesuit staggered to the hallway,
where his colleagues rushed to his aid, the knife still lodged in his neck.42
In order to explain the motive behind the Jesuits attempted assassina-
tion, Kertzer supports an argument offered by the director of Mussolinis
political police that the young man did so because of the illicit relation he
had with Tacchi Venturi. The author concludes, This was the secret that
Tacchi Venturi wanted so desperately to conceal.43 A startling explanation
indeed, prompting the reader to search the back of the book and find note 18
buried on page 428. There, Kertzer explains that whether Tacchi Venturi
had actually had an affair or sexual liaison, or sexually abused a boy or a
young man, remains in the realm of speculation and that the evidence,
while tantalizing, is far from conclusive.
Some documents from Tacchi Venturis archive in Rome, which appar-
ently had not been consulted by Kertzer, may cast more light on that Febru-
ary day. In an entry in his unpublished intimate diary that the Jesuit wrote
during the Spiritual Exercises he made in July 1928a few months after the
attempted assassinationhe wrote:
My God, my God! This is the 50th time in your Society that I had the grace
to retire with you, all alone, in the [Spiritual] Exercises. A full half-century!

41 See my review of this book in Fascism 3, no. 2 (2014): 163166 (doi: 10.1163/22116257-
00302004).
42 Kertzer, Pope and Mussolini, 90.
43 Ibid. 92.
18 introduction

For forty-one years following the death of my dear mother who taught me
about you, I almost had a presentiment that I would follow her, that I would
be the first of her children to join her in the grave! Time has shown how these
feelings were fallacious! Twice, in the space of nearly two years, I have been
on the brink of the grave, and both times the hand of God drew me back.
Even if there is no explicit mention of the February episode in this excerpt,
the context suggests that Tacchi Venturi alludes in his confession to God to
the attempted assassination that put him on the brink of the grave. At least
in the Jesuits consciousness, that incident was not just an altercation, as
Kertzer believes. If Tacchi Venturis spiritual diary does not prove sufficiently
reliable to understand the nature of the attempted assassination, the Jesuits
private calendar (which also has been preserved in the Jesuit archives)
suggests that he was indeed assaulted by a hired assassin. Under the date
February 27, 1928, Tacchi Venturi wrote: At 9:25 AM I am assaulted by an
assassin [sicario] in the parlor. God saves me miraculously. Deo gratias
[Thank You God]! My life be chosen for him. Deo gratias [Thank You God].
My God, I love you. Save me!
Beyond his unofficial diplomatic engagement, which combined the func-
tions of both a papal nuncio and Italian ambassador to the Vatican, and
which had allegedly exposed him to an attempted assassination, Tacchi Ven-
turi was also an author of many articles in Treccanis monumental Enciclo-
pedia italiana44 and a writer for La Civilt cattolica, a journal in which he
published more than one hundred articles, most of which on various topics
of early modern religious history.45 This bi-weekly periodical was censored
by the Vatican Secretariat of State and was considered an official expression
of the Vaticans views.46 As David I. Kertzer has persuasively shown, [La]
Civilt Cattolicas anti-Jewish campaign, coming when it did, proved crucial
to the rise of modern anti-Semitism.47 Indeed, already in the early years
186568 of the pontificate of Pius IX (r. 184678), who helped found the peri-
odical in 1850 with funds he borrowed from the Jewish Rothschild banking

44 See FTV 1012, doc. 493; 1013, doc. 111; 1014, docs 446 and 516; 1015, docs 96 and 103; 1015,
docs 148, 149, and 151; 1017, doc. 368; and 1018, doc. 82. See also Lucia Armenante, Inventario
analitico delle carte [del] P. Tacchi Venturi relative allEnciclopedia Italiana conservate in
Archivum Romanum Societatis Jesu, in FTV 49a; and Gabriele Turi, Il mecenate, il filosofo e il
gesuita: LEnciclopedia italiana, specchio della nazione (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2002), passim.
45 See Scaduto, P. Pietro Tacchi Venturi, 757.
46 See Ruggero Taradel and Barbara Raggi, La segregazione amichevole: La Civilt cat-
tolica e la questione ebraica 18501945 (Rome: Editori riuniti, 2000), especially 49 and 124
156.
47 David I. Kertzer, The Popes against the Jews: The Vaticans Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-
Semitism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 200), 285.
introduction 19

family in Naples,48 the Jesuits published thirty-six fiercely anti-Semitic arti-


cles.49 In Kertzers well-argued view, the churchand especially the Jesuit
periodicallay the groundwork for the Fascist racial laws.50 As a matter
of fact, in 1884, La Civilt cattolica printed an article on the case of Alfred
Dreyfus (18591935), written by the Jesuit Antonio Ballerini (180581), which
asserted:
The only proper remedy and more effective than any other, as we have been
constantly showing for years and years, would be a fundamental and uniform
law in the individual states, which likens the Jews to strangers and treats them
as guests and not as citizens. This law would be determined by the character
of the Jew, everywhere increasingly cosmopolitan, for only the Jews are always
outsiders to any other race except in the simple case of being born on its soil.51
In 1937, one of Ballerinis confrres suggested in another article an amicable
segregation between Catholics and Jews, and the Jesuit Mario Barbera
(18771947) described the anti-Semitic laws passed in Hungary in 1938 as
exemplary.52 Not surprisingly, Mussolini admitted that he was inspired by
the anti-Semitic tradition of the Jesuits,53 as did the Nazis, who negotiated
the concordat with Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII, r. 193958)
in 1933.54
The Fascist newspaper of Cremona, Il Regime fascista, founded and pub-
lished by Italys official Jew-baiter55 Roberto Farinacci (18921945), pub-
lished on October 4, 1938 an article entitled Adaptation That Surprises. In it,
the paper expressed its astonishment at the sudden change in the Catholic
Churchs policy towards the Jews. Even though the papal encyclicals, the
canons of councils, and the bishops pastoral letters demonstrate, without
exception, that the Church persecuted the Jews sometimes cruelly and mer-
cilessly, now the Vatican claims that it should have a philo-Semitic spirit

48 See Taradel and Raggi, La segregazione amichevole, 4. On the importance of dating the
Jesuit periodicals anti-Semitism and how it was at the origins of the French and European
Catholic campaign against Jews, see ibid., 2728.
49 See Kertzer, Popes against the Jews, 135136.
50 Ibid., 285. See also Riccardo Di Segni, Prefazione, in Taradel and Raggi, La segregazione
amichevole, xiixiii.
51 See La Civilt cattolica 6 (1884): 644.
52 See La Civilt cattolica 2 (1937), 418, and 3 (1938): 146153; and Taradel and Raggi, La
segregazione amichevole, 129134, and 145146.
53 See Emma Fattorini, Saggio introduttivo, in Sale, Le leggi raziali, 19.
54 See Vincent Lapomarda, Holocausto Judo y los Jesuitas, Diccionario histrico de la
Compaa de Jess (henceforth DHCJ) 2:1946.
55 See Sam Waagenaar, The Popes Jews (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court Pub. Co., 1974), 316. On
anti-Semitism and Italian Fascism, see also Sarfatti, The Jews in Mussolinis Italy, 4278.
20 introduction

and that men on earth are all brothers [] who belong just to one race
of mankind.56 This new opportunistic approach, the article continued,
which has a taste of anti-Fascismcertainly inspired by the Jesuit Tacchi
Venturi who, oscillating between the Vatican and his [Superior] General,
must have asked his colleagues [at La Civilt cattolica] to pour much Jewish
water into Fascist wine57appeared to contradict the thesis of the articles
author that the Jesuits were undoubtedly our precursors in the Jewish ques-
tion.58
Indeed, the article described the relation between Italian Fascism and
the Jesuits as a perfect love, which was suddenly overshadowed by a cloud.
To the earlier Jesuits the Jew had been a plague of mankind, as Il Regime
fascista has shown in its analysis of a Jesuit study on the Jewish question
that was published in La Civilt cattolica back in 1890. Its vision of the spec-
tacle of the Jewish invasion and bullying was so appealing, wrote Farinacci,
that this study was entirely reproduced in Mazzettis book, La questione
ebraica in un secolo di cultura italiana (The Jewish question in a century
of Italian culture).59 This portrayal of the Jew, Farinacci continued, which
inspired the Fascist racial laws but which the Jesuits now seemed to de-
emphasize, remained true for the author of the article, who continued to
regard the ethical-religious doctrine of the Talmud as an expression of the
depraved madness of the Jewish race. The Jewish promise to dominate the
world in less than a century, which allegedly was revealed by La Civilt cat-
tolica in 1922, could be now fulfilled because of the infiltration of rich Jews
within the ecclesiastical ranks, even at the highest level. The Jesuits were
implicitly responsible for allowing the infiltration, concludes the article.60

56 This is an allusion to the speech Pope Pius XI delivered in September 1938 to a group
of Belgian pilgrims. For an interview with Farinacci about the papal speech, see Sale, Le leggi
razziali, 212213. On an analysis of the speech, see Kertzer, Popes against the Jews, 279280;
Hubert Wolf, Pope and Devil: The Vaticans archives and the Third Reich (Cambridge, Mass.:
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010), 206212; and Alexander Stille, The Double
Bind of Italian Jews: Acceptance and Assimilation, in Zimmerman, Jews in Italy, 29.
57 FTV 1014, doc. 664. The italics are mine.
58 For Farinaccis view of the roots of anti-Semitism in Catholicism, and especially in
Jesuits, see Frank J. Coppa, The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust (Catholic University of
America Press: Washington D.C., 2006), 144, 171177; and Kertzer, The Popes against the Jews,
283 and 286. On the conflict between Farinacci and La Civilt cattolica, see Sale, Le leggi
razziali, 9495.
59 See Roberto Mazzetti, La questione ebraica in un secolo di cultura italiana (Modena: Soc.
tip., 1938).
60 See the full original text of this article in Appendix One, doc. 1 of volume 1. Compare
the contrasting view on Tacchi Venturis activity expressed by Eugenio Boggiano-Pico in his
preface to Castellis book, Storia segreta di Roma Citt aperta, xxxii: [Tacchi Venturi] ci pare
introduction 21

Farinaccis open animosity towards Tacchi Venturiapparently caused


by the latters zealous intercession for Italian Jews after the promulgation of
the racial lawsappeared again on the pages of the same newspaper just
a few months later. In an article filled with appealing sarcasm, entitled A
Singular Man, Farinacci attacked Tacchi Venturi with the following words:
We want to talk about Father Tacchi Venturi. He is a phenomenon, he is a
super-phenomenon. For him the day consists of sixty hours. He handles every-
thing for everyone, and all. A lawyer, an engineer, a historian, an accountant,
a businessman, and with extra time, he also cares about religion and his reli-
gious order.
Now you see him in the antechamber of a minister, now on the stairs of
the military departments, now at his desk to write left and right in favor of
his recommendees. His age, which is a bit advanced,61 does not prevent him
from taking off from time to time, running from one city to another to deal
with criminal investigations or civil suits, and other affairs.
Now his fame in Italy no longer has borders. All run to him: the candidate
for the Senate, for the National Council, for the most prominent lay canonries.
And how many detainees have had his protection? To say nothing of the Jews
who try to be discriminated or want to show their merits: all found in him
the perfect defender. We believe that in the Ministry of Interior Affairs not
a few Jews have a word of introduction and recommendation signed by this
too dynamic Father.62 For which profane affairs the Reverend Father justifies
himself by saying that he needs a lot of money for his temple.63

emergere gi e sempre pi alto nella Storia della Chiesa ed in quella dItalia [] soprattutto
la sua azione di apostolo e di diplomatico sagace e vero Nunzio Pontificio in partibus fino al
Trattato del Laterano di cui fu massimo artefice e negoziatore []. Egli romano, non poteva
essere assente, nello spirito di San Paolo, agli avamposti segreti della difesa e dellincolumit
di Roma Cristiana, come nella difesa degli indifesi, dei deboli e perseguitati israeliti, nel
turbine dellultima guerra mondiale []. Asceta, umile e santo come nei tempi aurei del
Cristianesimo, la Chiesa, un giorno ne elever il nome agli altari, benedetto da tutti. I miracoli
sono gi accertati nel cuore e nellanima di migliaia di beneficati di ogni regione dItalia,
risorti alla speranza ed alla fede nella sua parola, nella purezza del suo apostolato, allesempio
di amare il prossimo, dopo Dio, pi di se stessi, in ogni giorno ed in ogni ora della sua vita
quasi centenaria, di meditazione, di povert e di azione altamente sociale, ignorata tuttora
nella pi vasta cerchia delle masse e dellopinione pubblica. LItalia lo riconoscer tra i pi
degni, insigni italiani dellepoca nostra.
61 He was seventy-seven at that time.
62 Tacchi Venturis archive contains at least eight hundred cases of victims of the racial
laws whom he helped.
63 Tacchi Venturi was a long-term (191840) rector of Il Ges in Rome, the first Jesuit
church, located next to Palazzo Venezia, where Mussolini had his office. He used to call Il
Ges my dearest Farnese temple. Indeed, he procured money for various renovations of
this church, which had been funded with the help of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a major
early Jesuit patron. Venturi also negotiated the purchase of the adjacent casa professa from
the Italian government at a favourable price.
22 introduction

And someone will ask the purpose of our free ad. Nothing less than licit.
We want Father Tacchi Venturi to get as many customers as possible with
only one hope: that one day ministers and non-ministers will get fed up with
him and tell him once and for all to care a bit more about religion. Also
because many people complain that his interfering for the benefit of one
person causes damage to another and because the sound and honest clergy do
not like this mixture of sacred and profane in the same religious, who seems
too fervent a fixer.
We speak without hatred, with good intentions.
Using the image of diluting wine with water from the former article, Fari-
naccis newspaper portrayed Tacchi Venturis role in the Jesuit order as
softening its traditional alliance with Italian Fascism against the Jews and
even accused the Jesuit periodical La Civilt cattolica of becoming philo-
Semitic.64 Whether Tacchi Venturi liked the image or not, which he may
have interpreted as the symbol of Eucharistic union of wine and water that
are mixed by the priest, the relationship between Tacchi Venturi and the
institutions he represented and Jews, as well as that between Jews and Ital-
ian Fascism, was certainly much more complex and demands a serious and
unbiased historical reconsideration. Contrary to the account of the contem-
porary Italian Jesuit historian of the period, Giacomo Martina (19242012)
who evasively portrayed the Jesuit diplomat as the coin out of circulation
after Il Duces promulgation of the racial laws in the autumn of 1938,65 Tacchi
Venturi himself admitted that he did deal with not a few negotiations that
either Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, or the Vatican Secretariat of State assigned
[him] between 1922 and 1943.66
Among those assignments was activity on behalf of Jews who were af-
fected by the racial laws, and this is an aspect of his career that is little
known. Most scholars have acknowledged that Tacchi Venturi did play some

64 For the shared views on Jews of La Civilt cattolica and Il Regime fascista, see Kertzer,
Popes against the Jews, 278279.
65 Giacomo Martina, Storia della Storiografia Ecclesiastica nellOtto e Novecento (Parte
Prima) (Rome: Editrice PUG, 1990), 204: Il gesuita ebbe ancora contatti col governo durante
la preparazione delle leggi contro gli ebrei (1938), e present al governo alcune lettere del
papa. Ma ormai egli era considerato moneta fuori corso. Non gli restava che tornare agli
studi. See also Martinas biographical article on Tacchi Venturi in DHCJ 4:368486, where he
indicates the primary sources contained in ARSI imprecisely, failing also to mention Tacchi
Venturis activities on behalf of Jews, unlike Lapomardas article in the same dictionary,
entitled Holocausto judo y los jesuitas [The Jewish Holocaust and the Jesuits], 1947.
66 See FTV 46, Laccordo del 2 Settembre 1931 o la riconciliazione della Conciliazione,
1 (avvertenza). See also evidence of Tacchi Venturis engagement in church-state affairs in
Appendix Two in volume 1 of Pouring Jewish Water.
introduction 23

role in dealings with the Jewish question,67 but usually they limited them-
selves to trumpeting his reluctant acceptance to the total abrogation of the
racial laws in his negotiations in the summer of 1943 with Mussolinis suc-
cessor, General Pietro Badoglio (18711956).68
Apparently, current scholarship on the relationship between Tacchi Ven-
turi, and Jesuits in general, and the Italian racial laws is based on incomplete
evidence for three reasons. First, only since 2006 has Pope Benedict XVI
made the documents for the period of Pius XIs pontificate housed in the
Vatican Secret Archives fully available.69 Second, only a few historians have
consulted the material of the archives of the La Civilt cattolica concerning
the racial laws.70 Third, apparently no scholar who published on the sub-
ject until recently was fully aware of the content of Tacchi Venturis private
archives, even though the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commis-
sion expressed in 2000 a desire that they be made accessible to researchers.71
Tacchi Venturis rich archive includes ten kinds of documents:

1. Original typed letters from the Vatican Secretariat of State to Tacchi


Venturi, usually from Cardinal Luigi Maglione (18771944), who suc-
ceeded Cardinal Pacelli;
2. Drafts of letters by Tacchi Venturi to the Vatican Secretariat of State,
usually to Cardinal Maglione (they are written by Tacchi Venturis sec-
retary but always with many emendations by Tacchi Venturi himself);
3. Original letters from the Catholic hierarchs, priests, and Jesuits, as well
as other prominent personalities to Tacchi Venturi, asking him to inter-
cede for the (Catholic) Jews who had asked them for help;

67 See, for example, Blet et al., Actes et documents, especially 6: 1718, 2223, 5660, 7071,
80, 8990, 120, 122, 128, 208, 281, 316317, 323, 366367, 371372, 427, 521522, 533535; 8:123,
132133, 180181, 199200, 274, 318319; 386387; 407, 416417, 483484, 560561, 662663, 699;
Giovanni Sale, I primi provvedimenti antiebraici e la Dichiarazione del Gran Consiglio del
Fascismo, in La Civilt cattolica 3798 (2008): 461474; Fattorini, Saggio introduttivo, 30; and
Sale, Le leggi razziali, passim, especially 7980, 8990, 95, 118, 143, 187188, and 237.
68 See Taradel and Raggi, La segregazione amichevole, 146151; Kertzer, Popes against the
Jews, 289 and 327; Alberto Moravia and Alain Elkann, Life of Moravia (South Royalton, Vt.:
Steerforth Italia, 2000), 157; and Susan Zuccotti, Under His Very Windows, 56 and 139.
69 See Wolf, Pope and Devil, 1617.
70 See Sale, Le leggi razziali. A few other scholars accessed these archives to examine other
material, among them Jos David Lebovitch Dahl. See his A Case of Disagreement among the
Jesuits of La Civilt cattolica over Anti-Jewish Propaganda around 1882, in Rivista di storia del
cristianesimo 7, no. 1 (2010): 181202.
71 See the Commissions The Vatican and the Holocaust: A Preliminary Report (http://www
.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/cjrelations/news/icjhc_preliminary_report.htm).
24 introduction

4. Original letters (typed or handwritten) by (Catholic) Jews to Tacchi


Venturi;
5. Drafts of letters by Tacchi Venturi to his (Catholic) Jewish correspon-
dents;
6. Documentation (originals or copies) supporting the (Catholic) Jewish
cases sent to Tacchi Venturi either directly or via the Vatican, Catholic
hierarchs, priests, and Jesuits (personal and official letters, family histo-
ries and genealogies, legal certificates, notes, and a few photographs);
7. Drafts of letters by Tacchi Venturi to high-ranking Italian governmental
officials, most of them to Guido Buffarini Guidi (18951945) and Anto-
nio Le Pera (18901970) of the Fascist Ministry of the Interior;
8. Original governmental responses to Tacchi Venturis intercessions for
(Catholic) Jews;
9. Typed or handwritten notes by Tacchi Venturi on the cases he followed;
and
10. Documents related to various initiatives concerning (Catholic) Jews, in
which Tacchi Venturi had been involved (among them the documents
related to the Vaticans view on the persecution of Jews in Italy; papers
on an initiative of transferring 10,000 Viennese Jews to Lebanon after
Hitlers Anschlu of Austria;72 Tacchi Venturis proposed bill concern-
ing the change of names for converted Jews and his attempt to amend
the 1938 racial laws to the advantage of the mixed families; assistance to
the Jews in Slovenia, Albania, and Croatia; the Vaticans attempt to stop
the Italian government from sending Jews, at least those converted to
Catholicism, to internment camps; etc.).

Tacchi Venturi preserved and filed these precious documents with the ob-
sessive spirit of an archivist, which he in fact was, among other things.73
They reveal information about his devoted engagement in the Vaticans
opposition towards some aspects of the anti-Semitic legislation and his
continued, almost daily, intercession with the Italian authorities for Jews
affected by such laws, especiallybut not exclusivelyfor the so-called
non-Aryan Catholics, or Catholics from the progeny of Jacob, Christians

72 On 15 March 1938, Tacchi Venturi wrote Mussolini a letter, asking him to take care of
three Austrian personalities (see ARSI, Diary 1938, 15 March). Their fate was probably related
to Hitlers Anschlu of Austria (see also Diary 1938, 26 May).
73 See Scaduto, P. Pietro Tacchi Venturi, 759760.
introduction 25

Fig. 3. Letter of Eugenio Boggiano-Pico to Pietro Tacchi Venturi (April 22, 1938).
Tacchi Venturi edited the draft of the project of transferring 10,000 Jews from Nazi-
occupied Vienna to Lebanon, which was attached to this letter (see FTV 2103).
Boggiano-Pico affirmed that the project would have the support of President
Roosevelt, as well as that of the governments of Great Britain, France, and
doubtlessly that of our Fascist [state]. No other documents regarding this project
could be found.
26 introduction

of Jewish race or Catholics from the circumcision, as Tacchi Venturi called


them in the report on his personal meeting with Mussolini in March 1939.74
Thanks to the research of Giorgio Fabre and David Kerzter we now also
know that Tacchi Venturis archive contain documents showing that
through the Jesuit the Vatican played a central role both in making the
Fascist regime possible and in keeping it in power.75 Just how close that rela-
tionship was is revealed in the embarrassing story of the secret deal Pius XI
made with Mussolini in August of 1938 to refrain from any criticism of Italys
infamous racial laws in exchange for better treatment of Catholic organi-
zations.76 The central players in making this pact were Cardinal Eugenio
Pacelli, who a few months later would become Pope Pius XII, and Tacchi
Venturi, who acted as unofficial liaison between the dictator and the pope
in striking also this deal.
An ideological explanation of Tacchi Venturis approach to Mussolinis
racial laws can be found in a memorial he prepared and submitted to the
Fascist government on behalf of the Vatican in September 1938:
The Hon. Head of Government has solemnly declared in Trieste that the
Jews of Italian nationality who have indisputable military or civil merits
toward Italy and the [Fascist] Regime will find understanding and justice.
His proposal, worthy of the applause of all honest persons, has consoled the
fatherly soul of His Holiness [the pope], but has failed to make him totally
serene. Along with the Israelites who in the last two wars, the Great War
and the most recent with Ethiopia, earned merits in service to Italy, and
thus deserved, according to equity, appropriate recognition of their military
and civil merits, there are no small number of those who, even at the cost
of heroic sacrifice for obeying the voice of their conscience enlightened by
God, separated from the Synagogue, asking for and receiving baptism. Now
the Church, which before incorporating them willed that each of them abhor
Jewish perfidy and reject Jewish superstition, cannot forget these children of
hers, many of whom come genuinely to the Christian faith and observe its
laws more exemplarily than so many of the Aryan race who had received it
from their fathers.
Moreover, these Christians of Jewish race many times had to suffer harsh
persecutions from their relatives who consider them faithless and deniers of
their own blood.
Therefore, the common Father of the Faithful and Head of the Church,
obliged in conscience to consider her children all those who profess the faith
and the law of Christ, whatever the blood flowing through their veins, cannot
be unconcerned about the fate of those faithful who have come to the light

74 See Blet et al., Actes et documents, 6:58.


75 Kertzer, Pope and Mussolini, 405.
76 Ibid.
introduction 27

of Catholic truth from Judaism, nor can avoid interceding in order to secure
recognition of the singular merit that they achieved by not closing their eyes
to the light, confessing the true Messiah and Son of God Jesus of Nazareth,
whom their ancestors condemned to death on the cross.
Much credit should be properly acknowledged by He Who [i.e. Mussolini]
with a laudable sense of justice must take account of possible military and
civil merits of the Israelites, which are certainly less important than the great
merit of renouncing the blindness and obstinacy in error, without which a
Jew could not become an outspoken Christian.
For these reasons the Holy Father hopes that the next fair rules for the
discrimination of Jews in the Italian State do not include the baptized Jews,
who through baptism became living members of the Catholic Church no less
than any other true Aryan.
This is a decision that every Christian state should adopt, especially Italy,
which in the 1st article of the Statute of the Kingdom, confirmed by Art. 1 of
the Concordat with the Holy See, which recognized only one religion of the
state: the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion.
Consequently His Holiness hopes:
1. That the Jews of Italian nationality and of the Catholic religion be not
included in the provisions to be applied to non-baptized Jews;
2. That foreign Jews, but baptized, have the right to reside in Italy like any
other honest foreign individual of Aryan lineage; and
3. That the officially recognized private schools [istituti scolastici parificati],
different from state or accredited ones [governativi and pareggiati], be free
to allow enrollment of teachers and students of the Jewish race but turned
Christians.77
Tacchi Venturi was active in assisting whom he called unfortunate sons of
the Patriarch Abraham also after the German occupation of Italy, putting
pressure on the Secretariat of State to intervene with the German ambas-
sador, especially in obtaining information about Jews deported from Rome
after the infamous round-up of October 16, 1943.78 The letter Tacchi Ven-
turi wrote to Cardinal Maglione in October 1943 reveals, however, a different
tone than in the quoted above memorial:
The many applications of Jewswhich in these last five years were entrusted
to me by the Holy See to discuss with governmental authoritieshave made
my poor name too notorious among them. Consequently, very frequently I
have been receiving requests to intercede for them with the paternal infinite
love of the Holy Father.

77 FTV 2153 (see the transcription of the original Italian text in Appendix One, doc. 6 of
volume 1).
78 See Blet et al., Actes et documents, 9:536537. See also ibid. 3536, 57, 122, 126127, 164,
183, 195, 254256, 321, 366, 458462, 525529, 536537, 606607, 610611.
28 introduction

In these days, due to the iniquitous, barbaric treatment used by the Ger-
mans against these unfortunate people, the demands have been extraordinar-
ily increased in number and intensity.
I am being especially asked to assure that the Holy See makes an urgent
demand to at least know where so many Jewsand also Christians, men
and women, young and old, teenagers and childrenwho were deported last
week from the Military College in Lungara in such a barbarous way, almost
like beasts to be slaughtered, ended up.
A step of this kind made by the Holy See, even though without unfor-
tunately obtaining the desired result, would certainly increase the venera-
tion and gratitude towards the August Person of the Holy Father, always the
avenger of dishonoured rights.79
Apparently, Tacchi Venturi was among those Italian Fascist intellectuals
who supported Il Manifesto della razza published back in July 1938, which
claimed that there is one pure Italian race, which is Aryan, and that the
Jews do not belong to the Italian race.80 It has to be observed, however, that
Pius XI and even La Civilt cattolica overtly criticized the biological racism
of the Manifesto.81 Tacchi Venturis alleged support of it, therefore, sounds
rather implausible. Indeed, the Jesuits dedication to protect the persecuted
Jews, whether converted or not,82 which emerges from the documentation
presented in this volume, suggests that he did not share the idea of Fascist
biological racism (which characterized the admission policy of Tacchi Ven-
turis own religious order, the Jesuits, until 1946), even though he did share
the blatant and popular anti-Judaism of both the Fascist regime and the
Catholic Church of the time.
Reading this vast, generally unknown material, one is impelled to ask
what motivated Tacchi Venturi to so tirelessly engage on behalf of the perse-
cuted Jews. A plausible answer to this question can be found in the lecture
he delivered on March 27, 1940 in the Borromini Hall in Rome to mem-
bers of the Institute of Roman Studies, which commemorated the 400th
anniversary of the founding of the Society of Jesus (1540). The paper, entitled

79 Blet et al., Actes et documents, 9:458. See also Andrea Riccardi, Linverno pi lungo: 1943
44: Pio XII, gli ebrei e i nazisti a Roma (Rome: Laterza, 2008), 112113.
80 See Franco Cuomo, I dieci: Chi erano gli scienziati italiani che firmarono il Manifesto
della razza (Milan: Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2005), 206.
81 See the letter of Vatican Undersecretary of State Giovanni Battista Montini (future
Pope Paul VI) to Tacchi Venturi in FTV 1014, doc. 634; and Taradel and Raggi, La segregazione
amichevole, 112115.
82 The Jesuit Lapomarda stated in his article on the Holocaust and the Jesuits that Tacchi
Venturi distinguished himself in the protection of Jews converted to Catholicism, against
the civil legislation (see DHCJ 2:1947).
introduction 29

St. Ignatius Loyola, the Apostle of Rome, was subsequently published in


the associations official periodical in August of the same year.83 In it, Tacchi
Venturi introduced the audience to the topic by alluding to the Fascist racial
laws: I am about to say something that for some will seem unbelievable, but
it is true, very true, and because it is contrary to certain very recent thoughts,
it might perhaps have the taste of strong citrus: Ignatius of Loyola felt a
peculiar predilection for the Jews.84
To prove his argument, the Jesuit historian quoted two accounts of Igna-
tiuss propensity for the Jews that are contained in the first official biography
of the Jesuit founder written by his disciple, Pedro de Ribadeneyra (d. 1611),
who himself was of Jewish ancestry, although Tacchi Venturi was most likely
unaware of that.85 These accounts portray Loyola as a spiritual Semiteto
borrow the expression from a major historian of early modern Spain, Henry
Kamen86who justified his philo-Semitism by his desire to be of Jewish
origin so that he could become a relative of Christ and his mother.
In Tacchi Venturis view, those who took the approach to the Jewish peo-
ple that characterized Ignatius could not avoid doing what would be most
acceptable to Christ, that is to work toward their conversion to Christian-
ity.87 To make the Jews more eager to convert, it was important not only to
converse with them kindlyas portrayed in the seventeenth-century illus-
trated biography of Loyola88but also to remove obstacles to their con-
versions by the appropriate state legislation. The Jesuit historian found an
example to imitate in the approach of Pope Paul III to the Roman Jews.
Under the sway of Ignatius of Loyola, the pontiff promulgated in 1542 the
bull Cupientes Iudaeos, whichamong other benefitsgave Jewish con-
verts the right to keep their property. This new law stood in contrast to the
long-established papal legal tradition of the Middle Ages thatin Tacchi
Venturis viewwas contrary to the venerable traditions of the nascent
Church.89

83 See Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S. Ignazio Loiola Apostolo di Roma, Roma: Rivista di studi e
di vita romana 18 (August 1940): 245264.
84 See Tacchi Venturi, S. Ignazio Loiola Apostolo di Roma, 250.
85 See Robert Aleksander Maryks, The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish
Ancestry and Purity-of-blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 4245.
86 See Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition ([New York]: New American Library, 1965),
12.
87 See Tacchi Venturi, S. Ignazio Loiola Apostolo di Roma, 250.
88 See Tacchi Venturi, S. Ignazio Loiola Apostolo di Roma, 251. See also Maryks, Jesuit
Order as a Synagogue of Jews, 6061.
89 See Tacchi Venturi, S. Ignazio Loiola Apostolo di Roma, 252.
30 introduction

Fig. 4a. Letter of Tacchi Venturi to Benito Mussolini (October 3, 1938), front.
introduction 31

Fig. 4b. Letter of Tacchi Venturi to Benito Mussolini (October 3, 1938), back.
32 introduction

Fig. 5. Letter of Tacchi Venturi to Card. Eugenio Pacelli (January 6, 1939).


introduction 33

Fig. 6. Letter of Giovanni Battista Montini to Tacchi Venturi (November 28, 1938).
34 introduction

Like Ignatius and the first Jesuits, especially those of Jewish ancestry
such as Juan Alfonso de Polanco or possibly Antonio Possevino,90 who were
engaged in converting the Roman Jews, so also was Tacchi Venturi engaged
in converting the Jews.91 In the Jesuits archive there is at least one certificate
(but many more must exist in the archives of the House of Catechumens)
issued in August 1939, which proves that in 1936 at the Jesuit church Il Ges,
Tacchi Venturi baptized a Jewish man by the name of Enrico Angioli, the
son of Alfredo Angioli and Emma Levi.92 In 1941, Tacchi Venturi blessed
the matrimony between two famous Italian novelists of Jewish lineage:
Alberto Moravia (alias Alberto Pincherle, 190790), whose father was Jewish,
and Elsa Morante (191285), whose mother was Jewish. Tacchi Venturi also
baptized the daughter of the Jewish Professor Renato Pollitzer.93
It is not to be expected that either Loyolas or Tacchi Venturis sympathy
towards Jews obliterated their negative judgment towards Judaism as a
religion which, according to the official Catholic view, had been superseded
by Christianity. Even though separated by a span of 400 years, both Loyola
and Tacchi Venturi moved within the same Catholic ecclesiological and
soteriological vision of Catholic society, in which the Church would have
a super-natural mission, as Tacchi Venturi wrote to Mussolini in October
1938. Thus they were primarily motivated by the eschatological concept of
salvation of the faithful, which could be exclusively achieved by means of
the sacraments, especially baptism and matrimony, whose lawful custodian
was the Catholic Church aloneNulla salus extra Ecclesiam (There is no
salvation outside the church).94
In spite of his unquestionable support for those Jesuits of Jewish ances-
try by whom he was surrounded in the administration of the order, Ignatius
fully supported the anti-Jewish legislation of Paul IIIs successor, Pope
Paul IV (r. 155559). Indeed, Loyola had many copies of Carafas most dis-
criminatory bull, Cum nimis absurdum (1555), sent to Jesuit houses, and
he ordered that it be observed. Among the many economic and religious
restrictions for Jews in the papal states, the popes document established the

90 See Maryks, Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews, passim.


91 See, for example, Tacchi Venturis notes in ARSI, Diary 1938 (January 15, February 12,
June 30, September 28).
92 See FTV 2335.
93 See FTV 1014, doc. 655. He taught at the Pediatric Clinic of the University of Rome and,
together with Giuseppe Tallarico, authored Lo sviluppo e la crescenza degli individui (Turin:
Bocca, 1932).
94 See this kind of explanation in regard to the Vatican policy towards Hitler and Mussolini
in Wolf, Pope and Devil, 13.
introduction 35

first Roman ghetto and forced Jews to wear a distinctive yellow hat (males)
or kerchief (females), for, as the pope put it, It is completely senseless and
inappropriate to be in a situation where Christian piety allows the Jews
(whose guiltall of their own doinghas condemned them to eternal slav-
ery) access to our society and even to live among us [Christians].95
Not surprisingly, Tacchi Venturiwho did not include in his 1940 speech
the example of Paul IVs anti-Jewish legislationdubbed the Jews as infi-
dels in his lecture,96 and in his personal letter to Mussolini from October 4,
1938, while expressing his preoccupation with baptized children of Jews who
had converted to Catholicism, he emphasized that
these little ones whom their parents had taken away from the Synagogue and
begun their Christian formation under the care of the Catholic Church would
now [after the introduction of the racial laws that prohibited Jewish children
from frequenting non-Jewish schools] would be thrown into the arms of the
Synagogue to be educated in the Jewish tradition. [] In the face of this
danger the Catholic Church cannot remain indifferent, nor cease trying to
eliminate it, even though in the veins of these new children of hers runs
Semitic rather than Aryan blood.97
Another personal letter that Tacchi Venturi wrote to Mussolini the night
before the latter was about to decide about the full implementation of the
racial lawswhich coincided with the Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany
reveals more details about the Jesuits interpretation of the Fascist anti-
Semitic legislation:
Excellency,
I am writing these lines late at night. The thought that tomorrow, Thursday,
with the draft of the first chapter of the law for the protection of the Italian
race a serious vulnus [wound] will be inflicted to the Concordat, a vulnus
which will be sadly full of fatal consequences for the Church and the State,
does not let me sleep. Everything could be avoided, if You, not turning from
that spirit of compromise, of which you gave ample evidence in the long
process of the Lateran Pacts, would deign to amend Article 7 in the matter
that is proposed in the last draft. Direct your mind to grace. The amendment
that I propose safeguards the principle of the law; there is only one exception.
And how many cases will ever need to make use of it? Bear in mind the small
number of Italian citizens of the Jewish race, the aversion that almost all the
Israelites have toward entering into marriage with Christians, and Christians
with Israelites, even though converted. Im not afraid to say that we might
have fewer than 100 such marriages between spouses of different races, but

95 See Maryks, Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews, 63.


96 See Tacchi Venturi, S. Ignazio Loiola Apostolo di Roma, 253.
97 FTV 2153. See also FTV 2309 and 2591, and Diary 1938, October 4.
36 introduction

both would be professing the Catholic religion.98 A drop of water in the sea,
and for that drop would we shatter a solemn pact sanctioned by the venerable
majesty of the head of the universal Church.
Excellency, reflect a moment on the immeasurable severity of a break with
the Church in this anxious moment in history. He who begs You and implores
You is someone who enjoys repeating that he never betrayed You in the past
and will never be capable of betrayal in the future. He who tells You this
tonight feels running in his bones a cold shiver, imagining not only what and
how many will be the damages, but also the awful ruin that is always caused
by contravening the wishes and prayers of the Vicar of Christ.
Forgive me, but let not these heartfelt prayers be sent in vain.99

98 This is much underestimated number of mixed families which were in thousands.


99 See the draft of this letter in FTV 2159 and the edition of the original found in the
Vatican Archive in Sale, Le leggi razziali, 255256: Eccellenza, Le scrivo queste linee ad
alta notte. Il pensiero che domani gioved con lo schema del capo primo della legge per la
tutela della razza italiana si verr ad infliggere un grave vulnus al Concordato, vulnus che
sar tristemente fecondo di funestissime conseguenze per la Chiesa e per lo Stato, non mi
lascia prendere sonno. E s che tutto ci si potrebbe evitarsi, quando Voi, non deflettendo da
quello spirito di condiscendenza del quale deste numerose prove nella lunga elaborazione
dei patti lateranensi, Vi vorreste degnare di modificare lart. 7 nella materia che si propone
nellultimo schema. Ponete mente di grazia. Lemendazione che Vi propongo mette in salvo
il principio della legge; vi fa soltanto uneccezione. E quanti mai saranno i casi nei quali
converr farla? Se tengasi presente il piccolo numero dei cittadini italiani di razza ebrea,
lavversione che quasi tutti gli israeliti hanno di contrarre nozze con i cristiani, e i cristiani
con gli israeliti, bench convertiti, non temo asserire che si avrebbe tra noi meno di cento di
siffatti matrimoni tra coniugi di razza diversa, ma professanti entrambi la religione cattolica.
Una goccia di acqua in mezzo al mare; e per una tale goccia vorremmo sinfranga un solenne
patto sancito con la veneranda Maest del Capo della Chiesa universale? Vogliate, Eccellenza,
riflettere un momento sulla gravit immensurabile di una rottura con la Chiesa in questo
ansioso momento storico; Ve ne prega e scongiura chi gode ripeterVi che non mai Vi trad
in passato, n sa sentirsi capace di tradirvi in futuro; chi cos questa notte parlandoVi sente
corrergli per le ossa un gelido brivido rammentando di quante e quali sono non solo i danni,
ma tremende ruine fu sempre apportatore il contrastare ai desideri, alle preghiere del Vicario
di Cristo. Scusatemi, ma non fate cadere in vano le accorate suppliche.
introduction 37

Fig. 7. Letter of Guido Buffarini Guidi to Tacchi Venturi (December 1938).


Tacchi Venturis archive contains only nine letters that Buffarini wrote back to
Tacchi Venturi. In contrast, there are at least 160 letters that the Jesuit wrote to the
undersecretary of state, interceding for Jews affected by the racial laws: in this case
for the German Jew, Federico Warschauer, who sought to emigrate to the United
States. Before the enactment of the racial laws, Tacchi Venturi tried to get the
Vatican to grant Buffarini an honorific ecclesiastical title (see FTV 2071a).
38 introduction

Fig. 8. Letter of Domenico Tardini to Tacchi Venturi (November 29, 1938).


Most of the letters from the Vatican Secretariat of State concerning Jews affected
by the racial laws were sent to Tacchi Venturi from Cardinal Maglione (more than
five hundred). A few dozen of them were written by Mons. Tardini from the Vati-
can Secretariat of Extraordinary Affairs, as this one written on behalf of Federico
Warschauer (see the previous letter of Buffarini to Tacchi Venturi on the same
case).
introduction 39

Fig. 9a. Letter of Domenico Tardini to Tacchi Venturi (October 15, 1938), front.
This is one of the first letters Mons. Tardini wrote to Tacchi Venturi after the
first anti-Jewish measures in October 1938. In it, he asks for Tacchi Venturis
intercession, for the governmental provisions hurt more the Catholic than the
Jew.
40 introduction

Fig. 9b. Letter of Domenico Tardini to Tacchi Venturi (October 15, 1938), back.
introduction 41

Fig. 10. Letter of Card. Pacelli to Tacchi Venturi (January 10, 1939).
With this letter, Pacelli forwarded to Tacchi Venturi the documents that were
sent to the Vatican Secretariat of State by the foreign Jew Erico Spitz, with the
usual request that the Jesuit return them. This reveals why Tacchi Venturis archive
contains relatively a few original documents from the Jewish cases he followed.
They are presumably stored in the Vatican Secret Archives.
PRIMARY SOURCES
1. Enrico Angioli

Enrico Giovanni Angioli was born in 1893 in Alexandria of Egypt, but his
family was originally from Livorno, on the western coast of Tuscany, Italy,
which was home to an important community of Jews since the 1492 expul-
sion from Spain.100
His father Alfredo Natale (apparently Enrico used as his last name the
maiden name of his paternal grandmother) was baptized a few months after
his birth in Egypt in 1862, as were his grandparents Cesare, the son of Matteo,
and Rosa, the daughter of Giovanni Angioli and Assunta Testi (Cesare and
Rosa were probably cousins). His mother, Emma Levi, was Jewish and this
is why, Enrico explained in his application for Aryanization from Septem-
ber 1939, he was baptized by Tacchi Venturi himself in Rome only in June of
1936two years before the promulgation of the racial laws, as Enricos wife,
Maria Di Minin, highlighted in her letter to Mussolini, il Duce of all Italians.
The couple was married in 1920 and had three children who were four-
teen, twelve, and nine years old in 1940. They lived in Naples, together with
Marias ninety-year-old mother, on Corso Vittorio Emanuele 167. Angioli was
an active member of the Fascist Partyhe was enrolled in the volunteer
militia known as Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (M.V.S.N.).
His application for Aryanization was initially turned down because the
Demorazza committee requiredbesides many other documents showing
his Aryan statusthe certificate of Enricos paternal grandfathers baptism,
which could not be found, for Enrico knew neither his grandfathers date
of birth, nor the name of his great grandfather. The couple then initiated
an intensive search to find this information and hunt down Cesare Angiolis
certificate of birth. Enricos wife even traveled personally to Egypt to inten-
sify the quest. Having found the church, where her husbands grandmother
Rosa was baptized, became a clue to trace Cesares, even though Maria had
to leave Egypt afraid she might be arrested by the British, before she could
actually obtain the certificate itself. Some local people she hired to do it

100 See, for example, Francesca Trivellato, The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Dias-
pora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period (New Haven: Yale Uni-
versity Press, 2009); Francesca Bregoli, Mediterranean Enlightenment: Livornese Jews, Tuscan
Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Reform (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014); and David
Cesarani and Gemma Romain, Jews and Port Cities, 15901990: Commerce, Community and
Cosmopolitanism (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006).
46 primary sources

communicated a few months later that they were able to produce the docu-
ment. The problem now was how to send it to Naples, for the mail system in
Egypt was under control of the British, with whom the Mussolini regime was
at war. Enrico, however, knew somebody in Istanbul who could have the doc-
ument come via Turkey. The papers must have finally reached the Angiolis,
for the Demorazza committee granted Enrico Aryanization in the autumn
of 1940.
The following four letters by Enrico Giovanni Angioli and one by Maria
Di Minin to Pietro Tacchi Venturi describe the couples anxiety in finding
the baptism certificate of Enricos grandfather and the role they assigned to
their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and Tacchi Venturi) in obtaining
Aryanization for Enrico. All documents mentioned in the letters (except
for Cesare Angiolinis birth certificate) are extant in Tacchi Venturis archive.

* * *

Napoli, l 21 ottobre 1939 XVII

Rev.mo Padre,

Dopo tante ansie e dopo tante speranze, giustificate, queste, dai documenti
che il giorno 8 settembre u.s. si sono inoltrati alla Commissione presso
il Ministero dellInterno e che si ritenevano efficienti e probatori, giunge,
tramite la R. Prefettura e per parte della Commissione, un nuovo invito
di produzione di documenti: si vuole, ai fini richiesti (cos si esprime il
Ministero), che vengano prodotti i certificati di battesimo degli avi paterni e
si invita la Prefettura a farmene richiesta, affinch io ne svolga le necessarie
ricerche.
Questa ulteriore richiesta ci pone nella triste condizione di vedere annul-
lato lo sperato buon esito che legittimamente si attendeva, dopo la produ-
zione di cos validi documenti quali quelli potuti rintracciare dopo tante
ricerche! Difatti, come Ella sa, oltre ad avere esposto e documentato la mia
posizione civile, militare e religiosa (producendo atto di nascita, congedo
militare, certificato di battesimo del 1936); dopo aver esibito atti di nascita e
1. enrico angioli 47

Fig. 11. Enrico Angiolis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.

* * *
[FTV 2335]

Naples, 21 October 1939-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

After so many anxieties and after so much anticipation, in this case justified
by the documents that on 8 September last we forwarded to the Commis-
sion in the Ministry of the Interior and which we considered sufficient and
providing the necessary proof, we receive from the Commission, communi-
cated to us through the Prefecture, a new invitation to produce documents.
For the purpose already requested, in the words of the Ministry, we are
asked to furnish baptismal certificates for our paternal grandparents and
the Prefecture urged me to conduct the necessary searches.
The last request places us in the sad state of seeing annulled the hoped for
successful conclusion to the affair which we anticipated with good reason
after we had produced so many valid documents such as those we were
able to track down in the course of so much searching! In fact, as You know,
besides having explained and documented my civic, military, and religious
status (producing a birth certificate, discharge papers, baptismal certificate
48 primary sources

di battesimo di mia moglie e dei miei tre figli; avere prodotto il certificato di
nascita di mio padre ed il suo atto di battesimo alla nascita; esibito un docu-
mento ufficiale della Comunit israelitica di Livorno dove attestato che i
miei avi paterni non figurano in verun modo trascritti in quei registri, men-
tre daltra parte viene attestato dal Rev. Parroco della Cattedrale di Livorno
che numerose sono le persone a nome Angioli battezzate in quella Par-
rocchia; dopo tutte queste attestazioni insomma che involgono me, i miei
discendenti ed i miei ascendenti, si vuole la estrema prova del battesimo dei
miei avi paterni! una prova in pi, anzi, che si vuole, giacch la attestazione
negativa del Rabbinato e quella induttivamente positiva della Chiesa che
riguarda i miei avi, avrebbe dovuto, si sperava, costituire sufficiente prova
della loro non appartenenza alla razza ebraica.
Come io spiegai nellultimo esposto allOn. Commissione, conosco il
nome dei miei avi paterni per averlo rilevato dal certificato di nascita di mio
2 padre, ma di essi conosco appunto soltanto il nome, | ma non la rispettiva
paternit, n la data della loro nascita, n il loro fonte battesimale. Come
posso io rintracciare, in questa ignoranza, lultimo documento richiesto?
Purtroppo vediamo naufragare per la comprensibile e giustificata impos-
sibilit in cui mi trovo di produrre questa estrema maggiore prova riguar-
dante gli avi paterni, la speranza di avere esaurito finalmente questa pratica
e poter dare la tranquillit e la pace alla mia famiglia! Invece il pericolo di
venire colpiti sempre sussiste. E chi verrebbe colpito? Mia moglie, i miei tre
figli, che sono ancora in tenera et, e mia suocera novantenne, la quale con-
vive qui a Napoli con noi e che ormai, per la sua cos tarda et, ha bisogno di
continua assistenza e continue cure, quasi immobilizzata in una poltrona! E
come potrei provvedere io al sostentamento della numerosa famiglia, ariana
e cattolica, come ariano e cattolico sono io, se me ne venisse a mancare la
fonte con la perdita del mio impiego?
E questo avverrebbe se, nonostante il corredo documentario prodotto, tra
cui anche prove riguardanti gli avi paterni, per la sola mancanza del loro
certificato di battesimo che deve risalire ad oltre un secolo fa, e che ancor
pi difficile rintracciare per lemigrazione allestero della mia famiglia da ben
due generazionimantenendo integra la sua Italianitio dovessi venire
dichiarato appartenente alla razza ebraica, e questo solo per avere avuto la
madre ebrea!
Questa triste e tragica prospettiva mi paralizza, e nonostante le ulteriori
ricerche che sto per intraprendere, come invitato a fare, resto con poche
speranze di poter corrispondere alla nuova richiesta.
1. enrico angioli 49

dated 1936); after having produced birth and baptismal certificates for my
wife and three children; having produced certificates of my fathers birth
and baptism at birth; having exhibited an official document from the Jew-
ish Community in Livorno attesting that my paternal grandparents do not
appear in any of their records, while, on the other hand, the priest of the
Livorno Cathedral attests that many persons named Angioli were baptized
in that parish. In conclusion, after all the evidence that has been produced
concerning me, my descendants and forebears, the final piece of proof is
demanded of the baptism of my paternal grandparents! Actually, it is still
yet more proof, that is being required, since the negative testimony of the
Rabbinate and the inductively positive one of the Church in regard to my
forebears, should have, one would hope, constituted sufficient evidence of
not belonging to the Jewish race.
As I explained in my last petition to the honorable Commission, I know
the names of my paternal grandparents, having found them in my fathers
birth certificate, but I know nothing about them, only their name, | but not 2
their respective paternity, nor their dates of birth, nor where they were bap-
tized. Not knowing these things, how can I track down the final document
requested?
So, because of the understandable and justifiable impossibility in which I
find myself of producing this extreme, greater piece of evidence concerning
my paternal grandparents, we see our hope collapsing that we had finally
seen the conclusion of this affair and thus be able to restore tranquillity and
peace to my family! Instead the danger of being struck down persists. And
who would be struck down? My wife, my three children, still of a tender age,
and my ninety-year-old mother-in-law, who lives with us here in Naples and
who, by now, virtually immobilized in her armchair because of her advanced
age, requires continuous assistance and continuous care! And how could I
support my large family, Aryan and Catholic, just as I am Aryan and Catholic,
if the possibility to do so should vanish with the loss of my job?
And this would happen if, in spite of the long string of documents I have
managed to produce, including evidence concerning my paternal grandpar-
ents, I should be declared as belonging to the Jewish race, just because I had
a Jewish mother, simply for the lack of their baptismal certificates which
must date back more than a century, and which are even more difficult to
track down due to the emigration abroad of my family a good two genera-
tions ago, although it kept its Italian citizenship intact.
I am paralyzed by this sad and tragic prospect, and, in spite of the addi-
tional searches I am about to undertake, as I was asked to do, I have little
hope of being able to satisfy the new request.
50 primary sources

Daltra parte, osservo che la Legge del 17 novembre 1938 non esige, per
la non appartenenza alla razza ebraica, che si sia avuto il battesimo: quindi
penso che, avendo prodotto, mediante un documento ufficiale quale quello
del R. Commissario distaccato presso la Comunit Israelitica, la prova nega-
tiva di appartenenza [].

* * *
Napoli, l 28 aprile 1940 XVIII

Rev.mo Padre,

Sono mortificato di avere dovuto ancora rinnovarLe tanta molestia ed Ella


comprende quale importanza vitale abbia per me e soprattutto per la mia
famiglia questa dolorosa via crucis e come solo conoscendo la Sua bont noi
abbiamo tratto il coraggio di tornare a chiedere il Suo intervento in questa
ultima pericolosa fase della pratica.
La mia povera Maria Le ha spiegato il movente dei nuovi passi, e cio la
ragione che ci ha allarmati e che mi stata data per certa da quei Padri,
tramite i quali avevamo fatto fare ricerche in Egitto circa la cattolicit dei
miei avi paterni, come aveva insistito di avere la Commissione.
Quei Frati si sono prodigati nellinteressare i loro confratelli in Egitto e
difatti da quel Vicariato pervenne, se non il certificato di battesimo dei miei
nonni, bens unattestazione della loro professione della religione cattolica,
che io trasmisi per via ufficiale, a mezzo della Prefettura, alla Commissione
per la Razza, precisamente in data del 1 marzo 1940.
Coloro che si erano interessati in proposito, vollero mantenersi informati
del seguito della pratica e di tanto avevano pregato un loro amico (il cui
nome non mi fu dato), il quale sarebbe anche amico di S.E. La P[era]. Tra-
mite di tale comune amico, essi hanno avuto la comunicazione strettamente
riservata di quanto Le ha riferito Maria e che mi fu data per certa, con lavver-
tenza che la notifica ufficiale sarebbe unicamente ritardata di un poco a
titolo di agevolazione!
Ecco quanto noi sappiamo ed ecco quanto ci ha spinto a ricorrere a Lei
per un aiuto in questo frangente che, da quanto dettoci, sarebbe definitiva-
mente risolutivo in senso contrario.
1. enrico angioli 51

On the other hand, I note that the law of 17 November 1938 does not
require that one be baptized to prove not belonging to the Jewish race: thus,
I believe since I have produced, by means of an official document such as
that from the Royal Commissioner assigned to the Jewish Community the
negative proof of belonging [to the Jewish race].

* * *
Naples, 28 April 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

I am mortified to have caused you so much trouble and you will understand
what vital importance this wrenching via crucis has for me and my family,
and only because we know your goodness have we found the courage to ask
your help in this final, perilous phase of the negotiation.
My poor Maria has explained to you the motive for the new steps taken,
and the reason for our alarm which has been confirmed by the Fathers
through whom we had conducted research in Egypt concerning the Catholic
status of my paternal grandparents, as the Commission had required us to
obtain.
Those monks exerted themselves to involve their brethren in Egypt and,
in fact, from that Vicariate we received, if not my grandparents baptismal
certificates, at least verification that they professed the Catholic faith, which
I transmitted by official channels through the Prefecture, to the Commission
for Race, precisely on 1 March 1940.
The persons who had taken an interest in the affair, wanted to stay
informed about the sequel to the matter and accordingly had beseeched
a friend of theirs (whose name was not passed on to me), who is thought
to be also the friend of His Excellency La P[era].101 Through this common
friend, they received the highly confidential communication concerning
what Maria mentioned to you and which was passed on to me as certain,
with the admonition that the official notification would be delayed just a
little only to facilitate the matter!
This is as much as we know and this is what has prompted us to appeal
to you in this predicament which, from what we have been told, is about to
be concluded in a wholly contrary sense.

101 Antonio Le Pera (18901970) was the director of the office for demography and race
(Demorazza).
52 primary sources

2 Io non saprei capire un tale esito negativo dopo tali e tante | testificazioni
presentate e che, senza volermi dilungare a citare nelle parti secondarie, si
compendiano nelle seguenti essenziali:

mio certificato di battesimo del 1936 e cio di 2 anni prima delle leggi
razziali;
certificato di battesimo del mio genitore Alfredo dalla nascita (1862) in
Alessandria dEgitto;
certificato di professione di religione cattolica di ambedue i nonni pa-
terni, dal Vicariato Apostolico dEgitto; ci oltre il battesimo dei miei figli,
di mia moglie, certificati negativi di comunit israelitiche, mio passato
militare, informazioni raccolte, ecc. ecc.

Per criterio logico e per legge io dovrei meritare senzaltro il riconoscimento


della mia razza ariana, poich non posso pensare quale documentazione
pi esplicita e probatoria di questa si debba possedere, documentazione che
non porta certo a concludere per lappartenenza alla razza ebraica!
Maria, per potere finalmente uscire dalla precaria situazione in cui ci tro-
viamo e dal pericolo di una soluzione contraria, Lha pregata di un estremo
ricorso che solo Lei pu presentare e perorare con buona speranza: io unisco
la mia preghiera alla sua, redigendo listanza qui unita che Lei giudicher se
va bene.
Padre, La scongiuro di svolgere questo estremo passo che pu essere
risolutivo e mutare una decisione finale!
Non ho parole per esprimerLe la gratitudine mia e quella che Le devono i
miei figli e prego il Signore che di tanto Le renda merito nel Suo Apostolato
terreno e nella Eterna Vita Futura.

Suo umilissimo e dev.mo


Enrico Giovanni

* * *
Napoli, l 24 Maggio 1940 XVIII

Rev.mo Padre,

Rispondo subito alla Sua di ieri a Maria. Il nuovo contrattempo, come Ella
comprende, ci addolora oltremodo, non solo per lincertezza in cui ci ripone,
ma anche per il fastidio che arreca a Lei. Noi vogliamo avere fiducia, come
1. enrico angioli 53

I would not know how to explain such a negative conclusion after having
presented so much | evidence, which, without belaboring the secondary 2
aspects, can be summarized essentially as follows:

my baptismal certificate from 1936, namely two years before the racial
laws;
the baptismal certificate of my father Alfredo at birth (1862) in Alexandria
in Egypt;
the certificate issued by the Apostolic Vicariate in Egypt that both my
grandparents practiced the Catholic religion.

This is in addition to the baptism of my children, of my wife, certification


of not belonging from Jewish Communities, my past military service, other
collected information, etc., etc. Logically and by law, I deserve without fail to
be recognized as belonging to the Aryan race, since I cannot imagine what
further documentation one could possess that is more explicit and proba-
tive than this, documentation that certainly does not suggest belonging to
the Jewish race!
Maria, so that we may finally escape from the precarious situation in
which we find ourselves and from the danger of a contrary resolution to
the matter, has appealed to you as a last resort that only You can present
and plead with some hope of success; I join my prayer to hers, attaching the
entreaty which you will judge if it is satisfactory.
Father, I beg you to take this final step which can be determinative in
reversing a final decision!
I lack the words to express to You my gratitude and my childrens and I
beseech the Lord to bestow His blessings on You in Your earthly Apostolate
and in Future Eternal Life.

Your most humble and devoted


Enrico Giovanni

* * *
Naples, 24 May 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

I am replying at once to yours of yesterday to Maria. The new setback, as


you can understand, pains us grievously, not only for the uncertainty into
which it plunges us, but also for the bother to you. We want to have faith, as
54 primary sources

Ella ci raccomanda, e non dubitare che il Suo aiuto riuscir finalmente, per il
Divino volere del Signore, a chiudere questa dolorosa parentesi della nostra
vita!
Maria possiede non soltanto una copia della dichiarazione relativa alla
iscrizione della nonna paterna rintracciata in Egitto presso il Patriarcato
Greco-Cattolico, bens il vero e proprio certificato di battesimo che quel
Patriarcato ha fatto seguire per via aerea e ricevuto proprio in questi giorni.
Unisco quindi questo documento che ha, se cos pu dirsi, maggior valore
dellattestato portato da Maria ed a Lei consegnato, poich vi si trova indi-
cato anche il numero del registro.
Unisco pure copia semplice dellattestazione del Vicariato Apostolico
dEgitto, facente fede della professata religione cattolica da ambedue gli avi
paterni (gi due originali di questo documento si trovano presso la Com-
m[issione]). un documento che si sperava che a s solo potesse bastare.
Potendo esserLe utili, unisco in pi:

altra copia della mia fede di battesimo,


altra copia della fede di battesimo di mio padre Alfredo,
altra copia notarile del certificato della Cattedrale di Livorno attestante
che varie persone dal cognome Angioli risultano inscritte nei registri dei
battezzati fin dal 1800,
altra copia notarile di attestazione che presso la Comunit Israelitica di
Livorno (comune di origine della famiglia Angioli) non esiste inscritto il
cognome Angioli.

2 Questi due ultimi documenti hanno un valore grande agli effetti razziali |.
Voglia Iddio aiutarci con la Sua Onnipotenza in questo ulteriore passo
che Ella intraprende con quella benevolenza con cui ci ha sempre voluto
proteggere!
Mi permetta solo di aggiungere un suggerimento: Qualora i passi che
Ella sta per svolgere non riuscissero a dare ragione alla giusta causa e che
si insistesse malgrado tutto, in modo assoluto sulla produzione della fede
di battesimo anche del nonno paterno, voglia ottenere una dilazione per la
emissione della deliberazione, se questa dovesse essere negativa. Maria nel suo
soggiorno in Egitto ha potuto rinvenire qualche tenue traccia relativa allavo
ed ha speranza che, mediante un telegramma spiegativo ai Reverendi Padri
di col, questi possano intensificare le ricerche e rinvenire il documento ed
inviarcelo.
Sarebbe unultima ricerca da espletare qualora non vi fosse altra pos-
sibilit di giusta soluzione. Maria non ha potuto condurre a termine
1. enrico angioli 55

you urge us, and not doubt that your help finally will succeed, through the
Divine will of the Lord, to close this painful parenthesis in our life!
Maria possesses not only a copy of the declaration pertaining to the
entry for my paternal grandmother located in Egypt in the records of the
Graeco-Catholic Patriarchate, but also the actual baptismal certificate that
the Patriarchate sent on afterward by air mail and which we received in
these very days.
Therefore, I enclose this document which has, if one may say so, greater
value than the attestation brought to you by Maria, because it records the
registry number.
I enclose also a simple copy of the attestation from the Apostolic Vicariate
in Egypt, verifying that both paternal grandparents professed the Catholic
religion (two copies of this document have already been presented to the
Commission). It is a document that we hoped would by itself suffice.
Since they might be useful to you, I attach additionally:

another copy of my baptismal certificate,


another copy of my father Alfredos baptismal certificate,
another notarized copy of the certificate issued by the Livorno Cathedral
attesting that various persons named Angioli are inscribed in the registry
of persons baptized after 1800,
another notarized copy attesting that the Jewish Community of Livorno
(the place of origin of the Angioli family) has no record of the name
Angioli.

These last two documents have great value from the racial point of view. | 2
May God in His Omnipotence help us in this additional step that You
are about to undertake with that benevolence with which You have always
wanted to protect us!
Permit me only to make one suggestion:
If the steps You are about to take should not succeed in this just cause
and [the authorities] should insist in spite of everything, that the baptismal
certificate of the paternal grandfather should be produced at all costs, would
You try to obtain a delay in the announcement of the decision if it should be a
negative one? Maria during her sojourn in Egypt was able to uncover some
tenuous traces concerning our grandfather and she hopes that, by means of
an explanatory telegram to the Reverend Fathers there, they may be willing
to intensify their search, discover the document and send it to us.
It would be one more piece of research to conduct if there should be no
other possibility for a just resolution. Maria could not bring these searches
56 primary sources

queste ricerche perch non poteva ulteriormente rimandare la sua partenza


dallEgitto.
Voglia Iddio di non aver bisogno, per ottenere finalmente giustizia, di que-
ste altre ricerche sul cui esito non siamo neanche certi, poich in quellepoca
remota si trascuravano le iscrizioni o si facevano con gran ritardo, perch
non esistevano che 5 o 4 chiese disseminate in tutto lEgitto.

Con tutta devozione, insieme a Maria resto Suo umilissimo dev.mo


Enrico Giovanni

* * *
Napoli, 21-6-[1]940 XVIII

Reverendissimo Padre,

Finalmente, dopo tante ansie e tante trepidazioni, si potuto accertare che


pure il nonno di mio marito, Cesare, era battezzato alla nascita.
Pensi alla nostra gioia, Padre, nel ricevere un telegramma dallEgitto che
cinforma di esserci stato spedito il certificato di Cesare, mancante ultimo
documento che occorreva al Ministero per laccertamento.
Io, nel viaggio che feci recentemente in Egitto, dove ho rinvenuto il fonte
2 battesimale dellava Rosa, | non potendo pi trattenermi per timore di re-
stare separata dalla mia famiglia e internata dagli inglesi chiss dove, avevo
dato incarico a varie persone amiche perch fossero continuate ovunque le
ricerche per il nonno Cesare.
E cos questa nostra costanza per laccertamento di un fatto che ci teneva
in orgasmo da due anni stata coronata, giusto nel mese consacrato al Ges.
Il telegramma dallEgitto del 6 corr. [] mio marito ha subito data
comunicazione al Ministero del ritrovamento, preannunziante linvio del
certificato.
3 Il documento per non arriv, data la sospensione di ogni linea | postale
con lEgitto avvenuta nel frattempo! Cosa fare in questo frangente? Enrico
ha subito scritto ad una persona che trovasi a Istanbul per avere per via
indiretta altra copia. Bisogna per pensare che la interposta persona da
Istanbul deve scrivere in Egitto e di l ricevere quanto richiesto per essere
spedito qui a Napoli, bisogna inoltre tener presente della censura egiziana
sia nel andare, come al ritorno, come minimo rimangono 8 giorni le lettere
1. enrico angioli 57

to a conclusion because she could no longer postpone her departure from


Egypt.
Pray to God that we shall not need, to finally obtain justice, these addi-
tional searches, about the success of which we cannot be certain, since in
those distant days record keeping was neglected, or it was done with great
delay because there were only four or five churches scattered throughout all
of Egypt.

With all devotion, together with Maria I remain Your most humble and
devoted
Enrico Giovanni

* * *
Naples, 21 June 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Finally, after so much anxiety and trepidation, we have been able to ascer-
tain that even my husbands grandfather, Cesare, was baptized at birth.
Imagine our joy, Father, when we received a telegram from Egypt inform-
ing us that Cesares certificate had been mailed to us, the final missing doc-
ument required by the Ministry for verification.
In the trip that I recently took to Egypt, where I discovered the baptismal
font of grandmother Rosa, | since I could not linger longer for fear of being 2
separated from my family and interned by the British who knows where, I
had asked various friends to continue everywhere the research into grand-
father Cesare.
Thus, our perseverance to ascertain a fact which has kept us in a paroxysm
of anxiety for two years has been rewarded, precisely in the month dedicated
to Jesus.
The telegram from Egypt is dated the 6th of this month []. My husband
immediately communicated the discovery to the Ministry, announcing that
the certificate was on its way.
However, the document did not arrive, since all postal communication | 3
with Egypt in the meantime was suspended! What to do in this predica-
ment? Enrico immediately wrote to a person in Istanbul to obtain another
copy indirectly. We have to realize that this intermediary from Istanbul has
to write to Egypt and from there receive what has been requested and then
have it sent to Naples. We must also take into consideration Egyptian censor-
ship both coming and going. As a minimum letters remain in the censorship
58 primary sources

alla censura, quando poi non sono addirittura cestinate. E se poi anche
4 questa via indiretta | in questo frattempo venisse chiusa, come fare?
Pensi, Padre, a quale sventura ingiusta ci colpirebbe se, proprio ora che la
verit lampante emersa dovesse essere presa una determinazione sfavore-
vole da parte del Ministero!
Voglia consigliarci, Padre, se sia il caso di fare un esposto al Ministero per
scongiurarlo di voler benignamente attendere ancora lultimo documento
necessario e di cui, non solo certa lesistenza, ma anche non pu mancare
di giungerci da una o da unaltra via e che cimpegniamo di consegnare.

Sua devo.ma e umilissima


Maria Angioli

* * *
Napoli, 11 ottobre 1940 XVIII

Rever.mo Padre,

La notizia della risoluzione definitiva della nostra pratica, portatami da


Maria, mi ha riempito di gioia e, per quanto fosse attesa dopo il ritrovamento
degli ultimi documenti, vale a dare al fine la completa tranquillit alla nostra
famiglia!
Il Signore ha voluto esaudire le nostre preghiere concedendo allanimo
nostro la luce di una grazia senza cui saremmo stati colpiti atrocemente nei
2 nostri figli! Non mi nascondo tutta | la estensione delle conseguenze che
sarebbero derivate in caso di conclusione avversa, e questo mi fa considerare
la grandezza del Bene di cui il Signore stato largamente generoso.
E a voi, Padre Rev.mo, che avete voluto tanto fare nel perorare la nostra
causa, vadano i nostri infiniti devoti ringraziamenti, lieti, come siamo, che
la causa da Voi sostenuta sia tangibilmente risultata giusta!
Noi non mancheremo mai di rivolgere al Ges il nostro pensiero perch
salvaguardi da ogni male la Casa nostra, consacrata al Suo Sacro Cuore, cos
3 come salvaguardi | il Suo Ministro che la volle consacrare e benedire.

Con filiale devozione


Umilissimo Enrico Giovanni
1. enrico angioli 59

office eight days, when they are not scrapped altogether. And then if even
this indirect route | in the meantime should be closed, what should we do? 4
Just think, Father, what unjust misfortune would befall us, if, precisely
now that the striking truth has emerged, the Ministry should take a contrary
decision!
Please advise us, Father, if you think it would be appropriate to appeal to
the Ministry to benignly wait for the final necessary document to arrive, of
which not only is its existence certain, but also which cannot fail to reach us
in one way or the other and which we bind ourselves to consign.

Your most devoted and humble


Maria Angioli

* * *
Naples, 11 October 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

The news of the definitive resolution of our affair, brought to me by Maria,


has filled me with joy and, although it was expected after the recovery of the
last documents, finally brings complete peace to our family!
The Lord has chosen to listen to our prayers granting to our hearts the
light of a grace without which we would have been struck atrociously
through our children! I cannot forget the | entire range of consequences 2
which would have followed from a contrary decision, and this makes me
consider the greatness of the Good of which the Lord has been so abun-
dantly generous.
And to you, Most Reverend Father, who has undertaken to do so much
pleading our cause, go our infinite devout thanks, joyful, as we are, that the
cause you have defended has so tangibly been proved just!
We shall never fail addressing Jesus with our hope that He should protect
from every evil our Home, consecrated to His Sacred Heart, just as He may
safeguard | His Minister who chose to consecrate and bless it. 3

With filial devotion


Most humbly Enrico Giovanni
2. Gabriella Aruch

According to a notarized testimony of Professor Giovanni Battista Roatta


of Florence produced in July 1939, which was based on a confession made
to the latter by her fianc Emanuele Sella, Gabriella Aruch was the nat-
ural daughter not of her legal Jewish parents, Eugenio Aruch and Emma
Gallico, but of an unknown woman and of Count Neri Corsini (186494)
who, because of his noble titleGabriella Aruch arguedwas presumably
Catholic.102 In 1889, Corsini asked Emanuele Gallico (the father of Emma),
his familys physician, to take care of his out-of-wedlock baby girl whom
he just had with a woman whose identity he did not want to reveal. At
the same time, Emma Aruch, the physicians daughter, gave birth to a girl
who died almost immediately after the childs birth. Emmas father, then,
in order to spare his wife the pain of losing another child (she had already
aborted another pregnancy), substituted her dead baby with the newborn
daughter of Count Neri Corsini. Neither her husband Eugenio Aruch, nor
her father Emanuele Gallico, let her ever know about the death of her own
baby and about the true origins of the infant they presented to her as her
own. Nothing is known from the preserved documents about the life of
the adopted girlwho received the name of Gabriellauntil her adult
years.
From 1936 to 1938, Gabriella Aruch directed the Almanacco della donna
italiana, a feminist Italian periodical founded in 1920.103 She lost her job
when, after the introduction of the racial laws, the direction of the journal
was given to Margherita Cattaneo. The following is a response to Tacchi
Venturis letter which has not been preserved. She asks the Jesuit to help her
find the certificate of baptism of her presumed natural father, Count Neri
Corsini, of whom she provides the biographical data, in the Secret Vatican
Archive, where her own certificate had been found. She hopes to find a job
either with the publisher of the Italian Encyclopaedia, for which she had
already worked, or in the Vatican archives.

102 Neri Corsini was married in 1892 to Carolina Sforza Cesarini. He was the son of Pier
Francesco Corsini (18371916) and Luisa Colonna Barberini (18441906), the daughter of
Felice Colonna Barberini and Giuliana Falconieri.
103 See Tamara Winkler, La rassegna letteraria dellAlmanacco della donna italiana: Letter-
atura nella stampa del Ventennio fascista (Lic. phil. thesis, University of Zurich, 2004).
2. gabriella aruch 61

Fig. 12. An unidentified family photo from Gabriella Aruchs folder.

Tacchi Venturi, who had known Aruch since 1921,104 requested the bap-
tismal certificate of Count Neri Corsini in a letter to Mons. Bonardi from
the archiepiscopal curia in Florence and wrote also to Buffarini Guidi to
intercede, explaining that the recent law of July 13, 1939 could be applied
in Aruchs case. Even though Aruch wrote Tacchi Venturi that the decision
recognizing her Aryan status was imminent, no further information about
her case is to be found in the Jesuits archive.

104 Aruch collaborated with Tacchi Venturi in the publication of the Enciclopedia Treccani.
See also FTV 1010, doc. 122; and 1021, doc. 93 and 392.
62 primary sources

* * *

Anacapri, lElce, 21 Ottobre 1939-XVII

Reverendo padre,

Ho letto la Sua lettera con profonda commozione: forse il Signore ha piet di


me, perch da qualche giorno io ero proprio a terra: se non ho presto la pos-
sibilit di riprendere il lavoro, la rovina inevitabile! Chi poteva pensare che
occorresse latto di battesimo per riconoscere ariano un Corsini! E figlio di
cavaliere di Malta per giunta! A Firenze posso scrivere alla mia avvocatessa
Galli Dorini, ma in ogni modo invio a Lei i dati, affinch, se a me riuscisse dif-
ficile avere latto di battesimo del mio povero Padre, cerchi anche Lei questo
documento. Ecco i dati:
Conte Neri Corsini, figlio di Pier Francesco Corsini, Marchese di Laiatico,
e di Luisa dei Principi Barberini.
Il Conte Neri Corsini nato a Firenze il 21 Settembre 1864. Morto a Firenze
il 6 Settembre 1894.
Il Conte Neri Corsini sposa a Roma il 22 Giugno 1892 Carolina Sforza
Cesarini.
Questi e altri dati dopo molte ricerche (Sella non sapeva che lanno
approssimativo della nascita e della morte) le ho trovate nellAlmanacco di
Gotha, anno 1896, p. 507.
Io penso che allArchivio Segreto del Vaticano si deve trovare allatto
di matrimonio di quel poveretto anche il suo atto di Battesimo, come
stato trovato il mio atto di Battesimo; a Lei non mancher modo di far fare
la ricerca in fretta nellalmanacco di Gothami pare che vi fosse anche
lindirizzo di casa del conte Pier Francesco, mio nonno, [il quale] certo
risultava Cavaliere di Malta. Io cerco da quass come posso, ma La supplico
cerchi anche Lei, come e dove pu. Fosse vero che per sabato prossimo io
potessi tornare tra i vivi e fosse riconosciuta la mia vera entit e non
dovessi pi sentirmi una povera cosa finita.
Intanto io ho scritto a E[minenza] Gentile per chiedergli un posto o un
incarico allEnciclopedia e oggi ho scritto al prof. Donati al Vaticano per
2. gabriella aruch 63

* * *
[FTV 2312]

Anacapri, lElce, 21 October 1939-XVII

Reverend Father,

I read Your letter with profound emotion: perhaps the Lord takes pity on
me because for a few days I was really downcast: if I do not regain soon
the possibility of returning to work, my ruin is inevitable! Who would have
thought that a baptismal certificate was necessary to recognize a Corsini as
Aryan! He is the son of a Knight of Malta, no less! I can write to my lawyer
Galli Dorini in Florence, but in any case I send the information to you also, so
that if I should have trouble obtaining my poor fathers baptismal certificate,
You too may be able to look for the document. Here is the information:
Count Neri Corsini, son of Pier Francesco Corsini, Marquis of Laiatico,
and of Luisa of the Princes Barberini.
Count Neri Corsini is born in Florence, 21 September 1864. He died in
Florence, 6 September 1894.
Count Neri Corsini marries Carolina Sforza Cesarini in Rome, 22 June
1892.
I have found this and other data after infinite searches in the Almanac of
Gotha, year 1896, p. 507 (Sella only knew the approximate birth and death
dates).
I think that in the Secret Vatican Archive it should be possible to find,
besides the wedding certificate of that poor fellow, also his baptismal certifi-
cate. You will certainly have the opportunity to conduct this research quickly
in the Almanac of Gotha. I believe it contained also the home address of
Count Pier Francesco, my grandfather, who [from that source] appears to
have been a Knight of Malta. I will search from here as best I can, but I beg
you to search also, however and wherever you can. Were it only true that
by next Saturday I could return among the living and my true entity be
recognized so that I could stop feeling a poor empty thing.
Meanwhile I have written to His Excellency Gentile to ask him for a
position or an assignment in the Encyclopedia, and today I wrote to Prof.
Donati in the Vatican to see if something can be obtained there too.105 I

105 Giovanni Gentile (18751944) was the chief editor of the Enciclopedia italiana.
64 primary sources

vedere se anche l si pu ottenere qualcosa. Le accludo copia della lettera.


[2] Faccia quanto pu e pensi che non ho che Lei. Ho pianto di commozione
pensando che la decisione sar imminente!

Preghi tanto per me, Padre, e mi benedica e non mi abbandoni.


Le bacio la mano devotamente con tanta riconoscenza.

[original signature]
2. gabriella aruch 65

include a copy of the letter.106 Do what you can and think that I have only
You. I have cried from emotion thinking that the decision is imminent!

Pray hard for me, Father, and bless me and do not abandon me.
I kiss your hand devoutly with great gratitude.

[original signature]

106 A copy of this letter is preserved in Tacchi Venturis archive.


3. Gertrud Baumgarten

Gertrud Baumgarten (b. 1908) was the only daughter of Paul (b. 1876) and
Helene (b. 1885) who were German Jews converted to Catholicism. She her-
self converted in a time when in Italy there was still no talk of racism.
Thirty-one-year-old Gertrud came to Italy together with her parents because
she had an Italian fianc. According to the racial laws she could not marry an
Italian and she and her parents were required to leave the country. Gertrud
therefore obtained papers to emigrate to the United States thanks to the sup-
port of the archbishop of New Orleans, Joseph Francis Rummel (18761964),
who was born in Germany and was known for his criticism of the Nazi per-
secution of Jews in his homeland.107 However, the limit for visas to emigrate
to the US had been reached and they needed to wait for the new admis-
sion quotas. She then applied to extend her and her parents authorization
to stay in Italy. Learning about Tacchi Venturis efforts to intercede in such
cases, she wrote him the following letter on June 13, 1939. Three days later,
the Jesuit intervened with Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi but no reply from
the Demorazza committee is to be found in Tacchi Venturis archive.

* * *

COPIA
Gertrud Baumgarten
Via Nizza, 158
ROMA

Roma, 13 giugno 1939

Rev.mo Padre,

Vogliate perdonarmi se mi prendo lardire di rivolgermi alla Vostra paterna


bont per esporvi il triste caso mio e dei miei due vecchi genitori e per
supplicarvi di voler raccomandare, se possibile, a qualche personalit di
Vostra conoscenza, il nostro pietoso caso.

107 Nancy L. Roberts, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker (Albany: State University of
New York Press, 1984), 124.
3. gertrud baumgarten 67

* * *
[FTV 2283]

Copy
Gertrud Baumgarten
Via Nizza, 158
Rome

Rome, 13 June 1939

Most Reverend Father,

I hope you will pardon me if I dare to appeal to Your paternal goodness to


set forth my sad situation and that of my two elderly parents, and to beg
you, if at all possible, that you bring our pitiful case to the attention of some
personage of Your acquaintance.
68 primary sources

Sono di nazionalit germanica e di origine ebraica, ma convertita al cat-


tolicesimo per vocazione, quando ancora in Italia non si parlava di razzismo,
e convertiti alla religione cattolica sono pure i miei genitori.
Io venni in Italia non per ragioni politiche, ma perch ero fidanzata con
un italiano, e nellattesa di sistemarmi, mi impiegai non solo per provvedere
al mio sostentamento, ma anche a quello dei miei genitori, di cui sono lunica
figlia e lunico sostegno.
Le leggi razziali emanate nel settembre scorso, per, non solo impedi-
scono ora il realizzarsi della mia aspirazione, ma impongono a me e ai miei
due vecchi genitori di abbandonare il territorio del Regno.
Per interessamento dellArcivescovo di New Orleans, Mons. Rummell,
abbiamo ottenuto tutti i documenti necessari per poterci recare negli Stati
Uniti. Siccome, per, la quota dimmigrazione per gli Stati Uniti attualmente
chiusa e ci vorr qualche mese prima che venga riaperta, ho inoltrato,
a nome mio e dei miei genitori, al Ministero degli Interni, per tramite del
competente Commissariato di Via dei Villini, una domanda tendente ad
ottenere lautorizzazione di poter restare nel Regno in attesa del permesso
dimbarco per lAmerica.
Sapendo che chiunque, per un giusto motivo, si rivolge a Voi nel nome
di Dio, Voi non labbandonate, io ho osato disturbarvi per pregarvi, se non
Vi sar di troppo fastidio, di intercedere per noi presso qualche autorit,
affinch ci venga concessa la proroga necessaria per attendere la riapertura
della quota per recarci negli Stati Uniti.
Fiduciosa che, se Vi sar possibile, qualche cosa farete per me, Vi doman-
do perdono del disturbo e Vi esprimo il mio deferente ossequio.

dev.ma
fto: Gertrud Baumgarten
3. gertrud baumgarten 69

I am of German nationality and Jewish by origin, but converted to Catho-


licism by vocation, when in Italy there was still no talk of racism. My parents
too are converts to the Catholic religion.
I did not come to Italy for political reasons, but because I was engaged to
an Italian. While waiting to settle, I took a job so that I could support myself
but also my parents, of whom I am an only child and sole support.
The racial laws promulgated last September, however, not only prevent
the fulfillment of my aspirations, but compel me and my two elderly parents
to abandon the country.
Through the intercession of the Archbishop of New Orleans, Mons. Rum-
mell, we obtained the documents required to go to the United States. How-
ever, since at the present time the quota for emigration to the United States
is filled and it will be some months before it reopens, I have submitted, in
my name and that of my parents, to the Ministry of the Interior, through the
apposite commissioner of Via dei Villini, a request to obtain authorization to
remain in the realm while awaiting permission to sail for America.
Knowing that You do not abandon anyone who with just cause turns to
You in the name of God, I have dared to importune you to beg you, if it
does not prove too great a burden, to intercede for us with some authority
or other, so that we can obtain the necessary extension until the quota for
emigration to the United States is reopened.
Trusting that, if possible, You will do something for me, I beseech your
pardon for the annoyance and extend my humble respects.

Most devotedly
[Signed:] Gertrud Baumgarten
4. Eugenio Berger

Eugenio (Jakob, Jeno, Giacobbe) Berger was born in Pcs as a Hungarian


citizen on September 9, 1867 to the Jewish couple Giulio Berger (b. 1831)
and Regina Breuer. Since the 1890s he had lived in Trieste (Via delle Aiuole
4), where he became an Italian citizen in 1921. He was first married to
a Catholic woman, Elvira Marcovich (b. 9/23/1870), a daughter of Anna
Maria Marcovich (b. 1835) of Ragusa (today Dubrovnik in Croatia) and
Giovanni Ghisoli of Trieste; she was baptized at the Santa Maria Maggiore
church in Trieste a few days after her birth. Eugenio had a son with Elvira,
Bruno (b. 10/15/1905), who later took the family name of his wife, Carola
Montanari, ne Goldstein, who became Italian in 1918 in Smyrna. Eugenios
second wife, Adele Rumpler, was born February 13, 1879 to Salomon and
Sofia Knpfelmacher from Budisov (Bautsch) in Moravia. They married
September 19, 1918 in Vienna, Austria. Eugenio Berger mentioned her only
in the last preserved letter to Tacchi Venturi, without revealing, though, her
last name and her Jewish background.
The Prefect of Trieste revoked the citizenship of Eugenio Bergers fam-
ily (of himself, his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild) in December
1938, as a result of the racial laws. Eugenio Berger and his son Bruno Mon-
tanari appealed this decision in January 1939 with two separate petitions to
the Ministry of the Interior in Rome. Eugenio, who had been an employee
of the insurance company Assicurazioni Generali until he was fired because
of his Jewish background,108 argued that he had showed his Fascist faith
since the creation of the movement (as Senator Giorgio Pitacco [18661945]
and other high-ranking officials could confirm), that he considered himself
an Italian citizen with all the strength of his being, and that his participa-
tion in the irredentist movement, the fight to include Trieste, Venezia Giulia,
and Istria within Italian borders, was of the utmost importance in his life.
This fact alone should testify to Bergers profound patriotism, he claimed,
even though he could not document his military merits from the Great War
because of his advanced age at that time (actually, at the outbreak of that
war, he had been a Hungarian citizen and had been in his 40s). Eugenios
son, Bruno, took another tack: he argued that he could not be considered

108 Silva Bon, Gli ebrei a Trieste: 19301945: Identit, persecuzione, risposte (Gorizia: Libreria
editrice goriziana, 2000), 147.
4. eugenio berger 71

Jewish, foreven though his father Eugenio was a Jewhis mother Elvira
Marcovich was Aryan, Italian, and Roman Catholic, and he himself was
baptized at birth. Although he abandoned the church temporarily by marry-
ing Carola Goldstein in the Jewish rite,109 he abjured Judaism on September
17, 1938.
Eugenio sought help from the Jesuits in Trieste, Giuseppe Petazzi (direc-
tor of the course on religious culture) and Giacomo Malaguti (the superior
of the Jesuit community on Via del Ronco 12), who recommended his case
to Tacchi Venturi. Eugenio himself rushed subsequently to meet the Jesuit
in Rome in February 1940 and hand him the necessary documents support-
ing his application. On that occasion, he also met Tacchi Venturis secretary,
Brother Santiago Lucas, to whom he addressed two of the following letters,
for he believed the latter could promptly solicit Tacchi Venturis interces-
sion with influential Fascist bureaucrats. In spite of the usual delay due also
to the confusion of his name with another Eugenio Berger, son of Samuel
of Fiume, who had a criminal record,110 the Jesuits intercession eventually
helped Berger regain his citizenship, as Tacchi Venturi informed him person-
ally in a letter from March 29, 1940. As his reply testifies, Eugenios joy was
indescribable, and he was so thankful that he promised to send his power-
ful patron a donation for the poor.
Yet Eugenios joy for his regained citizenship was clouded by the difficul-
ties of obtaining discrimination for his son, Bruno, who before the promul-
gation of the racial laws had owned a sawmill that employed a considerable
number of workers. In his numerous letters to Tacchi Venturi that follow,
Eugenio anxiously begged the priest to intercede with the state authorities,
offering also the Jesuit the greatest charity he could bestow:
I cannot refrain from adding that if a work of civic and religious beneficence,
congenial to the Lord, and supported by grave personal sacrifice, can serve
to demonstrate the sincerity of my heart in beseeching what I consider to be
just, I am more than ready to make the maximum donation that I am able.
And I hope that a man of the highest ideals of the Most Reverend Father will

109 Tacchi Venturi in his letter to Eugenio dated July 16, 1940 wrote that the race committee
considered his son Jewish because in 1933 he contracted marriage according to the Jewish
rite. Eugenio explained in his reply that his son did so only in order to make happy his wife
and her parents. Bruno himself wrote in his application from 1940 that he was esente di
qualsiasi concreta manifestazione di ebraismo [] non pu infatti venir considerato tale il
matrimonio contratto con rito ebraico nel 1933, quando cio la cosa non rivestiva importanza
alcuna e veniva fatta, come accade al sottoscritto, per motivi ben lontani dalla manifestazione
di ebraismo, ma solo per compiacere i genitori della moglie.
110 As proved by Le Peras letter to Tacchi Venturi dated March 7, 1940. See http://www
.annapizzuti.it/database/ricerca.php?a=show&sid=9497.
72 primary sources

not refuse what I can offer to relieve the physical and spiritual needs of the
poor.
No final decision regarding Brunos case, however, is to be found in Tacchi
Venturis archive. From other sources it is known that Eugenio and his wife
were arrested in Venice on August 20, 1943 and were detained at the San
Sabba camp, near Trieste. From there, they were deported in January 1944 to
Auschwitz and killed upon arrival on February 2, 1944. Eugenios son Bruno,
with his eight-year-old son Alberto (b. 11/10/1936), met the same fate.111

* * *

Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 26 febbraio 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo,

Non appena rientrato in sede, sento il dovere di ringraziarvi anche per


iscritto della cortese promessa fattami di volervi interessare alla dolorosa
questione da me espostavi per ottenere al pi presto la tanto sospirata
soluzione che varr a ridarmi ed a ridare a mio figlio la cittadinanza italiana
immeritatamente perduta!
So che voi potete molto sullanimo del potentissimo Molto Reverendo
Padre, dallappoggio del quale attendo ed attendiamo la salvezza, epper
spero che vorrete adoperarvi con tutte le vostre forze per promuovere dalla
di lui anima benefica unaltra opera di bont oltre alle innumerevoli che
lOnnipotente ha sicuramente gi iscritte a suo avere nel grande albo doro
delle opere meritorie di vita eterna.
Sabato mattina, dopo aver avuto lonore dintrattenermi con voi, fui di
nuovo ricevuto con grande benevolenza dal Molto Reverendo Padre, il quale
mi disse di essersi recato personalmentecome promessomi due giorni
primaal Ministero e di avervi appreso che la mia questione si trova in
pertrattazione fino dal mese di settembre e che non si attende pi ancora

111 See Liliana Picciotto, Il libro della memoria: Gli ebrei deportati dallItalia (19431945)
(Milan: Mursia, 2002), 451 and 546.
4. eugenio berger 73

* * *
[FTV 2381]

Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 26 February 1940-XVIII

Reverend Father,112

Having just returned home, I feel it is my duty to thank you in writing for
your courteous promise to concern yourself in that sorrowful matter that
I explained to you, namely to obtain at the earliest moment that so greatly
desired resolution which will restore to me and restore to my son that Italian
citizenship which we have so unjustly lost!
I know that you have great influence over the mind of that so powerful
Most Reverend Father [Tacchi Venturi], from whom I look for help and
we await our salvation. Thus, I hope that you will exert yourself with all
your being to obtain from his beneficent soul one more charitable deed
in addition to the numerous others which the Omnipotent has certainly
already inscribed in his name in that great golden honor roll of works
deserving eternal life.
Saturday morning, after having had the honor of meeting with you, I
was once again received with great kindness by the Most Reverend Father,
who told me that he had personally gone, as he had promised me two
days earlier, to the Ministry where he learned that my matter has been in
the works since September and that only some supplementary information

112 This letter is addressed to Santiago Lucas who was a Jesuit lay brother (not a father or
don as Berger calls him here) and Tacchi Venturis secretary.
74 primary sources

che qualche informazione supplementare della Questura e Prefettura di


Trieste per darvi esito definitivo.
Orbene, dato che il Molto Reverendo Padre conoscer certamente molto
bene anche il Capo della Polizia dello Stato o qualche altro personaggio
disponente in materia, ritengo che, volendolo, non gli riuscirebbe difficile
di ottenere che alla Prefettura di Trieste giunga quanto prima possibile
listruzione di procedere alla revoca di quel benedetto decreto che tante
ansie e tanti dolori mi ha causato e mi causa tuttora.
Mi lusingo nella viva speranza di avere da voi qualche buona notizia al
riguardo in un avvenire possibilmente molto prossimo e, come ebbi lonore
di dirvi a voce e che ora per iscritto ripeto, il giorno in cui la buona novella
sar per giungermi, anche i poveri della vostra diocesi avranno motivo di
essere riconoscenti a voi ed a quanti avranno concorso a redimersi!
Vi prego di gradire frattanto i miei pi deferenti ossequi, mentre mi segno
vostro

devotissimo e umilissimo
[original signature]

[P.S.] Si tratta del Senatore del Regno Bocchini, una sola parola del quale a
questi uffici di Prefettura basterebbe a tutto risolvere.
A risparmio del vostro tempo prezioso mi permetto allegare qualche busta
col mio indirizzo e mi auguro le abbiate presto da []!!

Molto Reverendo
Don Santiago Lucas
Piazza del Ges 45
ROMA
4. eugenio berger 75

from the Questura and Prefecture of Trieste is needed before the case can
be definitively closed.
Well, since the Most Reverend Father certainly is well acquainted with the
National Chief of Police or some other person authoritative in the matter,
it is my opinion, that, if he was willing, it would not be difficult for him to
arrange for the Trieste Prefecture to receive at an early moment instructions
to proceed to the revocation of that blessed decree which has caused me so
much pain and anxiety and which continues to do so.
I nourish the lively hope that I shall be receiving from you before long
some good news on the matter and, as I had the honor of telling you in
person and which I now repeat in writing, the day I receive the good news,
even the poor of your diocese will have a reason to be grateful to you and to
those who shall have assisted in the matter!
I beseech you in the meantime to accept my most sincere respects, while
I am your

most devoted and humble


[original signature]

P.S. The person in question is the Senator of the Realm Bocchini.113 Only
one word from him to these prefectural offices would suffice to resolve
everything.
To save some of your precious time I take the liberty of enclosing a few self-
addressed envelopes and I augur that you will receive them promptly from
[]!!

Most Reverend
Don Santiago Lucas
Piazza del Ges 45
Rome

113 Arturo Bocchini (18801940) was head of police during the Fascist regime. From 1926
until his death in 1940, he oversaw both the regular police (Polizia di Stato) and the secret
political police (OVRA).
76 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 28 febbraio 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Rientrato in sede mi sento in dovere di porgervi i miei reiterati sentiti


ringraziamenti per limmensa bont da voi addimostratami.
La vostra comunicazione che la questione, che tante ansie mi costa,
viene gi pertrattata e che altro non si attende in alto loco se non qualche
informazione complementare per procedere alla sua soluzione, mi stata
di grande conforto, avendo io la tranquilla consapevolezza che qualunque
cosa rimanga da chiarire nei miei riguardi, essa non potr risolversi che in
mio favore.
E che io abbia la fortuna di trovare in voi, Molto Reverendo Padre, pre-
scindendo da tutto il resto, un convinto patrocinatore, sta a dimostrarlo
anche il fatto che a suo tempoallorch aveste la somma bont di pren-
dere nota dei ricorsi da me inoltrati alle supreme istanze del Ministeronel
giudicare i torti che mi erano stati fatti, usciste, lo ricorderete certamente
ancora, nellosservazione abuso, osservazione che era stata tanto balsamo
per lanimo mio esacerbato! Sono pertanto sicuro di poter contare sul vostro
prezioso, potente patrocinio.
Soltanto ancora un pensiero mi assilla: I dicasteri subordinati sono sem-
pre tanto lenti nel disbrigo delle pratiche loro affidate e tanto io gi ebbi a
soffrire per tali lentezze, che una spinta dallalto non potrebbe che giovare.
Voi conoscete senza dubbio molto bene il Senatore Bocchini, Capo della
Polizia di Stato e potrestequalora il vostro magnanimo cuore intendesse
2 accelerare il compimento di unopera di | bont e di giustiziaottenere da
lui che alla Prefettura di Trieste venisse impartito lincarico di regolare la
mia posizione mediante revoca del decreto con il quale a suo tempo io e
mio figlio venimmo ingiustamente privati dellonore di chiamarci cittadini
italiani!
Confido nel Vostro grande cuore, Padre Molto Reverendo, e vi prego di
permettere ad un umile uomo dimplorare sul vostro capo tutte le benedi-
zioni del Cielo.
4. eugenio berger 77

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 28 February 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Having returned home I feel it is my duty to extend my most sincere thanks


for the immense kindness youve shown me.
Your message that the matter, which has been the cause of so much
anxiety for me, is already being discussed and that nothing else is awaited
by the higher bureaucracy to proceed to a resolution than some piece of
additional information, has greatly comforted me. I am now peacefully
reassured that whatever else remains to be cleared up in my case, it can only
be resolved in my favor.
And that I have the good fortune of finding in you, Most Reverend Father,
leaving out all the rest, a convinced benefactor, is also shown by the fact that
earlierwhen you had the goodness to take note of the appeals I had sub-
mitted to the highest reaches of the Ministryin judging the wrongs that
had been done to me, you came out with, certainly you will still remember it,
the expression abuse, an expression that so soothed my distraught mind! I
am therefore certain that I can count on your precious, powerful patronage.
Only one more thought comes to mind: lower offices are always so slow in
performing the business entrusted to them and I already have had to suffer
so much because of their procrastination, that a push from above could only
help.
You obviously are well acquainted with Senator Bocchini, Chief of the
National Police and you couldif your magnanimous heart was of a mind
to hasten along a good and just cause |persuade him to issue to the 2
Prefecture of Trieste an order to regularize my position by revoking that
decree with which in the past my son and I were unjustly deprived of the
honor of calling ourselves Italian citizens!
I trust in Your great heart, Most Reverend Father, and I beseech you to
permit a humble man to implore all the blessings of Heaven on your head.
78 primary sources

Col massimo reverente ossequio mi dico


Vostro dev.mo e umil.mo
[original signature]

P.S. Allego ancora due righe di mano del Rev. Padre G[iuseppe] M. Petazzi
che mi conosce bene da tempo.

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, 4

Roma, 11.III.1940-XVIII

Pregiatissimo Signore,

Ho il dispiacere di comunicarle la risposta qui inclusa, la quale, nonostante


porti la data del 7 marzo, solo questa mattina, 11, pervenuta nelle mie mani.
Ella intender, egregio Signore, che, stando le cose in questi termini,
ogni mio ufficio oltre quelli da me compiuti in queste ultime settimane
per ottenere che il suo caso fosse sollecitamente e favorevolmente risoluto,
riuscirebbe inutile, n io saprei come poterlo tentare.

Augurandomi che [] possa essere pi di me felice, mi confermo


dev.mo

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 16 marzo 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

La cortese Vostra 11 corr. bench esprima parole di conforto, mi aveva dap-


prima quasi indotto alla disperazione! Per fortuna il buon Dio non mi ha
abbandonato ed ebbi subito ad accorgermene, leggendo la copia della rispo-
sta a Voi pervenuta da parte del Ministero.
4. eugenio berger 79

With the most reverent respect, I am


Your most devoted and humble
[original signature]

P.S. I enclose again two lines from the hand of the Rev. Father G[iuseppe]
M. Petazzi who has known me well for quite some time.

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, 4

Rome, 11 March 1940-XVIII

Eminent Sir,

I am sorry to have to communicate to you the enclosed reply, which, al-


though dated March 7, reached me only this morning, the 11th.
You will understand, kind Sir, that since this is how things are, any office
on my part beyond those I have already attempted in these last few weeks to
have your case promptly and favorably resolved, would be in vain, nor would
I know how to begin.

Hoping that you may be [] happier than I, I remain


devotedly
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 16 March 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Your courteous letter of the 11th, although it expresses words of comfort,


at first almost drove me to despair! Fortunately the good Lord had not
abandoned me as I quickly realized, reading the copy of the reply You
received from the Ministry.
80 primary sources

Si tratta infatti di un malinteso attribuibile certo alla grande premura di


S.E. Buffarini, risp[etto] di chi da lui incaricatone, di corrispondere senza
indugio alla Vostra generosa raccomandazione.
Se Voi aveste avuto ancora sottocchio la copia del ricorso da me a suo
tempo presentato al Ministero, copia da me a suo tempo consegnatavi per
Vostra maggiore informazione (e della quale allego in ogni caso alla presente
un altro esemplare), avreste subito constatato Voi stesso, Molto Reverendo
Padre, il qui pro quo nel quale sono incorsi codesti Uffici Ministeriali. Infatti
io non mi chiamo Eugenio Berger di Samuele, bens Giacobbe Berger detto
Eugenio fu Giulio. Io non sono mai stato cittadino cecoslovacco, bens origi-
nariamente ungherese e sono diventato cittadino italiano gi nel novembre
del 1921 in virt del decreto 13 B/2364 della Commissione Generale per la
Venezia Giulia.
Io non ho mai avuto a che fare con la Prefettura di Fiume che non pu
quindi mai essere stata chiamata ad esprimere pareri sul mio conto. Io non
ho mai avuto a che fare con tribunali e il mio passato, come risulta del resto
molto chiaramente dai diversi allegati al mio surriferito ricorso e dei quali
pure mi sono permesso a suo tempo di rimettervi una copia, da Voi molto
2 cortesemente confermatami in data 26/XII 1939-XVIII [sic], | per fortuna
ineccepibile (altrimenti come si spiegherebbe la calda raccomandazione del
Molto Reverendo Padre dott. Petazzi?).
Il ricorso in sospeso stato da me inoltrato al Ministero dellInterno con
il tramite della Prefettura di Trieste il 10 gennaio 1939 ed inteso a riottenere
la cittadinanza italiana; esso non potrebbe quindi essere stato respinto sin
dal gennaio 1938!
Lo scambio di persona sin troppo evidente e mi sono affrettato a riferirvi
la cosa, Molto Reverendo Padre, per pregarvi di non permettere che un
nuovo torto, e non certo piccolo, venga ad aggiungersi a quello gi fattomi la
prima volta con la revoca della mia cittadinanza italiana disposta da questa
Prefettura con decreto d.d. 15/XII 1938 XVIII n. 1162/1 Div.
Guidato dallalto spirito di giustizia, al quale sono certamente sempre
ispirate tutte le Vostre opere, Voi avrete, oso sperarlo, la somma compia-
cenza di richiamare senza indugio lattenzione di S.E. Buffarini e degli uffici
ministeriali competenti sul grave errore avvenuto a scapito di un buon sud-
dito, da pi di quarantanni residente a Trieste e di accennare contempora-
neamente allevidente opportunit di dare ora finalmente ed a pi giusto
titolo soddisfazione a chi stato ingiustamente sospettato di precedenti
penali poco raccomandabili.
E scusatemi poi, Molto Reverendo Padre, se anche in questo incontro
mi permetto di rinnovare dal canto mio la caldissima preghiera di non
4. eugenio berger 81

In fact, it is a matter of a misunderstanding attributable certainly to the


great concern of His Excellency Buffarini, with respect to the person who
enlisted him, to act without delay on Your generous recommendation.
If You still had before you a copy of the appeal I at one time presented to
the Ministry, a copy of which I had also passed on to you for Your fuller infor-
mation (and of which I enclose in any case another copy), you would have
immediately realized yourself, Most Reverend Father, the error committed
by those ministerial offices. The fact is that my name is not Eugenio Berger,
son of Samuele, but Giacobbe Berger, called Eugenio, son of the deceased
Giulio. I have never been a citizen of Czechoslovakia, although I was origi-
nally Hungarian and I became an Italian citizen in November 1921 by virtue
of decree 13 B/2364 issued by the General Commission for Venezia Giulia.
I have never had anything to do with the Prefecture of Fiume which,
therefore, can never have been called to issue an opinion on my account. I
have never had anything to do with the courts and my past is irreproachable,
as emerges very clearly from the various attachments to my aforementioned
appeal of which I permitted myself sometime back to send you a copy, which
you very courteously confirmed receiving on December 26, 1939-XVIII [sic] | 2
(otherwise how could we explain the warm recommendation of the Most
Reverend Father Dr. Petazzi?).
I submitted the pending appeal to the Ministry of the Interior through the
Prefecture of Trieste on January 10, 1939 for the purpose of regaining Italian
citizenship; thus it could not have been rejected from as early as January
1938!
The mixup of persons is simply too evident and I have hastened to bring
the matter to your attention, Most Reverend Father, to beseech you not to
allow a new wrong, certainly not a minor one, to be added to the one done
to me the first time with the revocation of my Italian citizenship ordered by
that Prefecture with decree d.d.15/XII 1938-XVIII n. 1162/i Div.
Guided by that high spirit of justice, which has always inspired all Your
works, I dare hope that You will have the great kindness to direct the atten-
tion of His Excellency Buffarini and of the appropriate ministerial offices to
the great error committed at the expense of a good citizen, who has resided
in Trieste for more than forty years, and to suggest at the same time the obvi-
ous correctness of finally giving the deserved satisfaction to one who has
been unjustly suspected of prior reprehensible criminal actions.
And once more, pardon me, Most Reverend Father, if even on this occa-
sion I permit myself to repeat my warm entreaty not to ignore on my behalf
82 primary sources

rinunciare in mio favore alla direttissima via che attraverso il Senatore


Bocchini farebbe indubbiamente capo ad unimmediata soluzione della mia
tristissima vicenda.
Confido nella vostra grande bont e, mentre resto con ansia in attesa di
qualche comunicazione consolatrice, per la quale sin dora infinitamente vi
ringrazio, mi dico

Vostro obb.mo e umil.mo


[original signature]

* * *

Trieste, 22/3/40 XVIII

Reverendo Fratello,

Ho parlato in questo istante con un alto funzionario di questa nostra Prefet-


tura, il quale mi ha detto e ripetuto anche in questo incontro che per evitare
le solite lungaggini burocratiche connesse con lassunzione di sempre nuove
informazioni sul mio conto (informazioni che devono del resto essere gi
state esaurientemente assunte nel 1921, allorch ottenni appunto la cittadi-
nanza Italiana, che ora non si tratta daltro che di riottenere) non resta altra
via se non quella direttissima del Senatore Bocchini! Una semplice parola,
un solo cenno di questultimo a questo nostro Prefetto bastano a definire
immediatamente la cosa in mio favore.
E, dal momento chio ho la grande fortuna che il Senator Bocchini
personalmente conosciuto dal Molto Reverendo Padre, non si tratta che
di indurre codesto santo uomo a dirgli una buona parola in mio favore.
Con questo mezzo, con questo solo mezzo anche la mia dolorosa passione
2 troverebbe subito la tanta sospirata soluzione. |
Fate questopera buona in omaggio alla Santa Pasqua, Reverendo Fratello,
e il buon Dio non mancher di tenervene conto.
Attendo al riguardo un vostro cenno consolatore e vi invio frattanto i miei
migliori ossequi.

V.o obb.o
[original signature]
4. eugenio berger 83

that most direct route through Senator Bocchini which would undoubtedly
lead to the immediate resolution of my doleful affair.
I trust in your great goodness and while I await some consolatory word,
for which even now I thank you profusely, I remain

Your most obliged and humble


[original signature]

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, 4

Trieste, 22 March 1940-XVIII

Reverend Brother,

I have spoken just now with a high official in our Prefecture, who had told
me and repeated in this meeting that to avoid the customary bureaucratic
delays connected with the gathering of additional new information about
me (information that for that matter must have already been exhaustively
collected in 1921 when I obtained Italian citizenship, which now it is only the
case of reacquiring), there is no other way except the most direct through
Senator Bocchini! A simple word, a single sign from him to our Prefect would
suffice to resolve the matter immediately in my favor.
And, since I am so fortunate that Senator Bocchini is personally known to
the Most Reverend Father, it is only a matter of persuading this saintly man
to put in a good word in my behalf. By this means, by this means alone even
my sorrowful ordeal would immediately find its long wished for solution. | 2
Perform this good deed in homage to Holy Easter, Reverend Brother, and
the good God will not fail but to remember it.
I await a consoling sign from you on the matter and in the meantime I
send my sincere respects.

Your most obliged


[original signature]
84 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio Berger
Via delle Aiuole, 21Trieste

29.III.40. XVIII

Egregio Signore,

Ho il piacere di notificarvi che stato chiarito lequivoco e riconosciuto lo


scambio del nome. La Vostra pratica sar prossimamente risoluta e, come
mi stato a voce assicurato questa mattina, in senso favorevole. Ne sia
ringraziato il Signore.

Con molti saluti


dev.mo

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 1 aprile 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Incrociatasi con la mia di pari datacon la quale ho avuto lonore di rimet-


terVi unulteriore calda raccomandazione di questo Reverendo Superiore
dei Gesuiti, dottor Giuseppe Petazzi, desideroso anche lui di saper al pi
presto dissipato il grave malinteso sorto circa lidentit del suo povero racco-
mandatomi giunta la graditissima Vostra del 29 p.p. e, ancora tutto com-
mosso per la comunicazione che in essa aveste la bont di farmi, quale vero
regalo di Pasqua, non trovo parole atte ad esprimerVi tutta la mia immensa
riconoscenza.
Mi unisco a Voi, Molto Reverendo Padre, per rendere anche in questo
incontro grazie allAltissimo che ha voluto in questo modo dimostrarmi la
Sua benevolenza!
Gradite, Molto Reverendo Padre, i miei pi devoti ed umili ossequi.

[original signature]
4. eugenio berger 85

* * *
Eugenio Berger
Via delle Aiuole, 21-Trieste

29 March 1940-XVIII

Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure of informing you that the misunderstanding has been
cleared up and the mixup in names has been acknowledged. Your affair will
be resolved promptly and, as I have been reassured by voice this morning,
favorably. May the Lord be praised.

Cordially
Yours devotedly

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 1 April 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Crossing with my own letter of the same datewith which I had the honor
of transmitting to you a further warm recommendation on the part of the
Reverend Jesuit Superior, Dr. Giuseppe Petazzi, he too eager to know that
the serious misunderstanding over the identity of the poor wretch he had
recommended has been laid to restI received your most welcome letter
of the 29th [March], and still in a state of emotion for the news which you
had the goodness to communicate, as a true Easter present, I have no words
to express to you my immense gratitude.
I join myself to you, Most Reverend Father, to give thanks, even on this
occasion, to the Highest who has chosen in this way to demonstrate His
benevolence to me!
Please accept, Most Reverend Father, my most devoted and humble re-
spects.

[original signature]
86 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 16 aprile 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Ad inondarmi lanima di esultanza, mi giunsero sabato 13 corrente le Vostre


preziose righe con linformazione che grazie al Vostro tramite il Signore ha
voluto darmi la pi grande prova della Sua benevolenza! Ne vadano infinite
grazie a Lui e al Suo buon Ministro!
Nullaltro se non tuttal pi il pericolo delle purtroppo consuete lungag-
gini burocratiche sembrerebbe ormai ostacolare il rapido disbrigo della pra-
tica, per modo che io potrei mettermi, come si suol dire, il cuore in pace.
Sennonch tante e tante pene mi vennero da tali lungaggini sinora causate
che vorrete perdonarmi, lo spero, Molto Reverendo Padre, se oso con questa
mia implorare unultima volta il Vostro prezioso aiuto.
Mi incoraggia a farlo lacchiuso biglietto di questo Molto Reverendo Padre
2 dott. Giuseppe Petazzi, il quale ha pure la | bont dinteressarsi vivamente
alla mia questione e condivide il desiderio di saperla al pi presto risolta.
Voi saprete senza dubbio quale sia quella pi potente leva che possa
sollecitare il disbrigo della pratica anche in sede di Consiglio di Stato, e
sono sicuro che una sola Vostra parola a chi tale leva maneggia baster ad
eliminare subito qualsiasi procrastinazione della tanto sospirata decisione.
Vogliate dirla ancora tale parola, Molto Reverendo Padre, e state certo che
non finir mai di renderne grazie al Signore ed a Voi, Suo degno Ministro.

Con il pi profondo ossequio,


[original signature]
4. eugenio berger 87

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 16 April 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Filling my soul with joy, on Saturday the 13th I received your precious
message with the news that thanks to your intercession the Lord has deigned
to give me the greatest proof of His benevolence! My infinite thanks go to
Him and to his good Minister!
Nothing else if not at the worse the danger of the unfortunately custom-
ary bureaucratic delays would seem by now to remain to obstruct the rapid
resolution of the affair, so that, as the expression goes, I could put my mind
at peace. But I have suffered so much from the delays that I hope you will
pardon me, Most Reverend Father, if I dare now one more time to implore
your precious help.
I am encouraged to do so by the enclosed note from that Most Reverend
Father Dr. Giuseppe Petazzi, who also | has the goodness to interest himself 2
actively in my case and shares the desire to have it resolved at the earliest
moment.
You undoubtedly know what is the most potent mechanism to hasten
the expediting of the case even in the offices of the Council of State. I am
certain that just one word from You to whomever directs that mechanism
will suffice to eliminate at once any delay in the greatly hoped for decision.
Will you utter that word again, Most Reverend Father, and be assured that
I will never stop giving thanks to the Lord and to You, His worthy Minister.

With the deepest respect,


[original signature]
88 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 21 giugno 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Con una gioia che non saprei descrivere ricevetti la graditissima Vostra
del 17 corrente, la quale, oltre alla buona nova che mi arrec, ha per me
lincommensurabile valore dellessere stata vergata di Vostra mano, degna-
zione questa da parte Vostra che mi riempie di orgoglio e di speranza! Che
Voi stesso, Molto Reverendo Padre, Vi prendiate la briga di rivolgervi diret-
tamente a me, poveruomo, per consolarmi, per mantenere sempre viva in
me la fiamma della fiducia, cosa che non dimenticher mai, nemmeno se
i miei anni contati dovessero durare in eterno. Grazie, infinite grazie!
Sono certo che tutti i documenti da me a suo tempo presentati al Mini-
stero dellInterno (e di cui ebbi lonore di consegnare copie a Voi stesso)
in appoggio tanto dellindiscutibile arianit legale del mio figliuolo, quanto
della mia certamente giustificata discriminazione, quando la loro efficienza
sia generosamente fatta rilevare dalla Vostra grande autorit, non manche-
ranno di ottenere in un senso e nellaltro leffetto desiderato e tanto ansiosa-
mente atteso.
Mio figlio Bruno proprietario di una segheria di legname che, per quan-
to non grande, d lavoro a un discreto numero di operai. Dal momento
in cui entrarono in vigore le leggi razziali e che la di lui posizione rimase
imprecisataper ragioni a me ignotese, come non si pu escludere, qual-
che aggravata disposizione delle suddette leggi venisse ad un tratto ad osta-
colare lulteriore esercizio dellindustria da parte sua, ci significherebbe la
rovina materiale per lui, per la sua famiglia e per le famiglie degli operai
da lui dipendenti. pertanto dimpellente necessit che la di lui situazione
2 ri|spetto alla razza venga definitivamente chiarita in quellunico senso che
corrisponde a giustizia. Anche per questo imploro dunque, Molto Reve-
rendo Padre, il Vostro preziosissimo aiuto.
Per me personalmente riveste poi la massima importanza la questione
della discriminazione. Si fu in seguito delle preaccennate leggi razziali che
quasi due anni fa la mia compagnia [le Assicurazioni Generali] dopo un
lungo tirocinio di fedeli e proficui servigi da me prestatile, fu costretta a
licenziarmi, ed essa stessa sarebbe pi che contenta di poter valersi ancora
4. eugenio berger 89

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 21 June 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

With a joy that I cannot describe I received your most welcome letter of the
17th, which, in addition to the good news it brought, has the incommensu-
rable value of having been written in your own hand, a gesture on Your part
which fills me with pride and hope! That You yourself, Most Reverend Father,
should take the trouble to address yourself to me directly, a poor man, to
console me, to keep alive that spark of hope, is something that I shall never
forget, not even if I should live an eternity. Thanks, infinite thanks!
I am certain that all the documents which I in the past presented to the
Ministry of the Interior (and of wh which I had the honor of consigning
a copy to You yourself) in support of the legally indisputable Aryan status
of my son, as well as of my certainly justified discrimination, when their
efficacy will be generously illustrated by Your great authority, will not fail to
obtain, in both particulars, the desired and so eagerly awaited effect.
My son Bruno is the proprietor of a saw mill which, if not large, gives
employment to a fair number of workers. From the time when the racial
laws went into effect and his position remained undefinedfor reasons
unknown to meif, as cannot be excluded, some further disposition of the
aforementioned laws should suddenly further obstruct the further exercise
of the operation on his part, this would mean material ruin for him, for his
family and for the families of the workers under him. It is therefore an urgent
necessity that his situation in regard to race should be definitively clarified
in that one way which corresponds to justice. Even for this, then, I implore,
Most Reverend Father, Your precious help.
For me personally the question of the discrimination is of the utmost
importance. It was following the aforementioned racial laws that almost
two years ago my company [Assicurazioni Generali], after a long period of
faithful and efficacious service on my part, was constrained to fire me. It
would have been more than happy to avail itself of my work, to which I
90 primary sources

per parecchi anni del mio lavoro, al quale io sono del resto tanto abituato ed
attaccato, che solo con grave e diuturno sacrificio morale e fisico, ho potuto
adattarmi a rinunciarvi. Qui in sede di Prefettura mi venne fatto osservare
non pi tardi di ieri che sarebbe stato da parte mia giusto il procedimento
normale di chiedere anzitutto la discriminazione e poi sulla base di questa
il ripristino della cittadinanza italiana. Posto per che io ho trascurato di
attenermi a tale procedimento, si davviso che, indipendentemente dai
documenti discriminatori da me a suo tempo presentati al Ministero, gi le
informazioni fornite sul mio conto dalle Autorit di Trieste dovrebbero bastare
a determinare da sole lambita e per me necessaria discriminazione.
Non ho voluto tralasciare di attirare anche su questultima circostanza la
Vostra attenzione, Molto Reverendo Padre, perch sono persuaso che in alto
loco vorrete farne rilevare tutta limportanza.

Aiutatemi, buon Padre Reverendissimo, e che il Signore Vi conceda in questo


e nellaltro mondo tutto il bene che meritate.
[original signature]

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 25 giugno 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Mi giunse la pregiata Vostra del 20 corrente e non ho certo bisogno di


dirVi con quanto dolore io ne abbia appreso lo scoraggiante contenuto. Voi
mi parlate cristianamente di rassegnazione e posso assicurarVi che, mal-
grado la somma importanza che per il mio figliuolo riveste la questione
dellarianit, io e lui sapremmo farci forza e sopportare la sorte, anche se
immeritata, quando non vi fosse il precedente dellerrore in cui codeste
supreme Autorit sono incorse relativamente al mio ricorso per il riotteni-
mento della cittadinanza italiana. Intendo parlare dello scambio di persona
fra me e quellaltro Berger di Fiume dai precedenti poco puliti! Io ritengo, e
non potrebbe essere altro, che anche in questo caso si debba essere partiti
dallerronea premessa della prima volta. Infatti, un primo rifiuto di ricono-
scimento dellarianit di mio figlio era gi stato, come sapete, pronunciato
molto tempo fa, forse allindirizzo di quello stesso Berger fiumano, ed ora, in
conseguenza delle reiterate pratiche condotte col Vostro prezioso tramite,
4. eugenio berger 91

am accustomed and attached, for many more years. It is only with serious
and ongoing moral and physical sacrifice that I have managed to adapt and
renounce it. In the Prefecture here it was brought to my attention as recently
as yesterday that it would have been the just and normal procedure for me to
ask first of all the discrimination and then on the basis of it, the restoration of
Italian citizenship. Since, however, I neglected to follow this procedure, it is
the opinion that, independently of the discrimination documents which I in
the past presented to the Ministry, the data presented in my case by the Trieste
authorities should alone suffice to determine the wished for and necessary
discrimination.
I have not wanted to neglect drawing Your attention even to this circum-
stance, Most Reverend Father, because I am convinced that you will want
the highest authorities to realize its great importance.

Help me, Most Reverend good Father, and may the Lord grant You in this
and the next World all the good you deserve.
[original signature]

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 25 June 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

I have received your greatly appreciated letter of the 20th and I certainly do
not need to tell you the pain with which I grasped its discouraging news.
You speak to me as a Christian of resignation and I can assure You that,
in spite of the great importance that the question of Aryan status has for
my son, he and I would know how to be strong and endure our fate, even
if undeserved, except for that prior error into which those high Authorities
fell in regard to my appeal for the restoration of Italian citizenship. I am
talking about that mixup of persons between myself and that other Berger
of Fiume with an unsavory record! I am of the opinion, and it could not
be anything else, that this time too the case must have been based on the
erroneous premise of the other time. In fact, the original refusal to recognize
the Aryan status of my son, as you know, had already been pronounced long
ago, perhaps intended for that Berger of Fiume. Now, as a consequence of
the protracted negotiations conducted through your precious intercession,
92 primary sources

ritengo che in alto loco non si sia probabilmente fatto altro che disseppellire
il primo rifiuto per ribadirlo semplicemente una seconda volta senza riesa-
minare tutta la pratica.
In proposito voglio farVi rilevare, Molto Reverendo Padre, che tutte le
Autorit comunali, politiche e, quel che maggiormente importa, anche ec-
clesiastiche, che ebbero a prendere visione e ad esaminare qui le diverse
pezze documentarie portate in appoggio del ricorso, avevano avuto ad assi-
curarmi nel modo pi reciso che la situazione di mio figlio chiara e che
2 il ricorso sarebbe stato certamente risolto favore|volmente con cento per
cento di probabilit!
Anche il Molto Reverendo dott. G. Petazzicol quale mi trovo frequen-
temente in contatto e che sempre vivamente si interessato specialmente
per questa questione dellarianitnon appena venne messo da me al cor-
rente delle Vostre recenti sfavorevoli comunicazioni, non pot trattenere
espressioni della pi alta meraviglia dichiarando di non comprendere asso-
lutamente come la cosa sia possibile. Meglio di ogni altro egli conosce tutti
i precedenti, epper ritiene con me che un nuovo malinteso debba essere
sorto.
Io vi supplico dunque in ginocchio, Molto Reverendo Padre, mio grande
e misericordioso benefattore, di non accontentarvi neppure questa volta
del rifiuto comunicatovi, per quanto autorevole possa essere questa la fonte
dalla quale provenne la comunicazione stessa! Vogliate ricordare che anche
nel caso della cittadinanza il rifiuto oppostovi vi era stato comunicato da
S.E. Le Pera direttamente e che tuttavia esso risult poi ingiustificato. Vo-
gliate aver pertanto la somma compiacenza di esaminare voi stesso in tutta
la loro essenza i documenti probatori annessi al ricorso e dei quali ebbi a
suo tempo lonore di consegnarvi copie e qualora luno o laltro di essi avesse
potuto dar luogo a delle errate interpretazioni, fateci la carit di valervi in
nostro favore della vostra altissima autorit per mettere i punti sugli i e
per chiarire, se ve ne fosse bisogno, qualche punto che taluno dei fattori
competenti dovesse apparire bisognevole di delucidazione.
la vita e lanima del mio figliuolo che si trovano in giuoco. Vi supplico di
3 salvarle, poich io sono certo che con il conforto del|linequivocabile parere
di tanti alti ecclesiastici la Vostra alta autorit sar in grado di farlo!
Molto Reverendo Padre, non abbandonatemi! Permettetemi di sperare
in una prossima consolante comunicazione da parte Vostra e, mentre mi
permetto di presentarvi i miei pi fervidi auguri per il Vostro imminente
onomastico, relativamente al quale questo Molto Reverendo Padre dott.
Petazzi mi ha consegnato lacchiuso biglietto per Voi, vi prego di credermi
col massimo ossequio
4. eugenio berger 93

it is my opinion that the higher authorities have probably not done anything
else than resurrect the original refusal and issue it a second time without re-
examining the entire case.
I should like to point out to you on this point, Most Reverend Father,
that all the Authorities, municipal, political and, what counts the most, even
ecclesiastical, who here took note and examined the various documentary
pieces used to support the appeal, had assured me in the most definite
way that my sons situation is clear and that the appeal would certainly be
resolved favorably | with a hundred percent probability. 2
Even the Most Reverend Dr. G. Petazziwith whom I am often in con-
tact and who has always actively interested himself especially in this ques-
tion of Aryan statusas soon as I brought him up-to-date concerning Your
recent unfavorable communications, could not refrain himself from utter-
ing expressions of the greatest wonder, declaring that he could absolutely
not understand how the thing was possible. He knows the prior history bet-
ter than anyone else, and he agrees with me that there must have been a
new misunderstanding.
So I supplicate you on my knees, Most Reverend Father, my great and mer-
ciful benefactor, not to accept this time too the refusal communicated to
you, no matter how authoritative may be the source from which the commu-
nication stems! Please remember that even in the case of the citizenship the
rejection had been communicated to you by His Excellency Le Pera directly,
but that nonetheless it turned out to be unjustified. Will you, therefore, have
the great kindness of examining yourself in their entirety the probatory doc-
uments supporting the appeal and of which I had the honor at one time of
passing you copies to see whether one or the other among them could have
given rise to erroneous interpretations? Bestow on us the charity of employ-
ing on our behalf your high authority of dotting the is and to clarify, if there
should be the need to do so, some point or another that appears to need
further elucidation.
It is the life and the soul of my son which are at stake. I beseech You to
save them, because I am certain that with the comfort of | the unequivocal 3
support of so many other ecclesiastics Your high authority will be able to do
so!
Most Reverend Father, do not abandon me! Permit me to hope in a
consoling message from You in the near future, and while I permit myself to
express my most fervent good wishes for your imminent name-day, relative
to which the Most Reverend Father Dr. Petazzi gave me the enclosed note to
pass on to you, I beg you to believe me with the greatest respect
94 primary sources

Vostro obb.mo e umil.mo


[original signature]

P.S. Con vivissimo piacere presi nota di quanto mi dite relativamente alle
buone prospettive in materia della mia discriminazione, alla quale, come
ebbi gi lonore di dirvi, devo personalmente annettere la pi alta impor-
tanza sia dal lato morale che da quello dei miei affari. Anche per questo mi
raccomando pertanto ancora e sempre alla Vostra inestinguibile carit e alla
misericordia del Signore.

[initials]

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 4 luglio 1940-XVIII

Reverendo Fratello,

Ho ricevuto la vostra lettera del 29 p.p. e credo di poter rinunciare a descri-


vervi la disastrosa impressione che il suo contenuto negativo al cento per
cento ha lasciato nellanimo mio. Dopo tante speranze e tante ansie e tante
sofferenze il mio disappunto e il mio dolore sono pi facili a immaginare
che ad esprimere in parole.
Mostrai la lettera a questi miei protettori dellalto clero e quello che posso
dirvi si che alla loro volta sono rimasti allibiti, forse meno per la cosa in
e per se stessa, quanto per la mia prostrazione tanto pi grande quanto
pi categoriche erano state nei miei confronti le loro assicurazioni e i loro
incoraggiamenti basati su di una generale profonda convinzione delle mie
buone ragioni!
Mentre allego alla presente una nuova copia dei miei documenti di discri-
minazione, muniti questa volta di qualche mia annotazione marginale in-
tesa ad accentuarne il valore, ci tengo a dichiarare subito che non posso
darmi per vinto. E in questa mia dichiarazione sono confortato dallopi-
nione espressami nuovamente non pi tardi di ieri da alti funzionari di
questa nostra Prefettura, i quali, del pari, non sanno darsi ragione del rifiuto
opposto ai miei ricorsi. Mi perdonerete pertanto questa mia replica intesa
a convincere anzitutto voi personalmente, Reverendo Fratello, e, per vostro
cortese tramite, anche il Molto Reverendo Padre, dellindubbio torto che, in
seguito a qualche fatalissima circostanza, continua ad essermi usato.
4. eugenio berger 95

Your most obliged and humble


[original signature]

P.S. I took note with great pleasure of what you said concerning the favorable
prospects in regard to my discrimination, to which, as I already had the
honor of telling you, I attach the highest importance both from the moral
point of view and that of my affairs. For this too I recommend myself
therefore once again and always to your undying charity and to the mercy
of the Lord.

[initials]

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 4 July 1940-XVIII

Reverend Brother,

I have received your letter of the 29th of last month and I think I can
omit describing the disastrous impression that its hundred percent negative
content left in my mind. After so many hopes and so much anxiety and so
much suffering my disappointment and my pain are easier to imagine than
to express in words.
I showed the letter to these patrons of mine from the higher clergy and
what I can tell you is that they too were dismayed, less perhaps for the
thing in and of itself, than for the effect it had on me, the more grievous
in proportion to their assurances and encouragement in my case, based on
a general, profound conviction of my sound reasons!
While I attach to the present letter a new copy of my discrimination doc-
uments, this time supplemented with a few marginal notations of mine to
accentuate their value, I insist on declaring forthwith that I cannot pro-
nounce myself defeated. And in stating this I find comfort in the opinion
newly expressed as recently as yesterday by high functionaries in our Pre-
fecture, who, equally, cannot explain the rejection of my appeals. Therefore,
I hope you will forgive this reply of mine intended to convince especially you
personally, Reverend Brother, and through your courteous intercession, also
the Most Reverend Father [Tacchi Venturi], of the undoubted wrong which,
due to some fateful circumstance continues to prevail against me.
96 primary sources

Anzitutto in fatto di arianit del mio figliuolo vorrei osservare: ammetto


2 che il fatto dellavere egli contratto matrimonio | secondo il rito ebraico
possa magari anche infirmare un poco la di lui situazione di cristiano bat-
tezzato, nato da madre e da discendenti ariani, ma ci potrebbe avere
tuttal pi qualche valore sotto il puro aspetto religioso, poich la legge
esclude dal beneficio dellarianit riconosciuta soltanto coloro che recen-
temente abbiano fatto professione di sentimenti filosemiti, mentre mio
figlio ha fatto anzi da ultimo professioni di sentimenti cristiani col prov-
vedere in data del 17 settembre 1938-XVI ad accentuare mediante speciale
dichiarazione al cospetto delle competenti autorit ecclesiastiche la propria
appartenenza alla Chiesa Cristiana Cattolica Romana. Ora, dal momento
che la legge contempla esplicitamente questo caso in apposito comma e
non accorda il beneficio dellarianit se non a quei misti che al 1 Otto-
bre 1938-XVI erano cristiani, perch si dovrebbe negarlo a mio figlio che
appare con ci perfettamente in regola? questo il nocciolo attorno al
quale si aggira tutta la questione, la quale non mi pare lasciar dubbi di
sorta.
Del restoed qui che io mi ero permesso di fare affidamento sullim-
mensa misericordia del Signore, sulla grande bont del Molto Reverendo
Padre e sulla di lui non meno grande autorit in alto locopoich si tratta
di esercitare unopera di grazia atta a salvare una povera anima afflitta e
menomata, io speravo ardentemente che, anche se nellinterpretazione di
questa particolare legge (ci che accade del resto per tutte le leggi umane)
potessero sorgere dei dubbi da parte delluno o dellaltro di coloro che a
3 tale compito sono chiamati, il Molto Reverendo Padre avrebbe avuto in |
extremis la generosit di intervenire personalmente per chiarire in alto loco
le cose e far pendere la bilancia dalla parte che sino a prova del contrario si
deve ammettere sia quella della giustizia!
E qui voglio dire a voi, in confidenza, unaltra cosa non poco importante.
Mi consta da parecchi casi molto ma molto pi pregiudicati del mio che
sono stati risolti anche recentemente in pieno favore dei postulanti. Io non
so a quali argomenti, migliori di quelli di mio figlio, possano essere ricorsi
i postulanti. Lungi da me naturalmente dal fare insinuazioni maligne. Non
posso per fare a meno di aggiungere che, se unopera di beneficenza civile
e religiosa, grata al Signore, e sopportata con grave sacrificio personale,
pu valere a dimostrare la sincerit del animo mio nel chiedere ci che
reputo giusto, io sono prontissimo alla elargizione massima che posso fare.
E io spero che anche un uomo dellaltissimo valore del Molto Reverendo
Padre non rifiuter quello che posso offrire a sollievo dei bisogni corporali e
spirituali dei poveri.
4. eugenio berger 97

Above all, concerning the fact of the Aryan status of my son I should like
to observe: I admit that the fact he married | according to the Jewish rite 2
might weaken slightly his situation as a baptized Christian, born of a Chris-
tian mother and descendants, but that at the most could have some value
under a purely religious aspect, since the law excludes from the benefit of
having ones Aryan status recognized only those who recently have made
profession of philo-Semitic sentiments, while my son, instead, has most
recently made profession of Christian sentiments by arranging on Septem-
ber 17, 1938-XVI to verify his belonging to the Holy Roman Catholic Church
in the presence of the competent ecclesiastical authorities. Now, from the
moment that the law explicitly contemplates this case in the apposite rubric
[apposito comma] and does not accord the benefit of Aryan status except to
those mixed bloods who were Christian on October 1, 1938-XVI, why should
it be denied to my son who appears in this regard to be perfectly in order?
This is the nub around which the whole question rotates, which seems to
leave no doubt of any sort.
Besidesand here I have permitted myself to rely on the immense mercy
of the Lord, on the great goodness of the Most Reverend Father and on his
great influence in high placessince it is a matter of promoting a deed
of grace capable of saving a poor afflicted and downtrodden soul. I hoped
ardently that even if in the interpretation of this particular law (which
actually is the case for all human laws), doubts could arise on the part of one
or another of those summoned to adjudicate it, the Most Reverend Father
would have had | as a last resort the generosity to personally intervene to 3
clarify things at a high level and cause the scale to tip on the side which,
until there is contrary evidence, must be admitted to be that of justice!
And here I would like to tell you confidentially something else which is
not without importance. I am aware of many cases much more compro-
mised than mine which have been resolved, even recently, in favor of the
supplicants. I cannot imagine what arguments, more persuasive than my
sons they could have used. It is far from my mind to make malignant insinu-
ations. However, I cannot refrain from adding that if a work of civic and reli-
gious beneficence, congenial to the Lord, and supported by grave personal
sacrifice, can serve to demonstrate the sincerity of my heart in beseeching
what I consider to be just, I am more than ready to make the maximum
donation that I am able. And I hope that a man of the highest ideals of the
Most Reverend Father will not refuse what I can offer to relieve the physical
and spiritual needs of the poor.
98 primary sources

questa lultima lettera che io vi scrivo in argomento e vi prego quindi


unultima volta molto caldamente di voler riflettere a tutto il contenuto
della medesima e di vedere se e come sia il caso di intervenire ancora una
volta presso il Molto Reverendo Padre per indurlo ad avere piet di me e
adire con ferma convinzione in luogo competente quella parola che valga a
tagliare la testa ad ogni tergiversazione burocratica, ad ogni troppo letterale
e ingenerosa interpretazione della legge razziale.
4 Per ci che concerne poi la mia discriminazione mi venne ri|assicurato
in prefettura che, in mancanza di miei meriti di natura militare (infatti
alla mia et non mi sarebbe dato di impugnare le armi e non avrei potuto
farlo nemmeno [] qualche anno fa), i documenti da me prodotti non
solo, ma, da sole, gi le informazioni da qui fornite anche recentemente
sul mio conto a richiesta dellEcc.mo Ministero, dovrebbero essere pi che
sufficienti per giustificare una generosit che nei riguardi di un vecchio, il
quale non chiede altro che di poter lavorare ancora per qualche anno, non
parrebbe eccessiva.
Scrivo contemporaneamente qualche parola anche al Molto Reverendo
Padre, al quale comunico di avere esposto di nuovo a Voi il mio ultimo
pensiero in argomento. Vogliate avere la bont di leggergli la presente e di
farmi poi conoscere la sua riverita decisione, e che Il Signore Vi colmi per la
Vostra carit di tutte le benedizioni terrene ed eterne!
Vi prego frattanto di gradire lespressione di tutto il mio umile ossequio.

dev.mo
[original signature]

P.S. Vi sar particolarmente grato se vorrete attirare la particolare attenzione


del Vostro Reverendo Padre anche sulle quattro pezze dappoggio qui unite
e sulle annotazioni marginali da me fattevi!
4. eugenio berger 99

This is the last letter I am writing to you on the subject and thus I warmly
beseech you one more time to reflect on its content in its entirety and decide
if and how it may be the case to intercede one more time with the Most
Reverend Father to persuade him to have mercy on me and firmly introduce
in the appropriate place that word which may avail to decapitate any sort of
bureaucratic stalling, any sort of too literal and too mean interpretation of
the racial law.
As for that which concerns my discrimination I was again | reassured in 4
prefecture that, in view of my lack of military merits (in fact at my age it
would not have been possible for me to take up arms and I could not even
have done it [] some years ago), not only the documents I produced, but,
by itself the information already furnished from here even recently on my
account at the request of the Most Honorable Ministry, should be more than
sufficient to justify a generosity which would not seem excessive, in the case
of an old man who asks nothing more than to be able to work for another
few years.
I shall write briefly also to the Most Reverend Father, to whom I shall
relate that I have again communicated to You my final thought on the case.
Would you have the goodness to read the present letter to him and then to
let me know his revered decision, and may the Lord bestow on You because
of your charity all earthly and eternal benedictions!
I beseech you in the meantime to accept this expression of my most
humble respects.

Most devotedly
[original signature]

P.S. I would be especially grateful to you if you would draw the special
attention of Your Reverend Father even on the four supporting documents
here enclosed and on my marginal comments.
100 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, l 8 luglio 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Mi trovo costretto a far seguito alla mia devota del 3 corrente per informarvi
di quanto mi disse ieri il Rev. Parroco della Parrocchia della Beata Vergine
delle Grazie da me messo al corrente della sfavorevole piega assunta dalla
pendente questione del riconoscimento dellarianit legale del mio figlio.
Ci varr, lo spero, a meglio illustrare la situazione di fatto e a rafforzare
nella Vostra anima benefica il desiderio di giovare al mio povero figliuolo.
Il Reverendo in parola, dal quale mio figlio dipende, mi fece osservare
essere necessario dinformare le alte gerarchie chiamate a decidere intorno
al suo caso che egli mai rinunci alla propria religione. Se fece il matrimonio
nella chiesa ebraica, si fu unicamente per accondiscendere alla moglie,
la quale alla sua volta non voleva rattristare i propri genitori. Egli sapeva
daltro canto che la cosa era permessa dalla legge e che agli effetti civili essa
equivaleva in tutto e per tutto al matrimonio civile. Egli mai pens e credette
che il suo atto dovesse essere inteso quale un favoreggiamento dellebraismo.
Molto Reverendo Padre, io vi scongiuro nel santo nome di Dio di far
accettare questo concetto, il solo giusto ed esatto, da codesti signori del
Ministero!
Gradite con i miei pi devoti ringraziamenti i miei umili ossequi con cui
mi professo

dev.mo e obb.mo
[original signature]
4. eugenio berger 101

* * *
Eugenio Berger
Via delle Aiuole, N. 4

Trieste, 8 July 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

I find myself obliged to follow up my respectful letter of the 3rd to inform


you what was told to me yesterday by the Reverend Priest of the Parish of
Our Blessed Lady of Grace whom I had informed of the unfavorable turn
taken by the pending question of the recognition of the Aryan status of my
son.
It will serve, I hope, to better illustrate the actual situation and strengthen
in your own beneficent soul the desire to assist my poor son.
The Reverend in question, my sons parish priest, observed to me that it
was essential to inform the high bureaucracies entrusted to decide his case
that he never renounced his own religion. If he married in the Jewish church,
it was simply to please his wife, who, in turn, did not want to aggrieve her
parents. He knew moreover that the thing was permitted by law and that
from the legal point of view it was the equivalent in every and all respects
to civil matrimony. He never thought or imagined that his act would be
understood as showing favor to Judaism.
Reverend Father, I beseech you in Gods holy name to have these persons
of the Ministry accept this concept!
Please accept with my most devout thanks my most humble respects with
which I am

Most devotedly and obligedly


[original signature]
102 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 6

Trieste, l 16 luglio 1940-XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Confermo le devotissime mie del 3 e dell8 corrente e Vi domando scusa


se, nellansia indescrivibile in cui vivo, mi arrogo il diritto di disturbare
senza tregua Voi che tanti altri importanti compiti avete da assolvere e che,
nella Vostra stragrande bont, non avete ancora voluto pronunciare nei miei
riguardi la parola basta! Gli che, nellincertezza in cui vivo, mi pare di non
avere mai detto abbastanza in difesa della mia posizione. Anche questa volta
infatti qualche cosa di nuovo c chio non posso mancare di portare a Vostra
conoscenza perch abbiate la compiacenza di valervene nel mio interesse.
Mentre dunque nelle suddette mie mi sono permesso di riepilogare in
modo a mio parere inconfutabile tutte le documentazioni che stanno a
provare impugnabilmente il diritto del mio figliuolo allarianit legale
confortato in ci dallunanime parere di alte personalit ecclesiastiche che
da tempo mi onorano dei loro consigli e del loro interessamento, e per que-
sto non ho dunque pi che da attendere il risultato dellopera di persuasione,
che, voglio sperarlo, il Vostro grande cuore sta esercitando sui fattori compe-
tenti, nella questione della mia auspicata discriminazione, mi permetto di
aggiungere alle documentazioni sinora esibite la copia di altro documento,
da me sinora trascurato, ma che queste autorit politiche, con le quali mi
trovo giornalmente in contatto, mi fanno un torto di non avere peranco fatto
valere.
Alla lettera del ex-presidente del Fascio rionale di Barcola testificante
la mia piena adesione al P.N.F. sin dal 1921, a quella di S.E. il Ministro di
2 Stato e Senatore del Regno dott. Giorgio Pitac|co, dalla quale risulta, spero,
chiaramente e inequivocabilmente provato il mio pensiero politico, a quella
del Cav. e ex-consigliere municipale di Trieste Luigi Rutter, mio ex-superiore,
che parla certo in mio pieno favore nello stesso senso e a quella infine di
S.E. Tiengo, ex-prefetto di Gorizia, la quale conferma ufficialmente e da parte
dello stesso Ministero dellInterno il mio significativo atteggiamento nei
riguardi della Milizia Confinaria di Zolla, a cui, durante tutto un rigidissimo
inverno, io ebbi a mettere gratuitamente a disposizione la mia casa per
4. eugenio berger 103

* * *
Eugenio BergerTrieste
Via delle Aiuole, N. 6

Trieste, 16 July 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

I confirm my most devout letters to you of the 3rd and the 8th and I ask
for Your forgiveness if, in the indescribable anxiety in which I find myself,
I claim the right to disturb without cease You who have so many other
important duties to absolve and who, in Your overwhelming goodness, have
not yet chosen to say to me the word enough! The fact is that in the
uncertainty in which I live, it seems to me that I have never said enough
in defense of my position. In fact, this time too there is something new that
I cannot fail to bring to your attention so that you may be kind enough to
use it in my interest.
In my aforementioned letters I permitted myself to reiterate in a way that
to me seems irrefutable all the documentation which proves unquestion-
ably my sons right to legal Aryan status. I am supported in this by the unan-
imous opinion of high ecclesiastical authorities who for a considerable time
have honored me with their counsel and their interest, and for which rea-
son there remains nothing but to await the result of the work of persuasion
which, I dare hope, Your great heart is exerting in the competent quarters, in
the question of my hoped for discrimination. I permit myself to add to the
documentation submitted thus far, the copy of another document, which I
have neglected until now, but which has not been given due weight by these
political authorities, with whom I am in daily contact, thereby doing me a
disservice.
To the letter of the ex-president of the Fascist cell of Barcola testifying
to my full membership in the Fascist party from 1921, to that of His Excel-
lency the Minister of State and Senator of the Realm Dr. Giorgio Pitacco, | 2
from which, I hope, my political thought emerges clearly and unequivo-
cally proven, to that of the knight and ex-municipal councillor of Trieste
Luigi Rutter, my former superior, who certainly speaks fully in my favor in
the same sense and similar to that of His Excellency Tiengo, ex-prefect of
Gorizia, which confirms officially and also on the part of the Ministry of
the Interior itself my significant posture in regard to the Border Militia of
Zolla, to which, during a most severe winter, I made available free of charge
104 primary sources

fornire alla medesima un comodo alloggio che altrimenti le sarebbe venuto


a mancare, voglio ora aggiungere (qui allegata) la copia di uno scritto rila-
sciato in data del 14 settembre 1938-XVI dalla Signora Elsa Viale, Segretaria
rionale del Gruppo Fascista Angelo Crena alla camerata Adele Berger (mia
moglie) per lattivit da questa prestata in favore del suddetto gruppo. Di
questa lettera tengo a disposizione loriginale. Anche questo documento sta
a provare lindubbia fede e il continuo interessamento che tanto io quanto la
mia famiglia non abbiano mai cessato di portare per la santa causa del Par-
tito e del Paese e vorr, lo spero, essere tenuto nel giusto conto da parte degli
altri fattori che hanno da statuire in ultima linea in fatto di benemerenze.
Le quali benemerenze, mi permetto di riaccentuarlo, dovrebbero essere
logicamente vagliate alla stregua di quanto uno in grado di fare nel movi-
mento politico della nazione in relazione alle proprie individuali possibilit
e alla posizione che nella vita civile occupa. Il concetto di benemerenze
insigni, di cui fatto cenno nellultima lettera scrittami per evidente Vostro
3 incarico dal Reverendo Fratello Lucas, non pu esse|re considerato come
assoluto; esso va allincontro determinato piuttosto dalle intenzioni che
dalle opere insigni, epper io sento e so che le mie intenzioni non rimasero
mai indietro, ma camminarono sempre alla pari delle opere di chicchessia!
Vogliate dunque, Molto Reverendo Padre, Ve ne supplico ancora unulti-
ma volta nel nome del Signore Misericordioso che sapr degnamente rime-
ritarvene in questa e nellaltra vita, valervi della Vostra altissima autorit per
far accettare a chi di dovere quei concetti di giusta ed equanime valutazione
che valgano a mettere anche in tale riguardo le mie povere opere, anche se
non insigni nello stretto senso della parola, alla stessa altezza di quelle di
altri, non pochi, che godono gi della discriminazione per essersi trovati in
una posizione tale da vedere qualificate per insigni le loro benemerenze per
lo meno in linea morale equivalenti alle mie!
Mentre Ve ne porgo sin dora tutti i miei pi devoti ringraziamenti appro-
fitto delloccasione per esprimerVi, Molto Reverendo Padre, i sensi del pi
profondo giubilo per il quarto centenario della fondazione della Compagnia
di Ges, della quale siete degna guida e Maestro.

Con tutto lossequio dev.mo e umil.mo


[original signature]
4. eugenio berger 105

my house thus furnishing to the same a comfortable abode which it would


not have had otherwise. To these I now would like to add (see the enclosed)
the copy of a document dated September 14, 1938-XVI from Mrs Elsa Viale,
District Secretary of the Fascist Group Angelo Crema to the Party member
Adele Berger (my wife) for the activity she performed on behalf of that
group.114 I have the original of that letter in case it is needed. Even this
document proves the undoubted faith and the continuous interest that I and
my family have never ceased to hold for the holy cause of Party and Nation.
I hope that it will be accorded its just due along with the other factors which
should be considered as final criteria in regard to merits.
These merits, I permit myself to repeat, logically should be weighed in
the light of what a person is able to do in the political movement of the
nation in relation to his own individual possibilities and to the position that
he occupies in civic life. The concept of notable merits mentioned in the
last letter written to me evidently at Your behest by Reverend Brother Lucas,
cannot be | considered as absolute; instead it should be determined more 3
from intentions rather than notable deeds, and I sense and know that my
intentions never remained inferior, but always were equal to anyone elses!
Thus, Most Reverend Father, I beseech You one more time in the name of
the Merciful Lord who will know how to reward you in this and the next life:
take advantage of Your high authority to see that the responsible persons
accept these concepts of just and fair-minded evaluation that will serve to
accord proper consideration to my poor works even if they are not notable in
the strict sense of the word and are not on the same level as those of others,
not a few, who already enjoy discrimination because they found themselves
in a position where their merits were deemed notable, even though morally
speaking at least are equivalent to mine!
While I extend to you in advance my most sincere thanks I take the oppor-
tunity to express to You, Most Reverend Father, my feelings of profound joy
for the fourth centenary of the foundation of the Society of Jesus, of which
You are a worthy guide and Master.

With deep respect I am most devotedly and humbly


[original signature]

114 The real name of Bergers wife was Adele Rumpler whom he married in Vienna on
September 19, 1918.
5. Roberto Berger

Tacchi Venturis archive contains no other document regarding the case of


Roberto Berger other than the following letter he wrote to the Jesuit on
April 30, 1939. Nothing, therefore, is known about him from the Jesuits
papers, except that he was a Catholic Israelite allowed to stay in Italy
as Tacchi Venturi wrote on Bergers folderand that he lived in Milan.
The letter, in response to Tacchi Venturis postcard, informs that Berger had
received a permit to prolong his sojourn in Italy until June 10, 1939. There was
a possibility that the Demorazza granted him even permanent permission
to live in the country. Berger acknowledges Tacchi Venturis constant efforts
and prayers in obtaining this concession.
From other sources it is known that Roberto Berger (190650) was the
father of Enzo and Tommaso (19292009), a famous Italian entrepreneur
who invented the water Levissima, among other known brands of water
and coffee and who died in Rio de Janeiro. Tommys grandfather, Ignazio
(d. 1938), whotogether with his brother Albertoescaped the tsarist per-
secution in White Russia and settled in Vienna, was the inventor of Nitroli-
nol, an oil lubricant used by the army, and Guttalin, a shoe paste.
Tommaso had a son by the name of Roberto (it is a common practice
among Italian families to give a son the name of his grandfather) who was
shortly married to the famous Italian singer, Loredana Bert,115 and two
daughters, Donata (b. 1959) and Simona (b. 1961). All three siblings have
their own children: RobertoThomas and Nicholas (with his second wife,
Paola); DonataJonathan; and SimonaMartina and Trudy. The records of
Jews who escaped to Switzerland, and Tommys autobiography, reveal that
Roberto, Gertrud, Tommaso, Enzo, and the uncle Alberto were able to escape
there in November of 1943. After the war, the family returned to Milan.
Francesco Carnelutti (18791965), a friend of Paolo Toffanin (18901971) who
did business with Berger, recommended Roberto Berger to Tacchi Venturi.
In his autobiographical account, Tommy Berger narrated a story of how
his entire family was invited by Tacchi Venturi to become Catholic. Writing
from a perspective of many years, Tommy confessed: I am a Jew [] because
of my family history and education.116

115 See Tommasos obituary in Corriere della sera: http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/2009/


ottobre/13/padre_del_caffe_Hag_morto_co_9_091013110.shtml (accessed January 2016).
116 Tommy Berger, Onora il padre: Autobiografia di un imprenditore (Venice: Marsilio, 2007),
80.
108 primary sources

* * *

ROBERTO BERGER
MILANO
PIAZZALE FIUME 10
TEL. 65-929
30 Aprile 1939
Reverendissimo
Padre Pietro Tacchi Venturi
Roma

Molto Reverendo Padre,

infinite grazie della Sua cartolina del 13 corrente alla quale rispondo oggi,
avendo atteso la comunicazione ufficiale della proroga da Lei, Reverendis-
simo Padre, annunciatami.
Questa comunicazione ho avuto ieri. Io possoper merito Suo, tanto
buon Padrerimanere fino al 10 giugno. Contemporaneamente arrivato
dalla Direzione Generale (S.E. Bocchini), in seguito a richiesta fatta dalla
Demografia e Razza, domanda sulla mia condotta morale, politica e civile,
dovendo il Ministero decidere sul mio permesso permanente.
La risposta a questa richiesta partirsalvo che il Questore non faccia
2 come laltra voltadomani per la firma in Prefettura e | dopodomani per
Roma, con risposta ottima.
Ho voluto segnalare questo importante fatto che ritengo il seguito delle
Sue incessante fatiche e preghiere per me e la mia famiglia.
Non appena sar partito il responso da Milano, scriver nuovamente e fra
una settimana verrei a Roma.
Tante, infinite grazie, Reverendissimo padre insieme ai miei devoti saluti.

Suo umilissimo servo,


Roberto Berger
5. roberto berger 109

* * *
[FTV 2249]

Roberto Berger
Milan
Piazzale Fiume 10
Tel. 65-929
30 April 1939
Most Reverend
Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi
Rome

Most Reverend Father,

Many thanks for your postcard of the 13th to which I reply only today, having
waited for the official notification of the extension about which You, Most
Reverend Father, informed me.
This communication came yesterday. I canthanks to You, so very good
Fatherremain until June 10. Contemporaneously, I received from the Gen-
eral Administration (His Excellency Bocchini), following a request made by
the Demografia e Razza, an inquiry concerning my moral, political and civic
conduct, since the Ministry must decide on my permanent permit [to remain].
The reply to this request will go off tomorrowunless the Questore
[Police Chief] does as he did the other timefor the signature in Prefecture
and | the day after tomorrow for Rome, with a most favorable reply. 2
I wanted to mention this important fact to you which I consider the
consequence of Your incessant efforts and prayers for me and my family.
As soon as the reply shall leave Milan, I shall write anew and a week later
I would come to Rome.
Many, infinite, thanks, Most Reverend Father, together with my devout
salutations.

Your most humble servant


Roberto Berger
6. Giacomo Bergmann

Giacomo Bergmann was the son of Salomone Girolamo. He worked as


ophthalmologist in Verona. In December 1938, he submitted an applica-
tion for discrimination based on his voluntary service during WWI. The
lack of an official document proving it resulted in the denial of discrim-
ination, in spite of a number of testimonies to Bergmanns service that
were attached to the application. Dr. Bergmann then asked for help from
the nephew of Tacchi Venturi, Pino, whom he had known in Verona for
many years.117 The following is the letter that Pino wrote to his uncle, ask-
ing for his intercession, because Bergmannhe wroteis a very upright
person, of ultra-Italian sentiments, highly competent in his professional
field.
Five days later Tacchi Venturi wrote a letter to Secretary Le Pera, in which
he explained that Bergmanns case was warmly recommended to him by
Senator Luigi Montresor (18621948) and his other friends of Verona and
that Giacomos brother, Emanuele Filiberto Bergmann, had been already
granted discrimination. Tacchi Venturis archive contains no other infor-
mation regarding Bergmanns case.

* * *

Verona, 15 Settembre 1939-XVIIo

Carissimo Zio,

Il Dott. Prof. Bergmann, israelita, valente oculista veronese, ha fatto le prati-


che per la discriminazione e mi diede il relativo pro-memoria che ti accludo.
persona onestissima, di sentimenti italianissimi, di grande competenza
nel campo professionale (il fratello suo, Ing. Emanuele Filiberto, gi stato
discriminato).
Egli a mio mezzo si raccomanda a Te, perch ove possa, voglia spendere
in suo favore una tua parola; e anticipatamente Ti ringrazia.

117 Tacchi Venturis nephew, Pino, is mentioned in the letter Colonel Lombard, the husband
of Nadejda de Poliakoff, wrote to Tacchi Venturi. See Chpater 13.
6. giacomo bergmann 111

* * *
[FTV 2317]

Verona, 15 September 1939-XVII

Dearest Uncle,

Dr. Prof. Bergmann, a Jew, an excellent Veronese oculist, has put in an appli-
cation for discrimination and he gave me the relative memorandum which I
enclose. He is a very upright person, of ultra-Italian sentiments, highly com-
petent in his professional field (his brother Ing. Emanuele Filiberto already
has his discrimination).
Through me he recommends himself to You, so that, where possible, you
may expend a word in his behalf; and he thanks You in advance.
112 primary sources

Avrei fatto a meno, caro Zio, di darTi questa noia, ma al Bergmann


stato detto che soltanto Tu puoi fare qualche cosa, e naturalmente poich
mi conosce fin dal 1922, anzich di rivolgersi a Te attraverso il Senatore
Montresor, ha preferito venire direttamente da me, sapendomi Tuo nipote.
Come gi saprai fin dal 3 settembre u.s., sono stato richiamato e pre-
sto servizio presso lArmata del Po a Verona; il Comandante dellarmata
S.E. Basico Cav. di Gr. Croce Ettore.
Di Te mi ha parlato di nuovo il Prefetto di Verona, Letta Comm. Dott.
Guido. Mi ha pregato di avvertirlo nelleventualit che Tu venga a Verona,
desiderando ossequiarTi. A questo proposito Ti sarei grato se mi mandassi
una commendatizia per Lui al semplice scopo che S.E. Letta non ritenga
2 che sia un Tuo nipote del tutto | tuo indegno. E cos pure desiderei un tuo
biglietto per S.E. Bastico, nel caso che tu lo conosca direttamente.
Ti ringrazio anticipatamente.
Come stai? Sei perfettamente guarito? Ci rincresce moltissimo non po-
terti accompagnare a Roma Pier Cesare, al quale ha tanto giovato il sog-
giorno in montagna; egli serba di Te un costante vivissimo ricordo. Il mio
richiamo e la situazione generale hanno mandato a monte i nostri progetti:
speriamo in una prossima graditissima visita Tua.
Accogli, caro Zio, i saluti affettuosi di tutti e i nostri fervidi auguri per la
tua salute.

Tuo nipote Pino


6. giacomo bergmann 113

I could have avoided giving you this nuisance, dear Uncle, but Bergmann
has been told that only You are in a position to do something, and, naturally,
for he has known me since 1922, instead of approaching You through Senator
Montresor, he has preferred to come to me directly, knowing that I was Your
nephew.
As You already are aware from the 3rd of last month, I have been called
back into service and am attached to the Army of the Po in Verona; the
commander of the unit is His Excellency Ettore Bastico, Knight of the Great
Cross.
The Prefect of Verona, Commendatore Dr. Guido Letta has again men-
tioned You. He has asked me to tell him should You come to Verona, since
he would like to pay his respects to You. In this regard I would be most grate-
ful to You if You could send me a letter of recommendation for Him simply
so that His Excellency Letta should not think that I am Your totally unworthy
nephew. And similarly I would appreciate a note from You for His Excellency
Bastico, in case You know him personally.
How are You? Are You totally cured? It pains us deeply that we can-
not accompany to Rome Pier Cesare, who has profited so greatly from his
sojourn in the mountains. He has an enduring most happy memory of You.
My recall to service and the general situation have upset our plans: we hope
for a most welcome visit from You before too long.
Please accept, dear Uncle, the most affectionate greetings from all of us
and our fervent good wishes for Your health.

Your nephew
Pino
7. Aurelio Brckner

Aurelio Brckner was born January 7, 1905 in Trieste, the birthplace of his
mother. His Jewish father was probably born somewhere in the Ottoman
empire but became a legal resident of Trieste before 1919, the terminus ad
quem required by the racial legislation to maintain Italian citizenship. He
had four siblings but only Emilio is named in a few documents that are pre-
served in Tacchi Venturis archive. Little biographical information, therefore,
is available: in 1921, Aurelio enrolled in the Italian navy, which would have
made him to be unofficially considered an Italian citizen. During this service
he fell ill and Tacchi Venturi helped him in some way, but from the follow-
ing letter it is unclear how. At any rate, Brckner felt encouraged to get in
touch with the Jesuit again in order to help him solve the administrative
obstacles to his planned wedding with the Catholic woman called Amalia
Felicetti. It was set for October 15, 1942, just five days after he wrote to the
Jesuit. According to a state clerk in Genoa, where he resided in the neigh-
borhood of Nervi, Brckner could not contract this marriage, because he
was the son of a foreign Jew. In spite of Brckners assurance in his letter to
Tacchi Venturi that his entire family on both sides was Catholic, Italian, and
Aryan, a letter from Tacchi Venturiwho intercededto Undersecretary
Le Via from November 1942 indicates the reason why the local authorities
of Genoa would not allow Brckner to marry. He needed an official recog-
nition of his Aryan status from the Ministry of the Interior, for his father
(who was not born in Italy) must have been considered Jewish. A reply from
the Demorazza to the Jesuit indicated that the committee would examine
Brckners case but it is unknown what its final decision was.
The following letter explains the details of Brckners case. In it, he
claims that the racial laws (which are not expressly named) simply could
not define him as Jewish and thus he had full right to marry a Catholic
woman. Brckner believed in Tacchi Venturis influence on our Duce and
highlighted his important position in the ranks of the Fascist Party.
116 primary sources

* * *

Genova, 10/X/1942/XXo

Ill.mo e Rev.mo P. P. TACCHI VENTURI,

Vogliate perdonarmi, se ricorro alla Vostra provata bont, ma, lo faccio per-
ch so che posso contare sulla Vostra benevolenza e perch so che nessuno
meglio di Voi, specialmente in questo caso, pu aiutarmi.
Come vedete dallacclusa lettera indirizzata al Parroco di Nervi [don
Bagnasco], dopo che questi aveva gi affisso le pubblicazioni di matrimo-
nioavendo egli trovato in perfetta regola i documenti che avevo presen-
tatooggi mi si rifiuta di celebrare anche il matrimonio religioso perch
lufficiale di stato civile ha letto sul mio certificato di nascita che mio padre
nato allestero e [] mi considera quindi di nazionalit di origine stra-
niera.
A nulla sono valse le documentazioni da me presentate e dimostranti
che essendo io triestino, figlio di madre triestina e di padre che in data
anteriore al 24 maggio 1915 aveva la PIENA PERTINENZA A TRIESTE, non mi
si doveva considerare alla stregua del figlio di un turco che a Bari ha preso
la cittadinanza italiana e quindi deve sottostare al Decreto Ministeriale
del 1938 che stabilisce che cittadini italiani di origine straniera debbono
chiedere il nulla osta per poter contrarre matrimonio.
Come vedete dallacclusa lettera del Capo di Gabinetto del Prefetto, ho gi
presentato tutti i documenti per ottenere il nulla osta ministeriale, ma sono
ancora in attesa, se la faccenda potr essere risolta qui in sede provinciale,
dato che per tutti quanti hanno un po di buon senso, sono considerato
italiano di origine, come lo sono di cittadinanza.
Purtroppoper gravi motivi che ho gi esposto anche al Parroco di
Nervinon posso rimandare la data che era fissata per il 15 ottobre p.v.
e daltro canto il dirigente lufficio matrimoni della Curia non autorizza il
parroco a celebrare il matrimonio, se prima non ha la matematica sicurezza
che tale matrimonio sar poi registrato anche agli effetti civili.
Alluopo mi sono fatto fare la dichiarazione del capo di gabinetto del
prefettoche allegoma, purtroppo monsignore reggente lufficio matri-
moni non ancora soddisfatto, malgrado sia pi che chiaro che ora si tratta
semplicemente di stabilire CHI DEVE DARE IL NULLA OSTA, cio se la Pre-
fettura di Genova oppure il Ministero dellInterno.
7. aurelio brckner 117

* * *
[FTV 2613]

Genoa, 10 October 1942-XX

Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Fr. P. Tacchi Venturi,

I hope you will forgive me if I appeal to Your proven goodness, but I do so


because I know I can count on Your benevolence and because I know that
no one better than You can help me, especially in the present case.
As one can see from the enclosed letter addressed to the parish priest
of Nervi [don Bagnasco], after he had already posted the wedding bans
having found that the documents I had submitted were perfectly in order
today he refuses even to celebrate the religious wedding service because the
registrar of marriages read on my birth certificate that my father was born
abroad and [] thus considers me originally of foreign nationality.
Of no avail are the documents that I have presented which show that
since I am of Trieste, son of a mother from Trieste and of a father who
prior to May 24, 1915 FULLY BELONGED TO TRIESTE, I should not have
been considered by the standards of a son of a Turk who took his Italian
citizenship in Bari and thus must be ruled by the Ministerial Decree of 1938
which establishes that Italian citizens of foreign origin must obtain a permit
to contract matrimony.
As you can see from the enclosed letter from the Prefects chief of staff,
I have already presented all the necessary documents to obtain ministerial
permission, but am still waiting, hoping that it will be possible to resolve the
matter at the provincial level, since for everyone who has a bit of good sense,
I am considered Italian by origin, as I am by citizenship.
Unfortunately, for serious reasons that I have already explained to the
parish priest of Nervi, I cannot postpone the date which had been fixed,
October 15. On the other hand, the head of the marriage office in the epis-
copal Curia cannot authorize the priest to celebrate the wedding, if he does
not have the prior mathematical certainty that the marriage will also be reg-
istered for civic purposes.
For this reason I have asked the Prefects chief of staff to make the
necessary declaration, here enclosed, but, unfortunately the monsignor who
directs the marriage bureau still is not satisfied, even though it is abundantly
clear that now it is simply a matter of establishing WHO HAS TO GIVE
PERMISSION, in other words the Prefecture of Genoa or the Ministry of the
Interior.
118 primary sources

Vi prego perciVoi Che siete tenuto in tanta considerazione dal nostro


DUCEesporre al Ministero dellInterno il mio caso, affinch telegrafica-
mente autorizzino il prefetto a dare ordini al podest, affinch si celebri
il mio matrimonio, tanto pi che al ministero c gi il mio certificato di
nascita, di battesimo ed i certificati di battesimo dei miei genitori e in
prefettura ho consegnato pure il mio foglio di congedo militare, passaporto e
carta didentit, ecc., documenti dai quali risulta che sono cittadino italiano,
di nazionalit italiana, di razza ariana e anche i miei nonni si trovavano nelle
mie stesse condizioni.
Voi che avete fatto tanto per me, quando causa la malattia presa in mis-
sione militare in Africa con la R. Marina mi trovavo in dolorose condizioni,
abbiate la bont di salvarmi anche ora che tanto ingiustamente mi si vuol
applicare una disposizione ministeriale che nemmeno mi riguarda.
Inoltre sono gerarca del partito, cio consultore comandato al Centro
Stranieri della Federazione dei Fasci di Combattimento di Genova e mem-
bro del Direttorio Comunale degli imp[renditori] metal[meccanici].

Aurelio Brckner Via Smirne 5/9 Genova


[original signature]
7. aurelio brckner 119

I beseech You, thereforeYou who are held in such high consideration


by our DUCEpresent my case to the Ministry of the Interior, so that
telegraphically it authorizes the prefect to order the mayor to allow my
marriage to be celebrated, especially since the ministry already has my
certificates of birth and of baptism and the baptismal certificates of my
parents; and to the prefecture I have provided also my discharge papers from
the military, passport, and identity card, etc., documents that demonstrate
that I am an Italian citizen, of Italian nationality, of the Aryan race and the
same for my grandparents.
You who did so much for me when, because of the sickness I suffered
during a military mission in Africa with the Royal Navy found myself in a
painful state, have the goodness to save me now also when so unjustly there
is an attempt to apply to me a ministerial disposition which does not even
pertain to me.
Moreover, I am a high official in the Party, specifically a consultant as-
signed to the Center for Foreigners of the Federation of Fascist Cells in
Genoa and member of the Municipal Directorium of Metal Contractors.

Aurelio Brckner, Via Smirne 5/9, Genoa


[original signature]
8. Alberto Calderoni

Very little biographical information about Alberto Calderoni, the son of


Sabato, is to be found in Tacchi Venturis archive, for there is no copy of
his application for discrimination. From the three short letters he wrote
to the Jesuit and from the governmental rejection letter, it is known that
he was a converted Jew, married to Ebe Helen Nacam (b. 8/19/1893), with
whom he had a daughter, Wanda. The latter married Giacomo Castelnuovo
with whom he had a son, Massimo. The Calderonis lived in Milan, in via
B. Panizza 9. Through their friend, a certain Mr. Capri, and with the recom-
mendation letter from their pastor of the Francesca Romana parish, they
contacted Tacchi Venturi who intervened. In his letter to Alberto Calderoni,
the Jesuit regretted that the Calderonis and his own desire of obtaining
the discrimination for them, their daughter, and their nephew could not
to be fulfilled. Yet he pointed out that the governmental decision was in
accordance with the racial law in forceunlike their son-in-lawAlberto
Calderoni did not possess the War Cross, which was required in order to be
discriminated.
From the records of the Jewish arrivals to Switzerland, 193845, it is
known that Ebe Calderoni arrived there in December 1943. Francesco Sco-
mazzon, in his Maledetti figli di Giuda, vi prenderemo!: La caccia nazifascista
agli ebrei in una terra di confine; Varese, 19431945 ([Varese: Arterigere-Esse-
zeta, 2005], 97) indicates that her husband accompanied her across the bor-
der.

* * *

Reverendissimo Padre,

Il nostro Reverendo Parroco, Don Ugo Ghislanzoni che, bont sua, ci tiene in
tanta considerazione, si degnato di raccomandarci a Voi a mezzo dellac-
clusa sua lettera che ci permettiamo inviarVi nella speranza di essere da
Voi appoggiati nella pratica di cui Vi parl di presenza lamico carissimo
Sig. Capri. Mia moglie ed io, cattolici convintissimi e praticanti, osiamo
sperare che prenderebbe a cuore la nostra supplica e fin dora Vi esprimiamo,
Reverendissimo Padre, tutta la nostra pi viva riconoscenza.
8. alberto calderoni 121

* * *
[FTV 2426]

Most Reverend Father,

Our Reverend Parish Priest, Don Ugo Ghislanzoni who, in his great goodness,
holds us in such high consideration, has condescended to recommend us to
You by means of his enclosed letter which we take the liberty of forwarding
to You in the hope that You will help us in the matter which our dear
friend Mr. Capri mentioned to You. My wife and I, convinced and practicing
Catholics, dare to hope that you will take our entreaty to heart, and we
express in advance, Most Reverend Father, our most sincere gratitude.
122 primary sources

di V.P. obbligatissimi
Alberto ed Ebe Calderoni
Milano, Via B. Panizza 9

* * *
Milano, 27.7.1940-XVIII

Reverendissimo Padre,

Lamico Capri mi ha gentilmente comunicato che la [] risposta stata


rimandata di qualche giorno.
Nel ringraziarLa ancora una volta per il suo gentile e Paterno interessa-
mento mi permetto disturbarLa di nuovo perch mi aiuti ancora e di ci Le
sar eternamente grato.
Attender ansioso Sua gradita comunicazione al mio indirizzo di Milano.
Frattanto mi permetto inviarLe i miei devoti ossequi.

Alberto Calderoni

* * *
Sig. Alberto Calderoni
Via Panizza 9
Milano

Ieri mattina mi fu comunicata dalla Direzione Generale Demografia e Razza


la risposta alla vostra pratica. Non far che trascriverla letteralmente [La
domanda stata presentata dal Calderoni Alberto il quale chiede discrimi-
nazione per s, per la moglie Nacam Ebe, la figlia Wanda e per il nipote Di
Castelnuovo Massimo di Giacomo. Di tutti solo la figlia ed il nipote potreb-
bero beneficiare delleventuale discriminazione del loro rispettivo marito e
padre Di Castelnuovo GiacomoCroce al merito di guerra.]
Mi dispiace che il tanto atteso responso non soddisfi i nostri desideri, ma
conviene anche riconoscere che esso conforme a quanto pei casi come il
vostro viene disposto dalla presente legge razziale.

Coi cordiali saluti mi confermo dev.mo


8. alberto calderoni 123

Of Your Paternity Most Gratefully


Alberto and Ebe Calderoni
Milan, Via B. Panizza 9

* * *
Milan, 27 July 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Friend Carpi has graciously communicated that the [] reply has been
postponed for a few days.
While thanking You anew for your gracious and Paternal interest, I take
the liberty of disturbing You once again that You may help me and for which
I shall be eternally grateful.
I shall await anxiously your welcome communications at my Milan ad-
dress. In the meantime, I permit myself to send you my most devout re-
spects.
Alberto Calderoni

* * *
Mr. Alberto Calderoni
Via Panizza 9
Milan

Yesterday morning, I received from the General Administration for Demog-


raphy and Race the reply to your request. I will simply transcribe it verbatim
[The request was presented by Calderoni Alberto who requests the discrim-
ination for himself, for his wife Nacambu Ebe, for his daughter Wanda, and
for his grandson Massimo, son of Giacomo Castelnuovo. Of the aforemen-
tioned only the daughter and grandson could in theory benefit from the
eventual discrimination of their respective husband and father Di Castel-
nuovo, Giacomo, a recipient of the War Cross.]
I regret that the long awaited reply does not correspond to our desires, but
we should also recognize that it conforms to that which in cases like yours
is prescribed by the present racial law.

Cordially, I am most devotedly


9. Silvio and Lya Calimani

Silvio and Lya Calimani were children of the mixed couple, the Jew Fausto
Calimani and the Catholic Gina Simoncelli. The former was born on Jan-
uary 15, 1921 and the latter on November 11, 1922. According to the sworn
testimony made in September 1938 (a copy of which is preserved in Tac-
chi Venturis archive) by their paternal aunt, Gemma Jommi Calimani, they
both were secretly baptized by the latter in a private ceremony the day of
their birth in the San Giorgio parish in Macerata (near the native town of
Tacchi Venturi). Their public and solemn baptism took place much later, on
December 30, 1938, after the promulgation of the racial laws. This is probably
why the Demorazza committee initially declared Silvio and Lya as belong-
ing to the Jewish race.
The person who apparently remained shocked the most by this decision
was their paternal aunt, Gemma Jommi, herself a convert from Judaism
and a zealous Catholic. She wrote the following letters to Tacchi Venturi,
whom she also went to see both in his office and confessional. There, she
describes her own conversionthat took place twenty-two years earlier
and how spiritually determined she was to fight for the salvation of her
older brothers children, about whose Christian formation she cared much.
In the appeal process, she produced testimony that the secret baptism
performed by her actually took place, a documentation that most likely
induced the governmental committee to change its earlier decision.
Along with a direct letter to Mussolini on behalf of her two older children,
Gina Simoncelli submitted also an application for the Aryanization of
[Maria] Grazia Calimani, the younger sister of Silvio and Lya, who was born
on May 16, 1939 and baptized ten days later.
Encouraged by the bishop of Macerata, Mons. Longinotti, and the Vatican
Secretariat of State (Jommi wrote also a letter to the pope), Tacchi Venturi
successfully interceded with Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi: in November
1940, Silvio and Lya Calimani were declared Aryan. Even before this new
decision, Tacchi Venturi managed to have Silvio Calimani enroll at the
University of Macerata, from which he had been barred as a Jew.
9. silvio and lya calimani 125

Fig. 13. Gemma Jommis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


126 primary sources

* * *

Macerata, 28 settembre 1939

Padre,

Dovrei scrivervi una semplice lettera di accompagno alla acclusa dichiara-


zione autenticata. Preferisco aprirvi il mio cuore, giacch partendomi da Voi,
ho scorto, nella luce dei Vostri occhi, linconfondibile carit cristiana.
Quelle due povere creature, Silvio e Lya Calimani, per cui lottiamo, deb-
bono essere salvate, non solo perch battezzati dalla nascita, non solo per-
ch la mia dichiarazione allArciprete Don Feroce del settembre 1938, ma
perch io, io sento che questa la volont santa di Dio.
La Sua palese Provvidenza su quei derelitti: Io sono di razza ebraica.
Dallinfanzia per sentii amore ed attrazione per quel Cristo santo che non
mi si faceva conoscere. Sposai un caro uomo cristiano mentre avrei potuto
scegliere un israelita. Volli che la mia bimba fosse battezzata dalla nascita.
Ventidue anni fa, io stessa, nel dolce convento S. Giuseppe di Bordighera,
venivo inondata, in modo meraviglioso, dalla luce di quella Fede che non
vacilla e, dalle sante mani del Cappuccino Pre Dsir des Planches, rice-
vevo con emozione indicibile il Battesimo e lOstia benedetta. Uscii dal
caro Convento inebriata e convinta di poter, con poco sforzo, convertire
il mondo intero. Ahim, come mi ingannavo! Nella mia famiglia israelita
il mio distacco prima provoc uno scandalo duro e doloroso, poi piano
piano venne il perdono, la persuasione, la simpatia. I miei due fratelli rab-
boniti sposarono due cristiane. Purtroppo per i loro bimbi furono iscritti
alla religione ebraica, cos, senza entusiasmo, ma per rispetto alla religione
avita. Io ne soffersi tanto da indurre Dio a venirmi in soccorso. Due di
queste creaturine, quelle del mio fratello maggiore qui stabilitisi in quei
tempi, nacquero a Macerata. Fui chiamata allassistenza al parto, non esi-
tai a impartire a quei due innocenti il battesimo segreto, ed a implorare
su loro, con tutto lanimo, la Provvidenza di Dio, di Cristo santo che tutto
pu.
Gli anni passarono. La mia azione su tutti e su quelle povere anime
combattute di bimbi, or da vicino or da lontano, non ebbe posa. Lottai per
giungere a scaldare le menti ed i cuori. I ragazzi, tornati definitivamente
qui nel 193435, furono da me assistiti, diretti, sostenuti, inviati alla scuola
di religione, e la bimba, consegnata e raccomandata alle Suore. Lazione di
9. silvio and lya calimani 127

* * *
[FTV 2333]

Macerata, 28 September 1939

Father,

I should write you a simple letter to accompany the enclosed authenticated


declaration. I prefer to open my heart to You, because when I left You, I
discerned in the sparkle of Your eyes, unmistakable Christian charity.
Those two poor creatures, Silvio and Lya Calimani, for whom we are
fighting, must be saved, not only because they were baptized at birth, not
only because my statement to the Archpriest Don Feroce dates to September
1938, but because I feel that this is the divine will of God.
His manifest Providence hovers over those forsaken waifs: I am of the Jew-
ish race. From infancy, however, I felt love and an attraction for that saintly
Christ who would not allow me to know Him. I married a dear Christian
man, although I could have chosen a Jew. I wanted my girl child to be bap-
tized at birth. Twenty-two years ago, I myself, in the serene convent of St.
Joseph of Bordighera, found myself overcome, in a marvelous way, by the
light of that Faith which does not waver. And, from the saintly hands of
the Capuchin Father Dsir des Planches, received with an indescribable
emotion Baptism and the blessed Host. Alas, how I deceived myself! In my
Jewish family my separation [from the Jewish faith] at first provoked a harsh
and painful scandal, later gradually forgiveness followed, understanding,
sympathy. My two brothers, now reconciled, married two Christians. Unfor-
tunately, however, their children were enrolled in the Jewish religion, just
like that, without enthusiasm, done out of respect for the ancestral faith. I
suffered so greatly from it that God was induced to come to my aid. Two of
those babies, children of my older brother who had settled down here in
those days, were born in Macerata. I was summoned to be present at their
birth, and I did not hesitate to impart a secret baptism to those two inno-
cents, and to implore over them, with all my heart, the Providence of God,
of the saintly Christ for whom everything is possible.
The years passed. My efforts for everyone and for those poor embattled
childrens souls, from near and far, was ceaseless. I battled to try to inflame
minds and hearts. The children who came back here definitively in 1934
35, were assisted by me, directed, sustained, sent to a religious school, and
the girl was consigned and recommended to the Nuns. Christs exertions for
128 primary sources

Cristo era palese su quelle due povere anime scelte da Lui stesso, in mezzo
3 a tante | [].
Voi sapete il resto, Padre mio. Avrei voluto vincere ogni impedimento
con le sole armi dellamore, e giungere al trionfo di Cristo presso tutti pian
piano, a traverso la perfetta persuasione. Visto la piega che prendevano gli
eventi, sentii per in me, in fondo al cuore, nel settembre, un ordine preciso,
nettamente avvertito. Andai senzaltro a fare la dichiarazione giurata del
battesimo segreto a Don Feroce, arciprete della loro Parrocchia e chiesi latto
di battesimo. Non sentendomi per disposta a gravare la mia coscienza, non
potendo asserire di ricordare con precisione tutti i dettagli di due cerimonie
da me compiute s nel rito cristiano e con ardente spirito cristiano, ma or
sono 18 e 17 anni ed in fretta e di nascosto, accettai con gioia che la Chiesa si
degnasse preparare i fanciulli, e conferire loro, in forma solenne, il battesimo
sub conditionem.
Ora sono io, io pi che loro, che mi strazio, e che spasimo sotto il duro
giudizio ministeriale. Come quelle anime a me affidate debbono, per incom-
prensibili vicende, venire rigettate nella societ ebraica, unica ormai auto-
rizzata a conglobarli, mentre loro sono cristiani, cristiani prescelti da Dio?
4 Come ho io assolto il chiaro compito da Cristo | santo affidatomi di portarli
a Lui frementi di amore, se proprio quando li ho creduti salvi per sempre,
li vedo rovinare nel pi nero degli abissi della disperazione? Come posso io
ancora parlar loro della meravigliosa Provvidenza di Dio e dare il loro caso
quale esempio della Sua adorabile Misericordia, se, nel preciso momento in
cui io li portavo allunico Porto di Salvezza, un verdetto tremendo, inaspet-
tato, li getta innocenti nelle pene ad altri riservate?
Ed io stessa, come consolarmi, come immaginare che Dio mi sorride, mi
ama, se nulla, nulla sono riuscita a fare di veramente buono per Lui?
Vi chiedo soccorso, Padre, giacch la mia sofferenza estrema. Fra giorni
spero potervi mandare altri documenti, giacch ho scritto a Bordighera e
sto ricercando anche qui le persone che erano al corrente, tanti anni fa,
dellimpartito battesimo.
Per ora chiedo la Vostra benedizione, ed il Vostro aiuto, in nome di Dio.

Con profonda venerazione mi dichiaro Vostra obbligatissima


Gemma Jommi
24 Via Crispi, Macerata
9. silvio and lya calimani 129

those two poor souls whom He had Himself chosen was plain to see, in the
midst of so many | []. 3
You know the rest, Father mine. I would have wanted to overcome every
impediment only with the arms of love, and achieve Christs triumph with
everyone gradually, through perfect persuasion. Seeing the turn that events
were taking, I felt within me, however, deep in my heart, in September,
a precise order, clearly discerned. Without hesitation I went to make the
declaration of the secret baptism to Don Feroce, archpriest of their Parish
and asked for the act of baptism. Not feeling disposed, however, to burden
my conscience, since I could not say that I recalled precisely all the details
of the two ceremonies I performed, yes in the Christian rite and with an
ardent Christian spirit, but more or less eighteen and seventeen years ago
and hurriedly and secretly, I accepted with joy that the Church was willing
to prepare the children, and confer upon them, most solemnly, baptism sub
conditionem.
Now it is I, I more than they, who is torn, and who suffers under the
harsh ministerial judgment. How can those souls entrusted to me, simply
because of incomprehensible vicissitudes, be cast back into Jewish society,
the only one now authorized to receive them, when instead they are Chris-
tians, Christians chosen by God? How have I carried out the clear will of
saintly Christ | entrusted to me to bring them throbbing with love to Him, 4
if precisely when I believed them saved forever, I see them being ruined in
the blackest abyss of desperation? How can I still speak to them of the mar-
velous Providence of God and use their case as an example of his adorable
Mercy, if, in the very moment during which I was bringing them to the sole
Safe Harbor, a terrible, unexpected verdict, casts them innocent into the
punishments reserved for others?
And as for myself, how can I find consolation, how can I imagine that God
smiles down upon me, that he loves me, if I have been able to do nothing,
nothing that is really good for Him?
I beseech Your help, Father, since my suffering is extreme. In a few days
I hope to be able to send you other documents, since I have written to
Bordighera and here too I am searching for persons who, so many years ago,
knew of the baptism imparted at that time.
For now I seek Your blessing and Your help, in Gods name.

Most reverently, I am Your most dutiful


Gemma Jommi
24 Via Crispi, Macerata
130 primary sources

* * *
Macerata, 21 ottobre 1939

Rever.mo Padre,

Siamo di ritorno a Macerata, la mia famiglia ed io, ma il nostro animo


ancora a Roma, presso gli Altari santi ove abbiamo sentito placarsi, come
in una carezza, la gravissima pena, ed illuminarsi il grande dolore.
La Grazia che con tanta fede chiediamo al Signore ci verr accordata:
speranza non folle perch non basata sulle possibilit umane, ma che anzi
sorpassa ogni umano ragionamento per giungere fino al Cielo in uno slancio
appassionato di fede e di adorazione.
Ed con profonda gratitudine che io bacio la Vostra mano, Padre, perch
a traverso questa, ed a traverso il Vostro cuore che tale grazia ci verr largita
da Dio, se la voce del mio cuore non falla.
Oggi posso mandarvi questo nuovo documento: esso di unaltra mia
conoscente, moglie del Comm. Luigi Battocchio, presidente delle Casse di
2 Risparmio di Roma. Anche lei pronta a cambiare, | se occorre, in docu-
mento notarile la lettera qui aggiunta.
Prego Dio santissimo che tutti questi ultimi documenti possano bastare
ad ottenere vittoria, e chiedo a Voi, Padre, di sostenere, di benedire questo
mio anelito, questo mio fervore che a Voi filialmente si appoggia ed in Voi
cristianamente confida.

Con profonda venerazione,


Gemma Jommi

* * *
Macerata, 16.11.39

Padre,

La speranza ora mi stringe il cuore al punto di farlo dolere.


Vergine della Misericordia, fate che trionfi in pieno la Causa Santa di
Cristo! In questi giorni la mia preghiera Vi segue, Padre, con indicibile
emozione: Maria Santissima Vi ha gi fatto salvare la povera piccola Maria
Grazia.
Ora Cristo benedetto voglia farvi concludere nello splendore della Sua
Gloria, lopera Sua iniziata tanti anni fa, nel silenzio della mia fede.
9. silvio and lya calimani 131

* * *
Macerata, 21 October 1939

Most Reverend Father,

We have returned to Macerata, my family and I, but our hearts are still in
Rome, at the sacred Altars where we have felt our heavy punishment eased,
as if by a caress, and our great sorrow enlightened.
That Grace which we seek from the Lord with such faith will be granted to
us: it is not an insane hope because it is not founded on human possibilities,
but, rather, which surpasses all human reasoning to reach the Heavens in a
passionate thrust of faith and adoration.
And it is with profound gratitude that I kiss Your hand, because it is
through it, and it is through Your heart that such grace will emanate from
God, if the voice in my heart is not mistaken.
Today, I can send you this new document: it pertains to another acquain-
tance of mine, the wife of Commendatore Luigi Battocchio, president of the
Cassa di Risparmio bank in Rome. She too is ready to have notarized, | if nec- 2
essary, the enclosed letter.
I pray to our most holy God that all these documents may suffice to
achieve victory, and I beseech You, Father, to sustain, to bless this yearning
of mine, this fervor of mine which in a filial manner rests on You and in a
Christian way confides in You.

With profound veneration


Gemma Jommi

* * *
Macerata, 16 November 1939

Father,

Hope now grips my heart to the point of causing it pain.


Merciful Virgin, allow the Holy Cause of Christ to triumph in full! During
these days my prayer follows You, Father, with unspeakable emotion: Mary
the Most Holy already has enabled You to save the poor little Maria Grazia.
Now may the blessed Christ let you conclude in the splendor of His Glory,
His work begun so many years ago, in the silence of my faith.
132 primary sources

2 Voglia il Buon Pastore raccogliere ora | queste due anime sperdute, anni-
chilite, e risaldarle, in eterno, sul Suo Santo Seno!
Vi sono profondamente grata, Padre.

Con grande venerazione sono


Vostra obbligatissima
Gemma Jommi

* * *
Mio buon Padre Tacchi Venturi,

Ho scritto al Santo Padre. Il mio dolore cos grande che tale ardire non mi
sembra nemmeno quello che in realt: soverchio.
Quelle anime mi sono cos profondamente, cristianamente care che scen-
derei in un luogo di supplizi per salvarle. Avrebbero dovuto essere le prime
di una lunga serie, avrei voluto poter fare tanto per tanti. E invece sono gi
immobilizzata. Ma allora perch sentire in me tanto desiderio di fare un po
di bene, se non sono capace di nulla? E perch ho fermamente creduto in
questi giorni di avere ottenuto questa grande grazia tanto fervorosamente
chiesta?
2 Ho scritto questa traccia al Santo Padre. | Supplico Lei di leggerla e di
correggerla. Poi verr a riprenderla io stessa domani per ricopiarla. Grazie
fin dora. Al Duce non ho avuto la forza di scrivere.
Padre, non mi abbandoni. Con filiale devozione.

Sono Sua obblig.ma


Gemma Jommi

Roma, Pensione dellOpera


telefono 41285

* * *
Macerata, 14.3.1940

Rev.mo Padre,

Con viva emozione abbiamo saputo che la supplica diretta dalla madre di
Silvio e Lia al Duce giunta a destinazione. Dio voglia illuminare il suo giusto
cuore e permetta che luce si faccia per suo potentissimo mezzo.
9. silvio and lya calimani 133

May the Good Pastor choose to collect now | those two lost, ruined souls, 2
and make them whole again in eternity, on His Saintly Breast!
I am deeply grateful to You, Father.

With great reverence I am


Most gratefully yours
Gemma Jommi

* * *
My good Father Tacchi Venturi,

I have written to the Holy Father. My pain is so great that such a daring act
does not even seem to me to be what it is in reality: immoderate.
Those souls are so deeply dear to me in a Christian way that I would
descend into a place of torture to save them. They were to be the first in
a long series, I would have wanted to do so much for so many. And, instead,
I am immobilized. But then why do I feel within me so much desire to do a
little good, if I am not capable of doing anything? And why have I so firmly
believed in these days that I have received this wonderful grace that I have
so fervently sought?
I have written out this sketch for the Holy Father. | I beg you to read it and 2
correct it. Then I shall pass by myself tomorrow to pick it up and recopy it.
Thank you in advance. I have not had the strength to write to the Duce.
Father, do not abandon me. With filial devotion.

Your Most grateful


Gemma Jommi

Rome, Pensione dellOpera


tel. 41285

* * *
Macerata, 14 March 1940

Most Reverend Father,

Filled with emotion we have learned that the plea directed by Silvios and
Lias mother to the Duce has reached its destination. May God enlighten
his just heart and allow that light be shed through his powerful interces-
sion.
134 primary sources

Forse Voi sarete interpellato, Padre? Lo auguro ardentemente: sarebbe la


salvezza.
Vi mando questi due nuovi tipi di certificato di battesimo dalla nascita.
stato vero errore non aver mandato le dichiarazioni di battesimo sotto
questa veste, fino dal principio, al Tribunale della Razza. proprio Satana
che ha complicato orrendamente tutto ci che era cos semplice e chiaro.
Potete Voi, Padre, fare aggiungere questi due documenti cos importanti, a
quelli esistenti presso il Tribunale?
Mons. Vescovo, che anche lui molto dolente di tanto scempio, Vi prega,
Padre, per mezzo mio, di ricordarsi che egli sempre pronto a fare quei passi
o dichiarazioni che possono, nellambito del possibile, giovare alla posizione
razziale dei miei nipoti, ben lieto se Voi vorrete dargli qualche suggerimento
2 in proposito. |
Intanto, Silvio che si torturava nellinazione, mi avverte che, dietro sua
istanza, ha ottenuto la sua iscrizione allUniversit di legge di Macerata,
autorizzata dal Ministero dell Educazione. Nazionale, dietro richiesta del
Rettore stesso dellUniversit.
Iscrizione condizionata alla risposta affermativa del Ministero degli In-
terni presso il quale lUniversit stessa solleciter, nella miglior forma, una
risposta. Ci nella speranza di non perdere definitivamente lanno scola-
stico.
Nessuna risposta mi giunta da Sua Santit. Io mi sono rivolta a Lui con
tutto lardore della mia fede, perch Egli il rappresentante di Cristo in terra.
Dalla Sua Chiesa e da Lui aspetto, con immutata fiducia, comprensione e
sostegno.
Non posso non contare sulla meravigliosa grazia che chiedo senza tregua
alla Misericordia di Dio. Non posso credere fallace la mia certezza che il
miracolo ci verr concesso. Padre, Voi aiutateci, aiutateci, Ve ne supplico.
Che la Pasqua santa porti la gioia anche fra noi!
Vogliate gradire lespressione della mia riconoscenza, col [sic] il mio
devoto ossequio unito ai miei rispettosissimi auguri.

Obblig.ma
Gemma Jommi
24 Via Crispi
9. silvio and lya calimani 135

Perhaps You will be consulted, Father? I earnestly hope so: it would be


our salvation.
I am sending you these two new types of baptism and birth certificates.
It was a real mistake not to have sent to the Race Tribunal the attestations of
baptism in this form at the very beginning. It is really Satan who has horribly
complicated all this which was so simple and clear. Can You, Father, add
these two important documents to those already submitted to the Tribunal?
Monsignor the Bishop, who himself is so aggrieved by so much foolish-
ness, beseeches You, Father, through me to remember that he stands ready
to take those steps or make those declarations which might, in the realm
of the possible, benefit the racial situation of my nieces and nephews, and
would be grateful if You could make some suggestion to him on the matter. | 2
Meanwhile, Silvio who was tormented by his inactivity, has notified me
that, at his own request he has been permitted to enroll in the Law faculty
at the University of Macerata, authorized by the Ministry of Education, at
the request of the Rector of the University himself.
The enrollment is conditional upon receiving a favorable reply from
the Ministry of the Interior from which the University itself will seek the
aforesaid reply, in the most appropriate manner. All this is in the hope of
not definitively losing the academic year.
I have not received a reply from His Holiness. I had appealed to Him with
all the fervor of my faith, because He is Christs representative on earth.
From His Church and from Him I await, with unflagging faith, understand-
ing and support.
I cannot refrain from counting on the marvelous grace which I beseech
without pause from the Mercy of God. I cannot deem false my certainty that
the miracle will be granted to us. Father, help us, help us, I beg of You.
May holy Easter bring joy also among us!
Please accept this expression of my gratitude, with my devout reverence
joined to my most respectful good wishes.

Most gratefully
Gemma Jommi
24 Via Crispi
136 primary sources

* * *
L 13.6.1940

Padre,

La buona notizia che avete voluto darmi mi calma di gioia e mi cola di


gratitudine per Voi, per Dio santissimo e misericordioso.
Non posso dirvi il dolore di quei miseri ora che la Patria ha bisogno di
tutti i suoi figli, ora che si sentono pi che mai italiani, totalmente estranei a
tutto ci che non cristiano, ora che si sentono pi che mai reietti malgrado
limmenso amore! Non posso dirvi la loro consolazione alle Vostre parole
cos confortevoli e buone!
2 S, Padre, avete ragione: bisogna viepi pregare, chiedere al Signore |
senza posa, questa immensa grazia.
Il cuore mi sussulta pensando alla gioia che aspetta me, i miei poveri
nipoti, la loro mamma disgraziatissima, quando la speranza sar divenuta
realt!
In mezzo al mare di sofferenze che dilaga da ogni parte, in mezzo alle
tante pene che mi tanagliano il cuore, vi sar per me lestrema gioia di aver
ridato questi figli alla Patria, come tanti anni fa ho dato la loro anima a
3 Nostro Signore. Vi | sar per Voi, Padre, per Voi tanto buono, la purissima
gioia di aver largito a me, a loro, tale consolazione!
Dio voglia benedire il Vostro caritatevole operato. Dio voglia salvare Voi,
la Chiesa, la Patria amatissima in questo duro momento.

Vostra devotissima, obbligat.ma


Gemma Jommi

* * *
Macerata 8.11.1940

Padre,

Il Signore Santo, per mezzo Vostro ha ridato ai miei nipoti la vita. In mezzo
al mare di dolori che dilaga per il mondo, ci sono dei colori felici, felici oltre
ogni dire, che esultano per il mortale pericolo scampato, per la magnifica
vittoria conseguita. La misericordia di Dio si riversata sui loro capi inno-
centi, cambiando in rose le tremende spine che li dilaniavano. In ginocchio
ringrazio Dio immenso per tale Sua Volont misericordiosa e ringrazio Voi,
Padre, che magnificamente la avete tradotta in atto.
9. silvio and lya calimani 137

* * *
[Macerata,] 13 June 1940

Father,

The good news that You have wanted to give me calms me with joy and
gratitude towards You, and towards God most holy and most merciful.
I cannot describe for You the pain of those miserable ones now that the
Fatherland has a need for all its children, now that more than ever they feel
themselves Italian, totally alienated from anything that is not Christian, now
that they feel themselves more than ever rejected in spite of immense love!
I cannot tell you how consoled they are by Your words, so comforting and
good!
Yes, Father, you are right: we need to pray more, beseech the Lord | 2
without cease for this immense grace.
My heart beats faster when I think of the joy that awaits me, my poor
nephews, their unfortunate mother when hope shall have become reality!
Amidst the sea of suffering which swells on all sides, amidst the great
pains which torture my heart, I will have the extreme joy of having restored
these offspring to their country, just as many years ago I gave their souls to
Our Lord. There | will be for You, Father, for You who are so good, the most 3
pure joy of having bestowed on me, on them, such consolation!
May God bless Your charitable work. May God save You, the Church, our
beloved country in this difficult moment.

Your most devoted and grateful


Gemma Jommi

* * *
Macerata, 8 November 1940

Father,

Our Blessed Lord, through You, has restored my nephews to life. In the
middle of the sea of pain flooding the world, there are some joyous colors,
joyous beyond all words, which exult at the mortal danger evaded, for
the magnificent victory achieved. Gods mercy has poured down on their
innocent heads, turning into roses the terrible thorns that had been tearing
at them. On my knees I give thanks to the great God for His merciful Will
and I thank You, Father, who magnificently translated it into deed.
138 primary sources

Per dirvi la mia gratitudine non trovo parole umane. Con la preghiera
posso per rivolgermi a Lui: posso in essa chiedere al Suo Sacro Cuore
di riconoscere in pieno lopera Vostra caritatevole. Posso chiedergli di s
sorridervi e di amarvi per il grande salvataggio compiuto.
Voi sapete, Padre, quali possibilit siano racchiuse nella invocazione a Dio
di un cuore caldo di riconoscenza e di fede. Che il mio grido di gratitudine Vi
dia tutte le consolazioni del Cielo gi sulla terra. Vi aiuti a salvare, a guarire,
2 a lenire; Vi aiuti a spargere ancora | a lungo, ovunque, nel nome di Cristo, la
maggior quantit di bene possibile.
A Natale spero poter ritrovare, nella Chiesa del Ges, il sommo conforto
del Vostro consiglio e della Vostra direzione.

Con profondo rispetto sono la Vostra devotissima, riconoscentissima


Gemma Jommi
9. silvio and lya calimani 139

I cannot find the human words to express to You my gratitude. By prayer


I can, however, appeal to Him: I can by prayer ask His Sacred Heart to
recognize fully Your charitable work. I can ask Him to smile on You and to
love You for the great rescue that has been accomplished.
You know, Father, what possibilities are enclosed in the invocation to God
made by a heart full of gratitude and faith. May my cry of gratitude bestow
on You all the consolations of Heaven that already can be found on earth.
Let it help You to save, to heal, to soothe; let it help You again | to dispense for 2
a long time to come, everywhere, in the name of Christ, the greatest bounty
of good possible.
At Christmas I hope to rediscover, in the Church of Jesus, the great
comfort of Your counsel and of Your guidance.

With profound respect I am Your most devout and most grateful


Gemma Jommi
10. Walter Cardoso

Walter Cardoso was born to a Jewish family in 1899. At the age of twenty-four
he married a Catholic woman, Rina Galanti according to the Catholic rite for
which he received a papal dispensation. A year later (1924), his only daughter
was born. She was baptized the next month and in 1933 she received the first
Communion. A few years later, Cardoso wrote in his memorandum that he
began his path towards baptism under the guidance of Rev. Fulvio Nardoni,
whichdue to Cardosos serious illnesstook place as late as May 1939.
Even though he declared himself apolitical in his youth, he sympathized
with the Fascist regime from its inception and finally joined the Fascist party
in 1932. As a lawyer he offered his services to the regime free of charge, yet the
racial laws debarred him from exercising his profession. Cardoso submitted
then his application for discrimination, claiming his merits for civil ser-
vices during the Great War, for which he was awarded a bronze medal and a
diploma of recognition. In it, he also regretted he could not serve his father-
land as a soldier due to the complete ankylosis of his right hip. Encouraged
by a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State and from Archbishop Dalla
Costa of Florence, who justified his recommendation by saying that he and
Tacchi Venturi were ministers of charity, the Jesuit interceded with Director
Le Pera, arguing that Cardoso deserved to be discriminated and that his
modest financial situation was not allowing him to support himself and his
family. The Demorazza committee, however, turned down his application,
as Cardoso informed Tacchi Venturi in the following letter. He still hoped for
a reversal of that decision based on the decree of July 13, 1939, which gave
the Minister of the Interior more power to grant the status of not belong-
ing to the Jewish race, butas Tacchi Venturi pointed out in his replythe
new legal provision did not contemplate such circumstances as his, for both
of Cardosos parents were Jewish.
142 primary sources

* * *

M.R. Padre Pietro Tacchi Venturi


Collegio S. Francesco Saverio
Piazza del Ges
Roma

Firenze, Agosto 1940 XVIII


Via S. Gallo, 91

Da qualche giorno mi stato comunicato dalle Autorit locali che il Mini-


stero, su conforme parere della Commissione, ha respinto la mia domanda
di discriminazione.
Ritengo che il ricorso non sia stato equamente valutato e penso che
probabilmente il momento in cui stato preso in considerazione non fosse
dei pi favorevoli per esaminarlo con benevolenza; credo che non vi sia
altro da fare. Le sono ugualmente grato e riconoscente per il suo cortese
interessamento.
E giacch ho il piacere di scriverLe, vorrei chiederLe, se non crede che
si possa domandare lapplicazione delle disposizioni del R.D. 13 luglio 1939
n. 1024 recante norme integrative del R. Decreto 17 Novembre 1938 n. 1128
sulla difesa della razza italiana, che allart. 1 consente al Ministro per lInter-
no di dichiarare, su conforme parere di una Commissione alluopo nominata
(art. 2) la non appartenenza alla razza ebraica, anche in difformit delle
risultanze degli atti dello stato civile.
Dati i miei sentimenti cattolici che datano da tempo, attestati anche da
S.E. il Cardinale di Firenze, e manifestati tangibilmente fino dallanno 1923,
allorch mi sposai con signorina ariana, ottenendo dispensa di S. Santit
per celebrare il matrimonio secondo il rito cattolico, e confermati con la
richiesta di battesimo alla nascita (nel 1924) dellunica mia figlia, mi pare
che si dovrebbe poter rientrare nel caso previsto dal citato decreto legge.
Le sar gratissimo, se potr domandarne agli Organi competenti e rife-
rirmi, magari chiamandomi a Roma, ove son sempre disposto a venire,
quando so di non recarLe troppo disturbo.

La riverisco devotamente,
Avv. Walter Cardoso
10. walter cardoso 143

* * *
[FTV 2299]

Most Reverend Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi


Collegio S. Francesco Saverio
Piazza del Ges
Rome

Florence, August 1940-XVIII


Via S. Gallo, 91

A few days ago it was communicated to me by the local Authorities that


the Ministry, at the recommendation of the Commission, had rejected my
application for discrimination.
It is my opinion that the application was not justly evaluated and I think
that probably the moment when it was being considered was not the most
favorable to consider it benevolently; I am afraid there is nothing more to
do. Just the same I am grateful and appreciative for the courteous interest
You have shown.
And since I have the pleasure of writing to You, I should like to ask if
You do not think it possible to request the application of the dispositions
contained in Royal decree n. 1024 of July 13, 1939 which integrate provisions
of Royal decree n. 1128 of November 17, 1938 on the defense of the Italian race.
Article 1 allows the Minister of the Interior to declare, in exact agreement
with a Commission nominated for the purpose (art. 2), that a person does
not belong to the Jewish race, even when this differs from the records in the
civil registry of births.
In view of my Catholic sentiments of ancient date, as attested also by
His Excellency the Cardinal of Florence, and tangibly manifested from the
year 1923, when I married a young Aryan woman, obtaining to do so a
dispensation from His Holiness to celebrate the wedding according to the
Catholic rite, and confirmed at the baptism requested in 1924 when my only
daughter was born, it seems to me that it should be possible to revisit the
case as provided by the above cited Legal Decree.
I would be most grateful if you could consult the competent offices about
the matter and report back to me, perhaps calling me to Rome, where I am
always willing to come, when I know that I will not disturb you too greatly.

Devoutly I pay my respects


Attorney Walter Cardoso
144 primary sources

* * *
[second draft]

Roma, 10 settembre 1940-XVIIIo


p.[zza] del Ges, 45

Pregiatissimo Signor Avvocato,

Sono ben dolente che la sua domanda non sia stata accolta. Quanto al
quesito che mi propone, se cio Le convenga chiedere lapplicazion delle
disposizioni del R.D. 13 luglio 1939 no 1024, Le rispondo che il suo caso
non di quelli contemplati dalla predetta legge. Ella potrebbe chiedere
lapplicazione in Suo favore allora soltanto che fosse in grado di provare
[] (non si [] di ci che sto per dirle) che in realt non figlio di coloro
o di un solo di essi indicati dallo stato civile come suoi genitori, ma di un
padre o di una madre ariani. Favorisca rileggere lart. 1o della predetta legge
e in quelle parolenon appartenenza alla razza ebraica anche in difformit
delle risultanze degli atti dello stato civiletrover chiaramente, per quanto
delicatamente, espresso il senso da dare alla legge. Aggiungo che essa non ha
avuto sin qui altra interpretazione. Tra i titoli poi utili per la discriminazione
non hanno valore le circostanze come quella sua.

Salutandola cordialmente mi professo


dev.mo
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]
10. walter cardoso 145

* * *
[second draft]

Rome, 10 September 1940-XVIII


Piazza del Ges, 45

Eminent Attorney,

I am very sorry that your request was rejected. As for what you ask me,
namely whether it would be appropriate for you to petition that the provi-
sions contained in Royal Decree n. 1024 of July 13, 1939 be applied, my reply
to you is that yours is not one of the cases contemplated in that law. You
could ask for the application in your favor only if you were in a position to
prove [] (do not [] for what I am about to tell you) that in reality you
are not the son of those or even of only one named in the civil registry of
births as your parents, but rather of an Aryan father or mother. Please take
the time to reread article 1 of the aforesaid law and in those wordsthe non-
belonging to the Jewish race even when this differs from the records in the civil
registry of birthsyou will see clearly, though it is subtly expressed, what
interpretation should be given to the law. I add that up to this time it has
not been interpreted in any other way. Among the merits considered useful
for the discrimination, factors such as yours are not considered of value.

Cordially, I am yours devotedly


[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]
11. Augusto Cassuto

Augusto Cassuto, the son of Arnoldo, was a professor of urology and surgical
pathology in Rome. He was born about 1894 and was married to a woman
who was presumably Catholic.
In March 1940, he wrote to Tacchi Venturi, recommended by Secretary of
State Cardinal Maglione, by Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo (18771970), prefect
of the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities, and by Mons. Luigi
Traglia, vice-regent of Rome (see Cassutos letter to him below). He asked
the Jesuit to help him obtain either Aryanization or discrimination, after
he had lost his position of professor (that he had held for twenty-two years)
because of his Jewish origins. Due to his dire economic situationhe even
offered himself to work as a night-shift physician at the VaticanCassuto
was contemplating emigration to the United States, where he hoped to find
a teaching position in a Jesuit school with the help of Tacchi Venturi. For
this purpose Cassuto paid a personal visit to the Jesuit. In late September
of 1940, the government informed Tacchi Venturi that the discrimination
was granted to Cassuto and his three underage daughters: Luisa, Guilda, and
Fausta.
Cassutos correspondence with the Jesuit typically reveals the deep anxi-
ety of the author caused by the long application process. To alleviate it, Tac-
chi Venturi made a telephone call to Cassuto, for which the latter thanked
him in his last preserved letter (May 1940). This confidential letter is filled
with Cassutos great anger against the Fascist government, which kept re-
questing from him the original Fascist Party identification card of his father,
who died in 1922, and warning him that it was against the law for him to
privately exercise his profession of physician.
No further information about Cassutos life after September 1940 is avail-
able.
148 primary sources

* * *

Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto


Telef. 42-894
RomaVia Boncompagni 16

Roma, 18/3/1940

Molto Reverendo Padre Tacchi-Venturi S.J.,

Per il gentilissimo e caritatevole gesto di S.E. Rev.ma il Cardinale Pizzardo,


ho saputo che Ella si assunto il fastidio di occuparsi di me, considerato
di razza ebraica, per vedere di farmi considerare o ariano o discriminato.
Le dico subito, Rev.do Padre, che ne avrei tutti gli elementi costituenti, per
entrambe le concessioni.
un anno e mezzo che attendo: ora poi necessita sapere almeno qualche
cosa in proposito. Se non ho speranza di averla, occorre io pensi a emigrare,
avendo perduto il diritto di esercitare la professione, dopo aver perduto la
cattedra.
Ho tre bambine; essendomi sempre occupato pi scientificamente che
professionalmente dellarte mia, non contavo che sul mio stipendio di pro-
fessore, come le mantengo? Non ho riserve che mi permettano di non eser-
citare, di nulla fare!
Nel caso disperato che non fosse possibile ottenere la discriminazione o il
riconoscimento di ariano, non Le sarebbe possibile vedere di farmi ottenere
un posto nei tanti Medical Colleges che lordine S.J. mantiene nelle varie
citt degli Stati Uniti? Ovunque andrei.
Conosco bene inglese e tedesco e francese e spagnuolo: ho studiato a Ber-
lino vari anni e ne ho un titolo scientifico-accademico. Oltre che Urologia
ho insegnato per 8 anni Patologia Chirurgica. Qualora in questo senso Ella
avesse la carit di interessarsi di me, potrei farLe pervenire il mio curricu-
lum, gi scritto in inglese. Ho 46 anni.
Dio Lo rimeriti, Rev.do Padre, del bene che Ella pur cerca fare a un ignoto,
ma sopra tutto per aiutare 4 donne che da me tutto si aspettano.
11. augusto cassuto 149

* * *
[FTV 2395]

Commendatore Prof. Augusto Cassuto


Telef. 42-894
Rome-Via Boncompagni 16

Rome, 18 March 1940

Most Reverend Father Tacchi Venturi, S.J.

Thanks to a most gracious and charitable gesture on the part of His Excel-
lency, the Reverend Cardinal Pizzardo, I have learned that You have taken
on the bother of concerning yourself with me, who is considered to be of
the Jewish race, to see if I can be considered either Aryan or discriminated.
I shall tell you straight off, Reverend Father, that I possess all the elements
to receive either of the concessions.
I have been waiting for a year and a half: it is essential now that I should
know something about the matter. If I do not have any hope of obtain-
ing it, I think that I shall have to think about emigrating, after having lost
the right to exercise my profession, after having lost my [university] posi-
tion.
I have three girls; since I have always been more occupied with aca-
demic rather than professional concerns in my specialty, I only relied on
my income as professor. How am I to support them? I do not have resources
that allow me not to practice, to do nothing!
In the dire extremity that I do not obtain the discrimination or the
recognition of being Aryan, would it be possible to see if I could obtain
a position in one of the many Medical Colleges that the Jesuit order
maintains in various cities in the United States? I would go anywhere.
I have a good acquaintance with English and German and French and
Spanish: I studied in Berlin for several years and I have a scientific-academic
degree. Besides Urology, for eight years I taught Surgical Pathology. If you
had the charity to interest yourself in my case in any of these ways, I could
send you my curriculum which is already in English. I am forty-six years
old.
May God reward you, Reverend Father, for the good that You are trying to
do for an unknown, but especially in helping four women who depend on
me for everything.
150 primary sources

Porgendo rispettosi auguri e ringraziamenti, in attesa di un Suo cenno, Le


bacio con rispetto la mano.

Obb.mo dev.mo
[unreadable signature]

* * *
Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto
Telef. 42-894
RomaVia Boncompagni 16

A Sua Eccelenza
LIll.mo e Rev.mo Mons. Luigi Traglia
Vice Gerente di Roma

Eccellenza,

Dopo una titubanza di alcuni giorni ad approfittare ulteriormente della


Sua caritatevole offerta di fare interessare la Segreteria di Stato per il mio
arianesimo o discriminazione, ho deciso di accettare il Suo Alto appoggio
visto che ho tre figlie e piccine ancora purtroppo!
Che io senza alcun merito sia riuscito a cattivarmi cos la Sua Benevo-
lenza, io devo proprio ringraziarne il Signore, Eccellenza, e che da Lui possa
averne bene, ch certo io non potr mai sdebitarmi!
Le unisco due righe di pro-memoria e speriamo, ma io spero cos poco da
quella gente!
Gli per questo che mi permetto chiederLe ancora se pensa a procurarmi
unefficace raccomandazione per i Gesuiti, cos come pu farlo Lei: diffi-
cile, capisco, ma chi s? Molte sono le vie del Signore. Ella mi diceva che i
Gesuiti sono in prevalenza tedeschi, quelli dAmerica, ma io ho perfino un
Diploma Accademico tedesco: ho studiato 5 anni chirurgia a Berlino e fui
assistente effettivo in quella clinica chirurgica universitaria. Non potrebbe
essere anche questo un titolo presso di Loro? Parlo tedesco, inglese, francese
e spagnuolo: tutte bene.
Quello che devo trovare una soluzione per la vita: per 22 anni ho lavorato
per la scienza pura e, medicina o filosofia, quando scienza pura, non fa
guadagnare un bel nulla e le mie figlie non campano daria!
11. augusto cassuto 151

In conveying my respectful good wishes and thanks, while awaiting word


from You, I respectfully kiss your hands.

Your most indebted and devoted


[unreadable signature]

* * *
Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto
Telef. 42-894
RomeVia Boncompagni 16

To His Excellency
The Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Mons. Luigi Traglia
Viceregent of Rome

Excellency,

After hesitating for a few days whether to take advantage of Your kind
offer to approach the Secretariat of State in regard to my Aryanism and
discrimination, I have decided to accept Your grand assistance since I have
three daughters, and who are still very young unfortunately!
For the fact that I, without merit of any kind, succeeded in attracting Your
Benevolence in this way, I must really give thanks to the Lord, Excellency,
and may You receive all that is good from Him, because certainly I shall never
be able to repay my debt!
I enclose two lines of a memorandum and let us hope, but I expect so
little from those people!
It is for this reason that I permit myself to ask You again if you think
you can provide an efficacious recommendation for me with the Jesuits,
as You are in a position to do: it is difficult, I understand, but who knows?
The ways of the Lord are beyond counting. You told me that the Jesuits,
those in America, are primarily German, but I even have a German academic
degree. I studied surgery in Germany for five years and I was a regular
assistant in that universitys surgical clinic. Might not this also count in
my favor with them? I speak German, English, French, Spanish, all of them
well.
What I need to find is a solution for my livelihood: for twenty-two years I
have worked for pure science, and medicine or philosophy, when it is pure
science, do not permit one to earn a thing and my daughters cannot live on
air alone!
152 primary sources

Mi contenterei di fare magari delle guardie mediche notturne nel Quar-


tiere Vaticano, anche per poco, tanto il lavoro non mi spaventa e non credo di
degradarmi: se trovo da lavorare, non rimpiango n pure il tempo felice nella
2 sventura, ma almeno raggiungere un minimum necessario a non | dover
decidermi a vendere lappartamento (cosa che per ora n pure potrei fare, fra
laltro, perch bloccato fino a accertamenti se ho altri beni da sequestrarmi!)
ultimo bene che mi resta.
Ella, che gi sente tutto il giorno tante miserie, sar arcistufo di averne
sentite cos a lungo delle mie sole, ma Le prometto, Eccellenza, di non
abusare ormai pi oltre per lavvenire della Sua bont estrema per me; faccia,
se crede, quello che pu e sopra tutto non mia dia dellindiscreto. Nella vita,
sin qui, ho avuto lorgoglio di non tediare mai nessuno: il poco raggiunto lho
conseguito con le mie sole forze.
Le porgo con profondo rispetto i sensi del mio pi devoto e cordiale
ossequio.

Di V.E.za dev.mo
(dr. Augusto Cassuto)
[unreadable signature]

* * *
Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto
Telef. 42-894
RomaVia Boncompagni 16

30 aprile 194018o

Molto Reverendo Padre P. Tacchi-Venturi S.J.,

Vorr scusarmi, se oso importunare ancora una volta: io sono quel medico
che Le stato raccomandato con tanta bont da S.E. Rev. il Card. Pizzardo.
Da quando Ella volle ricevermi, mi sopraggiunta per di pi una notifica
a mezzo ufficiale giudiziario che mi diffida a esercitare la professione di
medico: in queste condizioni, io vado finendo quei pochi risparmi che ho!
Io sollecito una grazia di Sua Paternit, che io possa sapere se la calda
raccomandazione fatta da Lei al Ministero per il mio riconoscimento di
non appartenenza alla razza ebraica o almeno per la discriminazione, sar
11. augusto cassuto 153

I would be satisfied even to do medical duty at night in the Vatican, even


for small compensation, since work does not frighten me and I do not think
I would be degrading myself. If I can find work, in my misfortune I do not
regret the happy times as long as I can achieve at least a minimum necessary
so that I will not | have to decide to sell the apartment (something that at 2
the moment I could not do anyway because it is blocked until it can be
verified if I have other property that can be confiscated!). It is the final piece
of property remaining to me.
You, who hear about so much misery all day, will be extremely weary to
have to hear about mine at such length, but I promise You, Excellency, in the
future not to abuse further on my account Your supreme goodness. If You are
so disposed, do what You can and above all dont consider me indiscrete. In
my life up to now I have been proud never to have importuned anyone: that
little I have achieved has been through my efforts alone.
With profound respect I extend to You my most devoted and cordial
respects.

Of Your Excellency, Most devotedly


(Dr. Augusto Cassuto)
[illegible signature]

* * *
Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto
Telef. 42-894
Rome-Via Boncompagni 16

30 April 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father P. Tacchi-Venturi S.J.,

Will you excuse me if I dare to importune you once again: I am that physician
who was recommended to You with such kindness by His Excellency, the
Reverend Cardinal Pizzardo.
In the time since You agreed to meet with me, I received a notification
through official judicial channels prohibiting me from exercising the med-
ical profession: under these circumstances I shall consume the few savings
that I have!
I ask for a favor from Your Paternity, to know whether the warm recom-
mendation that You made to the Ministry requesting recognition that I do
not belong to the Jewish race or at least to obtain discrimination will be
154 primary sources

accolta o no: per me una cosa capitale e Gliela chiedo in nome di tre
bimbette che io ho da mantenere, altrimenti vado alla rovina. Se Ella potr
avere affidamenti per me, bene, altrimenti debbo cercare di emigrare nel
tempo pi breve, prima che io esaurisca qui nellattesa ogni mia risorsa
economica.
Cerchi, Reverendo Padre, di avere una qualche evasione, per favore gran-
de, in via ufficiosa; se sar anche un no, S.E. mi ha promesso di aiutarmi
per farmi andare via; tanto meglio se, dietro una parola di affidamento, sar
incoraggiato a resistere, onde poter riprendere il mio lavoro restando qui.
Fra una settimana io mi permetter di venirLa a riverire nella speranza di
avere una qualche risposta che mi consenta di prendere una decisione in
un senso o nellaltro. Nella speranza di essere perdonato di averLa anchio
molestato, fra tanti chElla soccorre, mi raffermo per il dev. e obblig.mo Suo

[unreadable signature]

* * *
Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto
Telef. 42-894
RomaVia Boncompagni 16

Riservata a mano.

1o maggio 1940

Ill.mo e Reverendo Padre Tacchi-Venturi S.J.,

Al suo giusto valore ho saputo apprezzare la carit e bont danimo di Sua


Paternit nellavermi voluto telefonare per darmi un poco di quiete: grazie,
Padre mio!
A maggior chiarimento, mi permetto dirLe che gi varie volte fui invi-
tato a mezzo della Questura di produrre un certificato del Direttorio del
Partito che attestasse liscrizione di mio padre di felice memoria nel 1922.
Ora, questo significa dileggiare semplicemente le vittime, poich noto, lip-
pis et tonsoribus, che agli ebrei, o considerati tali, il Direttorio non rilascia
direttamente certificati di sorta; li concede invece alla Prefettura o al Mini-
stero, se da questi richiesti direttamente dufficio. Creda, non sono che mezzi
dilatori! Gi produssi un certificato notarile e legalizzato in mille parti della
11. augusto cassuto 155

accepted, or not: for me this is of capital importance and I ask it of You in


the name of three young girls whom I have to support, otherwise I shall be
ruined. If You will be able to give me some assurances, fine, otherwise I shall
have to try to emigrate as soon as possible, before I exhaust all my financial
resources here while waiting.
Try, Reverend Father, to get some answer, as a large favor, through official
channels; if it is to be a no, Your Excellency has promised to help me to get
away. The best would be if, accompanied by a word of assurance, I should be
encouraged to hold out, so as to be able to resume my work here. In a week, I
shall allow myself to come to pay my respects to You in the hope of receiving
a reply that will permit me to decide one way or the other. In the hope that I
will be forgiven for having disturbed You, I too, along with the many whom
You are helping, remain Your devoted and dutiful

[unreadable signature]

* * *
Comm. Prof. Augusto Cassuto
Telef. 42-894
Rome-Via Boncompagni 16

Confidential hand delivered.

1 May 1940

Most Illustrious and Reverend Father Tacchi-Venturi, S.J.,

I have appreciated for its great worth the charity and goodness shown by
Your Paternity in having chosen to phone me to give me some peace of mind:
thank you, my Father!
For greater clarity, I take the liberty of communicating to You that on
various occasions I was asked by the Questura to present a certificate from
the Party Directorate showing that my father of blessed memory joined in
1922. Now this simply means tormenting the victims, because as everybody
knows, lippis et tonsoribus, that to Jews, or those considered as such, the
Directorate does not directly issue certificates of this sort; it grants them
instead to the Prefecture or to the Ministry, if these request them through
official channels. Believe me, these are only delaying tactics! I had already
produced more than a year and a half ago, when requested to do so, a certifi-
cate notarized and legalized in a thousand different ways of my fathers Party
156 primary sources

tessera paterna fin da un anno e mezzo fa con la domanda: successivamente


in gennaio consegnai personalmente una tessera del partito del babbo,
dove era scritto ben chiaro dal 22, alla Direzione della Razza. Che pi?
Si vuol giungere a tale assurdo che occorra documentazione per un titolo
originale? E lasciando passare anni?
Fra tanto, Padre mio, le cose vanno di male in peggio: ieri fui chiamato in
Questura su istanza del prof. Perez del Sindacato e siamo stati tutti diffidati
a non farci cogliere nellesercizio abusivo della professione, risultando a
cotesto sindacato che continuiamo a lavorare. Vede, come infieriscono? O
che non sono paghi gi e abbastanza del danno che ci hanno arrecato per
portarci nuovi colpi iniqui? veramente il caso di rivolgergli con Tibullo:
quam ferus, [et] vere ferreus ille fuit!
Non so ne pure pi scusarmi per la libert e i fastidi che sono venuto arre-
candoLe come a ancora di salvezza, ma con molta devozione e gratitudine
le bacio la mano. Voglia considerarmi per lobblig.mo Suo

[unreadable signature]
11. augusto cassuto 157

membership card: successively on January I personally consigned to the


Race Administration my fathers membership card on which it was clearly
written from [19]22. What more can I do? Do we want to get to the absurd
point that we need to have documentation to verify an original document?
And allow the years to roll on?
In the midst of all this, my Father, things are going from bad to worse.
Yesterday I was summoned to the Police station at the request of Prof. Perez
of the medical board and we were all warned not to let ourselves be found in
the abusive exercise of our profession, since it had come to the attention
of said board that we are continuing to work. Do you see how cruelly they
behave? Are they not already satiated by the hurt they have done to us that
they need to strike with new iniquitous blows? Is it really now the case of
confronting them with Tibulluss: quam ferus, [et] vere ferreus ille fuit!
[Who was the first discoverer of the horrible sword? How savage was he and
literally iron!].
I no longer know how to excuse myself for the liberty I have taken and
the bother I have brought You as to an anchor of salvation, but with great
devotion and gratitude I kiss your hand.

Will you consider me Your most indebted


[unreadable signature]
12. Massimiliano Coen

Massimiliano Coenabout whom next to nothing is known from the doc-


uments preserved in Tacchi Venturis archivewas married to a Catholic
woman Clotilde Schioppa, with whom he had five children: Carlo, Cecilia,
Laura, Corrado, and Anna Maria. When they submitted in 1939 their appli-
cation for Aryanization, they were twenty-seven, twenty-six, twenty-two,
eighteen, and fourteen years old, respectively. All but Carlowho exercised
his profession of engineer in Milanlived in Naples. Cecilia was a litera-
ture teacher at the Suor Orsola Benincasa Institute, whose spiritual director,
Monsignor Zampella, prepared her and her siblings for baptism. The flaw in
the application they submitted directly to Mussolini was that they were bap-
tized after the deadline set up by the racial laws. They argued, however, that
they had been catechumens before October 1, 1938 and that they would have
been baptized in September, if the archbishop of Naples Cardinal Alessio
Ascalesi (18721952) who insisted on baptizing them personallyhad not
had to leave town for some emergency and postpone the ceremony until
October 7. The final decision, initially declined, of the Italian government
communicated in a letter by Tacchi Venturi who, on behalf of the Vati-
can, interceded with Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi and with Mussolini
himselfthat recognized all five children as Aryans was much delayed (it
arrived only two years later in April 1942). This procrastination produced
much anxiety especially in their mother, Clotilde Schioppa, who wrote Tac-
chi Venturi several letters that reveal her profound desperation. In her eight
brief yet intense letters, she places all her hope on the high influence and
intercession of the good Father Tacchi Venturi. The folder also contains
three letters that the Jesuit wrote Clotilde, in which he soberly consoles her
but also lets her understand that she could have avoided this tragic situa-
tion had she baptized her children at birth, as she was supposed to do as a
Catholic woman married to a man of a different religion. The archive does
not contain any reply to Tacchi Venturis letter informing Clotilde Coen-
Schioppa about the successful Aryanization of her children and no further
information about the fate of this family is available.
The database of the Jewish arrivals to Switzerland indicates that Carlo
and Corrado arrived there in November 1943. Cecilia may have immigrated
to the United States in July 1950.
12. massimiliano coen 159

Fig. 14. Coen Schioppas handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


160 primary sources

* * *

Corso Vittorio Emanuele 167.III

Napoli, 14.6.39.XVII

Padre!

Ieri sono venuta a Roma per chiederle una parola di conforto, e non ho
osato, al momento, bussare alla Sua porta! Ed ora, ritornata a casa, mi faccio
coraggio e Le dico lagonia atroce mia e di tutta la mia famiglia! Padre,
Padre, mi dica che possiamo sperare! Mi dica che da questa lotta tremenda
usciremo vittoriosi: che la giustizia divina trionfer e che il Duce, tanto
2 buono, vorr salvare i miei cinque carissimi figli! |
Il mio dovere mimpone di infondere coraggio intorno a me, ma temo che
questo mi sta venendo meno! perci che oso rivolgermi a Lei, mentre a
nessun altro posso confidare la mia pena infinita! E questa pena ogni giorno
mi toglie un pezzetto di vita, e debbo vivere per i miei figli che hanno ancora
bisogno di me!
Ho la fiducia, sola con che mi reggo, che Lei non abbandona la mia
famiglia e che la Sua altissima influenza ci condurr alla sospirata meta.
Chiedo ed imploro la Sua benedizione per mio Marito e i miei figli e Le
bacio la mano devotamente

Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

* * *
Napoli, Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

19.6.39luned mattina, ore 10 []

Padre!

Un dolce presentimento mi ha svegliata stamane, giorno anniversario del


mio matrimonio! Ed ecco che poco fa mi viene consegnato il Suo messaggio
benaugurante per i diletti miei figli! Nel leggerlo, ero cos emozionata che
ho creduto cadere! Padre, Lei mi spinge ad aprire il cuore alla speranza, ed
12. massimiliano coen 161

* * *
[FTV 2263]

Corso Vittorio Emanuele 167.III

Naples, 14 June 1939-XVII

Father!

Yesterday I came to Rome to ask you for a word of comfort, and I did not dare,
at that moment, to knock on Your door! And now that I am home again, I
muster my courage to tell You about my own and my familys atrocious pain!
Father, Father, assure me that we may hope! Tell me that we shall emerge
victorious from this terrible struggle, that justice will triumph and that the
Duce, who is so good, will want to save my five beloved children! | 2
My duty compels me to instill courage around me, but I fear that I am
beginning to fail in this! Thus I dare to appeal to You, since I cannot confess
my infinite pain to anyone else! And every day this pain cuts away a small
part of my life, and I need to live for my children who still need me!
I have faith, all that supports me, that You will not abandon my family
and that Your very great influence will lead us to the desired goal.
I ask and implore Your benediction for my Husband and my children and
I kiss Your hand devoutly

Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

* * *
Naples, Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

19 June 1939Monday morning, 10:00 a.m.

Father!

An agreeable presentiment woke me this morning, my wedding anniversary!


And, in fact, a short while ago I received Your message with its reassurance
for my beloved children! While reading it, I felt such emotion that I thought
I would collapse! Father, You encourage me to open my heart to hope, and
I beseech God that the longed for fate of my children should be decided
162 primary sources

io prego Iddio che lagognata sorte dei miei figli venga decisa per il loro bene
al pi presto, ch mi sento morire dallatroce aspettativa!
Come ringraziarla, Padre, per essersi degnato rivolgermi una risposta!
Desidero dirle che ogni Suo pensiero nei riguardi dei miei figli certamente
voluto e benedetto da Dio, poich allunione sacrosanta fra mio Marito e me
2 questi nostri figli hanno completato una famiglia esemplare per | moralit in
tutti i campi. E questi nostri figli sono ben degni di appartenere alla nostra
Chiesa: di pi posso giurarle che loro intenzione stata sempre quella di
creare altrettante famiglie cristiane. Padre, continui a pregare per essi, per
mio Marito che, per la sua dirittezza, merita la Sua benevolenza, e per me,
trafitta da una spina che mi rode il cuore! Oso supplicarla di continuare ad
usare dellaltissima Sua autorit per la felice risoluzione della causa dei miei
tanti cari figli! E si degni ancora di rivolgermi una parola di conforto e magari
di assicurazione!
Perdoni ad una madre questo sfogo del suo cuore!
La ringrazio della Sua Benedizione che allevia la mia grande pena, e
nellaggiungere alla mia infinita gratitudine quella di mio Marito e dei miei
figli, Le bacio devotamente la mano.

Sua devotissima
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

* * *
Napoli, domenica 25.6.39. XVII

Padre!

Di nuovo vengo a ringraziarla di avere, con la Sua grande bont, ricevuto


mio Marito. Egli Le avr spiegato la ragione del nostro grande spavento! Pu
immaginare con quale ansia ieri sera ho aspettato il suo ritorno che, grazie
alle Sue parole tranquillizzanti, mi hanno ridato un poco di pace!
Il mio cuore vive della grande speranza fondata unicamente in quanto
Ella sta facendo per noi: sono convinta che soltanto la Sua intercessione e il
Suo alto potere possono per il trionfo della giusta causa. Sento da lontano
2 la Sua protezione e | questa la sola forza che mi sorregge: altrimenti, come
potrei vivere?
Padre, non mi abbandoni! Padre, si rechi per me alla Commissione e
difenda la mia causa: Padre, Lei la sola autorit che pu! La benedico in
ogni attimo della mia giornata e invoco il Suo perdono per il mio ardimento
nel rivolgerLe cos spesso il mio pensiero ossessionante!
12. massimiliano coen 163

in their favor at the earliest moment, since I feel myself dying from the
atrocious anticipation!
How can I thank You, Father, for having deigned to reply to me! I only
wish to tell You that any thought of Yours concerning my children is cer-
tainly desired and blessed by God, because to the sacred union between my
Husband and myself, these children have completed a family exemplary for | 2
its morality in every aspect. And these children of ours are most worthy of
belonging to our Church. I can swear to You, moreover, that their intention
has always been to create equally Christian families. Father, continue to pray
for them, for my Husband, who, for his rectitude deserves Your benevolence,
and for me, pierced by a thorn which chafes at my heart! I dare to supplicate
You to use Your high authority toward the happy resolution of the cause of
my dear children! And may You be willing once more to convey to me a word
of comfort and perhaps even of assurance!
Pardon a mother this unburdening of her heart!
I thank You for Your Benediction which soothes my great pain, and, while
adding to my infinite gratitude that also of my Husband and my children, I
devoutly kiss Your hand.

Your most devoted


Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

* * *
Naples, Sunday, 25 June 1939-XVII

Father!

Once more I come to thank You for having, with Your great goodness, re-
ceived my Husband. He will have explained to You the reason for our great
fright! You can imagine with what anxiety I awaited his return last night
which, thanks to Your tranquilizing words, gave me back a little peace!
My heart lives only on the great hope inspired solely by what You are
doing for us. I am convinced that only Your intercession and Your great
authority will be able to achieve the triumph of this just cause. I can feel Your
protection from afar and | this is the only force that sustains me: otherwise, 2
how could I live?
Father, dont abandon me! Father, go to the Commission for me and plead
my cause: Father, You are the only authority that can! I bless You during every
moment of my day and I ask for Your pardon for my appealing to You so often
with my obsessive concern!
164 primary sources

Appena potr dirmi una parola di conforto, lo faccia, e mi scriva, anche


se mi dovesse torturare con una cattiva notizia, pur di mettere fine a questa
agonia! Perdoni a una madre di parlare cos!
In ginocchio, baciandole la mano, Le chiedo la Sua santa benedizione!

Sua devotissima
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa
Napoli, Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

* * *
Napoli, 28 giugno 1939
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

Mio buon Padre,

Per la prima volta dopo un anno di supplizio un raggio di speranza mi


giunge, e questo da Lei! Che Iddio La benedica per il bene che fa al mio cuore!
Con mio Marito e i miei figli Le rivolgo il sentimento pi devoto di profonda
riconoscenza! Vorrei che Ella fosse convinta che tutto questo bene che Ella ci
fa realmente meritato per i sentimenti di rettitudine e di reciproco amore
2 che dirigono ogni atto della nostra vita. | Pregher e chieder perdono, come
Ella mi dice, cercando di rendermi sempre pi meritevole della grazia che
dovr tutta e solamente a Lei!
Non Le dico con quanto ardore laspetto! Spero vorr gradire gli auguri che
a nome di tutta la mia famiglia Le rinnovo per la ricorrenza di domani.[2]
Fra i tanti che Le giungeranno, credo che i nostri saranno i pi fervidi!
Devotamente Le bacio la mani, chiedendole la Sua benedizione e la
continuazione della Sua protezione.

Sua Clotilde Coen Schioppa

[P.S.] Ho immediatamente consegnato io stessa il Suo messaggio alla cara e


buona Madre, della quale ho avuto la solita buona, confortante accoglienza.
12. massimiliano coen 165

As soon as youll be able to give me a comforting word, do so, and write


to me, even if you should torture me with bad news, just as long as it puts
an end to this agony! Forgive a mother who speaks like this!
On my knees, kissing your hand, I ask for Your holy benediction!

Your most devoted


Clotilde Coen-Schioppa
Naples, Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

* * *
Naples, 28 June 1939
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

My good Father,

For the first time after a year of suffering I receive a ray of hope, and it comes
from You! May God bless You for the good it does to my heart! Together with
my Husband and my children I express to You the most devout sentiment
of profound gratitude! I wish that You could be convinced that all the good
You do for us is really deserved because of the sentiments of rectitude and
mutual love which direct every act of our life. | I shall pray and seek pardon, 2
as You tell me, trying to make myself ever more deserving of the grace that I
shall owe entirely and solely to You!
I cannot tell you with what ardor I await it! I hope you will accept the good
wishes which in the name of my entire family I renew on the occasion of
tomorrows anniversary.118 Among the many that You will receive, I believe
ours will be the most fervent!
I kiss Your hands devoutly, beseeching Your benediction and Your contin-
uing protection.

Your Clotilde Coen Schioppa

[P.S.] I myself immediately passed on Your message to the dear and good
Mother, from whom I received the usual kind, comforting welcome.

118 June 29, the feast of St. Peter (and St. Paul), the day of Pietro Tacchi Venturis patron
saint (onomastico).
166 primary sources

* * *
Napoli, 7. Luglio 1939
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

Mio buon Padre,

mio Marito mi incarica di inviarle questo appunto dattilografato. Spero che


Ella potr ottenere quello che Le chiediamo, semprech non giudichi peri-
coloso far noto a cotesta Autorit, che non stato ottemperato allobbligo
della dichiarazione di razza.
Daltro canto pensiamo che un eventuale favorevole responso potrebbe
anzi essere facilitato, quando si sapesse dalle autorit della Commissione
2 che non stata ancora effettuata nessuna annotazione sui registri | dello
Stato Civile.
Giudichi Ella come convenga regolarsi per la salvezza dei miei figli.
Grazie, grazie col cuore riconoscente di madre ed accolga i sentimenti di
profonda gratitudine di mio Marito e i miei devotissimi.

Sua
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

[P.S.] Sono pronta a venire a prendermi personalmente la risposta, se Ella


vorr farmene un cenno, e sempre che giudichi opportuno parlare invece di
scrivere.

* * *
Napoli, 8.7.39.XVII
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

Mio buon Padre!

Ieri, incaricata da mio Marito, Le ho indirizzato quegli appunti che a que-


stora saranno gi nelle Sue mani. Oggi, non posso trattenermi dal ripeterle
tutta la nostra confusione per il gran da fare e lenorme fastidio di cui siamo
causa! In questa confusione mi sostiene il pensiero che il Suo grande cuore
12. massimiliano coen 167

* * *
Naples, 7 July 1939
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

My Good Father,

My Husband has asked me to forward to you this typewritten note.119 I hope


that You will be able to obtain what we ask of You, unless You consider
it dangerous to let it be known to that Authority, that the obligation of
declaring ones race has not been fulfilled.
On the other hand we think that a possible favorable judgment could, on
the contrary, be facilitated if it became known from the authorities of the
Commission that thus far nothing has been entered in the records | of the 2
Civic Registry of Births.
You be the judge about what we should do for the salvation of my chil-
dren.
Thank you, thank you with a mothers grateful heart and accept my
Husbands sentiments of profound gratitude and my own most devoted.

Your
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

P.S. I am ready to come to receive the reply in person, if You so indicate, and
always if you consider it opportune to speak instead of writing.

* * *
Naples, 8 July 1939-XVII
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

My good Father!

Yesterday, at my Husbands request, I sent You those notes that by now


should already be in Your hands. Today, I cannot restrain myself from ex-
pressing our embarrassment for the great to do and enormous bother of
which we are the cause! In this embarrassment I am sustained by the

119 This document is extant in Coens dossier. It begins with the words: Although it may
appear indiscrete and inappropriate [Per quanto appaia indiscreto e inopportuno].
168 primary sources

e laltissimo spirito di carit, compatiscono e comprendono lo strazio di due


2 genitori pronti a dare la vita, pur di salvare i loro figli da un flagello! |
Passo le mie giornate ad aspettare [] e mentre compio i miei doveri di
madre, il mio pensiero e le mie labbra sono continuamente rivolte a Dio, da
cui aspetto la grazia! E nelle nottate interminabili il mio cuore non fa che
pregare [] e prego tanto per Lei, mio buon Padre, che tanto sta facendo
per me!
Mi aiuti, Padre! Mi ridia la vita! Quale giorno mi dar la buona notizia?!
Mi creda, Padre, lavr meritata per lagonia che mi sta struggendo!
Le bacio la mano in ginocchio e invocando la Sua Benedizione.

Sua dev.ma
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

* * *
Corso V. Em. 167.III
Napolidomenica 30.7.39.XVII

Mio buon Padre,

questo messaggio, non per tediarla o per riparlarle della angosciata attesa
che mi rode il cuore, ma soltanto per rinnovarle sempre sempre [sic] tutta
la mia infinita devozione!
Dopo ludienza che ultimamente Lei ebbe la bont di accordarmi, il mio
viaggio di ritorno a casa fu tutto un pianto per gli amari rimproveri che mi
toccarono il cuore fino alla disperazione!
Le giuro ancora una volta, Padre, che mai mai [sic] ho dubitato un momen-
2 to che i miei figli avrebbero, meno che spontanea|mente, sanzionato col
Battesimo la loro adesione alla mia Religione che pi da bambini essi sem-
pre hanno seguito.
E il mio dolore oggi che simile sentimento possa essere apparso un
opportunismo in seguito alle vicende occorse!
Padre mio, mi aiuti, vada ancora a perorare la causa dei miei figli e preghi
per me il Signore che sia abbreviata questa mia agonia! Iddio e gli uomini
ascolteranno la Sua parola! In ginocchio Le bacio la mano e Le chiedo la Sua
Benedizione anche per mio Marito e i miei figli.

Sua devotissima
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa
12. massimiliano coen 169

thought that Your great heart and noble spirit of charity, have mercy on and
comprehend the agony of two parents who are ready to sacrifice their lives
if it would save their children from calamity! | 2
I live my days waiting [] and while I fulfill my duties as a mother, my
thoughts and my lips are constantly turned toward God, from whom I await
grace! And during the interminable nights my heart can only pray [] and I
pray so much for You, my good Father, who is doing so much for me!
Help me, Father! Give me back life! On what day will you give me the
good news? Believe me, Father, I will have earned it for the agony that is
tormenting me!
I kiss Your hand on my knees and entreating Your Benediction,

Your most devoted


Clotilde Coen-Schioppa

* * *
Corso V. Em. 167.III
Naples-Sunday, 30 July 1939-XVII

My good Father,

I write this message not to weary You or to bring up again the anguished
waiting that gnaws at my heart, but only to repeat to You always, always [sic]
my infinite devotion!
After the audience that You recently had the goodness to grant me, my
return trip home was one long shedding of tears for the bitter reproaches
that afflicted my heart to the point of desperation!
I swear to You one more time, Father, that never never [sic] did I doubt
for a moment that my children would have, less than spontaneously, | sealed 2
with Baptism their adherence to my Religion that from childhood they have
always followed.
And my sorrow today is that such a sentiment can have seemed oppor-
tunism after the events that have transpired!
Father mine, help me, go once more to argue the cause of my children
and beseech the Lord for me that this agony of mine be ended! God and
men will listen to Your word! On my knees I kiss Your hand and ask for Your
Benediction also for my Husband and my children.

Your most devoted


Clotilde Coen-Schioppa
170 primary sources

* * *
[manu scritta: non pi spedita]

Collegio S. Francesco Saverio


Per le Missioni Estere

Roma, 1-8-1939-XVII
Piazza del Ges, 45Telef. 65-131

Gent.ma Signora,

Mi spiace molto che il mio colloquio Le sia stato cagione di cos grave
dispiacere.
In verit, se vorr ricordare, non La rimproverai, ma, come era mio dovere,
non potei non omettere di farle osservare che quanto sta soffrendo si sa-
rebbe potuto evitare, quando Ella (non ne cerco la causa) avesse fatto battez-
zare i figliuoli che Dio le ha dato nella prima infanzia, tale appunto essendo
lespressa condizione sotto la quale la Chiesa Cattolica, cui Dio Le ha fatto
grazia di appartenere, pu soltanto permettere, e di fatto permette, a donna
cristiana di contrarre nozze con chi appartiene ad altra religione.
Accagioner volentieri di questa deplorevolissima omissione chi doveva
istruirla prima del matrimonio: lignoranza molte cose scusa, come il sin-
cero pentimento cancella ogni colpa dinnanzi a Dio. Ma il disperarsi nelle
gravi avversit della vita non giova a nulla, anzi le accresce, laddove lumile
confidenza in Dio ci d forza a sopportarle e meno dolorose ce le rende.
Ella giustamente desidera di sentire quale sar il definitivo responso circa
larianit dei suoi figliuoli. In questo mese, non meno che nel precedente
test trascorso, la Commissione ha sospeso le sue tornate; purtroppo per
non sono in grado, argomentando da ci che ho sentito, di farle concepire
buone speranze.
Ossequiandola religiosamente e pregandole da Dio ogni conforto, mi
professo

Suo dev.mo
Pietro Tacchi Venturi S.J.
12. massimiliano coen 171

* * *
[written by hand: not mailed]

College of S. Francesco Saverio


For Foreign Missions

Rome, 1 August 1939-XVII


Piazza del Ges, 45-Tel. 65-131

Dearest Madam,

I regret that my colloquy was the cause for so much unhappiness for You.
In truth, if you will recall, I did not reproach You, but, as was my duty, I
could not avoid bringing to your attention that what you are suffering now
could have been avoided, if You (I shall not search for the reason) had the
children whom God gave you baptized in early infancy, since this is precisely
the condition under which the Catholic Church, to which thanks to Gods
grace you belong, can only permit, and in fact permits a Christian woman
to contract matrimony with someone from another religion.
I will gladly blame for this most deplorable lapse whomever was sup-
posed to instruct you before marriage: ignorance excuses many things, just
as sincere repentance wipes away every fault before God, but despair in the
grave adversities of life serve nothing, in fact it makes it worse, where instead
humble trust in God gives us the strength to bear them and render them less
painful.
You justly desire to hear what will be the definitive decision in regard to
the Aryan status of your children. This month, just as in the previous one just
passed, the Commission suspended its sessions; unfortunately, therefore, I
am not in a position, on the basis of what I have heard, to have you nurture
strong hopes.
With my religious respects and praying that God will bestow all comfort
upon you, I am

Your most devoted


Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.
172 primary sources

* * *
Napoli, 7.8.39.XVII
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

Mio buon Padre,

mi perdoni che ancora oggi a Lei rivolgo il mio grido di disperazione!


E questo perch, secondo la Gazzetta Ufficiale dal giorno 2 agosto,
decorso, nel limite di venti giorni, i miei figli debbono fare la dichiarazione
della loro appartenenza alla razza ebraica, se non giunta, nel frattempo, la
dichiarazione contraria da parte della Commissione.
E la legge dice: Anche se vi una revisione in corso della pratica! Qual-
siasi infrazione punita con la prigione!
Non mi importa di qualsiasi multa, ma, Padre, i miei figli in prigione?!
Padre mio buono, me li salvi! La supplico! Il Cardinale nostro, laltro
giorno piangeva dal dolore, dicendosi pronto a qualunque intervento, pur di
salvare i miei figli che Egli ama sinceramente! Perch questa Commissione
tarda tanto ad intervenire?!
2 Sono disperata, perdo la ragione, e lunico | mio sollievo quello di
inginocchiarmi avanti a Lei, Padre buono e giusto, e chiedere col Suo aiuto
il soccorso divino!
Mi perdoni, Padre, mi benedica e mi conceda di baciarle la mano con
tutta religiosa devozione.

Sua costernatissima
Clotilde Coen Schioppa

* * *

8.8.39.XVII

Gent. Signora

Ho il grande dispiacere di significarle che il ricorso gi presentato e soste-


nuto con i pi calorosi uffici di intercessione per ottenere la dichiarazione
di arianit della Sua prole, non venne accolto. I suoi figli purtroppo vennero
ritenuti appartenenti alla razza ebraica, perch non si trov in loro le con-
dizioni dalla legge prescritte per larianit nei casi di matrimoni misti.
12. massimiliano coen 173

* * *
Naples, 7 August 1939-XVII
Corso V. Emanuele 167.III

My good Father,

Pardon me that today too I turn to You with my cry of desperation!


And I do so because, according to the Gazzetta Ufficiale of August 2,
within twenty days my children must declare their belonging to the Jewish
race, if in the meantime, they do not receive the contrary declaration from
the Commission.
And the law specifies: Even if a review of the case is in progress! Whatever
infraction is to be punished by prison.
I do not care about any fine, but Father, my children in prison?!
My good Father, save them! I beg You! Our Cardinal was crying from
the sorrow the other day, saying that he was ready to intervene in any
way if it would save my children whom He loves sincerely! Why does this
Commission delay so long to act?!
I am desperate, I am losing my mind, and my sole | relief is to get down on 2
my knees before You, good and just Father, and with Your help seek divine
aid!
Pardon me, Father, bless me and permit me to kiss Your hand with all my
religious devotion.

Yours in utter consternation


Clotilde Coen Schioppa

* * *
[handwritten second draft]

8 August 1939-XVII

Dear Madam,

I have the sorrowful duty of informing you that the appeal formerly submit-
ted and argued with the most earnest efforts to seek to obtain the declara-
tion of Aryan status for Your children, was rejected. Your children, unfortu-
nately, have been considered as belonging to the Jewish race, because they
were deemed lacking the conditions prescribed by the law for Aryan status
in cases of mixed marriages.
174 primary sources

2 Come qui ora Le dissi, sono anche io ben dolente di un siffatto | responso,
perch troppo bene intendo quanto debba riuscire amaro al suo cuore di
madre.
Non disperi, tuttavia, perch mai si deve disperare nella vita; procuri
invece che i suoi figli diventino al presente della stessa fede nella quale
Ella ebbe la grazia di nascere e di essere educata, vivano secondo essa e
possano cos impetrare dal Signore ci che ora non si creduto di potere
loro concedere.
Con [] ossequi.

* * *

Gent.ma Signora
Clotilde Coen-Schioppa
Corso Vittorio Emanuele 16F [sic for 167] III
Napoli

24.IIII.42

Gent.ma Signora,

Dopo pi di due anni e mezzo da che Vi salutai mentre eravate immersa


in profondo martirio, ho questoggi il piacere di potervi comunicare una
notizia che Vi far trasalire di insperata giocondissima gioia.
I Vostri cinque figliuoli, se non vengono smentite le gravi assicurazioni
date da chi ne ha il potere allEminentissimo Cardinale Segretario di Stato di
Sua Santit e a me stesso, saranno tutti e cinque dichiarati ariani non ostante
abbiano ricevuto il battesimo dopo il 1 Ottobre 1938.
2 questa una singolarissima grazia del Signore per la quale | non potete
mai essergli abbastanza grata e della quale, non voglio dubitarne, si mostre-
ranno degni i vostri cari figli, mostrando una vita esemplarmente cristiana
anche per compensare il tempo trascorso senza essere vivi membri del
corpo mistico di Ges Cristo.

Con cordiali saluti mi professo


Vostro dev.mo
12. massimiliano coen 175

As I said when You were here, I too am extremely grieved by this decision,
because I understand too well how bitter it must afflict your heart as a
mother.
Do not despair, however, because we must never despair in life; see to
it, instead, that your children become now of the same faith in which you
received the grace of being born and educated, let them live in accordance
with it and thus be able to ask of the Lord for that which it was not thought
possible to grant them now.

With [] respects
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]

* * *
[handwritten second draft]

Most gracious madam


Clotilde Coen-Schioppa
Corso Vittorio Emanuele 16F [sic for 167] III
Naples

24 April 1942

Dear Madam,

More than two and a half years since I last communicated with You while
you were in a state of profound sorrow, I have today the pleasure of being
able to communicate news which will cause You to leap from unexpected
most happy joy.
Your five children, if the grave assurances given by who has the authority
to do so to His Holinesss most Eminent Cardinal Secretary of State and to
me, will all be declared Aryans in spite of the fact that they were baptized
after October 1, 1938.
This is a most singular grace imparted by the Lord for which | you can 2
never be grateful enough, and of which, I do not doubt, your dear children
will prove worthy, by demonstrating an exemplary Christian life also to
compensate for the time elapsed in which they were not living members
of the mystical body of Jesus Christ.

With cordial greetings, I am


Your most devoted
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]
13. Nadejda De Poliakoff

Nadejda De Poliakoff, who was of Jewish origins, was married to an Italian


officer, Lieutenant Colonel Giovanni Lombard, who 193940 was the com-
mander of the 14th Regiment Cavalleggeri di Alessandria that fought in
Jugoslavia and Russia.120 From the following letters that the latter exchanged
with Tacchi Venturi almost no biographical information can be gathered.
The couple lived in Verona and had small children. De Poliakoff submitted
an application for Aryanization (not extant in the Jesuits archive), but the
couple was unsure whether it was the right move, because of Lombards
important military position and because of the wealth she possessed and
sought to renounce (which seems to be connected to the requirement of
the racial laws). The complexity of the case needed the good advice of Tac-
chi Venturi who personally interceded with Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi
to pressure Director Le Pera, which is the main topic discussed in the fol-
lowing letters. The last letter was written by the Jesuit and expresses his
happiness that the Demorazza committee recognized De Poliakoff as non-
Jewish, a decision long-awaited by the anxious couple, about which Tacchi
Venturi informed Lombard just one hour after he had learned about it from
Buffarini Guidi. Lombard replied with a joyful thank-you card.

* * *

Verona, 8 Giugno 1939/XVII


Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22

Le notizie apprese dalla Sua viva voce, Molto Reverendo Padre, luned sera
29 u.s., poco prima della mia partenza, mi sono state di grande conforto.
Grazie al Suo alto e generoso interessamento la domanda nostra dovreb-
be ora trovare quella soluzione che con tutte le nostre forze invochiamo da
Dio.
Sennonch il rapido passare delle settimane potrebbe assumere, di fronte
ad un nuovo arenamento della pratica, seria importanza, data la nostra
situazione patrimoniale dovuta, comElla sa, denunciare, sia pure con tutte

120 See http://www.regioesercito.it/reparti/cavalleria/regcav14.htm.


13. nadejda de poliakoff 177

* * *
[FTV 2298]

Verona, 8 June 1939-XVII


Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22

The news that I received from You personally, Most Reverend Father, Mon-
day evening, the 29th of last month, just before my departure, was of great
comfort to me.
Thanks to Your immense and generous concern our case should now find
that solution which with all our strength we invoke of God.
The rapid passing of the weeks could assume serious importance, should
the case be delayed again, in view of our patrimonial situation which, as You
know, we have had to declare, although with all due reserve. For this reason
178 primary sources

le riserve. Per tale ragione oso rinnovarLe la preghiera di voler mantenere


il contatto cogli uffici al fine di ottenere che la posizione di mia moglie, in
sostanza semplice, circoscritta dalla sua persona ed ormai sufficientemente
documentata, abbia quanto prima ad essere definita.
Ora dagli Uffici dovesse ancora sentire od intuire qualche difficolt, La
prego informarmi con cortese urgenza, avendo ancora per questo mese
la possibilit di raccogliere eventuali nuovi elementi da persone ancora
presenti a Roma.
In ogni modo conto di poter fare un nuovo viaggio cost nellentrante
settimana ed in quelloccasione la pregher di ricevermi, avendo comunque
in animo di adempiere unintima promessa.
La prego caldamente di un cenno di risposta che, nel frattempo, mi sar
di grande giovamento per ogni conseguente predisposizione.
Le bacio la mano con deferente devozione,

Obb.mo
T. Col. Giovanni Lombard

* * *
Verona, 19 Giugno 1939/XVII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

dopo quanto ebbe a dirmi circa la nuova documentazione da noi presentata,


ho buona fiducia che la pratica, che ci sta tanto a cuore, trovi presto una
favorevole soluzione.
Nellipotesi invece, considerata dal mio promemoria consegnatoLe ve-
nerd u.s., che gli uffici siano tuttora incerti sulla decisione favorevole, occor-
rer, come Lei ebbe pienamente a condividere, il Suo intervento in tempo
utile per ottenere la restituzione della domanda e documentazione relativa,
prima che trascorra altro tempo a nostro svantaggio.
In questa situazione Lei comprende, Molto Reverendo Padre, quanto sia
necessario un Suo tempestivo contatto diretto con le note personalit per
poter valutare la situazione ed eventualmente, in via subordinata, chiedere,
in premio della nostra spontanea correttezza, la restituzione dei documenti,
ufficiosamente a mezzo Suo presentati. Comunque per le ragioni che gi
ebbi ad esporle, urge per noi che si addivenga ad una soluzione che con-
fidiamo sia favorevole o quanto meno che metta una pietra sopra al passo
spontaneamente da me fatto per eccesso di scrupolo e da loro stessi concor-
demente ritenuto inspiegabile.
13. nadejda de poliakoff 179

I dare repeat to You our prayer to stay in touch with the Offices so that my
wifes situation, actually quite simple, described by herself personally and
by now sufficiently documented, be resolved as soon as possible.
Now if You should hear or suspect some difficulty from the Offices, I beg
You courteously to inform me with urgency, since this month I still might be
able to collect possibly new elements from persons who are still in Rome.
In any case, I am planning to make a new trip there the coming week
and I beg You to receive me then, since I have in mind to fulfill an intimate
promise.
I beseech You warmly for a brief reply which, in the meantime, will be of
great help to me in any subsequent arrangement.
I kiss Your hand with deferential devotion,

Most gratefully
Lt. Col. Giovanni Lombard

* * *
Verona, 19 June 1939-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

After what You told me about the new documentation we presented, I


have faith that the matter, so dear to our hearts, will soon find a favorable
solution.
In the possibility, instead, mentioned in the memorandum I consigned to
You Friday of last month, that the offices might still be uncertain regarding a
favorable decision, Your intervention will be necessary, as You agreed fully, in
time to obtain the return of our petition and accompanying documentation,
before more time passes to our detriment.
In this situation, You understand, Most Reverend Father, the necessity
of a prompt direct contact on Your part with the persons in question so
as to be able to evaluate the situation and, if necessary, request, in view of
our spontaneous correctness, the return of the documents, which had been
formally submitted through You. At any rate, for the reasons which I have
already explained to You, it is urgent for us to reach a solution that we trust
will be favorable or that at least will lay one more building block on that step
I made spontaneously out of an excess of scruple and which they themselves
unanimously considered unexplainable.
180 primary sources

La prego di tutto cuore, Molto Reverendo Padre, di volermi tenere infor-


mato con cortese urgenza sullesito del Suo intervento.
Fiducioso di poter presto assolvere il nostro voto, invoco la Sua Paterna
assistenza e Le bacio la mano con devota riconoscenza.

T. Col. G. Lombard
Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22

* * *
Soluzione che potrebbe essere prospettata nel caso che gli uffici dessero lo
spunto

Spontaneamente, per ragioni di correttezza, la Signora De Poliakoff Nadej-


da, moglie del T. Colonnello in S[ervizio] P[ermanente] E[ffettivo] Giovanni
Lombard, ha fatto pervenire direttamente alla competente Commissione
del Ministero dellInterno una domanda per il riconoscimento della sua
arianit.
Successivamente ha prodotto altri documenti aggiuntivi a conferma della
sua tesi ed ha fiducia che la documentazione fin qui presentata sia atta ad
ottenere il chiesto riconoscimento.
Qualora nondimeno la Commissione non si ritenga, allo stato degli atti, in
grado di pronunciare un decisivo giudizio, allo scopo di liberare il T. Colon-
nello Lombard da preoccupazioni che gli impedirebbero di attendere sere-
namente alle sue incombenze che prossimamente gli saranno conferite
nella sua qualit di Comandante di Reggimento, la Signora Lombard de
Poliakoff non sarebbe aliena di ritirare la domanda presentata sempre quan-
do la Commissione ritenga, sia pure in forma ufficiosa, che la di Lei posi-
zione non meriti di essere particolarmente esaminata.

* * *
Verona, 18 Luglio [19]39/XVII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

credo opportuno comunicarLe, pel [] che creder farne nel corso della
nostra pratica, che il 1 agosto prossimo (qualche giorno avanti la causa) mia
moglie per salvaguardarsi i diritti di legge, dovr firmare latto di donazione
dei suoi beni sotto condizione risolutiva (condizione che ci auguriamo si veri-
fichi colla desiderata dichiarazione di arianitnel qual caso latto sarebbe
nullo di pieno diritto), formula che ci stata consigliata dal nostro legale per
non incorrere, in caso dannato, nella perdita della propriet.
13. nadejda de poliakoff 181

I beg You with all my heart, Most Reverend Father, to keep me informed
with courteous urgency on the outcome of Your intervention.
Trusting that we shall soon be able to fulfill our vow, I beseech Your
paternal assistance and kiss Your hand with devout gratitude.

Lt. Col. G. Lombard


Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22

* * *
Solution that could be considered in case the offices provide the occasion.

Spontaneously, for reasons of correctness, Mrs De Poliakoff Nadejda, the


wife of Lt. Col. Giovanni Lombard on active duty, submitted directly to the
appropriate Commission in the Ministry of the Interior a request for the
recognition of her Aryan status.
Subsequently she produced additional documents confirming her thesis
and she trusts that the documentation submitted thus far is appropriate for
the reception of the desired recognition.
If, however, the Commission, on the basis of the submitted documents
does not consider itself in a position to pronounce a final judgment, for the
purpose of freeing Lt. Col. Lombard from worries that would prevent him
from serenely fulfilling the duties that shortly will fall to him in his capacity
of Regimental Commander, Mrs Lombard de Poliakoff would not be against
withdrawing the submitted request if the Commission should deem, even
unofficially, that Her position does not merit to be examined in detail.

* * *
Verona, 18 July [19]39-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

I believe it is appropriate that I should inform You, for whatever use You may
want to make of it in our case, that on 1 August (a few days before our case)
my wife to safeguard her legal rights, will have to sign the act donating her
property under a resolutive condition (condition which we augur will occur
with the desired declaration of Aryan statusin which case the act legally
would be null and void), a formula which has been suggested to us by our
lawyer so as not to incur, in case of failure, loss of the property.
182 primary sources

Certo questatto, oltre al suo lato tranquillante ha pure il suo rovescio,


indubbiamente a noi sfavorevole, in quanto sar una zappa sui piedi che
noi ci diamo in conseguenza della situazione di attesa in cui da tanti mesi
ci troviamo.
quindi evidente che la soluzione favorevole potesse intervenire prima di
tale data, sarebbe un grande vantaggio. Daltra parte, se il sollecitare ecces-
sivamente la soluzione pu, a Suo giudizio, pregiudicare lesito favorevole,
ritengo che fra i due mali convenga scegliere il minore ed attendere che gli
eventi si maturino favorevolmente. Limportante che intervenga la dichia-
razione esplicita di appartenenza a razza ariana o quanto meno che la si
consideri di tale razzaaltro termine usato dalla legge e che pi facilmente
pu essere adottato e accordato in quantonel caso nostro, difficile a docu-
mentarsi con atti originalinon impegna cos a fondo la responsabilit del
giudizio dellAutorit.
In subordine ancora, ci si conceda tempo; in tal caso a met agosto, dopo
2 le grandi esercitazioni, io potrei | nuovamente pregarLa di ricevermi per
concretare ed organizzare una nuova azione.
Io fra qualche giorno dovr partire definitivamente, ma sar sempre
collegato con mia moglie che rimane qui vicino e giornalmente riceve e mi
comunica le novit; il nostro recapito rimane quindi invariato.
Fiducioso nella Sua alta e generosa assistenza con cuore commosso e
riconoscente Le bacio la mano.

Dev.mo
T. Col. G. Lombard

P.S. Suo nipote Dott. Pino pu alloccorrenza illustrarLe latto progettato,


avendo io avuto occasione di parlargliene, poich temo di essere stato poco
chiaro, per rispettare la brevit.
13. nadejda de poliakoff 183

To be sure, this act, in addition to its tranquilizing side, also has its
opposite, undoubtedly disadvantageous to us, since we shall be defeating
our own ends as a consequence of that suspended situation in which we
have found ourselves for so many months.
Thus, evidently, if a favorable resolution could transpire before that date,
it would be the best of all. On the other hand, if placing too much pressure to
obtain a solution, could, in Your opinion, work against obtaining a favorable
result, I think that between the two evils it is better to choose the lesser and
wait for events to take their favorable course. The important thing is that
there should be an explicit declaration of belonging to the Aryan race, or
at least that she is considered to be of such a raceanother term used by
the law and which more easily can be adopted and allowed inasmuch, since
it is difficult in our case to establish it with original documents, it does not
engage so deeply the responsibility of the Authoritys judgment.
As a secondary advantage, we gain time. In which case in mid-August,
after the grand maneuvers, I could | beseech You anew to receive me to plan 2
and organize another action.
In a few days I shall have to depart for good, but I shall continue to be in
touch with my wife who remains close by and daily receives and transmits
new developments; our address thus remains the same.
With trust in Your high and generous assistance, with a warm and grateful
heart, I kiss Your hand.

Most devotedly
Lt. Col. G. Lombard

P.S. Your nephew Dr. Pino can, if the situation arises, explain to You the plan
of action, since I have had the opportunity to speak to him about it.121 I fear
that, for the sake of brevity, I have not been very clear.

121 See Pinos letter in this collection written to his uncle Tacchi Venturi on behalf of Dr.
Bergmann. See Chapter 6.
184 primary sources

* * *
23.7.1939. XVII

Ill.mo Sig. Colonnello,

Rispondo alla Sua del 18 di questo mese.


Lo stesso giorno che la ricevetti mi recai da S.E. Buffarini, pregandolo
vivamente di sollecitare la soluzione della questione, ci che del resto avevo
gi fatto in iscritto alcuni giorni prima, come ne Lavr informato legregio
amico della Reale Arma.
LOnorevole accolse bene la mia domanda e in mia presenza scrisse una
2 breve nota da trasmettere al Direttore Generale S.E. Le Pera. |
Ieri mattina infatti, essendomi recato alla Segreteria della predetta Dire-
zione Generale, mi fu mostrato la redatta scheda con la quale il Segretario di
Stato sollecitava la conclusione della pratica, sennonch S.E. Le Pera da pi
giorni assente, torner avanti gli ultimi giorni del mese per subito ripartire.
Non mancher di fargli, come suol dirsi, la caccia, ma poich egli da solo non
3 vorr risolvere senza consultare gli altri membri della Commissione, dubito |
molto che riusciamo a raggiungere il nostro intento. Tutto ci considerato,
credo di doverle consigliare che si faccia, senza attendere pi oltre, latto di
donazione, sotto la condizione sintenda da Lei indicatami.
Dolente di non poterle dare quelle migliori finali notizie che io deside-
ravo, con i pi cordiali saluti mi confermo della S.V. Ill.ma

dev.mo

Sig. Colonnello Giovanni Lombard


Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 22
Verona
13. nadejda de poliakoff 185

* * *
23 July 1939-XVII

Illustrious Colonel,

I reply to Yours of the 18th of this month.


The same day that I received it I went to see His Excellency Buffarini,
beseeching him fervently to seek a resolution to the question, something
that, however, I had already done in writing a few days earlier, as You must
have been informed by our worthy friend of the Royal Arm.
The Honorable [Buffarini] received my request with favor and in my
presence wrote a brief note for transmission to the Director General His
Excellency Le Pera. | 2
Yesterday morning, in fact, since I had gone to the Secretariat of the
aforesaid General Administration, I was shown the redacted form with
which the Secretary of State urged the conclusion of the proceedings, but
His Excellency Le Pera who has been absent for a few days, will return just
before the end of the month but then will promptly leave once more. I shall
not fail, as they say, to give chase, but since he will not want to decide the
matter without consulting the other members of the Commission, I greatly
doubt | that we shall succeed in attaining our object. Considering all this, I 3
think that I should advise you to proceed, without further delay, to carry out
the act of donation, under the conditions, to be sure, that you indicated to
me.
Regretting not to be able to give you better final news as I had hoped, most
cordially I confirm being, Illustrious Sir,

Your Devoted
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]

Col. Giovanni Lombard


Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22
Verona
186 primary sources

* * *
12.IV.1940
ore 11.30

Egregio Sig. Colonnello,

Con immenso piacere, dopo rese grazie al Signore, Vi partecipo che la giusta
causa dellarianit della Vostra Signora ha riportato la vittoria che le si
doveva. S.E. il Direttore Generale Le Pera mi ha comunicato sinora fa che
Vostra Moglie fu dichiarata non appartenente alla razza ebraica e che l8 di
questo mese se n stata data ufficiale comunicazione al Prefetto di Verona.
Congratulandomi di [] con Voi e con la Vostra gentile Signora mi con-
fermo
Vostro dev.mo

Sig. Colonnello Lombard


Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22
Verona

* * *
Palmanova 16/IV/[1940]

Molto Reverendo Padre,

ricevo in questo momento, respintami da Verona, la Vostra lettera colla


grande e lieta notizia. Con cuore riconoscente e commosso rivolgo a Voi,
Molto Reverendo Padre, che mi foste nelle lunghe, dure giornate s autore-
vole e saggio protettore, lespressione pi sincera della nostra gratitudine.
Mia moglie vuole essere in modo particolare ricordata a Voi e mi incarica
2 di assicurarVi | della sua immutabile devozione.
Avrei voluto correre a Voi, Reverendissimo Padre, per dirVi di persona
questi miei profondi sentimenti, ma purtroppo ne sono per ora impedito
dalla mia carica e dal momento.
Ma sento fiducia che col chiarirsi della situazioneDio lo vogliaun
giorno mi sar dato di tornare a Voi, Molto Reverendo Padre, per baciarVi
la mano colla mia consorte ed i miei piccoli, da Voi cos appassionatamente
beneficiati, in segno della nostra imperitura riconoscenza.

Con devozione profonda,


Obbl.mo G. Lombard
13. nadejda de poliakoff 187

* * *
12 April 1940
11:30 oclock

Dear Colonel,

With immense pleasure, after having given thanks to the Lord, I can tell
you that the just cause of the Aryan status of Your Wife has achieved the
victory that it deserves. His Excellency the Director General Le Pera has
communicated to me that Your Wife has been declared not to belong to the
Jewish race and that on the 8th of this month official notice of this was sent
to the Prefect of Verona.
Rejoycing [] with You and Your gentle Lady, I am
Yours most devotedly

Lt. Colonel Lombard


Corso Vittorio Emanuele 22
Verona

* * *
Palmanova, 16 April [1940]

Most Reverend Father,

I have received this very moment, forwarded from Verona, Your letter with its
great and happy news. With grateful and emotion filled heart, I direct to You,
Most Reverend Father, who in the long, difficult days was such an authori-
tative and wise protector, the most sincere expression of our gratitude.
My wife wishes to be remembered to You in a special way and she charges
me to assure You | of her unflagging devotion. 2
I would have wanted to hasten to You, Most Reverend Father, to convey
to You in person my profound sentiments, but, unfortunately, for now I am
prevented from doing so because of my duties and the moment.
But I am confident that with the clarification of the situationGod
willingI shall be able one day to return to You, Most Reverend Father, to
kiss Your hand with my wife and my little ones, whom You have so ardently
benefited, as a sign of our lasting gratitude.

With profound devotion


Most gratefully G. Lombard
188 primary sources

Fig. 15. Giovanni Lombards handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


14. Giuseppe Ehrman

Giuseppe Ehrman was the son of Emanuele, who was Jewish, and of Erna
Maria Ernisch, who was Catholic. He was born in the southeastern Polish
town of Smolnica July 20, 1897.122 Since 1923, he had been living with his wife,
Giuseppina Thorn (b. 8/19/1901; daughter of Giovacchino), and ten-year-old
son in Florence (in via Trieste 33), where he was baptized in March 1937. In
October 1939, the government informed him that he had to leave Italy for
he was considered a foreign Jew. Ehrman then applied for Aryanization.
His application was supported by a Polish bishop, Ignacy Dubowski (1874
1953), who argued that Ehrmans situation would become desperate, if he
was not able to remain in Italy, for his native townwhere his parents were
still livingwas under Soviet occupation.
The same Florentine attorney, Luigi Boniforti, who assisted another Jew-
ish family, Pereyra de Leon, assumed his case. He frequently corresponded
with Tacchi Venturi about Ehrmans situation. He wrote his last letter on
behalf of Ehrmanwho fell illin January 1941, thanking the Jesuit for
his mediation with the government, even though Ehrmans application was
turned down in accordance with the racial laws, because his Aryan Catho-
lic mother was not an Italian citizen.
Other sources indicate that he was interned in 1940 in a camp in A
Campagna (Salerno) and in 1942 in one at Ferramonti, and that his wife was
arrested in Florence in December 1942 and transferred to Ferramonti, but
neither of them was deported.

122 Cfr. http://www.annapizzuti.it/database/ricerca.php?a=show&sid=3486.


190 primary sources

* * *

Firenze, 17.XI.1939

Reverendissimo Padre!

Faccio seguito alla mia ultima devota per comunicarle che stamani sono
stato chiamato alla R.le Questura, ove mi hanno chiesto i certificati di batte-
simo mio e di mia madre, oltre a quelli di mia moglie e di mio figlio. Mentre
per questi ultimi due certificati ho dichiarato che debbo riceverli da Leopoli
(Polonia), dove avvenuto il battesimo, non senza sottolineare la difficolt
di riceverli in breve tempo, per il certificato mio e di mia madre ho risposto
che si trovano attualmente a Roma. Conseguentemente La prego di volermi
cortesemente comunicare, se Ella ha presentato al Ministero i detti docu-
menti, in modo che io possa in tal senso assicurare la R.a Questura, ovvero se
i documenti sono ancora in Sue mani, nel qual caso La pregherei vivamente
di farmele riavere al pi presto possibile, avendo promesso alla Questura di
esibirli entro 34 giorni.
La chiedo scusa del disturbo che Le arreco e La ringrazio di cuore di
quello che ha fatto e che sta facendo per me ed assicurandola della mia pi
profonda riconoscenza, La prego di gradire i miei pi devoti ossequi.

Dev.mo Giuseppe Ehrman


v. Trieste 33
14. giuseppe ehrman 191

* * *
[FTV 2336]

Florence, 17 November 1939

Most Reverend Father!

I am following up on my last devout letter to communicate that this morn-


ing I was summoned to the Questura [Police Headquarters], where I was
asked for my baptismal certificate and that of my mother, in addition to
my wifes and my sons. While for the latter two certificates I declared that I
am supposed to receive them from Leopoli ([Lviv] in Poland), where the
baptism took place, not without emphasizing the difficulty about receiv-
ing them quickly. For my certificate and my mothers I replied that at the
moment they are in Rome. Consequently, I ask You to courteously inform
me whether You have presented said documents to the Ministry, so that I
can assure the Questura in this sense. If, instead, the documents are still in
Your hands, I beseech You earnestly to return them to me as soon as possible,
since I promised the Questura to furnish them within three or four days.
I ask forgiveness for the disturbance I am causing You and thank You
with all my heart for everything You have done and are doing for me, while
assuring You of my most sincere gratitude.
I beseech You to accept my most devout respects

Yours very truly


Giuseppe Ehrman
Via Trieste 33
15. Arrigo Gersony

Arrigo Gersony, son of Isidoro, was born August 26, 1900 in Braila (Romania)
to a Jewish couple that emigrated there from Belarus.123 He was baptized
in Rome November 15, 1909 (at the age of nine) during a visit there with
his parents. In 1927, he married in Genoa a daughter of a Jewish couple
but who was apparently baptized at birth. They had two children: Guido
(born April 11, 1928 in Genoa) and Daisy (born May 9, 1931). They were both
baptized at birth and educated in Catholic schools in Milan. Gersony was
a merchant and resided in Milan (Piazzale DAnnunzio 2) at the time he
was arrested there for reasons of public security in February 1941. He spent
two months in internment and was released with a one-month deadline to
provide proof that he had been residing in Italy before January 1, 1919, as
required by the racial laws. In a letter to the government from March 12,
1941, filled with expressions of patriotism, he explained that one month
was too short a period to complete a number of financial transactions for
which he was responsible (worth three million lire) and to provide proof of
residence, which required research. He therefore requested an extension of
the deadline for three more months. Gersonys case was presented to Tacchi
Venturi by Cardinal Enrico Sibilia. The Jesuit then wrote the head of police,
Senise, who intervened in Gersonys favor.
After the liberation of the Ferramonti camp in the fall of 1943, he escaped
to Switherland.

* * *

Roma, 4/4/41

Reverendissimo Padre,

Non ho parole per ringraziare di quanto Ella, tanto buono e gentile, ha voluto
fare, e ringrazio lEminentissimo Cardinale Sibilia e la Provvidenza che mi
hanno concesso il grande onore e la grandissima gioia di poterla conoscere.

123 Cfr http://www.annapizzuti.it/database/ricerca.php?a=show&sid=6936.


15. arrigo gersony 193

* * *
[FTV 2512]

Rome, 4 April 1941

Most Reverend Father,

I lack the words to express my thanks for what You, so good and courteous,
have agreed to do, and I thank the most Eminent Cardinal Sibilia and
Providence who granted me the great honor and grand joy of making Your
acquaintance.
194 primary sources

Sono certo che ormai pi nulla si contrappone affinch il mio congiunto


possa rivedere presto la sua famiglia e i suoi figli.
Non oso pi che a chiederle, se possibile, un altro favore, e cio se si
2 potesse fare in modo, anzich scrivere, di telegrafare | a Milano per avere
limmediata libert.
Ella pu immaginare lansia e la trepidazione di noi tutti, e Le chiedo
venia, se ancora una volta [h]o osato chiederLe troppo.
Grazie, Padre, grazie per tutto, e che il Signore La benedica per quanto ha
fatto.
Permetta intanto che io gi fin dora Le faccia i miei fervidi auguri per la
Santa Pasqua, e mi creda con tutta la mia pi sincera gratitudine e ammira-
zione di Lei.

Devotissimo,
Enrico []
15. arrigo gersony 195

I am certain that now nothing stands in the way of my relative being able
to see again soon his family and his children.
I do dare only to ask of you, if possible, another favor, namely, if it could
be arranged that instead of writing, to telegraph | Milan to obtain immediate 2
freedom.
You can imagine our anxiety and trepidation, and I ask Your forgiveness
if once again I have dared to ask You for too much.
Thank You, Father, thank you for everything, and may the Lord bless You
for what You have done.
Meanwhile, permit me, even at this early moment to express my most
fervent wishes for Holy Easter, and believe me with all the most sincere
gratitude and admiration in which I hold You

Yours very truly,


Enrico []
16. Emerico Gut

Emerico Gut (b. 10/16/1901) was a Hungarian Jew who married an Italian
Catholic woman, with whom he had children. He was able to obtain the
extension of his residence permit in Italy, but he also desired not to be
considered Jewish by the Italian authorities, as he had been by the Hungar-
ian. He explains in the following letter to Tacchi Venturi that the Hungar-
ian racial laws did not consider Jewish a descendent of Jews who abjured
Judaism before contracting matrimony with a Christian Aryan and raised
children as Christians, an exception for which the Catholic primate of Hun-
gary, Card. Jusztinin Gyrgy Serdi (18841945), had lobbied. Dr. Gut, who
before moving to Milan had been the director of an elderly center in Trent,
hoped that the Italian government would confirm the racial status given to
him in Hungary, for which he provided an affidavit issued by the Hungarian
consulate.
He was recommended by Mons. Ernesto Camagni of the Vatican Sec-
retariat of State, because he was a cousin of the rector of the Milanese
Seminary. Tacchi Venturi interceded with Le Pera in December 1939, but no
governmental reply is to be found in the Jesuits archive. The database of
the Jewish presence in Switzerland indicates that Gut arrived there in April
1944.

* * *

Roma, 16.6.39

Ringrazio con devota riconoscenza per quel che la V.S. Ill.ma e Rev.ma ha
fatto e far per me, pregando di volermi a suo tempo gentilmente comuni-
care lesito [] della mia domanda.

Con devozione e riconoscenza


Dr. Gut Emerico

Dott. Gut Emerico


Milano
Via G. Luosi 47.
16. emerico gut 197

* * *
[FTV 2284]

Rome, 16 June 1939

I thank You with devout gratitude for what You, Illustrious and Most Rev-
erend Sir, have done and will do for me, beseeching You at Your convenience
to kindly communicate to me the outcome [] of my claim.

With devotion and gratitude


Dr. Gut Emerico

Dr. Gut Emerico


Milan
Via G. Luosi 47
198 primary sources

* * *
Dr. Emerico Gut
Direttore Casa di Cura G.B. Morgagni
Trento

Milano,
Via G. Luosi 47

Milano, 3.12.39.XVIII

Reverendissimo Padre,

LOn. Ministro dellInterno mi richiede tramite la Reale Prefettura di Milano


un documento consolare dal quale risulti la mia qualit di non-ebreo secon-
do la legge razziale ungherese.
Detto documento deve esser fatto pervenire da me al Ministero diretta-
mente; io invece penso di inviarlo a Lei con la preghiera di cortese inoltro,
convinto, che come la presa in considerazione della mia domanda sia il risul-
tato dellautorevole appoggio di V.S. Ill.ma Rev.ma, cos anche il suo esito
finale favorevole non potr mancare dallulteriore benevole aiuto Suo allatto
di consegnare alle autorit competenti il documento qui unito.
Mi permetto di ricordarLe che nella mia domanda da Ella gentilmente
inoltrata allOn. Ministero dellInterno ed in sostegno della quale ora mi
viene richiesto lattestato qui unito, avevo domandato di essere trattato
in Italia alla stregua della legge ungherese che non mi considera ebreo;
lautorizzazione di restare in Italia mi fu gi concessa perch sposato con
cittadina italiana.
La legge ungherese sugli ebrei una legge razziale molto simile a quella
italiana; infatti anche dalla legge ungherese sono considerati ebrei anche
quelli che non lo sono pi di religione, se discendenti da avi ebrei. Due
sole eccezioni sono ammesse al rigore biologico, di cui luna contempla il
2 mio caso: chi abiurato prima del matrimonio abbia contratto | matrimo-
nio cristiano con ariana ed abbia la prole cristiana non viene considerato
ebreo. Questa eccezione fu accordata dalla legislazione ungherese anche per
il caloroso intervento dellAlto Clero con a capo lEminentissimo Primate
Card. Serdi, in favore di coloro che in passato con la formazione di una
famiglia cristiana hanno dimostrato la loro sincera volont di appartenere
alla grande comunit cristiana.
16. emerico gut 199

* * *
Dr. Emerico Gut
Director Casa di Cura G.B. Morgagni
Trent

Milan
Via G. Luosi 47

Milan, 3 December 1939-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

The Ministry of the Interior, through the Prefecture of Milan, asks me for
a consular document attesting that I am not a Jew according to Hungarian
racial law.
I am supposed to send the aforesaid document directly to the Ministry. I,
instead, have a mind to send it directly to You with a request that you forward
it yourself. I am convinced that just as my application is being considered
thanks to the authoritative support of Your Illustrious Reverence, so also its
final successful outcome will not fail to result from your further additional
benevolent help in consigning the attached document to the competent
authorities.
I take the liberty of reminding You that in my request which You kindly
forwarded to the Ministry of the Interior and in support of which I was asked
for the enclosed document, I had asked to be treated in Italy in accordance
with the Hungarian law which does not consider me Jewish. I had already
been granted authorization to remain in Italy because I am married to an
Italian citizen.
The Hungarian law regarding Jews is a racial law very similar to the Italian.
In fact, also in the Hungarian law persons are considered to be Jews even
when they are no longer so from the religious aspect, if they are descended
from Jews. Only two exceptions are admitted from the biological point of
view, of which one is pertinent to my case: a person who abjures [the Jewish
faith] before entering into a Christian marriage | with an Aryan and has 2
Christian offspring is not considered Jewish. This exception was granted by
Hungarian legislation also due to the ardent intervention of the High Clergy
led by the most Eminent Primate Cardinal Serdi, in favor of persons who in
the past by the formation of a Christian family demonstrated their sincere
desire to belong to the greater Christian community.
200 primary sources

La richiesta del documento qua unito secondo il parere del Consolato


Ungherese significa che, probabilmente, lAutorit competente italiana vog-
lia trattare i cittadini dei paesi ove esiste una legislazione razziale secondo
la legge del relativo paese.
Ove per non fosse questa lattuale pratica corrente presso lOn. Mini-
stero, io sono persuaso che lulteriore autorevole appoggio di V.S. Ill.ma e
Rev.ma poggiato anche sullunito attestato mi potrebbe fare ottenere la mia
cancellazione dallelenco degli ebrei; ci che sarebbe di capitale importanza
per me e per la mia famiglia italianissima e cattolicissima.
Io sono consapevole del mio grande ardire, disturbando la V.a S.a occu-
pata da molteplici ed importanti attivit con la preghiera di ulteriore inte-
ressamento in mio favore presso lOn. Ministero degli Interni, ma la gentile
accoglienza fattami in diverse occasioni ed il cordiale interessamento dimo-
strato per il mio caso mincoraggiano di farlo.
Nella speranza che il prossimo Santo Natale possa essere per me appor-
tatore di buona novella

La ringrazio e riverisco con filiale devozione


Suo obb.mo e dev.mo
Gut Enrico
16. emerico gut 201

The request of the attached document according to the opinion of the


Hungarian consulate signifies that, probably, the competent Italian author-
ity wants to treat citizens of countries where racial legislation exists accord-
ing to the law of that country.
In the event that this is not the current practice of the Ministry, I am con-
vinced that further authoritative assistance on the part of your Illustrious
Reverence on the basis of the enclosed attestation could permit me to be
removed from the list of Jews, something that would be of capital impor-
tance for me and my most Italian and Catholic family.
I am conscious of my great audacity disturbing You occupied as You are
by many and important activities by beseeching You to intervene further on
my behalf with the Ministry of the Interior, but the courteous reception You
accorded me on various occasions and the cordial interest You have shown
in my case encourage me to do so.
In the hope that the coming Holy Christmas can be for me the bearer of
good news,
I thank and pay my respects with filial devotion

Yours truly and gratefully


Gut Enrico
202 primary sources

Fig. 16. Enrico Guts handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


17. Bindo Hannau

Bindo Hannau was born in 1866. As Tacchi Venturi noted in his file, his
father abjured Judaism in 1871 but it is unclear when Bindo himself became
Catholic. It is likely that he did so when he married a Catholic woman,
Virginia Paoletti. When the racial laws were promulgated, prohibiting Italian
Jewsamong othersto keep their Aryan servants, he was ill and this
is why it was his wife who on December 5, 1938 submitted a request to
the Italian government to keep their two servants and a driver, who had
served them for nineteen, four, and fourteen years, respectively. The couple
often hosted their daughters, Regina Rolli and Bice Mengarini, married to
Catholics, with their five children, and for this reason she finds herself
as Virginia Paoletti Hannau wrotein the necessity of having adequate
and sufficient people of service. They lived in Rome (via Bertoloni 12) with
Bindos brother, Vico Hannau (b. 1857).
The following is an undated letter that Regina Rolli Hannau, Bindo Han-
naus daughter, wrote to Tacchi Venturi, recommended by Marchioness
Natalia Ferrajoli, who must have known the Jesuit. In it, Regina Rolli asks
Tacchi Venturi to support through an appropriate governmental office her
parents application to keep their servants because of her fathers advanced
age and ill health.
No further information about the fate of Hannau and his family is avail-
able.
204 primary sources

* * *

Reverendo Padre,

Lei sar al corrente che le domande per i domestici devono essere fatte
alle rispettive delegazioni per essere poi raccolte in Questura. Le accludo
la formula della domanda che ha fatto mia madre, pregando la sua bont
di volerla appoggiare presso quello che deve decidere in merito, facendole
presente che dati i primi freddi, mio padre che ha gi raggiunto i 71 anni, si
terr in cattive condizioni di salute ed ha necessit di essere assistito dal suo
vecchio personale e di avere la tranquillit che gli sar conservato.
Grazie ancora e fin dora per ci che potr fare per me.

Con i pi devoti ossequi


Regina Rolli Hannau

Raccomandata dalla Marchesa Natalia Ferrajoli


17. bindo hannau 205

* * *
[FTV 2172]

Reverend Father,

You will be acquainted with the fact that requests [to retain] domestics must
be submitted to the respective committees and then collected in Questura.
I enclose a sample of the request that my mother has submitted, beseeching
your goodness to support it with the official who must make a decision
concerning it. I should like to reiterate that in view of the first frigid weather,
my father, who already is seventy-one years of age, will find himself with
serious health problems and needs to be cared for by his old retainers and
to have the peace of mind that he will be able to keep them.
I thank you again in anticipation for what you will be able to do for me.

With the most devout respects


Regina Rolli Hannau

Recommended by Marchioness Natalia Ferrajoli


18. Marfried(e) Jeannette Hettner

Marfriede Jeannette Hettner was born in Hamburg on December 4, 1907 to


Siegfried Salomon and Martha Waldheim. She converted to Protestantism
and married a German Lutheran, Roland Otto Hettner (born in Florence
October 26, 1905), and had with him a son, Florian, who was born July 3,
1934 in Dresna and baptized a few days later. Subsequently, the couple sep-
arated. Considered to be foreign Jews by the prefect of Genoa, Marfriede
and her son were arrested and interned in a camp in Brienza (Potenza)
and subsequently relocated to Macerata because of Florians poor health.
Through the intercession of Reverend Giuseppe Marinelli, archdeacon of
San Severino Marche (near Macerata where Tacchi Venturi was born), to
whom Marfriede promised to convert to Catholicism, in the spring of 1941,
Tacchi Venturi successfully requested from the head of the police, Carmine
Senise, her conditional liberation with the purpose of obtaining immigra-
tion papers from the US embassy in Rome, where she probably was in direct
contact with Tacchi Venturi. During that time, her mother died (her father
died in Poland some time earlier).
In the spring of 1942, while still living in Rome (via Po 45), she was
threatened to be sent to die in Poland. On that occasion, the Jesuit wrote
directly to Mussolini, asking him to allow Marfriede to remain in Italy. There
is no more information about her case in Tacchi Venturis archive but the
State and University Library in Dresna holds the original correspondence
between Marfriede and her husband Roland for the years between 1931 and
1984. Their son Florian, who lived at that time in Ischia, Italy donated the
letters to the library in 2001.124

124 See http://hansopac.slub-dresden.de/cgi-bin/slub.pl?t_tunnel=idn&idn=l1993.


18. marfried(e) jeannette hettner 207

Fig. 17. Roland Hettners racial certificate


issued by the consul general of Germany in Milan.
208 primary sources

* * *

Sanseverino Marche
P.zza Vittorio Emanuele, 7

3-6-41

Reverendissimo Padre,

Approfitto ancora della Vostra squisita cortesia inviando a Voi la mia nuova
domanda indirizzata al Capo della Polizia perch vogliate farla recapitare
con una Vostra Parola di raccomandazione che coroner la Vostra opera di
bont verso di me.
Lanima mia piena di riconoscenza per la Vostra Reverenza e se, come
spero, mi sar concesso di venire a Roma non mancher di venire in persona
a presentarvi i miei doverosi ringraziamenti.
Intanto Vi prego di gradire i miei distinti ossequi.

Obb.ma
Marfriede Hettner
18. marfried(e) jeannette hettner 209

* * *
[FTV 2518]

Sanseverino Marche
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, 7

3 June 1941

Most Reverend Father,

I take advantage once again of your exquisite courtesy sending to You the
new request addressed to the Chief of Police so that You may forward it with
Your Word of recommendation which will crown Your beneficent work on
my behalf.
My heart is full of gratitude toward Your Reverence and if, as I hope, I shall
be able to come to Rome I shall not fail to appear in person to present my
dutiful thanks.
Meanwhile I beg You to accept my sincere respects.

Most gratefully
Marfriede Hettner
19. Renato Hirsch

Renato Hirsch was born on February 23, 1889 to a Jewish family of Ferrara:
Carlo Hirsch and Almerinda Pesaro.125 His father created an important
industry of knitwear, which he inherited after his fathers death in 1923. He
improved it by developing many social assistance and educational projects
for its workers. Despite his faith in Italy and enthusiasm for the [First
world] War, during which he was decorated with a silver medal as well
as three war crosses, the Fascist government turned down his application
for discrimination. Recommended by his friend Oreste Daffin, who knew
Tacchi Venturi, Hirsch wrote the following solemn letter to the Jesuit, asking
him to intercede by appealing the governmental decision. He attached a
copy of his application, which is a testimony to his merits during the Great
War and to his contributions to the economic and social development of his
native Ferrara. Tacchi Venturi intervened with a letter to Secretary Le Pera,
in which he expressed his surprise that a man with so many military merits
had been denied discriminated status.
No further information about the appeal process is to be found in the
Jesuits archive. From other sources it is known that Hirsch had opposed
the Fascist regime (indeed, his is one of a few letters in this collection
that does not indicate in the date the year of the Fascist era, something
that Tacchi Venturi always did). His industry of eight thousand workers was
confiscated by the regime and Hirsch himself was interned in June 1940 in
Urbisaglia (Macerata) and on 1943 in Tradate (Varese), whence he escaped
to Switzerland.
Afterwards, he returned to Ferrara, where he actively participated in the
Resistance. When Ferrara was liberated, Hirsch became the first prefect of
the city. Soon after, however, he emigrated to Israel, where he lived in the
Givat Brenner kibbutz. He died there on September 3, 1977 at the age of
eighty-eight. Twenty years later the city council of Ferrara dedicated one of
its streets to Renato Hirsch, the Prefect of the Liberation.126

125 Cfr http://www.annapizzuti.it/database/ricerca.php?a=show&sid=184.


126 See http://www.anpi.it/donne-e-uomini/renato-hirsch.
212 primary sources

* * *

Ferrara, 12.8.1939

Reverendo Padre Prof. Tacchi Venturi,


Roma

Daccordo col comm. Daffin, mi permetto allegarLe copia del mio ricorso
per revisione a S.E. il Capo del Governo, perch Ella voglia compiacersi
presentarlo direttamente.
Ella pu con sicurezza fare presente al Capo del Governo che il mio
allontanamento dalla ditta, essendo questa, per ragioni esposte nel ricorso,
totalmente impersonata in me, rischia di arenare completamente lindu-
stria, con la conseguente disoccupazione dei molti operai che impiego, con
grave danno per Ferrara, che ricca di industria stagionale, ma poverissima
2 di industria di carattere continuativo. |
Le sarei molto grato anche se Ella si compiacesse presentare una copia
del ricorso a S.E. Bocchini.
Io spedir il 31 agosto 1939 il ricorso con tutti i documenti vecchi e nuovi
e autentici direttamente a S.E. il Ministro dellInterno.
Le sono infinitamente grato ed obbligato

Suo
Renato Hirsch

P.S. Le allego anche un pro-memoria, perch possa eventualmente rispon-


dere agli appunti, di cui, ho saputo proprio in questi giorni, sono fatto
oggetto: Le comunico anche per Sua conoscenza personale e perch ne fac-
cia luso che vorr, che le autorit politiche che hanno presentato a suo
tempo la mia domanda di discriminazione sono: il Senatore Nicolini e il
Consigliere Nazionale On. ARLOTTI.
19. renato hirsch 213

* * *
[FTV 2316]

Ferrara, 12 August 1939

Reverend Father Prof. Tacchi Venturi


Rome

In accord with Commendatore Daffin, I take the liberty of attaching for


your review a copy of my appeal to His Excellency, the Head of Government,
so that You may kindly submit it directly.
You can confidently inform the Head of Government that my separation
from the firm, which, for reasons that are explained in the appeal, is totally
dependent on me, risks bringing the industry to a complete halt, with the
accompanying laying off of the many workers I employ, with serious damage
to Ferrara, rich in seasonal industry, but extremely poor in industry of a
continuous character. | 2
I would be most grateful, as well, if You kindly presented a copy of the
appeal to His Excellency Bocchini. On August 31, 1939 I shall mail the appeal
with all documents, old and new and authenticated directly to His Excel-
lency the Minister of the Interior.
I am infinitely grateful and indebted to You

Yours
Renato Hirsch

P.S. I attach a memorandum so that if necessary you may be able to respond


to the criticisms, which, I have learned in these very days, have been made
on my account. I communicate also for your personal information, to use as
You see fit, the names of the political authorities who in the past presented
my application for discrimination: Senator Nicolini and National Councillor,
the Honorable ARLOTTI.
20. Eugenio Lampronti

Eugenio Lampronti, and his two siblings Nerea and Vittorio, were born to
a Jewish father and a Christian mother. They all were baptized. They lived
in Milan (Piazzale Piola 8). In late 1939 or at the beginning of 1940, they
submitted an application for Aryanization through the City Hall office
of Milan but they did not receive any reply until early 1943. The reason
for the delay was probably the missing certificate of baptism of Eugenios
maternal grandparents. The case was forwarded to Tacchi Venturi by Cardi-
nal Maglione in September 1942 and was supported by Rev. Giovanni Con-
tessa of Rome, who was a friend of the Lamprontis. The Jesuit intervened
with Undersecretary Lorenzo La Via (Demorazza) in December 1942, who
informed him a few weeks later about the ministrys decision declaring that
the siblings did not belong to the Jewish race. Tacchi Venturis archive con-
tains the letters Eugenio Lampronti and the Jesuit exchanged, and a letter
the former wrote to Rev. Contessa. The certificates mentioned in the letters
are missing from the archives. Hence little biographical information is avail-
able about the Lamprontis.

* * *

Eug. Lampronti
Piazzale Piola 8
Milano

Milano, 9 ottobre 1942 XXo

Carissimo Don Giovanni,

Ebbi la Sua da Roma con la buona nuova dal Cupolone, ricevetti quella da
Chianciano e voglio sperare che la cura Le abbia fatto molto bene. Ma ora
eccomi qui di nuovo a seccarla.
Ieri mio fratello Vittorioattualmente richiamatocome Lei sa, ci ha
messi al corrente di un fatto nuovo che trasformer tutta la sua esistenza.
Quanto prima, e ritiene entro i primissimi mesi del prossimo anno
gennaio o febbraiointende sposare! A dir il vero, nessuno sapeva od im-
maginava che accarezzasse un sogno di tanta importanza e ci ha sorpresi
20. eugenio lampronti 215

* * *
[FTV 2616]

Eugenio Lampronti
Piazzale Piola 8
Milan

Milan, 9 October 1942-XX

My dear Don Giovanni,

I have received Yours from Rome with the good news from the great Dome,
I received the one from Chianciano and I would like to hope that the cure
was very good for You. But now here I am again to pester You.
Yesterday my brother Vittorioat the moment called back into service
as You know, informed us about a new fact which will transform his entire
existence.
As soon as possible, and he believes it will be in the early months of the
new yearJanuary or Februaryhe intends to marry! To tell the truth, no
216 primary sources

non poco; per conosciamo da lungo tempo la fidanzata che si scelta e


siamo tutti lieti perch una ottima figliola sotto ogni rapporto, se non che
purtroppo, c un ma dolorosissimo!
Non potr fare il matrimonio religioso a valore civile, sin tanto che la
questione a Lei tanto nota non sar risolta in modo favorevole; a Lei lascio
immaginare con quale dispiacere per noi tutti e particolarmente per nostra
Madre!
Carissimo Don Giovanni, questo nuovo fatto minduce ancora una volta
di pregarLa vivissimamente di studiare il modo migliore per tornare alla
carica per riuscire a sollecitare presso il Ministero competente lo studio della
nostra praticache di tant[a] facile soluzioneriposa invece dimenticata
fra tutte le altre consimili.
Non mi mandi ad diavolocarissimo Don Giovanniora la soluzione
si rende indispensabile e con tutta urgenza per evitare che mio fratello
decidacome ci ha fatto chiaramente capiredi saltare tutti i fossi e di
formare egualmente la sua famiglia senza i Crismi civili e religiosi.
In modo particolare mia Madre soffre nel vedere questa possibilit e ci
resta solo Lei per raccomandarLe di fare tutt[o] il possibile, Lassicuriamo
che la nostra famiglia lo ricorder sempre con infinita riconoscenza ed
affetto.
Mi faccia [a]vere presto buone nuove e con tutte le pi vive scuse per
tanto disturbo, labbraccio affettuosamente.
[manu scripta:] Mia moglie sassocia per porgerLe cordiali saluti ed io la
ringrazio anticipatamente per tutto quanto far.

Affezzionatissimo Eugenio
20. eugenio lampronti 217

one knew or imagined that he nurtured a dream of such importance and


it surprised us not a little; however, we have long been acquainted with the
fiance whom he has chosen for himself and we are all happy because she is
a splendid young woman in every regard, except that, unfortunately, there
is an extremely painful but!
He will not be able to contract a religious marriage recognized by the civil
law, until that question so well known to You can be resolved favorably; I
leave it to You to imagine with what distress for us all, and especially for our
Mother!
Dearest Don Giovanni, this new fact induces me once again to beseech
You most fervently ponder the best way to return to the task of soliciting the
competent Ministry to study our caseso easily resolvablewhich instead
remains forgotten among so many others like it.
Dont send me to the devildearest Don Giovanninow that the solu-
tion has become indispensable and with such urgency to prevent my broth-
eras he has clearly led us to believefrom ignoring all the obstacles and
creating his family regardless, without either civil or religious rites.
My mother especially suffers contemplating this possibility and we have
only You left for us to beseech to do everything possible. We assure You that
our family will always remember You with infinite gratitude and affection.
Let me have good news soon and with my deep apologies for all this
disturbance, I embrace You affectionately.
[by hand] My wife joins me in extending cordial greetings and I thank
You in advance for all You will do.

Most affectionately Eugenio


218 primary sources

* * *

Milano, 2 novembre 1942 XXo

Egr. Rev.
Pietro Tacchi Venturi
Collegio S. Francesco Saverio
Piazza del Ges 45, ROMA

Gentilissimo Reverendo,

con vivissimo piacere mi pervenuta oggi la gentilissima Sua u.s. per la quale
La ringrazio di vero cuore anche a nome dei miei fratelli.
Ho immediatamente disposto perch nel minor tempo possibile siano
pronte le Fedi di battesimo dei miei nonni maternidebitamente vid[ima-
te] dalla Curia Vescovileche mi far premura rimetterLe perch si com-
piaccia seguire la pratica che tanto interessa la nostra famiglia.
Il Sacerdote che lha visitato il mio buon amico Don Giovanni Contes-
saVia Tuscolo no 5 Roma.
Gradisca, La prego, le mie vive grazie anticipate ed i sensi della massima
devozione,

Eugenio Lampronti
[signature]

Eugenio Lampronti
Piazza Piola no 8
MILANO
20. eugenio lampronti 219

* * *
Milan, 2 November 1942-XX

Distinguished Reverend
Pietro Tacchi Venturi
Collegio S. Francesco Saverio
Piazza del Ges 45
Rome

Dear Reverend,

To my great pleasure today I received your most gracious [] for which I


thank You with all my heart even in the name of my siblings.
I have immediately made arrangements that in the quickest possible
time the baptismal certificates of my maternal grandparentsregularly
authenticated by the Episcopal Curiashould be readied which I shall
promptly forward to You so that You may be good enough to follow the
proceedings which are of such importance for our family.
The priest who visited You is my good friend Don Giovanni Contessa
Via Tuscolo n. 5, Rome.
Please accept, I beseech You my lively thanks in advance and the senses
of my profound devotion.

Eugenio Lampronti
[signature]

Eugenio Lampronti
Piazzale Piola n. 8
Milan
220 primary sources

* * *
Eugenio Lampronti
Piazzale Piola no 8
Milano

Milano, 28 novembre 1942 XXIo

Molto Rev.
Pietro Tacchi Venturi,

Sotto gli auspici del Sacerdote Don Giovanni Contessa di cost che il 30/10
u.s. lo visit, faccio nuovamente riscontro alla Sua graditissima del 31/10.
Per un malaugurato disguido postale solo oggi sono riuscito a ricevere le
fedi di battesimo dei miei nonni materni che in seno alla presente Le allego.
Come della Sua precedente sopracitata, oso sperare, particolarmente
per mio fratello che vorrebbe sposare fra breve, che Lei si procurer il
disturbo di far perfezionare e sollecitare la nostra pratica presso il Ministero
dellInternoDemografia e Razza.
Le sar tenutissimo se vorr compiacersi darmi ricezione della presente
per mia tranquillit e mentre sono a Sua completa disposizione per qua-
lunque fabbisogno quass, La ringrazio infinitamente anche a nome di mio
fratello Vittorio e mia sorella Nerea per lincomodo che si prende per noi.
Naturalmente, vorr compiacersi notificarmi qualunque spesa andr ad
incontrare per il sollecito disbrigo della nostra pratica, ch sar mio dovere
saldarLa a stretto giro di posta.
In attesa di Sue attesissime buone nuove, anche a nome dei miei fratelli
Le porgo i sensi della massima devozione e massima osservanza,

Eugenio Lampronti
[signature]

[by hand] allegati 2 fedi di Battesimo


20. eugenio lampronti 221

* * *
Eugenio Lampronti
Piazzale Piola n. 8
Milan

Milan, 28 November 1942-XXI

Most Reverend
Pietro Tacchi Venturi

Through the good offices of the Reverend Don Giovanni Contessa of Rome
who visited You on October 30, I again acknowledge receipt of your most
welcome letter of October 31.
Due to an unfortunate postal mixup only today did I receive the baptismal
certificates of my maternal grandparents which I enclose with the present
letter.
From Your aforementioned letter, I dare to hope, especially for my brother
who would like to marry soon, that You will go to the trouble to support and
hasten the resolution of our application submitted to the Ministry of the
InteriorOffice of Demography and Race.
I shall consider myself greatly obliged if, for the sake of my peace of mind,
You will do me the kindness of acknowledging receipt of the present. While
I am at your complete service for whatever might be needed from here, I
offer my profound thanks even in the name of my brother Vittorio and my
sister Nerea for the trouble You are going to on our account.
Naturally, You will do me the kindness of informing me about any expense
you incur in hastening the resolution of our case, which it will be my duty
to reimburse You by return mail.
While awaiting Your most longed for favorable news, even in the name of
my siblings I extend the senses of our great devotion and obedience.

Eugenio Lampronti
[signature]

[by hand] attached two Baptismal Certificates


222 primary sources

* * *
30. XI. 1942 XXI

Eugenio Lampronti
Piazzale Piola 8
Milano

Egregio Signore,

La Segreteria di Stato di Sua Santit mi faceva ieri significare per mezzo di un


reverendo sacerdote per nome D. Giovanni (ne ignoro il cognome) la pratica
dellarianit Vostra, di Vostro fratello Vittorio e della sorella Nerea. Leggendo
la nota dei documenti da due anni inviati al Ministero dellInterno, non
trovo indicate le fedi di battesimo dei Vostri nonni materni. Eppure sono
assolutamente necessarie per provare la cosidetta arianit di Vostra madre,
come quella che accertasse non discendere essa da ebrei. Per acellerare della
spedizione della pratica, non si tosto Vi sarete procurato le predette due fedi
di battesimo dei genitori di Vostra madre, debitamente vidimate dalla Curia
Vescovile, favorite di spedirle a me che avr cura di subito presentarle alla
competente Direzione della Demografia e Razza.

SalutandoVi,
[Tacchi Venturi]
20. eugenio lampronti 223

* * *
30 November 1942-XXI

Eugenio Lampronti
Piazzale Piola 8
Milan

Dear Sir,

The Secretariat of State of His Holiness yesterday discussed with me through


a priest, Don Giovanni, whose surname I do not know, Your application for
Aryanism, as well as that of Your brother Vittorio and sister Nerea. Perusing
the list of documents sent two years ago to the Ministry of the Interior, I do
not see recorded the baptismal certificates of Your maternal grandparents.
And yet they are absolutely essential to prove the so-called Aryanism of
Your mother, as well as verifying that she did not descend from Jews. To
speed up the resolution of the case, as soon as You shall have received the
two aforementioned baptismal certificates of Your mothers parents, duly
authenticated by the Episcopal Curia, do me the favor of mailing them to me
and I shall promptly submit them to the appropriate office of Demography
and Race.

Salutations,
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]
21. Fulvio Levi

Fulvio Levi was born June 6, 1920 in Trieste to Elio Levi (18931939) and Rita
Macchioro (18881980),127 the daughter of Giuseppe Macchioro (18501939)
and Amalia Grazia Rossi (18651956).128 He attended the Francesco Petrarca
High School in Trieste and graduated from the University of Grenoble in
France in 1941, where he decided to enroll due to the 1938 racial legislation
in Italy that prevented him from attending university because of his Jewish
origins. After Italy entered the war, as an enemy alien, the French authorities
sent Fulvio to the detention camp in Rives Altes, where he was threatened to
be sent to a concentration camp. His mother (who, in the meantime, became
a widow) requested from the government, with the support of the bishop of
Trieste, permission for Fulvio to be sent back to Italy. In October 1942, Rita
Macchioro, after having contacted the Vatican Secretariat of State, sent a
letter directly to Tacchi Venturi, asking for his help. The latter intervened,
and in early November, the head of the police, Carmine Senise, informed
the Jesuit that Fulvio Levi was granted permission to return to Italy.
From other sources it is known that Fulvio had also a brother by the name
of Ugo. The database of Jewish exiles in Switzerland indicates that Fulvio
arrived there in February 1944.

* * *

Dev.mo Padre Tacchi Venturi

La sottoscritta Rita Macchioro ved. Levi, nata a Trieste, il 25 ottobre 1888,


espone al Devotissimo Padre questo doloroso caso nella speranza e fiducia
che vorr esaudire la preghiera di una madre desolata.
Suo figlio Fulvio nato a Trieste il 6 giugno 1920, ultimati i suoi studi al
R. Ginnasio-Liceo Francesco Petrarca di Trieste, si vide costretto in seguito
alle leggi razziali di recarsi in Francia per proseguire i suoi studi e si iscrisse
allUniversit di Grenoble (Francia non occupata).

127 Rita Macchioro had five siblings: Diamante Jole (188779), Bianca (1890?), Gilda
(1896?), Vito (1891?), and Gino (18991981).
128 Amalia Grazia Rossi was a daughter of Abramo Rossi (182169) and Providenza Cava-
lieri (18281902).
21. fulvio levi 225

* * *
[FTV 2613]

Dear Father Tacchi Venturi,

The undersigned Rita Macchioro, widow Levi, born in Trieste on 25 October


1888, hereby presents to the Most Esteemed Father this pitiful case in the
hope and faith that He will want to hear the prayer of a disconsolate mother.
Her son Fulvio, born in Trieste on 6 June 1920, after finishing his studies
at the Francesco Petrarca high school in Trieste, was compelled because of
the racial laws to go to France to continue his education and enrolled at the
University of Grenoble in unoccupied France.
226 primary sources

Finiti i suoi studi e laureatosi lanno scorso, cess pure la ragione della sua
permanenza allestero. Il suo defunto Padre nacque e mor a Trieste ed era
conosciuto per i suoi sentimenti altamente italiani, come pure tutti quelli
della sua famiglia.
Durante la grande guerra la sottoscritta madre del ragazzo, visse per
parecchi anni a Milano e si prodig in tutti i modi per rendersi utile alla
Patria, tanto da meritarsi una medaglia di benemerenza. Suo figlio Fulvio
venne educato sempre ai sentimenti italiani pi puri. Fu iscritto a tutte le
istituzioni del Regime: fu Balilla, Avanguardista, Caposquadra Moschettiere
e fece parte in seguito della G.I.L.
Nellanno XI per la sua indifessa attivit ed entusiasmo alle manifesta-
zioni si merit la Croce al Merito dellO.N.B. con una motivazione veramente
lusinghiera. Tutto ci documentabile a qualsiasi richiesta.
Ora in corso presso il Ministero una domanda per il rimpatrio del
ragazzo, domanda appoggiata vivamente dalla R. Questura e dallEcc. il
Prefetto di Trieste. Una domanda stata pure inoltrata alla SS. Sede col
2 caldo | appoggio dellEcc. il Vescovo di Trieste.
Ultimamente suo figlio venne internato nel Campo de Rives Altes (Ilot
K 3Pyrenes Orientales), Francia, con la gravissima minaccia di venire
deportato altrove.
La Commissione darmistizio di Torino alla quale la sottoscritta pure
ricorsa, attende il benestare delle autorit di Roma per provvedere allimme-
diata liberazione e rimpatrio del ragazzo. La scrivente pertanto si permette
di supplicarLa, Dev. Padre, per la Sua magnanima intercessione. In seguito
alle continue privazioni e disagi, il ragazzo caduto gravemente ammalato.
Il dolore di una madre grande: non pu far nulla per lui n pu aiutarlo.
Rev.mo Padre, essa si appella al Suo nobile animo: faccia che con laiuto
di Dio e col Suo Santo cuore il proprio figlio possa ritornare alla sua citt
natale, alla sua desolata madre.
Con pi devoti ossequi e ringraziamenti si segna

Roma, 22 ottobre 1942

dev.ma
(Rita Macchioro ved. Levi)
[original signature]
Trieste, via Gatteri n. 5
21. fulvio levi 227

The completion of his studies and graduation last year concluded his
need to be abroad. His deceased Father was born and died in Trieste and
was known for his grandly Italian sentiments, shared by all the members of
the family.
During the Great War the undersigned mother of the boy, lived in Milan
for many years and exerted herself in every way to make herself useful to her
homeland to the point that she earned a medal of merit. Her son Fulvio was
brought up always in the purest Italian sentiments. He was enrolled in all
the associations of the Regime: he served as a Balilla, Avanguardista, chief
of squad in the Moschettieri and subsequently was a member of the G.I.L.
(Giovent Italiana del Littorio).
In year XI [1933] because of his outstanding activity and enthusiasm at
events he earned the Cross of Merit of the O.N.B. (Opera Nazionale Balilla)
with a truly flattering recital of achievements. All this can be documented
whenever requested.
There is now being processed at the Ministry a request for the repatria-
tion of the youth, a request actively seconded by the Police Administration
and by His Excellency the Prefect of Trieste. A request has also been submit-
ted to the Holy See with the warm recommendation | of His Excellency the 2
Bishop of Trieste.
Recently her son was interned at the Camp de Rives Altes (Ilot K 3-
Pyrenes Orientales), France, under a serious threat of being deported else-
where.
The Armistice Commission in Turin to which the undersigned also has
written, awaits the approval of the authorities in Rome to provide for the
immediate release and repatriation of the youth. The present writer in the
meantime takes the liberty of beseeching You, Reverend Father, for Your
magnanimous intercession. As a result of the continuous privations and
discomforts, the youth has fallen seriously ill. A mothers sorrow is heavy:
she can do nothing for him, nor can she help him.
Most Reverend Father, she appeals to Your noble soul: act so that with
Gods aid and with His Holy Heart her son may return to his native city, to
his disconsolate mother.
With the most devoted respects and thanks

Rome, 22 October 1942

Yours very truly


(Rita Macchioro widow Levi)
[original signature]
Trieste, Via Gatteri n. 5
22. Giorgio Levi

Giorgio Levi was born about 1909 to a Jewish father (Guido) and a Christian
mother by the maiden name of Fragiacomo. When he was nine month old,
his father died. As a fulfillment of his mothers vow to baptize her son upon
the arrival of the Italian troops in Trieste, Giorgio was baptized on Decem-
ber 23, 1918 in a Franciscan church of the city and given a second name of
Redento (redeemed). The Fascist government considered him, however, as
belonging to the Jewish race because of his fathers Jewish origins. The
result of an intervention in support of his Aryanization by Tacchi Venturi,
to whom Levi was recommended by the Jesuit Giuseppe Petazzi of Trieste, is
unknown. Unsuccessful, it seems, was Levis petition to substitute his pater-
nal name with that of his mother. When he requested it for the second time
in September of 1940, he was living in Fiume (via Gorizia 1).
In his application to the government, Giorgio Levi gave assurances of his
Fascist education and political support of the regime. He graduated in law
from the University of Bologna and was married to Dora Laparini who was of
Jewish birth but who was baptized the same day of their Catholic wedding,
which took place September 29, 1938. Their daughter, Silvia, had been born
June 26, 1937, and baptized three days later.
No further information about Levi and his family is available.

* * *

Trieste, 24 Maggio 1941/XIX

Reverendissimo Padre,

Ho avuto ai primi di aprile a.c. la fortuna di essere da Voi ricevuto ed


ascoltato. Ho saputo poi che la preghiera di pietoso e valido ausilio non
stata indirizzata invano perch Vi siete interessato al mio caso, bench,
purtroppo, con esito negativo.
Non mi sono per abbandonato allo sconforto, che per ha invaso il mio
cuore, ed ho presentato al Ministero dellInterno un motivato e documen-
tato ricorso, di cui Vi unisco una copia, contro la decisione di appartenenza
alla razza ebraica. Tale decisione nei miei confronti assolutamente ingiu-
sta ed in contrasto con lo spirito della legge.
22. giorgio levi 229

* * *
[FTV 2514]

Trieste, 24 May 1941-XIX

Most Reverend Father,

In early April of this year I had the good fortune of being received and
heard by You. I later learned that my prayer for merciful and efficacious
assistance was not made in vain because You took interest in my case,
although, unfortunately, with a negative result.
However, I have not abandoned myself to despair, which, nevertheless,
has invaded my heart, and I have presented to the Ministry of the Interior an
earnest and documented appeal, a copy of which I hereby enclose, against
the verdict assigning me to the Jewish race. Such a decision in my case is
totally unjust and contrary to the spirit of the law.
230 primary sources

Rimasto orfano del padre, di razza ebraica, a nove mesi, sono stato alle-
2 vato ed educato | esclusivamente da mia madre ariana e religiosissima.
La fede Cristiana cattolica inculcatami sin dalla primissima infanzia dal
padre francescano Teofilo Trattner rimasta costantemente radicata nel
mio cuore e vi alberga ora con la stessa intensit con cui vi albergava in
quella vigilia del Natale 1918 in cui mi sono accostato per la prima volta al
Signore. Solo la fede e la morale cristiana cattolica ha guidato sempre tutte
le mie azioni.
Non ho avuto mai alcun contatto, di nessuna specie, con quello che si
chiama mondo ebraico. Il mio matrimonio poi, causa della decisione presa
dal Ministero nei miei confronti, stato determinato unicamente dallamore
e non da altre ragioni di nessuna specie. Mia moglie di poverissima fami-
glia, tanto meno poi stata una scelta deliberata in ambiente ebraico.
Mi confortava inoltre lidea di acquistare unanima al Signore. E so, con
tale intendimento, non ho condizionato il matrimonio al battesimo imme-
diato di mia moglie e perch ci sarebbe stato dispiaciuto ai genitori di lei e
3 non ho voluto quindi costringerla | a venir meno al rispetto dovuto ai geni-
tori.
Daltra parte per essa simpegn formalmente ai nostri figli nella reli-
gione cattolica. Senza tale impegno da parte sua non lavrei sposata, sapendo
che la Chiesa ammetteva i matrimoni misti solo con la condizione che i figli
fossero allevati nel culto della religione cattolica.
Se con un criterio di massima quindi il Ministero ha deliberato di rite-
nere appartenenti alla razza ebraica i nati di matrimonio misto che hanno
sposato persona di razza ebraica, in considerazione che un tale matrimo-
nio doveva essere tenuto quale una manifestazione di ebraismo, tale criterio
deve cedere dinanzi alla prova che, come nel mio caso, il matrimonio non
stato in nessun modo una manifestazione simile. Io ho inteso costituire ed
ho costituito in effetti una famiglia cattolica. Quanto Vi ho esposto sopra
la pura ed assoluta verit ed a prova consideratela ricevuta come in confes-
sione.
4 | Imploro quindi nuovamente da Voi quellappoggio al mio ricorso che
solo pu procurarmi lesito favorevole che mi attendo. La mia gratitudine
e riconoscenza per Voi sar infinita e si manifester in opere di bene e in
constante umile preghiera al Signore perch alla Vostra opera di bont e di
carit dia il premio meritato.

Vostro umilissimo e devotissimo


Avv. Giorgio Levi
Triestevia della Piet No 3
22. giorgio levi 231

Having lost my father, of the Jewish race, at nine months, I was raised and
educated | exclusively by my Aryan and most religious mother. The Catholic 2
Christian faith inculcated in me from earliest infancy by the Franciscan
father Teofilo Trattner has remained firmly rooted in my heart and dwells
there now with the same intensity with which it dwelled on that Christmas
Eve 1918 when I drew near to the Lord for the first time. Christian faith and
morality alone have always guided my actions.
I have never had contact of any sort with what is called the Jewish world.
My marriage later, the cause of the decision taken by the Ministry in my
regard, was determined strictly by love and not by other reasons of any sort.
My wife is of a very poor family, all the less then was it a choice made in a
Jewish milieu.
I was also comforted by the idea of acquiring a soul for the Lord. And
I know, in this regard, I did not make the immediate baptism of my wife
a condition of the marriage. This was because it would have displeased her
parents and thus I did not want to force her | to lack in respect towards them. 3
On the other hand, she formally involved herself in raising our children
in the Catholic religion. Without this commitment on her part I would
not have married her, knowing that the Church permitted mixed marriages
only under condition that the children be raised in the cult of the Catholic
religion.
If then applying a broad criterion the Ministry decided to consider as
belonging to the Jewish race those born in a mixed marriage who married
a person of the Jewish race, considering that such a marriage had to be
considered a manifestation of Judaism, such a criterion has to bow before
the evidence, as in my case, that the marriage did not manifest anything of
the kind. I intended to establish and did in fact establish a Catholic family.
What I have set forth above is the pure and absolute truth and as evidence
consider it received as in confession. | 4
Thus, I implore anew from You that assistance in my appeal which alone
can obtain the favorable outcome which I await. My gratitude and indebted-
ness toward You will be infinite and manifest itself in charitable works and
in constant humble prayer to the Lord that on Your good deeds and charity
be bestowed the reward they deserve.

Your most humble and devoted


Attorney Giorgio Levi
TriesteVia della Piet n. 3
232 primary sources

Fig. 18. Giorgio Levis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


23. Mario Levi

Mario Levi, the son of Eugenio, was a Jewish physician from Brescia. Little
biographical data can be gathered about him, except that he converted to
Christianity in 1931, one year before he married a Christian woman, with
whom he later had three children. Because both his parents were Jewish,
the racial laws considered him such. He lost, therefore, his job of district
municipal physician in Gussago (Brescia), which exposed him and his family
to dire financial straits. In order to keep exercising his profession, Levi
submitted an application for discrimination in the fall of 1938 (there is no
copy extant in Tacchi Venturis archive) andlearning about the activity of
Tacchi Venturi from his friends in Gussagowrote the Jesuit the following
letters.
In them, he asked him to intercede on his behalf and for advice con-
cerning where he could find employment, since his request to the Belgian
government to work in the Congo remained unanswered. After he replied to
Levi in a personal letter (also included below), Tacchi Venturis intervention
was solicited by the Vatican Secretariat of State that had received a letter in
the case from the bishop of Brescia, Giacinto Tredici (18801964). Despite
all these recommendations, the Demorazza committee turned down Levis
application in the fall of 1940. As he wrote in his last preserved letter to the
Jesuit, After twenty years of assiduous work and untiring study I have been
deprived of a profession, to which I had attended always with passion and
in which I had comported myself faithfully as a gentleman and as a true Fas-
cist!
Mario Levi also asked Tacchi Venturi to present his appeal directly to
Mussolini, but from the preserved documents it is unknown whether such
an intervention ever took place.
234 primary sources

* * *

Rev.mo Padre,

ho avuto dalla Famiglia Codenotti di Gussago (Brescia), ove ero fino a poco
tempo fa medico condotto, il Suo pregiato indirizzo: essi mi hanno parlato
della Sua autorit, nonch del Suo alto spirito di carit cristiana, per cui mi
permetto rivolgermi a Lei per un appoggio e per un consiglio nella difficilis-
sima situazione in cui io e la mia famiglia ci troviamo. Quantunque cristiano
da otto anni (dal 1931) e pur avendo sposato, sette anni or sono, una cristiana,
da cui ho avuto tre figliuoli tutti cristiani e considerati ariani, tuttavia dalle
leggi attuali in materia di razza sono stato considerato ancora ebreo, per-
ch mio padre e mia madre erano ebrei. Con ci io sono venuto a perdere il
mio posto di medico condotto e unaltra legge recentemente uscita mi impe-
disce, qualora io non sia discriminato, lesercizio professionale libero dopo
2 il | febbraio p.v. Se quindi io per quellepoca non avr ottenuta la discrimi-
nazione, io sar completamente sul lastrico, non avendo pi possibilit di
lavorare e di mantenere la mia famiglia. Ho cercato se vi era possibilit di
una sistemazione allestero, ma mi son viste precluse anche qui quasi tutte
le vie. Attendo ora risposta dal Governo del Belgio per un posto nel Congo
Belga. Non so per se questa richiesta potr avere un risultato positivo. Mi
rivolgo quindi in questa terribile contingenza alla Sua bont, Padre. Ella mi
potr consigliare se qualche via di uscita mi sia aperta. Ella potrebbe sapere
se le pratiche di discriminazione in corso abbiano probabilit di sortire un
esito favorevole e, nel caso, se convenga di far giungere alle Autorit una
3 parola di raccomandazione, o meglio, di sollecitazione. O, nel caso | ci non
fosse possibile ed opportuno, Ella mi potr indicare, quale potrebbe essere
la via migliore da seguire per ottenere un posto nella Citt del Vaticano, o
allestero (per esempio nelle Missioni Cattoliche), o altrove.
Scusi la libert che mi sono presa, e, assicurandola del mio pi vivo senso
di gratitudine mi segno di V.S. obb.mo

DOTT. MARIO LEVI


Via Achille Papa 10
BRESCIA
[illegible signature]
23. mario levi 235

* * *
[FTV 2326]

Most Reverend Father,

I received from the Codenotti family of Gussago (Brescia), where until


recently I was municipal doctor, Your much appreciated address. They spoke
to me of your authority, as well as of Your lofty spirit of Christian char-
ity. For this reason I take the liberty of turning to You for support and for
advice in the very difficult situation in which my family and I find ourselves.
Although I have been a Christian for eight years (from 1931) and married a
Christian some seven years ago, with whom I had three children all Chris-
tian and considered Aryan, nevertheless according to the current racial laws
I am considered to be Jewish because my father and my mother were Jew-
ish. Thus, I lost my position as municipal doctor and another law recently
promulgated prohibits me, if I am not discriminated, the free exercise of my
profession after | this coming February. Therefore, if I have not received my 2
discrimination by that time, I shall find myself in the gutter, since I shall no
longer have the opportunity of working and supporting my family. I have
investigated whether there might be a situation abroad, but here too I have
seen almost all the possibilities closed off to me. I am now awaiting a reply
from the Belgian government for a position in the Belgian Congo.
However, I do not know whether this request will have a positive out-
come. Thus, in this terrible contingency I appeal to Your goodness, Father.
You will be able to advise me whether some way out may be available to me.
You might be able to discover if my current applications for discrimination
have any chance of success and, perhaps, whether it would be opportune
to provide the Authorities with a word of recommendation, or, better, a lit-
tle pressure. In case | this is not possible or advisable, You might be able to 3
advise me what would be the best path to follow to obtain a position in Vat-
ican City, or abroad (for example in the Catholic Missions), or elsewhere.
Please pardon me for the liberty I have taken. Assuring You of my most
sincere sentiment of gratitude, I am Your most grateful

Dr. Mario Levi


Via Achille Papa 10
Brescia
[illegible signature]
236 primary sources

* * *
Sign. Dott. Mario Levi
Via Achille Papa 10
Brescia

5.X.1939-XVII

Pregiatissimo Sig. Dottore

Ella non ha bisogno dei miei consigli, poich quanto mi scrive veggo che ha
saggiamente fatto tutto quello che si poteva fare nelle circostanze.
Se la risposta dal Belgio Le sar favorevole, avr in qualche modo prov-
veduto al futuro; nello stesso tempo per sarebbe bene ottenere la discrimi-
nazione, la [] ottenuta sia, Le lascia libero lesercizio della professione con
tutti quelli che vorranno servirsi dellopera Sua. Ignorando io quali titoli Ella
possegga per la discriminazione, non posso naturalmente dirle altro, salvo
che, data occasione, mi informer quale sia lo stato della sua pratica e quali
provisioni in persona fare circa il suo esito.

Con religioso ossequio,

P.S. Per fare sicuramente la ricerca della sua pratica mi occorre conoscere il
nome di suo padre. forse Giustiniano? Se cos fosse, la pratica gi istruita
e pronta per essere [] alla Commissione.
23. mario levi 237

* * *
Dr. Mario Levi
Via Achille Papa 10
Brescia

5 October 1939-XVII

Esteemed Doctor,

You do not need my advice, because I see from what you write that you have
wisely done everything that was possible under the circumstances.
If the reply from Belgium will be in Your favor, you will in some way
have taken measures for the future. Just the same, however, it would be
good to obtain the discrimination, [], if it should be obtained it will
leave you free to exercise your profession among all the persons who will
want to take advantage of your services. Since I do not know what merits
you have toward the discrimination, naturally I cannot add anything else,
except that, when the occasion presents itself, I shall inform myself on the
status of your application and what expectations can be made regarding its
outcome.

With religious respects


[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]

P.S. To conduct an accurate search into your case I need to know the name
of your father. Is it Justinian by any chance? If it is, the case has already been
drawn up and is ready to be [submitted] to the Commission.
238 primary sources

* * *
Rev.mo Padre,

scusate tanto se approfitto troppo della Vostra bont e cortesia. Ma la mia


situazione troppo grave, perch non debba sorgere in me lardente deside-
rio di vedere alfine un spiraglio di luce dopo tanta dolorosa attesa.
Vi prego, quindi, Padre, se Voi poteste saper qualche cosa della mia do-
manda di discriminazione, di volermelo comunicare e se Voi potete aggiun-
gere una Vostra alta parola di appoggio di compiere questa paterna opera,
di cui io e la mia famiglia Vi saremo infinitamente grati.
Con i pi vivi ringraziamenti e con profondo ossequio.

di Voi obb.mo
DOTT. MARIO LEVI

Via Achille Papa 10, Brescia


Brescia, 13 novembre 1939 XVII

* * *
Preg.mo Padre,

mi hanno detto che in questi giorni pare si sia finalmente riunita la Com-
missione. Ella comprender, con quale ansia noi ne attendiamo il responso
che per noi questione di rovina o di salvezza. La pregherei di voler esser
buono di interessarsi ancora una volta della mia domanda.
Le rinnovo le espressioni della mia imperitura riconoscenza e del mio
sincero ossequio.

Di Lei dev.mo
DOTT. MARIO LEVI

Via Achille Papa 10 Brescia


27/2/1940-XVIII
23. mario levi 239

* * *
Most Reverend Father,

Please excuse me if I take advantage of Your goodness and courtesy. But my


situation is too serious to keep me from nurturing the ardent desire of seeing
at last a ray of light after so much painful anticipation.
I beg You, then, Father, if You can learn something about my application
for discrimination, to let me know, and if You can, add one more authorita-
tive word in support of this paternal deed, for which my family and I will be
infinitely grateful.
With the most fervent thanks and with deep respect,

Your most indebted


Dr. Mario Levi

Via Achille Papa 10, Brescia


Brescia, 13 November 1939-XVII

* * *
Esteemed Father,

I have been told that the Commission has finally met in these last few days.
You will understand with what anxiety we await the result which for us is a
question of ruin or of salvation. I beseech You to be so good as to interest
Yourself one more time in my case.
I renew the sentiments of my imperishable gratitude and of my sincere
respects.

Yours very truly


Dr. Mario Levi

Via Achille Papa 10, Brescia


27 February 1940-XVIII
240 primary sources

* * *
Cellattica (Brescia), 12 giugno 1940 XVIII

Preg.mo Padre,

La Vostra preg. lettera mi ha raggiunto qui, ove mi sono trasferito colla


famiglia.
Purtroppo non sono io quel Levi cui la Vostra lettera accenna: io sono
infatti Levi Dott. Mario fu Eugenio.
Abbiamo atteso con tanta speranza ed ansia la discriminazione, che al
primo momento abbiamo provato unintensa gioia, purtroppo delusa!
Anche ora noi ardentemente speriamo che venga anche per noi un po di
giustizia e di luce, dopo tanto aspettare. Gi Voi conoscete le mie condizioni
2 famigliari e individuali, perch tante volte Ve ne | ho scritto. Speriamo di
tutto cuore che la Vostra grande gentilezza e bont non ci abbandoni.
Ringraziandovi infinitamente e auspicando di poter avere presto, merc
il Vostro autorevole interessamento, lambita discriminazione, Vi invio defe-
renti ossequi.

DOTT. MARIO LEVI


Cellatica (Brescia)
[illegible signature]
23. mario levi 241

* * *
Cellatica (Brescia), 12 June 1940-XVIII

Eminent Father,

Your greatly appreciated letter reached me here, where I have moved with
my family.
Unfortunately, I am not that Levi referred to in Your letter: I am in fact Dr.
Mario Levi, son of the deceased Eugenio.
We awaited the discrimination with such hope and anxiety that, momen-
tarily we experienced great joy, unfortunately come to nothing!
Even now we ardently hope that a bit of justice and light should come
even for us, after having waited for so long. You already know about my
family and personal conditions because I wrote to You about them so | many 2
times. Let us hope with all our hearts that Your great kindness and goodness
do not abandon us.
With infinite thanks and in the hope of being able to obtain the desired
discrimination soon, thanks to Your authoritative concern, I send my defer-
ential respects.

Dr. Mario Levi


Cellatica (Brescia)
[illegible signature]
242 primary sources

* * *
Cellativa (Brescia), 25 October 1940-XVIII

Rev.mo Padre,

Con immenso dolore ho ricevuta da Roma la comunicazione dellesito nega-


tivo della mia pratica, da cui dipendeva tutto il mio avvenire e quello della
mia famiglia. Oltre il dolore stata grande anche la sorpresa, date le mie con-
dizioni famigliari e religiose che avrebbero dovuto costituire, poich in altri
casi hanno costituito, la base di un giudizio benevolo. A nulla invece hanno
servito! A nulla tutta questa aspettazione di due lunghi anni di sacrifici e di
ansie!
Nella disperazione della atroce condanna, io mi permetto di rivolgermi a
Voi ancora una volta, nella certezza che Voi, col Vostro alto senno Cristiano,
mi sapete indicare, se c, una via di ricorso, rivolgendosi al Duce, che
nella illimitata grandezza del Suo paterno cuore, non vorr permettere che
i miei poveri figliuoli, che sono ariani, debbano soffrire cos amaramente
2 dellorigine (non della Religione, n della condotta!) del loro padre. |
Dopo venti anni di lavoro assiduo e di studio indefesso sono stato privato
di una professione, cui avevo atteso sempre con passione e in cui mi ero
comportato costantemente da galantuomo e da vero fascista!
In attesa di una Vostra risposta che faccia rifiorire in me un po di spe-
ranza, mi segno con deferente ossequio e con infiniti ringraziamenti.

Dev.mo
DOTT. MARIO LEVI fu Eugenio
Cellativa (Brescia), 25 Ottobre 1940-XVIII
23. mario levi 243

* * *

Most Reverend Father,

With immense sorrow I received from Rome the news of the negative con-
clusion to my application, on which depended my entire future and my
familys. In addition to the pain, equally great was the surprise, given my
family and religious status which should have constituted, as they have in
other cases, the basis for a favorable judgment. Instead, they were all in vain!
All this waiting during two long years of sacrifice and anxiety was for noth-
ing!
In the desperation of this atrocious judgment, I take the liberty of appeal-
ing to You once more, in the certainty that You, with Your high Christian
sensibility, will be able to indicate to me if there is possible recourse, appeal-
ing to the Duce, who in the boundless greatness of His paternal heart, will
not permit that my poor children, who are Aryan, should suffer so bitterly
over the origin (not the Religion, nor the conduct!) of their father. | 2
After twenty years of assiduous work and untiring study I have been
deprived of a profession, to which I had attended always with passion and in
which I had comported myself faithfully as a gentleman and as a true Fascist!
While awaiting a reply from You that might rekindle in me a bit of hope,
I am with deferential respects and infinite thanks,

Yours very truly


Dr. Mario Levi of the deceased Eugenio
Cellativa (Brescia), 25 October 1940-XVIII
24. Tullio Maestro

Dr. Tullio Maestro was born to Vittorio Maestro, an irredentist, and Ida
Loewy in Trieste on December 6, 1908. His mother was the daughter of
Edoardo, a Jew, and of Marianna Briscak, an Italian who had been baptized
in 1856 (her grandfather had been baptized in 1830, as was the latters wife,
Agnese Siderich, in 1829). Tullio and his mother abjured Judaism on Septem-
ber 15, 1938 and, consequently, were baptized in the S. Giorgio Maggiore
church in Naples two weeks later, on September 29, 1938. In his petition to be
Aryanized, Tullio Maestro wrote that he never committed acts of Judaism
and that his father refused to circumcise him at birth and that his maternal
grandfather, Edoardo Loewy, abjured Judaism while dying, so that he could
be buried in the Catholic cemetery next to his wife, Marianna Briscak. In
the conclusion of his application, Tullio Maestro pledged his Fascist alle-
giance. As a member of the Trieste Fascist organization he was a member of
the Audace squad that assaulted the Masonic loggia in town, contributing
thus efficiently to the cause of Fascism and evidently proving not only of
not showing manifestations of Judaism but, to the contrary, fighting against
Judaism.
Tullio had a younger brother, Gastone, who was an officer and was mar-
ried to a Catholic woman. He submitted his own application for Aryaniza-
tion.
The letter below written from his home in Trieste is a thank-you note for
Tacchi Venturis help. In it, Maestro offers his service as an ophthalmologist
of the Royal Hospital in Naples to the Jesuit or whoever needs his assistance
or medicines. It is followed by the letter of his daughter Ida to Tacchi Venturi,
in which she describes her sentiments of being close to Jesus and how she
regretted not being baptized out of respect to her paternal religion.
246 primary sources

* * *

Dott. Tullio Maestro


Assistente R. Clinica Oculistica
NAPOLI

Trieste 30/4/39 XVII

Al Reverendissimo Padre Tacchi Venturi


Roma

Mi permetta, Rev.mo Padre, che io Le rivolga da casa mia, con devoto senti-
mento, una parola di ringraziamento e di riconoscenza per la Sua cristiana
spontaneit nel volermi aiutare.
Sono profondamente commosso per la Sua infinita bont e, invocando
da Dio nuova assistenza, vivo pieno di speranza di ricevere presto la notizia
che mi dica che il Signore ha ascoltato le mie preghiere.
Intanto vorrei rendermi utile per quanto posso con la mia professione
di oculista e perci mi metto a Sua completa disposizione sia per prestare
lopera mia, sia per offrire i medicinali opportuni, a chiunque, consigliato
da Lei, vorr ricorrere a me. Sar felice perci nel caso che Lei mi desse
loccasione di potermi prodigare con opere di bene, anche lontano dalla
clinica, dove abitualmente lavoro.
con profondo sentimento di devozione e riconoscenza che mi prostro
a baciarLe la mano.

Obbligatissimo
Tullio Maestro

Via Fabio Filzi 23


Trieste
24. tullio maestro 247

* * *
[FTV 2252]

Dr. Tullio Maestro


Assistant, Royal Ophthalmological Clinic

Trieste, 30 April 1939-XVII

To The Most Reverend Father Tacchi Venturi


Rome

Permit me, Most Reverend Father, to extend to You from my home, with
devout sentiment, a word of thanks and gratitude for Your Christian spon-
taneity in wanting to help me.
I am profoundly moved by Your infinite goodness and, invoking new
assistance from God, I live full of hope that soon I shall receive news that
the Lord has heeded my prayers.
Meanwhile, I should like to be of service as much as I am able in my
capacity as ophthalmologist. Thus, I place myself at Your complete dispo-
sition, both to offer my services as well as to offer appropriate medicines, to
whomever, at Your suggestion, will want to contact me. I would be happy
therefore if You gave me the opportunity to carry out works of beneficence,
even away from the clinic where I habitually work.
It is with a profound sentiment of devotion and gratitude that I kneel to
kiss Your hand.

Most gratefully
Tullio Maestro

Via Fabio Filzi 23


Trieste
248 primary sources

* * *
I[da] M[aestro]

Trieste, 25-8-39 XVII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Sento bisogno di scriverVi, dopo il Vostro ultimo biglietto, Padre, e aprire il


mio cuore a Voi che mi avete benedetto: forse davanti a Voi che mi sento
pi peccatrice che di fronte a chi fa pi questione di razza che di religione,
perci da Voi che desidero essere ascoltata ese possibileassolta. Non
ho nessuna altra mira che a parlarVi sinceramente: Dio che conosce tutti i
pensieri ne testimone.
Figlia di madre cattolica, di famiglia religiosissima ma mite da non osar
imporsi, imparai a rispettare tutte le religioni, perch c un Dio per tutto il
genere umano e vissi coi principi della mamma seguendo il rito cattolico
nelle feste tradizionali e nella fede: ebbi sempre rimpianto di non essere
battezzata e vissi avendo nel cuore questo desiderio sempre represso per
rispetto alla tradizione paterna. Il destino invece mut improvvisamente la
situazione: quando nella vita credevo di non raggiungere ci che sempre
aspiravo, Ges mi fa sentire la gioia di essere Sua. Ma fu solo il destino a
ridarmi questa gioia? No, perch la mia fede e la mia volont aiutarono
queste forze ignote e quindi io stessa contribuii a ottenere questa Grazia
del Signore e Lo ringrazio di essere Sua, qualunque sar la mia sorte e spero
che alla Vostra, Padre, saggiunga la benedizione dal Cielo della mia mamma
2 adorata. davanti a un confessore | che ho parlato, davanti a un religioso
modesto quanto Vi siete rivelato a parole nel Vostro scritto per il quale Vi
raggiungo e Vi ammiro per chi veramente io Vi giudico. Sono sempre tanto
felice quando Vi degnate di rivolgermi qualche rigapermettetemi che
riconoscente Vi baci la mano domandandoVi perdono per questo sfogo
dellanima mia

obbligattissima e devotissima
[Ida Maestro]
via Filzi 23Trieste
24. tullio maestro 249

* * *
I[da] M[aestro]

Trieste, 25 August 1939-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

I feel the need to write You, Father, after Your last note, to open my heart
to You who has blessed me. It is perhaps before You that I feel myself to be
more a sinner than before someone more concerned with a question of race
than of religion. Therefore it is by You that I wish to be heard and, if possible,
absolved. I have no other aim than to speak to You sincerely: God who knows
all our thoughts is the witness.
The daughter of a Catholic mother, of a highly religious family, but a
humble one that did not dare to put itself forward, I learned to respect
all religions, because there is one God for the entire human race. Thus
I lived according to my mothers principles following the Catholic rite in
the traditional holy days and in the faith. I always regretted not having
been baptized and I lived bearing in my heart this always repressed desire
out of respect for my paternal tradition. Fate instead altered the situation
unexpectedly. When I believed that I would never be able to achieve in life
what I had always aspired to, Jesus made me feel the joy of being His. But
was it only fate that restored this joy to me? No, because my faith and my will
came to aid these unknown forces and thus I myself contributed to obtain
this Grace of the Lord, and I thank Him for being His, whatever my fate will
be and I hope that to Yours, Father, may also be added the blessing from
Heaven of my adored mother. It is before a confessor | that I have spoken, 2
before a modest religious as You have shown Yourself to be by words in
Your writing through which I reach You and admire You for whom I truly
judge You to be. I am always so happy when You deign to write me a few
lines. Allow me, gratefully, to kiss Your hand while I ask forgiveness for this
outburst from my soul.

Most gratefully, Yours truly


[Ida Maestro]
Via Filzi 23-Trieste
25. Giorgio Mondov

There is no biographical information regarding Giorgio Mondov in Tac-


chi Venturis archive. From various memoranda about the legislation con-
cerning mixed families and converted Jews and his intercession for Diana
Castelfranchi Gallico (which are included below) we just learn that he was
an accountant from Mantua. The texts he exchanged with the Jesuit are
important to understand the position of converted Jews before the racial
legislation and the role Tacchi Venturi and the Vatican played in their policy
to protect especially those Jews who had married Catholics or were offspring
of mixed couples. Mondov must have belonged to one (or both) of these
categories.

* * *

Rag. Giorgio Mondov


Via G. Chiassi, 23

Mantova, l 16 Aprile 1940


Telefono 19-70

Padre Reverendissimo,

Mentre confido di sottoporLe fra breve nuove mie modeste note, suggeri-
temi dalla circolare test diramata, sulla delicatissima questione gi sot-
topostaLe, mi permetto inviarLe il mio pi devoto omaggio a mezzo della
Egregia Signora Diana Castelfranchi in Gallico di Mantova.
La di Lei squisita benevolenza mi da lardire di racommandarLe fervida-
mente questa ottima Signora che, preclara di virt morali ed intellettuali,
versa purtroppo in tali angustie la cui eccezionale gravit, ho stimata non
indegna del di Lei conforto illustre.
Essa poi cognata della Professoressa Luisa Testa in Castelfranchi, prima
cugina della Egregia Signora Amalia Martinelli-Santoro.
Le chiedo venia della libert suggeritami dalla convinzione di compiere
un dovere di segnalata carit, e Le rinnovo i pi devoti sensi di riconoscenza
e di ossequio.
25. giorgio mondov 251

* * *
[FTV 2412]

Rag. Giorgio Mondov


Via G. Chiassi, 23

Mantua, 16 April 1940


Telephone 19-70

Most Reverend Father,

While I hope that I shall be able shortly to send You some additional modest
notes, prompted by the recently issued circular, on the very delicate ques-
tion I have already submitted to You, I take the liberty of expressing my most
devout respects by means of the esteemed Madam Diana Castelfranchi Gal-
lico of Mantua.
Your exquisite benevolence encourages me to fervently recommend to
You this excellent lady who, endowed with high moral and intellectual
qualities, is afflicted, unfortunately, by such exceptionally grievous woes,
that I have deemed her not unworthy of Your illustrious attention.
Additionally, she is the sister-in-law of Prof. Luisa Testa Castelfranchi,
who is the first cousin of that worthy lady Amalia Martinelli-Santoro.
I ask Your forgiveness for the liberty I have taken, prompted by the con-
viction of performing an act of signal charity, and I renew my most devout
expressions of gratitude and respect.
252 primary sources

Di Lei dev.mo
[original signature]

* * *
Copia

Mantova, 11 Marzo 1939 XVII

On. Ministero dellInterno


Direzione Generale Demografia e Razza
Roma

Ad integrazione della domanda di discriminazione presentata da mio Mari-


to Gallico dott. Isacco Ernesto detto Ernesto, in data 17.12.1938 XVII, per il
tramite della Regia Prefettura di Mantova, allego un ultimo documento che
fa fede delle gravissime condizioni di salute di mio Marito stesso.
Con cuore di Moglie e di Madre desolata, mi permetto invocare la pi
generosa benevola considerazione di codesto Onorevole Ministero, sulla
pietosit assolutamente eccezionale del caso della mia Famiglia, nella quale
tre figli che hanno dato tutto s stessi alle Istituzioni del Regime, come
risulta dalle documentazioni allegate alla istanza suddetta, trovansi privati
del necessario appoggio e conforto del Padre, colpito duramente in questi
ultimi anni da una atroce malattia.
La discriminazione invocata sarebbe anche lunico elemento di salvezza
per una Famiglia sulla quale si gi abbattuta una sorte tanto crudele.

Con profondo ossequio


Diana Castelfranchi in Gallico
Via Giustiziati I, Mantova

Allegato No 1 Certificato dellOspedale Psichiatrico di Imola in data 8 marzo


1939 XVII
25. giorgio mondov 253

Yours very truly


[original signature]

* * *
Copy

Mantua, 11 March 1939-XVII

To The Honorable Ministry of the Interior


General Administration for Demography and Race
Rome

For the purpose of completing the application for discrimination presented


by my Husband Isacco Ernesto Gallico, known as Ernesto, on December 17,
1938-XVII, submitted through the Prefecture of Mantua, I attach one final
document that testifies to the exceedingly grave health conditions of my
Husband.
With the heart of a despairing Wife and Mother, I permit myself to
beseech the Honorable Ministry for the most generous and benevolent
consideration of the exceptionally pathetic case of my Family, in which
three children who have given all of themselves to the Institutions of the
Regime, as results from the documentation attached to the aforementioned
application, find themselves deprived of the necessary support and comfort
of their Father, harshly afflicted in these last few years by an atrocious illness.
The requested discrimination would be the only ray of salvation for a
Family already beaten down by such a cruel fate.

With profound respect


Diana Castelfranchi Gallico
Via Giustiziati 1, Mantua

Attached Certificate from the Psychiatric Hospital of Imola, March 8, 1939-


XVII
254 primary sources

* * *

Roma, 6/6 [1]942

Padre Reverendissimo,

Mi permetto farle tenere copia di un pro-memoria che presentai in Segrete-


ria di Stato sulla situazione delle famiglie miste di fronte alla precettazione
in corso.
Mi lusingo trover opportune le considerazioni e le conclusioni che pro-
spetto.
Spiacente di non averLa trovata, Le porgo i miei devoti ossequi,

rag. Giorgio Mondov

* * *
[PROMEMORIA]

LE FAMIGLIE MISTE E LANNUNCIATA PRECETTAZIONE DEI CITTADINI


CONSIDERATI EBREI

Le famiglie miste, in conseguenza della sospensiva adottata per linvocato


riconoscimento della loro completa arianit, si trovano in questo momento
di fronte alle incognite derivanti dalle contradittorie comunicazioni sus-
seguitesi circa lannunciata precettazione dei cittadini considerati di razza
ebraica ed il loro impiego, incognite che per esse assumono speciale gra-
vit.
Lannuncio della precettazione, seguito alla deliberata promulgazione del
T.U. [Testo Unico] per la disciplina dei Cittadini durante la guerra, ed alla
istituzione del fronte di lavoro, dava la speranza ai capi di famiglie miste di
veder utilizzata la loro capacit lavorativa e le loro attitudini nel luogo di
loro residenza, di poter essere riammessi a dare la loro opera, utilmente, per
la Patria e per la loro famiglia.
I dati e le notizie richieste ad ogni singolo per la formazione degli elenchi,
confermava tali speranze; il comunicato annunciante la deliberata assegna-
zione dei precettandi a lavori di interesse pubblico in determinate province,
2 le tramuterebbe invece in gravi preoccupazioni. |
Lassegnazione deliberata comporterebbe infatti lallontanamento dei
25. giorgio mondov 255

* * *
[FTV 2591]

Rome, 6 June [1]942

Most Reverend Father,

I permit myself to send you a memorandum which I submitted to the


Secretariat of State on the situation of mixed families prompted by the
labor draft now in progress. I flatter myself that you will find useful the
considerations and conclusions that I outline.
Regretful that I did not find You in, I offer my most devoted respects.

Rag. Giorgio Mondov

* * *
[MEMORANDUM]

MIXED FAMILIES AND THE ANNOUNCED LABOR DRAFT OF CITIZENS


CONSIDERED JEWS

Mixed families, as a consequence of the postponement announced for the


invoked recognition of their complete Aryan status, find themselves pres-
ently faced by the uncertainties deriving from the series of contradictory
communications concerning the announced labor draft of citizens consid-
ered to be of the Jewish race and their employment, uncertainties that for
them assume special gravity.
The announcement of the labor draft followed by the deliberate promul-
gation of the Consolidation Act [Testo unico] for the regulation of Citizens in
wartime, and the establishment of the labor front, gave hope to the heads of
mixed families of seeing that their capacities for work and their skills would
be used in the places where they resided, of being readmitted to offer their
labor, usefully, for the Homeland and for their family.
The data and the information requested from every individual for the
compilation of the lists, confirmed these hopes; the communiqu announc-
ing the deliberate assignment of those conscripted for works of public inter-
est in specific provinces, turn these hopes into grave misgivings. | 2
The deliberated assignment in fact would involve the separation of those
256 primary sources

precettati dalla famiglia, il probabile loro concentrazione l dove verrebbero


destinati.
da ritenere che i dati richiesti circa la composizione della famiglia, con
riguardo anche alla razza cui appartengono i suoi componenti, siano intesi
ad escludere dalla precettazione speciale, e quanto meno dalla annunciata
assegnazione, chi ha contratto matrimonio misto, orientando la famiglia al
Cristianesimo.
Ragioni di ordine morale e conseguenti dalla stessa impostazione della
campagna razziale, le imporrebbero.
Allontanare infatti il coniugo considerato di razza ebraica dalla fami-
glia per porlo in una situazione umiliante, varrebbe a far ricadere lumi-
liazione sui membri ariani, chiamati ed ammessi a compiere i pi sacri
doveri dellora premente verso la Patria; varrebbe a porre i cittadini di razza
ebraica che hanno orientato la famiglia al Cristianesimo, in maggioranza
essi stessi convertiti a quella religione, in una forzata convivenza con coloro
dai quali si sono allontanati, e porli in una situazione specialmente delicata
e penosa.
3 Estesa lindagine anche alle donne considerate di | razza ebraica, ne con-
segue che le incognite derivanti dalle contradittorie comunicazioni in mate-
ria, gravano anche sulle famiglie miste nelle quali considerata apparte-
nente a quella razza la moglie.
Le disposizioni adottate per le famiglie miste, sia per la propriet immobi-
liare che per lattivit commerciale del coniuge considerato di razza ebraica,
le distinzioni ammesse sia per il mantenimento di domestici ariani come
per il soggiorno in luoghi di villeggiatura e di cura e per le preoccupazioni
del momento saranno dissipate dai fatti, ma un chiarimento che le dissipi
senzaltro sarebbe necessario per togliere ogni dubbio.
La Santa Sede che ad esse de[d]ic il suo oneroso interessamento, vorr
indubbiamente prospettare questa necessit, e nelloccasione vorr indub-
biamente far notare come ancora una volta, e proprio in conseguenza di fatti
e della situazione delle famiglie miste derivante dallo stato di guerra, appaia
quanto sarebbe necessario ed urgente addivenire alla radicale risoluzione
del problema che le riguarda.
Il paterno ammonimento rivolto dal Santo Padre per additare quale
limportanza e la funzione della famiglia nelle Nazioni, il Suo richiamo alle
4 angosce | mortali del momento, additano quanto sia necessario risolvere
la situazione delle famiglie miste che tali angosce hanno aggravato dal
mancato riconoscimento della loro completa arianit.

Mantova, 1 Giugno 1942.


25. giorgio mondov 257

conscripted from the family, their probable concentration there at the place
where they would be assigned.
One would imagine that the information requested concerning the com-
position of the family, including the race of its members, implied the exclu-
sion from the special conscription, and even from the announced assign-
ment, whoever has contracted a mixed marriage, orienting the family to-
ward Christianity.
Reasons of morality and also reasons emanating from the very founda-
tion of the racial campaign would seem to impose these considerations.
In fact, to separate the husband considered to be of the Jewish race from
his family and place him in a humiliating situation would mean causing
the humiliation to fall on the Aryan members, summoned to and admitted
to fulfill the most sacred duties of the hour pressing on the Homeland; it
would mean placing citizens of the Jewish race who have oriented the family
towards Christianity, the majority of whom have converted to that religion,
in a compulsory form of cohabitation with persons from whom they have
separated, placing them in a specially delicate and painful situation.
Extending the investigation also to women considered to be | of the 3
Jewish race, it follows that the uncertainties resulting from the contradictory
communications on the matter, weigh also on mixed families in which the
wife is considered as belonging to that race.
The measures adopted for mixed families, both concerning real property
as well as the commercial activity of the spouse considered to be of the
Jewish race, the distinctions permitted both for the retention of Aryan
domestics as for visits to vacation spots and health spas as well as for the
preoccupations of the moment will be cleared away by the facts, but a
clarification that clears them away definitively would appear necessary to
dispel any doubts.
The Holy See which dedicated its weighty concern to these matters,
undoubtedly will want to examine this necessity, and at that time will
undoubtedly want it to be noted how once again, and precisely as a con-
sequence of facts and of the situation of mixed families resulting from the
state of war, it emerges how necessary and urgent it would be to reach a
radical resolution of the problem which concerns them.
The paternal warning on the part of the Holy Father pointing out the
importance and the function of the family among Nations, His recalling of
the mortal anguish of the moment, reveal how necessary it is to resolve
the situation of mixed families which such anguish has aggravated due to
the failure to recognize their complete Aryanism.

Mantua, 1 June 1942


26. Guido Morelli

Guido Morelli was a Jewish pharmacist from Fubine in the province of


Alessandria (northwest Italy). In July 1940, he submitted an application
for discrimination to Mussolini via Tacchi Venturis mediation. Because no
response was given to the Jesuit by the Duces private secretary, Morelli
wrote Tacchi Venturi in November of that year, inquiring about the status
of his application, and stating that in the meantime he had converted to
Catholicism. His case was supported by Rev. Giuseppe Muzio of Rome, who
wrote Tacchi Venturi in July 1940. The former was contacted by Morellis
wife, whose parents were from the same town as Muzio. In his letter to
Tacchi Venturi, Morelli mentions his brother who visited the Jesuit, but
his name is not given. In his response to Morelli (see its draft below), Tac-
chi Venturi highlighted that his certificate of baptism would not change
the provision of the law that prohibited Morelli from exercising his profes-
sion.
No further information on Morellis fate is available.

* * *

Fubine, 26-XI-40

Reverendo Padre,

Vorrete scusare se mi permetto ancora di disturbarvi con questo mio scritto.


Mio fratello, quando fu da Voi per avere informazioni inerenti alla domanda
che avevo rivolto al Duce per essere discriminato non ha capito bene a chi
avevate consegnato le carte che Vi avevo spedito.
Ora siccome da circa un mese mi sono convertito alla religione cattolica,
vorrei unire a quelle carte anche il mio certificato di battesimo. Vi sarei
2 quindi gratissimo se mi voleste indicare con | precisione a chi dovrei spedire
tale documento.
Pregandovi di volermi scusare quel disturbo che Vi arreco, mi grato
porgervi distinti ossequi.
26. guido morelli 259

Fig. 19. Guido Morellis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.

* * *
[FTV 2424]

Fubine, 26 November 1940

Reverend Father,

I hope you will excuse me if I permit myself to disturb you one more time
with this writing. When my brother was with You to obtain information
concerning the appeal I had made to the Duce to be discriminated, he did
not understand to whom you had consigned the documents I had sent to
You.
Now, since I converted to the Catholic religion about a month ago, I
should like to add my baptismal certificate to those papers. I would be most
grateful to You, thus, if You could indicate to me precisely to whom I should
mail this document.
Beseeching you to forgive the bother I am causing You, I am pleased to
extend my most sincere respects.
260 primary sources

Dev.mo
Guido Morelli
Farmacista
Fubine (Alessandria)

* * *
Guido Morelli
farmacista
Fubine
(Alessandria)

30 nov. 1940 XIX

Egregissimo Signore,

La vostra supplica fu da me trasmessa il 17 luglio al Segretario Particolare del


Duce, S.E. Sebastiani.
Finora non ho ricevuto risposta e questo ritardo mi d purtroppo fon-
data ragione di pensare che non vi sia stato concesso quanto chiedevate in
grazia. Credo affatto superfluo e inutile linviare il certificato del ricevuto
Battesimo, perch mi consta che il permesso di esercitare la professione
indistintamente con gli ariani e gli ebrei non si accorda ai non discriminati
anche quando essi, molti anni prima della legge, si fecero cristiani. Immagi-
nate Voi se la circostanza del battesimo possa influire a derogare alla legge in
favore di coloro che in questi ultimi tempi vennero alla religione cristiana.
Compatendovi di cuore e salutandovi mi professo vostro,

[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]


26. guido morelli 261

Yours very truly


Guido Morelli
Pharmacist
Fubine (Alessandria)

* * *
Guido Morelli
pharmacist
Fubine
(Alessandria)

30 November 1940-XIX

Dear Sir,

I transmitted your request to the Duces Private Secretary, His Excellency


Sebastiani on 17 July.
I have not yet received a reply and this delay unfortunately gives me
good reason to think that what you had requested was not granted. I think
it would be totally superfluous and useless to send the certificate of the
Baptism you have received, because it is my opinion that permission to
exercise a profession indeterminately among Aryans and Jews is not granted
to the non-discriminated even if they, many years before the law, became
Christians. You can imagine for yourself if the fact of baptism can influence
altering the law in favor of those who in recent times came to the Christian
religion.
With heartfelt sympathy and greetings, I am Yours,
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]
27. Mario Paggi

Mario Paggi was born June 9, 1894 in Pitigliano near Florence,129 where
his Jewish parents, Osvaldo Paggi (d. 1935; the son of Davide Paggi and
Efsiba Bemporad and the grandson of Giacobbe Paggi and Adelaide Sadun)
and Olga Sorani (b. 1868), contracted civil and not religious matrimony, to
the indignation of both local rabbi and bishop.130 Perhaps the provincial
atmosphere of the town was too suffocating for liberal Osvaldo, who in
1900 moved his printing business La Lente and his familywhich then
included also Marios brother, Guidoto Florence, where two other chil-
dren were born: Gastone and Letizia. The latter subsequently married a
Catholic and very fervent Fascist, Aldo De Colli. In early 1939, Paggi was
living with his elderly mother on Via Lorenzo il Magnifico 14, near Piazza
della Libert. From there, he submitted his application for discrimination,
which highlighted in an unusually long letter three aspects of his life: as an
Italian, as a citizen, and as a soldier.
He began the letter by paying homage to his late father:
If there is something good in me, I owe it to the high example of my father
who was a man of work, a fervent follower of Mazzini, who learned and imple-
mented from his Master this lesson: life is a missionMazzinianism meant
for him the school of life; he did not subscribe to the mediocre interpreta-
tion of militancy. My father told us children to believe in God but did not
give us a religious education. He asked us with touching simplicity, among
other things, to keep in our home the maid (who for more than forty years
had been with us), because she was now like a family member. He wanted
to be buried in the cemetery of his hometown (Pitigliano), next to his sweet
mother. Behind the coffin all the faithful and grateful people paid him their
ultimate respects.
Quite unusual for discrimination applications is Paggis longer paragraph
entitled My Position before Judaism. In it, he interpreted in convoluted
prose the fate of Judaism in the history of the Christian Mediterranean

129 There was a homonymous attorney Mario Paggi (190264), a descendant of another
branch of this Jewish family of Pitigiliano. He was a co-founder of the Partito dAzione and
after the war he became a member of the Partito Liberale Italiano.
130 Roberto G. Salvadori, La comunit ebraica di Pitigliano dal XVI al XX secolo (Florence:
Giuntina, 1991), 92. In this town four other families bore the name of Paggi. Osvaldo had two
siblings, Gilberto and Eufemia. His stepmother was Rosina Sadun (see ibid., 124).
27. mario paggi 263

and showed how Italianism became for him, as for many other Italian Jews,
a kind of religion:
The failure to have received a Jewish religious education had determined in
us children the ignorance of the existence of a Jewish problem and meant
that our spiritual and moral lives were free from any mental reservation.
We perceived Italianism as an indispensable element of civilization in the
world; the country, the environment, [and] traditions formed [and] shaped
the character [and] the style of our life. Our school education did not change
what we had learned in our childhood. Reflecting, we understood the reasons
why the Jewin historyhas suffered persecution. Because Judaism is anti-
historical, a monotheistic religion that became a way of life, partly isolated
from the reality imposed in the Mediterranean world by Christianity. Con-
vinced of this, I am unsurprised by clashes between Judaism and the peoples
of Europe that occurred in history and I am not surprised by the position of
the Italian State against us [Jews] in this crucial moment in history. Wrong
was he who did not want to foresee a tragedy, who did not know, especially
now, how to feel to be always deeply Italian, confident, and serene.
Contrary to the common perception of the Jewish race, Paggi continued,
he was not good at science but excelled in composition. Indeed, he became
a journalist. Shortly before the Great War, he had directed a Florentine
student paper, I gogliardi. The period of university education was also a
time of political commitment for Paggi. During many demonstrations at
the dawn of WWI, he favored the policy of Italian interventionism against
Austrians. No wonder he enrolled in the army, when the war broke out.
After the fierce eight-hour battle at Carso (the so-called Third Battle of
the Isonzo) on October 21, 1915, Paggi was taken prisoner and sent to the
concentration camp of Spratzern (near Sankt Plten, Austria) for three
years.131 He attempted to escape but, shot by a guard, was captured and
taken back to the camp.
Liberated at the end of the war, he returned to the university to hastily
make up missing exams in jurisprudence and graduate in the law on May 10,
1920. In the meantime, Paggi engaged, as did Angiolo Orvieto,132 in the poli-
tics of post-war Florence, threatened by the potential victory of communists
in the elections to the city government. This engagement entailed participa-
tion in anti-communist rallies, including the one that saw the death of the
first Fascist martyr, the Jew Gino Bolaffi (18871920). Paggi also continued
to use his journalistic skills, writing for Rinnovamento sociale of Cremona,

131 Marios cousin, Mario Camerino, the son of his fathers sister, Eufemia, was killed in
battle at the same place one month later.
132 See Maryks, Pouring, 1: 177187.
264 primary sources

where he expressed his political antagonism toward Bolshevism, the Pop-


ular Party, liberals, and the bourgeoisie. Then he became close to Fascism,
which he saw as the movement of national rebirth, even though he officially
enrolled in the party only in 1932. At the invitation of Roberto Farinacci
(later the main propagator of Fascist racial anti-Semitism and the enemy
of Tacchi Venturi), he was proud to shake the hand of Mussolini during his
visit to Cremona in September of 1920.
Subsequent violent rallies in Cremona made Paggi skeptical about his
political engagementhe decided to go back to Florence and begin his
work as a criminal attorney. In many cases, he acted as pro bono defender
in the 1921 trials of Fascist youth who were charged with homicide and acts
of arson during rallies. He had no Jewish clients, as he assured in another
letter to the head of government, although according to the racial laws he
was prohibited from defending other than Jewish clients.
Unlike his brother Guido, who was a decorated Fascist official, Mario
Paggi was not granted discrimination, for he did not possess the required
merit of the War Cross. Instead, the prefect of Florence ordered that Paggi
be interned in the camp of Pizzoli near LAquila for precautionary reasons.
The support of the Florentine Jesuit, Alfonso Martin (who baptized both
Mario and his younger brother, Vezio Tito [b. 1904], a physician, in early 1940)
and of the Vatican, and the repeated intercession of Tacchi Venturi with the
head of Police, Senise, resulted in his liberation. In his thank-you letter to
the Jesuit, Paggi wrote that he endured the internment with serenity and
dignity and asked him to try again to obtain discrimination for him, so
that he could exercise his profession of lawyer and provide thus for himself
and his ill seventy-three-old mother.
Apparently, Paggi avoided deportation by hiding in Florence.133

133 See Vera Paggi, Vicolo degli azzimi: Dal ghetto di Pittigliano al miracolo economico (Rim-
ini: Panozzo, 2014), 241.
27. mario paggi 265

Fig. 20. Mario Paggis handwritten letter to Brother Lucas.


266 primary sources

* * *

Firenze, l 7 marzo 1940-XVIIIo

Reverendo Padre,

La Sua cortese premura paterna nel comunicarmi le notizie che mi riguar-


dano mi ha commosso ed io Le esprimo la mia profonda gratitudine.
Mi permetto, a maggiore chiarimento, farLe presente questo: che io non
so se agli effetti della legge razziale son[o] compres[o] tra le categorie di
coloro che, diciamo cos, han[n]o diritto alla discriminazione (art. 14, no
2) ovvero sono catalogato al no 6 (benemerenze eccezionali) dello stesso
articolo.
Le dico questo perch, pur avendo fatta la guerra come sottotenente di
fanteria ed essere stato tre anni prigioniero, non ho la croce di guerra che
mi spettava di diritto, ma io non chiesi mai e che in seguito non fu potuta
concedere, perch chiusi i termini.
Voglio sperare che la interpretazione di legge non sia cos formalistica e
che io rientri comunque nella categoria dei combattenti.
Mi scusi la nuova noia che Le arreco e con vivi ringraziamenti e ossequi
mi creda molto devoto

avv. Mario Paggi [original signature]

* * *
Firenze, 20 marzo 1941 XIXo

Molto Reverendo Padre Tacchi Venturi


Piazza del Ges 45
ROMA

Consenta, reverendo Padre, che Le esprima mia profonda gratitudine per il


Suo alto interessamento a mio riguardo. Sono stato definitivamente liberato
dallinternamento da otto giorni e sono ricongiunto a mia madre.
Ho sopportato con serenit e con dignit linternamento e ora, nono-
stante le limitazioni della Legge, trover modo di lavorare e di attendere.
27. mario paggi 267

* * *
[FTV 2390]

Florence, 7 March 1940-XVIII

Reverend Father,

I was moved by Your courteous solicitude in communicating the infor-


mation that pertains to me and I should like to express my deep grati-
tude.
I take the liberty, for the sake of greater clarity, to communicate to You
the following: that I do not know if for the purpose of the racial law [I am]
included in the category of those who, let me put it this way, have the right
to be discriminated (art. 14, n. 2), or whether I am listed at n. 6 (exceptional
merits) of that article.
I tell You this because, even though I was in the war as a second lieutenant
in the infantry and was a prisoner for three years, I did not receive the War
Cross which should have been mine by right, but I never asked for it and
later it could not be granted to me, because the time had expired.
I should like to hope that the interpretation of the law is not so formalistic
and that I can be reckoned regardless in the category of combatants.
Excuse the new annoyance I cause You and with sincere thanks and
respect, believe me most devoutly

Attorney Mario Paggi [original signature]

* * *
Florence, 20 Marzo 1941-XIX

Most Reverend Father Tacchi Venturi


Piazza del Ges 45
Rome

Allow me, reverend Father to express my profound gratitude for the high
interest You have shown in my regard. I was definitively released from
internment eight days ago and I have been reunited with my mother.
I endured internment with serenity and dignity and now, in spite of
the restrictions imposed by the Law, I shall find a way of working and
waiting.
268 primary sources

Appena liberato, indirizzai una lettera al Capo della Polizia per ringra-
ziarlo e per pregarlo di presentare una mia istanza al Capo del Governo.
Mi permetto di inviare copia delluna e dellaltra a Lei, illustre padre, che
so essersi interessato autorevolmente anche della mia discriminazione.
Potrebbe darsi, merc il Suo intervento, che si riesaminasse la mia posi-
zione e mi si reintegrasse nellesercizio professionale.
Mi permetto inviarLe la presente per mio cognato, Dott. Aldo de Colli
(cattolico e ariano).
Con vivi ringraziamenti, mi creda, reverendo Padre, con distinti ossequi,
dev.mo

Avv. Mario Paggi [original signature]

* * *
Cosenza, 27.5.41

Reverendo fratello Lucas


Roma

Come ebbi lonore di dirLe a voce, ho cominciato il mio viaggio in Calabria


per conto della Societ Attilio Vallecchi di Firenze. Mi adatto a questo lavoro
con serenit, in attesa dei giorni migliori.
La ringrazio, oltre che della Sua cortesia di avermi fatto parlare con
lillustre Padre Tacchi che [] di [] Le ricordo la mia posizione: ex combat-
tente-prigioniero di guerra [per] 3 anni; non ho la croce di guerra, perch
non la chiesi. Ma come dissi a Padre Tacchi, furono nuovamente ammesse
le presentazioni delle domande per ottenere la croce di guerra in seguito a
una circolare del Capo del governo dellanno scorso.
La istanza mia fu presentata alla mia sezione di Combattenti in Firenze
e il presidente di essa, ritenuta fondata listanza, la trasmisecon parole
favorevolial Direttorio Nazionale Combattenti in Roma, e questo in data
19 giugno 40; il Direttorio [la] trasmesse poi a Roma al Ministero della
Guerra (Direzione Generale Ufficiali in Congedo).
Non ho avuto alcuna risposta. N lha avuta, a tuttoggi, la Segreteria
di Stato della S. Sede che se n attivamente occupata. Se avessi la croce
di guerra, potrei avere la discriminazione. Ma perch ho saputo da Padre
Tacchi che per i professionisti cattolici si tenta di farli [] discriminati,
sarebbe opportuno caldeggiare il caso mio (comune a molti) che, oltre
27. mario paggi 269

As soon as I was released, I wrote a letter to the Chief of Police to


thank him and to ask him to convey an entreaty from me to the Head of
Government.
I take the liberty of forwarding to You a copy of each, Illustrious Father,
whom I know is authoritatively interested also in my discrimination.
It might be, thanks to Your intercession, that my position was reopened
and I could be restored to professional service.
I take the liberty of forwarding to You the enclosed for my brother-in-law
Dr. Aldo de Colli (Catholic and Aryan).
With full thanks, believe me, Reverend Father, with deep respect,

Yours very truly


Attorney Mario Paggi [original signature]

* * *
Cosenza, 27 May 1941

Reverend Brother Lucas


Rome

As I had the honor of telling You in person, I have begun my journey to


Calabria under the aegis of the Attilio Vallecchi firm of Florence. I am
adjusting to this work serenely, while I await better days.
I should like to thank You, in addition to Your courtesy in having arranged
for me to speak with the illustrious Father Tacchi Venturi [] I should like
to remind You of my position: ex-combatant, for three years a prisoner of
war; I do not have the War Cross because I did not request it. But as I told
Father Tacchi, following a circular issued by the Head of Government last
year, petitions to obtain the War Cross were reinstated.
My request was submitted to my section of Combatants in Florence and
its president, who deemed my request in order, forwarded it, accompanied
by his favorable comments, to the National Directorate of Combatants in
Rome, under the date June 19, 1940. The Directorate then transmitted it to
the Ministry of War in Rome (General Directorate of Officers on Inactive
Service).
I have not received a reply of any kind. Nor, as of today, has one been
received by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See which had actively
concerned itself in the matter. If I had the War Cross, I might obtain the
discrimination. But because I learned from Father Tacchi that for Catholic
professionals an attempt is being made to have them become [] discrim-
270 primary sources

cattolici, sono stati combattenti e hanno sostanziale diritto alla croce di


guerra. La prego di comunicare la presente a Padre Tacchi.

Grazie e devoti ossequi,


Avv. Mario Paggi

[P.S.] Star vari giorni qui presso Villella (Via 24 Maggio 70 B).
27. mario paggi 271

inated, it would be opportune to plead my case (similar to many others),


who besides being Catholic, have been combatants and have a basic right to
the War Cross. I beg You to pass on the present letter to Father Tacchi.

Thank you and devout respects


Attorney Mario Paggi

P.S. I shall spend several days here at Villella (Via 24 Maggio 70 B).
28. Giulio Davide Pauletti

Giulio Davide Pauletti was a son of Mario Levi (who was the director of
the Ufficio Provinciale delle Corporazioni in Mantua) and of an unnamed
Christian mother. He changed his name, through a recommendation of
Tacchi Venturi, into Pauletti. He was a lieutenant of the Ninth Regiment
of Alpini and as such participated in the Italian occupation of Albania.
Pauletti had a brother by the name of Primo Giorgio who attended the Jesuit
school in Brescia, and was baptized December 23, 1938 at the age of thirteen.
No other biographical information regarding this family is available in the
Jesuits archive.
Tacchi Venturis archives contain two letters Pauletti wrote to the Jesuit.
In the first, he asks for Tacchi Venturis intercession to obtain information
regarding his application to change his name, which he was anxious to
know because of his forthcoming marriage and a possible deployment to
the Russian front; in the second, he asks the Jesuit to support his brothers
application for Aryanization. In October 1942, the Demorazza informed
Tacchi Venturi that Giulio Davide was granted Aryanization. His second
letter is signed Pauletti, which suggests that the change of his name did
occur soon after he wrote his first letter, but there is no information about
the governments decision concerning the Aryanization of his brother.
28. giulio davide pauletti 273

Fig. 21. Giulio Davide Paulettis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


274 primary sources

* * *

Chiesa San Giorgio, 5-IX-42-XX

Reverendissimo Padre,

con vivo dispiacere debbo rivolgermi nuovamente a Voi, contrariamente a


quanto speravo, ma il ritardo un po prolungato della definitiva chiusura
della mia pratica di cambiamento di cognome mi pone in uno stato di
ansiosa impazienza e di preoccupazione che prima di partire per il fronte
Russo, al quale sono destinato col mio reparto, desidererei eliminare. Ho gi
visto pubblicato sulla Gazzetta Ufficiale no 114 del 13 maggio il decreto che
autorizza la sostituzione del mio cognome in Pauletti, ma fino a tuttoggi
nessuna comunicazione ufficiale pervenuta dal Ministero degli Interni alla
2 Prefettura | di Mantova e allUfficio dello Stato Civile. Oramai sono passati
diversi mesi e non posso non essere preoccupato di questo nuovo ritardo
per me inspiegabile, mentre io attendo con ansia sempre maggiore que-
sto cambiamento per le ragioni che Voi conoscete, prima fra tutte quella
del mio matrimonio. Perci, prima di partire dallItalia, mi permetto fare
appello ancora una volta alla vostra bont ed al vostro cortese interessa-
mento, affinch Vi informiate presso il Ministero, se qualche nuova dif-
ficolt fosse sorta in proposito e cerchiate di derimerla [sic], se nelle
vostre possibilit, facendo presente la mia posizione di decorato di meda-
glia al valore nellattuale guerra e di appartenente a reparto mobilitato per
la Russia. Vi invio le mie pi profonde scuse ed i miei pi vivi ringrazia-
menti.

Sottotenente Levi Davide Giulio

* * *
Mantova, 8-1-43-XXI

Reverendissimo Padre,

recatomi in questi giorni a Roma, con mio vivissimo dispiacere non mi


riuscito, per il poco tempo disponibile, di ottenere, come desideravo, un
breve colloquio con Voi, per ringraziarVi di persona della benevola atten-
zione dimostrata nei miei riguardi e per rivolgervi unaltra mia vivissima
28. giulio davide pauletti 275

* * *
[FTV 2569]

Chiesa San Giorgio, 5 September 1942-XX

Most Reverend Father,

To my great displeasure I must turn to You again, contrary to what I had


hoped, but the somewhat prolonged delay in the definitive conclusion of my
application for change of name places me in a state of anxious impatience
and preoccupation which I should like to eliminate before departing for the
Russian front, to which I am destined with my unit. I have already seen
published in the May 13, n. 114 issue of the Gazzetta Ufficiale the decree
authorizing the substitution of my name Pauletti, but as of today no official
communication has been received from the Ministry of the Interior by
the Prefecture | of Mantua or the Registry of Births. At this point several 2
months have passed and I cannot but be preoccupied about this new for me
unexplainable delay, while I await this change with ever growing anxiety for
reasons which You know, the first of which is my wedding. Therefore, before
leaving Italy, I take the liberty of appealing once again to your goodness
and to the courteous interest you have taken in the matter, so that You
may inquire at the Ministry, whether some new difficulty has arisen in the
case which you might try to resolve, if it is in your power to do so, by
communicating my status as a recipient of the medal of valor in the present
war and of belonging to a unit mobilized to depart for Russia. I send my most
sincere apologies and my most heartfelt thanks.

Second Lieutenant Levi Davide Giulio

* * *
Mantua, 8 January 1943-XXI

Most Reverend Father,

In my visit to Rome in recent days, to my great regret, I did not succeed,


due to the brief time available to me, to arrange a brief meeting with You, to
thank You personally for the benevolent attention you have demonstrated
276 primary sources

preghiera, affinch Voi vogliate benevolmente aiutarmi ad ottenere la giusta


revisione della posizione razziale di mio fratello.
Oggi stesso ho inviato al Ministero dellInterno unistanzadi cui Vi
invio copianella quale, messa in evidenza la mia posizione di decorato
e combattente, nonch il fatto che il mio fratello da quattro anni edu-
cato ed istruito in collegio di religiosi (e precisamene presso i Padri Gesuiti
dellArici di Brescia), in considerazione inoltre di tutte le altre circostanze
favorevoli che sussistono, in particolare, nei suoi riguardi, prego che egli
vengasecondo giustiziaconsiderato ariano, come sono stato dichia-
rato io stesso.
Ora, al fine di ottenere che tale domanda venga presa in considerazione
e possa avere qualche appoggio, ho pensato di rivolgermi personalmente al
2 Duce, con listanza che Vi unisco e che calda|mente Vi prego, Reverendis-
simo Padre, affidandomi alla Vostra bont ed al Vostro senso di giustizia,
di voler cercare, se Vi possibile, di fare pervenire al Duce stesso, con una
parola di raccomandazione.
Non posso dubitare, Monsignore, che il Vostro animo generoso vorr
negarmi il Vostro altissimo interessamento, che sono certo riuscir di dare
a me ed alla mia povera famiglia, cos dolorosamente colpita, un infinito
sollievo ed un po di tranquillit, dopo tante sofferenze.
Fiducioso pertanto nella gentilezza del Vostro cuore, Vi prego, Reverendo
Padre, di voler gradire le espressioni pi sincere della mia riconoscenza e
della mia devozione nonch di voler accettare le scuse pi profonde per il
nuovo disturbo che Vi chiedo.

Con rispettoso ossequio,


Ten. Davide Giulio Pauletti
Mantova, Via Guerrieri Gonzaga, no 12.
28. giulio davide pauletti 277

in my behalf and to earnestly appeal to You one more time, benevolently to


help me obtain the just revision of my brothers racial status.
Just today I have sent to the Ministry of the Interior an appealof which I
enclose a copyin which I set forth my position of decorated and front-line
military, as well as the fact that my brother for four years has been educated
in a religious college (and precisely by the Jesuit Fathers of Arici in Brescia),
as well as all the other favorable circumstances which exist, especially in his
regard. I appeal that he, in all justice, be considered Aryan, as I myself have
been declared to be.
Now, so that this appeal might be seriously considered and obtain some
support, I have thought to apply personally to the Duce with the entreaty
which I enclose and which I warmly | beseech You, Most Reverend Father, 2
entrusting myself to Your goodness and to Your sense of justice, to try,
if it is possible for You, to have reach the Duce himself, with a word of
recommendation.
I cannot believe, Monsignor, that Your generous heart will deny me Your
high concern, which I am confident will succeed in giving to me and to my
poor family, so harshly afflicted, great relief and a bit of tranquility, after so
much suffering.
Trusting in the kindness of Your heart, I beseech You, Reverend Father,
to receive the most sincere expressions of my gratitude and of my devotion,
and also accept my most heartfelt excuses for the new bother I am causing
You.

With respectful regards


Lt. Davide Giulio Pauletti
Mantua, Via Guerrieri Gonzaga, n. 12
29. Umberto Sacerdote

No biographical information about Umberto Sacerdote is to be found in


Tacchi Venturis archive except that he married Virginia Prete and lived
in P.zza S. Carlo 10 in Turin. The Demorazza informed the Jesuit in June
1941 that their marriage was not recognized by the state. The reason for
this was probably what Sacerdote mentions below in his letter to Tacchi
Venturithat his marriage was celebrated in the Jewish rite only and was
not recognized civilly before the emanation of the apposite racial law in
November of 1938. The Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea
in Milan owns a collection of documents related to a certain Umberto
Sacerdote but I have not been able to establish whether this is the same
person.

* * *

Roma, 27 maggio 1941-XIX

Reverendissimo Padre,

sono ancora molto commosso per quanto Ella ebbe ieri la bont di comu-
nicarmi. stata veramente una notizia strabiliante, che dimostra la magna-
nimit di chi ha studiato la modifica alle vigenti leggi razziali. Lannunciato
provvedimento risolver migliaia di casi e porter la gioia e la riconoscenza
in tante tante famiglie.
Non volevo lasciare la capitale senza prima rinnovarle i sensi della
mia pi profonda gratitudine, ma non volevo ritornare a disturbarla e a
farle perdere anche solo un poco del suo preziosissimo tempo. Desideravo
anche esporle un mio pensiero: il nuovo provvedimento non ha tenuto forse
calcolo dei matrimoni celebrati con il solo rito religioso, non ha neppure
considerato il caso ancora pi grave delle unioni che, benedette da Dio con
la nascita di bimbi, non poterono, per cause diverse, essere regolate civil-
mente prima della emanazione delle note leggi raziali. Non crede Ella che,
anche per questi casi preziosissimi, sia giusto ci sia una definizione?
Affido alla sua Cristiana ed umana compassione questi problemi gravis-
simi per molte famiglie, e voglio sperare che il suo interessamento e le sue
preghiere valgano a risolvere anche questo groviglio di situazioni dolorose.
29. umberto sacerdote 279

* * *
[FTV 2521]

Rome, 27 May 1941-XIX

Most Reverend Father,

I am still deeply moved by what You had the goodness to communicate to me


yesterday. It was really amazing news, which demonstrates the magnanimity
of whoever has studied the modification of the existing racial laws. The
measure that has been announced will resolve thousands of cases and will
bring joy and gratitude to so many families.
I did not want to leave the capital without first renewing the expressions
of my deepest gratitude, but I did not want again to disturb you and cause
you to lose even a little of your very precious time. I also desired to express a
thought: the new measure perhaps has not taken into account the marriages
celebrated only with a religious rite and did not consider at all the even
graver case of unions which, blessed by God with the birth of children could
not, for various reasons, be regulated civilly before the emanation of the
aforesaid racial laws. Dont You think it would be just that, even in these
most precious cases, there should be a definition?
I entrust to your Christian and human compassion these problems that
are so serious for many families, and I would like to hope that your concern
and your prayers will be able to resolve even this tangle of sorrowful situa-
tions.
280 primary sources

Mi perdoni se mi sono nuovamente permesso di importunarla con questo


scritto, ma lo so cos buono che mi sono azzardato a farlo. Mi perdoni e mi
creda il suo obbligatissimo.

Umberto Sacerdote
29. umberto sacerdote 281

Pardon me if I have again permitted myself to importune you with this


writing, but I know you to be so good that I have dared to do so. Pardon me
and believe me your obedient servant.

Umberto Sacerdote
30. Mario Samaja

Mario Samaja was a Jew from Trento. He was married and had two children
of minor age. He was the director of a local bank, Banca del Lavoro, but fol-
lowing a denunciation from the office of the citys prefect, he was dismissed
on the grounds of the racial laws. Supported by the prince-bishop of his
town, Mons. Celestino Endrici (18661940), he submitted an application for
discrimination. Following his visit to Tacchi Venturi in Rome in June 1939,
he wrote the following letter to the Jesuit, in which he thanks him for con-
soling him and reveals his anxiety about a potential negative response of the
government, which would compromise the existence of his young children.
No further information about the Samajas is available in Tacchi Venturis
archive except for a governmental note that the request for discrimination
of Ugo Samaia of Geppino from Trieste was turned down. However, the little
biographical information contained in Mario Samajas letter does not allow
establishing his relation to Ugo.

* * *

SAMAJA MARIO
TRENTO
VIA CERVARA 10

Trento, 18 giugno 1939

Rev.mo P. Pietro Tacchi Venturi S.J.,

Voglia consentirmi, Rev.mo Padre, di ringraziarLa con tutto il cuore per le


parole di fiducia dettemi laltro giorno a Roma, e che mi sollevarono lo
spirito.
Le accennai che dalla risoluzione della mia pratica razziale, in merito alla
quale S.E. Rev.ma Mons. Celestino Endrici continua a dimostrarmi il Suo
paterno ed Alto interessamento, dipende completamente la sorte dellintera
mia famiglia.
Non Le dissi per che lattesa estenuante nella quale, da lunghi mesi,
viviamo mia moglie ed io, resa anche pi triste e pi penosa dalla visione
di quella che diverrebbe la nostra esistenza, soprattutto quella dei nostri
30. mario samaja 283

* * *
[FTV 2284]

Samaja Mario
Trent
Via Cervara 10

Trent, 18 June 1939

Most Reverend Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.,

Will You allow me, Most Reverend Father, to thank You with all my heart
for the words of encouragement you gave me the other day in Rome, which
raised my spirits.
I mentioned to You that the fate of my entire family depends completely
on the resolution of my racial case, concerning which His Excellency, the
Most Reverend Monsignor Celestino Endrici continues to demonstrate His
paternal and High concern.
I did not tell You, however, that the exhausting wait in which, for long
months, my wife and I have been living, is rendered even sadder and more
painful by the thought of what our existence would become, especially that
284 primary sources

due bambini in minore et, nella paventata ipotesi di una deliberazione


sfavorevole.
E sarei io, prima vittima di un errore avvenuto alla mia nascita, la causa
2 involontaria della tragica situazione | morale e finanziaria nella quale ver-
rebbero a trovarsi mia moglie ed i miei bambini.
Tale pensiero non mi da tregua nelle mie interminabili giornate, rese oggi
ancor pi lunghe dalla forzata disoccupazione nella quale mi trovo a causa
dellavvenuta denuncia, fatta alla mia Banca da parte di questa autorit
prefettizia in un eccesso di zelo non richiesto dalla stessa legge razziale.
Ecco perch, Rev.mo Padre, io guardo a Lei con tutta la mia fiducia, con
tutta la mia speranza mentre prego Iddio voglia concederLe la possibilit di
venirci al pi presto in aiuto.
La prego perdonarmi e credermi con la pi deferente gratitudine e con la
massima osservanza.

devotiss.
Mario Samaja
30. mario samaja 285

of our two young children, in the dreadful eventuality of an unfavorable


decision.
And I, the original victim of an error occurring at my birth, would be the
involuntary cause of the tragic moral and financial situation in which my
wife and children would find themselves.
Such a thought never leaves me during the interminable days, now made
even longer by the forced unemployment in which I find myself thanks to
the denunciation made to my Bank by the local prefectural authority in an
excess of zeal not required by the racial law itself.
That is why, Most Reverend Father, I look upon You with all my faith, with
all my hope while I pray to God to grant You the possibility to come to our
aid as soon as possible.
I beg You to forgive me and to believe me with the most deferential
gratitude and the greatest respect,

Yours very truly


Mario Samaja
31. Jacob Schwarz

Tacchi Venturis archive does not contain any biographical information con-
cerning Jacob Schwarz. The following letter, seeking the Jesuits assistance in
emigrating from Italy, suggests that Jacobs father was married to an Italian
woman by the maiden name of Locatelli.

* * *

Bergamo, 4 Novembre 1939, XVIII

M.R. PADRE PIETRO TACCHI VENTURI


ROMA
Piazza del Ges

Reverendissimo Padre,

nella speranza che Ella si ricorder ancora di me e della lettera del mio
intercessore, Il Rev. Prof. Battaglia, di Bergamo, io mi permetto di segna-
larLe che qualche giorno fa pervenuta alla Mamma Locatelli notizia da
S.E. Sebastiani che la mia pratica tendente ad ottenere una dilazione del mio
soggiorno in Italia, oppure il permesso di trasferimento in Colonia, si trova
attualmente al Ministero dellAfrica Italiana, che dovr decidere in merito.
Una decisione favorevole per me di vitale importanza data lassoluta
impossibilit di trovare momentaneamente rifugio in un qualsiasi paese
dEuropa o d oltremare.
Ritenendo per certo che una Sua parola presso il sopraindicato Ministero
potrebbe far avere alla mia domanda una risposta positiva, e nella certezza
che Ella vorr aiutarmi a trovare qualche via di uscita dalla mia attuale
situazione triste e penosa, io mi permetto di rivolgermi nuovamente a Lei,
Reverendissimo Padre, supplicando devotamente il Suo prezioso appoggio.
Nutro grande speranza che il Suo intervento condurr ad una favorevole
decisione. La ringrazio sentitamente in anticipo pregandoLa di scusare il
disturbo che Le arreco.
L assicuro che sar per me un dovere di dimostrarmi degno del Suo
disinteressato e caritatevole aiuto e che Le serber riconoscenza per tutta
la mia vita.
31. jacob schwarz 287

* * *
[FTV 2348]

Bergamo, 4 November 1939-XVIII

Most Reverend Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi


Rome
Piazza del Ges

Most Reverend Father,

In the hope that You still remember me as well as the letter of my benefactor,
the Rev. Prof. Battaglia of Bergamo, I take the liberty of bringing to Your
attention that a few days ago news reached Mamma Locatelli from His
Excellency Sebastiani that my application to extend my stay in Italy, or
to obtain permission to transfer to the Colonies, is presently before the
Ministry for Italian Africa, which will have to make the decision in the
matter.
Obtaining a favorable decision is vital for me given the absolute impos-
sibility of finding momentarily refuge in any European country or over-
seas.
Considering it to be a certainty that a word from You to the aforemen-
tioned Ministry could obtain a positive result to my request, and in the
certainty that You will want to help me find some way out of my present sad
and painful situation, I permit myself to appeal to You again Most Reverend
Father beseeching devoutly Your precious assistance. I nourish great hope
that Your intervention will lead to a favorable decision. I thank You heartily
in advance begging you to forgive the inconvenience I cause You.
I assure You that for me it will be a duty to demonstrate myself worthy of
Your disinterested and charitable assistance, and that I shall be grateful to
You my entire life.
288 primary sources

Accludo una lettera ufficiale da Londra ricevuta pochi giorni fa, dalla
quale risulta palesemente che per il momento non c nessuna possibilit di
ottenere un permesso dimmigrazione in Gran Bretagna. Risposta analoga,
giuntami dalle Indie, , ove fosse necessario, a Sua disposizione.
In attesa di un Suo benevole cenno, La prego di gradire, reverendissimo
Padre, i miei pi deferenti ossequi.

[original signiture]

Jakob Schwarz
presso Locatelli
Via 26 Ottobre, 31 Bergamo
31. jacob schwarz 289

I enclose an official letter from London which I received a few days ago,
from which it emerges clearly that for the moment there is no possibility
of obtaining an immigration permit for Great Britain. A similar reply that
reached me from the Indies, is, if needed, at Your disposal.
While awaiting a benevolent word from You, I beg You to accept, Most
Reverend Father, my most deferential respects.

[original signature]

Jakob Schwarz
c/o Locatelli
Via 26 October, 31 Bergamo
32. Max Sommerfeld

The Lutheran Dr. Max Sommerfeld was born 9 November 1907 in Eisenach
(Germany) to Adolfo Sommerfeld and Meta Hessberg. He moved to Italy
in 1934 and was residing in Bologna. As a foreign Jew he was required
according to the racial laws to leave the country by March 12, 1939. In the
following letter to Pope Pius XI from November 30, 1938, he asks to be able
to prolong his sojourn in Italy and be able to keep an assistant because of
the serious paralysis of all his limbs and because his wife and brother were
about to leave for Argentina, where he would plan to eventually join them.
Sommerfelds housekeeper was Aryan and according to the racial laws Jews
were unable to keep servants who were not Jewish. His letter to the pope was
accompanied by a note of his Catholic parish priest, Francesco Nascetti, who
supported his Lutheran parishioners very pitiful case.
Monsignor Domenico Tardini, the secretary of the Office of Extraordinary
Affairs at the Vatican, forwarded Sommerfelds letter with his accompanying
biglietto to Tacchi Venturi. The latters intercession with the Italian gov-
ernment through Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi gave Sommerfeld permis-
sion to prolong his sojourn for six months (until July 29, 1939) and allowed
him to keep his housekeeper. No further information about his fate is avail-
able.

* * *

COPIA
A Sua Santit il Sommo Pontefice
RomaCitt del Vaticano
Personalmente

Santissimo Padre,

il sottoscritto, dott. Max Sommerfeld, fu Adolfo e di Meta Hessberg, nato a


Eisenach in Germania il 9 novembre 1907, di religione luterana, residente a
Bologna, Via Rialto 54, si permette di esporre:
In omaggio alle leggi 7 settembre 1938 n. 1381 e 17 novembre 1938, che ci
colpiscono perch persone straniere di razza ebraica e residenti in Italia dal
1934, dovr lasciare con i miei famigliari il Regno entro il 12 marzo 1939-XVII.
32. max sommerfeld 291

* * *
[FTV 2176]

COPY
To His Holiness the Supreme Pontiff
RomeVatican City
Personal

Most Holy Father,

The undersigned, Dr. Max Sommerfeld, son of the deceased Adolfo and
of Meta Hessberg, born at Eisenach in Germany on 9 November 1907, of
the Lutheran faith, residing in Bologna at Via Rialto 54, takes the liberty of
stating:
Due to law n. 1381 of September 7, 1938 and to the law of November 17,
1938, which affect us because we are foreigners of the Jewish race residing
292 primary sources

Visto che, quanto alla mia persona, vano ogni sforzo di trovare in breve
tempo un nuovo rifugio faccio rispettosa domanda:
a) che mi venga permesso di prolungare il mio soggiorno in Italia oltre il
12 marzo 1939-XVII;
b) che mi venga concesso di tenere alle mie dipendenze una persona
di assistenza, fino ad una mia pi completa sistemazione, per le seguenti
ragioni:
1) per conseguenza di paralisi infantile sono quasi completamente para-
lizzato alle braccia e alle gambe;
2) non mi posso muovere di propria forza ed abbisogno di una persona
che continuamente massista;
3) non posso procurarmi il certificato di piena salute richiesto per poter
immigrare altrove;
4) mia moglie e mio fratello partono il 5 gennaio 1939-XVII per lArgentina
e sperano di potermi richiamare appena ivi sistemati;
5) dovendo licenziare la persona che attualmente massiste e che sa tutti
i servizi da farmi, rimango completamente abbandonato e privo degli indi-
spensabili aiuti.
Prego di voler benevolmente considerare questo singolare fatto.
(autografo)
Confermo quanto sopra, ringrazio infinitamente la Santit Vostra e porgo
i miei pi devoti ossequi.

Di Sua Santit dev.mo obb.mo


Dott. Max Sommerfeld
Fu Adolfo e di Meta Hessberg
Bologna, l 30 novembre 1938-XVII
Via Rialto, 54.

(autografo del Parroco)


Parrocchia S.S. Giuseppe ed Ignazio
Bologna

Bologna, 30 Novembre 1939

Prego il S. Padre di benignamente considerare questa istanza, perch un


caso pietosissimo. Il petente mio buon parrocchiano, paralizzato, biso-
gnoso di continua assistenza.

Sac. Fr. Nascetti, parroco di Bologna


Via Castiglione 67
32. max sommerfeld 293

in Italy since 1934, I shall be obliged along with my family members to leave
the Kingdom by March 12, 1939-XVII. Since, as far as I am concerned, any
attempt to find a new asylum in a brief time is in vain, I respectfully request:
a) that I may be permitted to extend my stay in Italy beyond March 12, 1939-
XVII; b) that I be permitted to retain in my service a person to assist me, until
I can make a more complete arrangement, for the following reasons:
1. As a consequence of infantile paralysis I am almost totally paralyzed in
my arms and legs;
2. I cannot move by my own efforts and require a person to continually
assist me;
3. I cannot acquire a certificate of sound health required to emigrate
elsewhere;
4. My wife and brother depart on January 5, 1939-XVII for Argentina and
hope to be able to have me come as soon as they are settled;
5. Since I must dismiss the person who presently is caring for me and who
knows all my needs, I shall be totally abandoned and without the necessary
assistance.
I beseech You to benevolently consider this singular fact.
I confirm the above, express my infinite thanks to Your Holiness and
extend my most devout respects.

Of His Holiness most devoted and dutiful


Dr. Max Sommerfeld
Son of the deceased Adolfo and Meta Hessberg
Bologna, 30 November 1938-XVII
Via Rialto, 54

(autograph of the parish priest)


Parish of Saints Joseph and Ignatius
Bologna

Bologna, 30 November 1939

I beseech the Holy father to benignly consider this petition, because it is a


most pathetic case. The supplicant is my good parishioner, paralyzed and
requires continuous assistance.

Rev. Fr. Nascetti, parish priest of Bologna


Via Castiglione 67
33. Erich Spitz

Born in 1890 in Pottschach in Austria, Erich Spitz had lived for eighteen
years in Italy before the racial laws were promulgated. As Tacchi Venturi
explained to Cardinal Maglione in his letter of October 21, 1939, Spitz was
baptized at the age of fourteen, as soon as the laws of the Austrian empire
allowed him to change his religion. He married a Catholic Aryan woman
and had with her children who were educated as Catholics. Indeed, his son
frequented Jesuit schools first in Austria and then in Italy. As a foreign Jew
who had not lived in Italy for a sufficient time to be considered an Italian
citizen, Spitz and his son were required to abandon Italy before March 12,
1939. To avoid splitting up the family he sought to extend his permit to
reside in Italy but because it was unexpectedly delayed, Spitz tried to find a
possibility to emigrate to a Catholic country, foras he put it in a letter to
Tacchi Venturihe considered himself a devout Catholic and would never
acknowledge to be a Jew. His situation was additionally aggravated by the
fact that his wife had a serious heart condition and needed the assistance of
a servant, whomaccording to the racial lawsshe was not permitted to
keep because of Spitzs Jewish background.
Spitzs request to the Vatican for help was routinely forwarded by Cardinal
Eugenio Pacelli (see his letter below) to Tacchi Venturi who interceded with
Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi in January 1939. Tacchi Venturi, who con-
sidered Spitz a fervent and exemplary Catholic, tried to find employment
for him in the secretariat of the Jesuit-run Gregorian University because of
Spitzs knowledge of foreign languages. That employment would give him
a possibility of asking for the extension of his sojourn in Italy through the
apostolic nuncio, for the university fell under the Vatican and not Italian
jurisdiction. We do not know whether this attempt proved successfulin
his last preserved letter to Tacchi Venturi dated October 22, 1939 (seven
months after the repatriation deadline), Spitz asks to be informed by the
Jesuit as soon as he should receive his residence permit, so that he could
start his job at the secretariat of the university.
Spitzs folder in Tacchi Venturis archive contains an affidavit letter from
Alphonse and Maria Blinn, a couple originally from Austria, written in
English from Santa Clara in California to the American consul general in
Milan, certifying that they were willing to financially support Spitz, so that
he will not become a public charge. We do not know, however, whether
33. erich spitz 295

Spitz was able to leave Italy for the United States, or whether he emigrated
to Argentina, a solution that he was also contemplating in the autumn of
1939, when we lose track of him.
296 primary sources

* * *
[Edited for clarity]

Merano, 16. dicembre 1938, XVII

Reverendissimo Padre!

Ci perdoni se dobbiamo ricorrere di nuovo alla Sua bont.


Il giorno della partenza della mia domanda inviata a Lei, Reverendissimo
Padre, venne un agente della Pubblica Sicurezza chiedermi i miei dati; lo
chiesi, se gli fosse pervenuto in mio merito qualche decisione da Roma; neg.
Qualche giorno dopo dal Municipio (Podesteria) di Merano ricevetti lordine
di riempire il foglio di censimento che gli ebrei hanno dovuto riempire in
agosto (io finallora no). Anche alla Podesteria non avevano cognizione di
una decisione del Ministero. Su di ci perdessi la tranquillit avuta finallora
ed incaricai un avvocato di informarsi presso la Prefettura e la Questura di
Bolzano, se avessero ricevuto una decisione del Ministero per lInterno.
Oggi ebbi la notizia scoraggiante: Nulla giunto, n il telegramma del
Ministero, promosso da Lei, n una decisione alla mia domanda fatta il 21/11
per Suo tramite al Ministero. Pare quindi che la decisione sia andata smarrita
da un posto, forse subalterno.
Non so, se Lei, Reverendissimo Padre, si pu immaginare la nostra deso-
lazione? Poche settimane ci separano dalla data fatale e le autorit locali, le
quali decidono poi la sorte dei rimasti (invio in concentramento), non sono
ancora in possesso della decisione.
Imploro di non abbandonarci e di farci avere in qualche maniera la deci-
sione del Ministero, per metter fine alle nostre angosce. Forse devo rifare
la domanda, perch ulteriormente uscito un decreto che tali domande
devono esser presentate pel tramite della Prefettura. O basta la mia do-
manda? Forse sarebbe possibile un passo presso il Duce di considerare me e
mio figlio quale ariani. Mia moglie ha gi difficolt colla domestica. uscito
un decreto che i matrimoni misti devono chiedere il permesso di tenere
una domestica cattolica dalla Pubblica Sicurezza e pare che il Commissa-
rio di Pubblica Sicurezza di Merano non vuol darlo a mia moglie, bench
ammalata. terribile: non sono stato mai ebreo, dalla prima classe elemen-
tare ricevetti le dottrine della nostra Santa Fede, ma essendo di quellinfelice
stirpe, mi costringono di esser di loro. Mi credi, Reverendissimo Padre, non
33. erich spitz 297

* * *
[FTV 2188]

Merano, 16 December 1938-XVII [sic for XVI]

Most Reverend Father!

Forgive us if we must once again appeal to Your goodness.


The day that my request went off to You, Most Reverend Father, a Police
agent came to ask me for information. I asked him if he had received some
decision from Rome in my regard, which he denied. Some days later from
the mayoral office of Merano I received the order to fill out the census form
which Jews were told to fill out last August (I had not been asked yet). Even
the mayors office knew nothing about a decision by the Ministry. Learning
this I lost the peace of mind I had retained up to that point and hired a lawyer
to make inquiries with both the Prefecture and Police of Bolzano whether
they had received a decision on the part of the Ministry of the Interior.
Today, I received the discouraging news: nothing has been received, nei-
ther the telegram from the Ministry, which You had asked for, nor a decision
on my request to the Ministry transmitted by You, dated November 21. It
would appear then that the decision has been mislaid, perhaps by a lower
official.
I do not know if You can imagine our feeling of desolation, Most Reverend
Father. Only a few weeks separate us from the fatal date and the local
authorities, who have to decide the fate of those who remain (shipment to
a concentration camp), still have not received the decision.
I implore You not to abandon us and in some manner to obtain the
Ministrys decision for us, so as to put an end to our anxiety. Perhaps I shall
have to resubmit the application, because subsequently a decree has come
out that such requests must be presented through the Prefecture. Or is my
request sufficient? Perhaps it might be possible to appeal to the Duce to
consider me and my son as Aryans. My wife already is having difficulties
in regard to our domestic. A decree has come out that mixed marriages
must obtain permission from the Police to keep a Catholic domestic and
it appears that the Police Commissioner of Merano does not want to grant
it to my wife, even though she is ill. It is terrible: I have never been a Jew,
from the very first year in grammar school I received the doctrines of our
Holy Faith, but being of that unhappy race, they compel me to be one of
them. Believe me, Most Reverend Father, I cannot do it. If today in Italy a
298 primary sources

posso farlo. Se oggi in Italia succedesse una persecuzione dei cristiani come
in Germania, sar il primo che si presenta quale cattolico convinto e se devo
soffrirne cento volte. Ma dichiararmi ebreo, no, non posso!
Reverendissimo Padre! Se fosse impossibile di avere una decisione favore-
vole tosto (corre voce che seguir una politica pi intransigente ancora) ho
una sola preghiera: Sono pronto di separarmi dalla mia famiglia per non tra-
scinarla in miseria, e di emigrare. Allora mia moglie sar salva e spero che
non disturberanno neanche mio figlio, finch si trova nel Collegio Cesare
Arici. La [prego quindi di voler procurarmi la possibilit di emigrare in un
paese cattolico e di essere ricoverato in un collegio dei Padri Gesuiti; parlo
2 il tedesco, il francese, linglese, | lungherese, faccio qualsiasi lavoro, il segre-
tario, ma anche laiutante del giardiniere, etc., etc., non chiedo nulla, solo il
pane quotidiano e di essere considerato di nuovo cattolico. Purtroppo tutte
le frontiere sono chiuse, non ricevo il permesso dimmigrazione. Andrei in
Svizzera, in Francia, da dove da quando in quando potrei rivedere i miei,
ma se necessario anche in paesi cattolici pi lontani, in Irlanda, Olanda,
Canada, etc., etc., ove mi permettono di restare in un collegio, anche in una
Missione. Forse per tramite di un personaggio cattolico di uno di questi
paesi o della rispettiva nunziatura potrei ottenere il permesso dimmigra-
zione contro la dichiarazione prescritta, di non assumere nessun lavoro. Ma
naturalmente dovrebbe esser entro febbraio, tempo prescritto dalla legge.
Reverendissimo Padre! Lunica nostra speranza Lei, altrimenti finisco
in un campo di concentramento. Mia povera moglie soffre pi di me. Nes-
suno dorme pi. Non ci abbandoni! Io ora non posso che pregare, pregare al
Santissimo Cuore di Ges, che ha sofferto tanto, di non abbandonarci com-
pletamente e di darci della forza.
Prego tosto una sua ri[s]posta, in cosa posso sperare e se ricever una
decisione ufficiale? E mi perdoni la mia lettera disperata!

Devotissimo,
Erico Spitz

Se dovrei recarmi a Roma, vengo subito.


Eric Spitz, Merano, Via Cavour 13.
33. erich spitz 299

persecution of Christians should break out as in Germany, I shall be the first


to present myself as a convinced Catholic even if I should suffer a hundred
times over. But declare myself a Jew, no, I cannot!
Most Reverend Father! If it should be impossible to have a favorable
decision soon (there is a rumor that an even more intransigent policy will
follow) I have only one thing to ask: I am ready to separate from my family so
as not to drag them into poverty, and to emigrate. Then my wife will be safe
and I hope that they would not interfere with my son, as long as he was at
the Cesare Arici College. I beseech You then to obtain for me the possibility
of emigrating to a Catholic country and to be accepted in a college of the
Jesuit Fathers; I speak German, French, English, | Hungarian; I can do any 2
work, as secretary, but also as a gardeners helper, etc., etc. I ask for nothing,
only my daily bread and to be considered Catholic again. Unfortunately,
all the borders are closed, I have not received an immigration permit. I
would go to Switzerland, to France from where, now and then, I could see
my family again, but, if necessary, even to more distant Catholic countries,
Ireland, Holland, Canada, etc., etc., wherever I would be permitted to remain
in a college, even in a Mission. Perhaps through a Catholic personage in
one of these countries, or the appropriate nunciature I could obtain an
immigration permit if I made the obligatory declaration, of not taking on
work of any kind. But naturally this should occur before the end of February,
the limit prescribed by the law.
Most Reverend Father! You are our only hope, otherwise I shall end up
in a concentration camp. My poor wife suffers even more. No one can any
longer sleep. Do not abandon us! Now all I can do is pray, pray to the Most
Sacred Heart of Jesus, who suffered so much, to not abandon us completely
and to give us strength.
I hope for a reply from You soon, what can I hope for and will I receive an
official decision? And forgive me for my desperate letter!

Yours very truly


Erico Spitz

If I should come to Rome, I would present myself at once.


Eric Spitz, Merano, Via Cavour 13.
300 primary sources

* * *
[Edited for clarity]

Merano, 26. dicembre 1938, XVII

Reverendissimo Padre!

Dopo la Sua partenza ebbi i pensieri pi netti.


Di quello che Lei mi disse ora (la tenuta riservata del Sottosegretario dello
Stato, mentre 2 mesi fa Le aveva assicurato di aver gi dato disposizioni
telegrafiche in mio favore), credo di vedere che c pochissima speranza.
Temo che la prossima volta la risposta del Sottosegretario sar del tutto
negativa.
La mia situazione diventata quindi criticissima. Non resta che leven-
tuale possibilit di poter immigrare in un paese cattolico, bench ho mas-
sima paura di lasciare sola mia moglie col suo male di cuore. Vado, ove mi
mandano. In prima linea penso allIrlanda, Olanda, Canada, Belgio, Cile,
Argentina, etc. (tutti paesi chiusi), ma vado in ogni altro paese, ed anche
in una missione. Credo, che per mediazione di una personalit cattolica
di uno di quei paesi, oppure mediante la nunziatura si potrebbe ottenere
il permesso dimmigrazione, che i consolati non possono dare pi. Forse
potrei esser ricoverato in un Collegio della Compagnia, non chiedo nulla,
solo il pane quotidiano e faccio qualsiasi lavoro. Lunica cosa che tutto
urgente, perch poche settimane ci separano dal fatale 13. marzo ed avendo
il permesso dimmigrazione in mano, ho da fare in Italia ancora diversi passi
necessari per gli ebrei per poter emigrare.
Limploro, Reverendissimo Padre, di fare questo tentativo e di informarmi
appena in possesso di qualche risposta. Potrebbe informarsi in Ministero in
gennaio sullesito della mia domanda? Cosa devo fare col mio figlio? Perch,
se devo partire io, deve partire anche lui, essendo secondo la legge italiana
ebreo anche lui?
Finalmente non c forse un Collegio della Compagnia in Etiopia? Ma
posso andarvi? In settembre nel decreto sugli ebrei stato menzionato che
possono andarvi in qualche distretto, ma poi in seguito non sentii pi nulla.
Scusi, Reverendissimo Padre, il nuovo disturbo. Il santissimo cuore di
Ges la ricompenser, se non in questo mondo allora nellaltro mondo, ove
tutti sono uguali e non si deve soffrire per difetti di nascita.
Se desidera parlarmi, prego di avvertirmi, vengo subito.
33. erich spitz 301

* * *

Merano, 26 December 1938-XVII

Most Reverend Father!

After You left I had clearer thoughts.


Concerning what You have just told me (the reserved attitude of the
Undersecretary of State, while two months ago he had assured You that he
had already made telegraphic arrangements in my favor), I believe I can see
there is little hope. I fear that the next time the Undersecretarys reply will
be wholly negative.
Thus, my situation has become acutely critical. All that remains is the
possible opportunity to emigrate to a Catholic country, although I am most
fearful about having to leave my wife alone with her bad heart. Ill go
wherever they send me. In order of preference I think of Ireland, Holland,
Canada, Belgium, Chile, Argentina, etc. (all closed countries), but I would
go to any other country, and even to a mission. I believe that through the
intercession of a Catholic person from one of these countries, or through the
nunciature, an immigration permit could be obtained, which the consulates
can no longer grant. Perhaps I could be housed in one of the Societys
Colleges, I do not ask for anything, only my daily bread and I will do whatever
work. The only thing is that it is all urgent, because only a few weeks separate
us from that fateful March 13 and once I have the immigration permit
in hand, I still have to take several different steps required of Jews for
emigration.
I implore You, Most Reverend Father, to make this effort and to let me
know as soon as You have some reply. Could You try to find out about the
outcome of my application in the Ministry in January? What should I do
about my son? Because, if I have to leave, does he too have to leave since,
according to Italian law, he too is a Jew?
Finally, might there not be a College of the Society in Ethiopia? But am
I allowed to go? In September in the decree on Jews it was mentioned that
they could go in some places, but subsequently I heard nothing more.
Excuse this new bother, Most Reverend Father. The most Sacred Heart of
Jesus will reward You, if not in this world then in the next, where all are equal
and we do not have to suffer for defects in our birth.
If you wish to speak with me, please let me know, Ill come at once.
302 primary sources

Il suo devotissimo,
Erico [] Spitz

* * *
Pro Memoria134

The undersigned Erich Spitz, born in 1890 in Pottschach (Austria) is a Ger-


man (formerly Austrian) subject and has lived for the last eighteen years in
Italy.
I am of non-Aryan descent. I, as well as my wife, who is of pure Aryan
descent, and our children are convinced practicing Catholics. My son fre-
quented until now the famous Jesuit College Stella Matutina in Austria
and since its dissolution the College Cesare Arici of the same order. The
whole family is consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; I, as well as
my children, are members of the sodality of the Children of Mary.
On account of my descent I must leave the country. This order only con-
cerns me. Unfortunately all the frontiers are closed. The consulates cannot
of their own accord give any immigration permits; the central authorities
have everywhere reserved to themselves the distribution of immigration
permits. If I am not able to leave the country within two months my destiny
will be a concentration camp, if not worse. Apart from that after the granting
of an immigration permit, before being able to travel, I shall have a number
of time-consuming formalities in Italy and all this must be done within two
months.
I beg of you, to be kind enough to do a great favor, that you should
procure me the immigration permit from the central or local authorities and
urgently beg that I be hired in one of the Jesuit Colleges or Institutes. I can
speak German, Italian, English, French and Hungarian, had an academic
education and have done journalistic work, but I am ready for any work
2 and ask for nothing | more than my daily bread. In absolute necessity a
benefactor would give me at the beginning financial help.
Please help a Catholic in great need! I shall not cease to pray to the most
Sacred Heart of Jesus for all my benefactors.
Great haste is necessary, if the worst is to be avoided!

134 The text has been substantially edited for clarity.


33. erich spitz 303

Yours very truly


Erico [] Spitz

Fig. 22. Erich Spritzs typed letter to Tacchi Venturi


304 primary sources

Merano, December 29th 1938

Address: Erich Spitz


Merano (Bolzano), Italy
Via Cavour 13

* * *
Merano, 30. Dicembre 1938, XVII

Reverendissimo Padre,

Acchiuso mi permetto di trasmetterLe tanto la supplica diretta a Sua Mae-


st, quanto i Promemoria inglesi; di questi la copia segnata [non potrebbe
esser accompagnato il Promemoria di una riga del Generale della Compa-
gnia? Sarebbe un potente aiuto] nellangolo sinistro superiore destinata
per gli Stati Uniti, ci che risulta anche dal testo, mentre gli due altri sono
per lInghilterra, Canada (o altra colonia inglese) e lIrlanda, che preferirei di
tutti, avendo questo governo cattolico ed essendo paese del tutto cattolico;
la possibilit dimmigrare in U.S.A. anche pi complicata e dura forse pi
lungo.
Prego quindi caldamente di vuol inoltrare i Promemoria colle lettere
accompagnatorie e le raccomandazioni il pi presto possibile; se difatti do-
vessi emigrare, ci che temo in considerazione della situazione odierna,
devo regolare in Italiagi dopo aver ricevuto il permesso dimmigrazio-
neancora varie formalit che sono necessari[e] oggi per aver il permesso
dimmigrazione (nulla osta per il bagaglio, per i biglietto esteri, etc.) che
durano tutta uneternit, cos che corro pericolo, se non finisco finai primi
di marzo, di andar in concentramento.
Se crede opportuno di avere anche Promemoria francesi, forse per il
Belgio o la Francia, li mando subito.
La lettera per gli Stati Uniti (e quella eventuale per il Canada) prego di
voler inviare mediante posta aerea; mi permetto allegare 30 Lire.
Prego finalmente di voler tener in occhio la mia domanda presso il Mini-
stero per lInterno e di interessarsi del suo successo in gennaio oppure
quando inoltra la mia supplica diretta a sua Santit e di parlarne al Duce,
qualora avesse occasione di esser ricevuto da lui.
Se il Signore ascolta le nostre preghiere (giusto ora s[t]iamo facendo
una novena) e posso restare presso la mia famiglia ed in questo paese, che
diventato per me unaltra patria, non mancher in primavera, quando
abbiamo di nuovo stagione a Merano, di mandarLe di nuovo qualcosa per i
Suoi poveri.
33. erich spitz 305

* * *
Merano, 30 December 1938-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

Enclosed, I take the liberty of forwarding to You my entreaty directed to


His Majesty, as well as the English memoranda; of these the copy marked
(could the memorandum not be accompanied by a line from the General
of the Society, it would be a powerful help) in the upper left hand corner
is destined for the United States, which is clear also from the text, while the
two others are for England, Canada (or another English colony), and Ireland,
which would be my preference out of all, since it has a Catholic government
and is a wholly Catholic Country. The possibility of emigrating to the USA is
also more complicated and perhaps may take longer.
Thus I warmly beseech You to forward the memoranda with the accom-
panying letters and recommendations as soon as possible; if, in fact, I should
emigrate, which I am in doubt about given todays situation, I shall have
to resolve in Italyafter I have received the emigration permitvarious
formalities which today are necessary to obtain the emigration permit (ap-
proval for baggage, tickets for foreign travel, etc.) which consume an eternity,
so that I run the danger, if I do not finish by the beginning of March, of going
to a concentration camp.
If you think it opportune to also have memoranda, perhaps for Belgium
or France, I shall send them at once.
The letter for the United States (and the possible one for Canada) I
beseech You to send them by air mail; I take the liberty of enclosing 30 Lire.
I also beg you to keep your eye on my request to the Ministry of the
Interior and to concern yourself with its success in January or whenever you
submit it to His Holiness and to speak about it to the Duce, whenever you
should have the occasion to be received by him.
If the Lord listens to our prayers (in fact right now we are saying a novena)
and I should be able to remain with my family and in this country, which for
me has become another homeland, I shall not fail in spring, when we shall
again be in Merano, to send You again something for Your poor.
306 primary sources

Prego, Reverendissimo Padre, di rammentarsi di noi nelle Sue preghiere.


AugurandoLe, Reverendissimo Padre, un felice Capo danno

devotissimo
Erico Spitz

La supplica diretta a Sua Santit partita gi ieri direttamente.

* * *
[Edited for clarity]

Merano, 30 dicembre 1938

Reverendissimo Padre,

Oggi venne un agente della pubblica sicurezza in seguito della domanda


fatta da mia moglie di poter tenere una domestica. La trov in letto, inoltre
gli presentavo il certificato medico, gli dissi che tutta la famiglia cattolica,
mia moglie e mia nipotina (la ragazza assunta in famiglia) ariane. Lui mi
asser che mia moglie avr lautorizzazione. Spero che sia vero.
Essendo lui molto gentile, gli chiesi, se fosse giunto alla Pubblica Sicu-
rezza la mia domanda fatta al Ministero. Dovette negarlo, ma aggiunse che
tali domande arrivano quasi sempre entro 14 giorni. Pare dunque che la
domanda non sia stata neanche inoltrata per le pratiche necessarie. Mi rac-
cont fra altri che sono arrivate centinaie di domande per proroga dellespul-
sione e tutti quanti sono stati respinti, salvo qualche raro caso di paraliz-
zati. Pare quindi che vengono presi in considerazione in prima linea motivi
di umanit. La pregherei perci che presentando la mia supplica diretta a
S. Maest o parlando con S.E. il Sottosegretario dello Stato di far risaltare
la grave malattia di mia moglie. Difatti mia moglie da un giorno allaltro
mi piace meno. Il medico consigli riposo e tranquillit. Cosa difficile nella
nostra situazione!
Raccontai allagente di aver fatto una supplica a S. Maest. Mi rispose
che anche tale supplica verr inoltrata per tramite della Questura alla Pub-
blica Sicurezza per informazioni sul mio conto. Naturalmente anche questa
2 strada dura per una decina-quindicina di giorni. Se Lei, Reverendissimo |
Padre, non avesse ancora presentato la mia supplica, la prego caldamente
di voler presentarla il pi presto possibile, onde finire questa tortura e di far
33. erich spitz 307

I beg You, Most Reverend Father, to remember us in Your prayers.


Wishing You, Most Reverend Father, a Happy New Year

Yours very truly


Erico Spitz

The entreaty for His Holiness was sent yesterday directly.

* * *

Merano, 30 December 1938

Most Reverend Father,

Today a police agent came following a request made by my wife for per-
mission to keep a domestic. He found her in bed. I presented him with the
medical certificate, told him that the entire family is Catholic, that my wife
and my niece (the girl taken into our family) are Aryan. He told me that my
wife would receive the authorization. I hope that is true.
Since he was very polite, I asked him if the Police Administration had
received the request I had made to the Ministry. He said no, but added that
such requests almost always arrive within fourteen days. It would appear
then that the request has not even been forwarded for the necessary han-
dling. He told me in addition that hundreds of requests have been received
for extension of the expulsion and all have been rejected, with the exception
of a rare case of a paralyzed person. It appears then that primarily humani-
tarian considerations are taken into consideration. I beseech You, then, that
in presenting my entreaty to His Majesty or speaking with His Excellency the
Undersecretary of State to emphasize my wifes grave illness.135 In fact, from
day to day I am less satisfied with my wifes condition. The doctor advised
rest and tranquility. A difficult thing in our situation.
I told the agent that I have also made an entreaty to His Majesty. He
replied that this entreaty as well will be forwarded by the Questura to the
Police Administration to obtain information about me. Naturally, even this
route takes from ten to fifteen days. If You, Most Reverend Father, have not
yet presented my entreaty, I beg You to present it as soon as possible, so

135 Tacchi Venturi indeed forwarded Spitzs letter to the king and interceded for him with
Undersecretary Buffarini Guidi.
308 primary sources

rilevare come motivo dominante la malattia di mia moglie, come prego pure
di far partire le domande destinate per lestero colla massima sollecitudine
possibile.
Colla preghiera di voler scusare questa nuova mia lettera

devotissimo
Erico Spitz

* * *
Merano, 11. Ottobre 1939

Reverendissimo Padre,

Tornato a Merano ho fatto fotografare immediatamente la lettera del Conso-


lato Americano ed acchiuso mi permetto di mandare la fotografia. Trattan-
dosi di un lungo documento litografico che non interessa pi il Ministero
per lInterno (elenco dei documenti richiesti, etc.), ho fatto fotografare solo
la parte, di cui risulta che ho fatto la domanda dimmigrazione e che con data
del 13. luglio 1939 sono iscritto nella quota dimmigrazione (I alinea [sic]).
Che poi ho fatto la domanda dimmigrazione anche in Argentina, lo pu
testimoniare Lei, Reverendissimo Padre, al Ministero.
Spero che mi concederanno il tempo finch potr immigrare in qualche
paese, perch altrimenti non saprei cosa fare.
Appena sente qualche cosa, sia dal parte del Ministero, sia da parte del
Signor Vescovo Devoto, la prego caldamente di farmelo sapere.
Mia moglie si permessa oggi di inviarLe, quale piccolo segno della nostra
grande gratitudine per tutte le fatiche che ha avuto per noi, un cestino di
mele meranesi e speriamo che siano di suo gradimento. Lassicuro inoltre
2 che la nostra gratitu|dine non cesser mai e spero di poter dimostrarlo pure
quando una volta saremo salvati. Che il Signore faccia passar il calice presto.

Devotissimo,
[signature]

P.S. Della seconda alinea [sic] della lettera fotografata risulta pure che dovr
aspettare ancora parecchio tempo (trattandosi di un modulo litografato nel
quale poi vengono riempiti solo i nomi e le date personali), l sta dovr
aspettare numerosi mesi e forse parecchi anni, secondo informazioni fat-
temi a voce viva del consolo stesso pu durare da un anno ad un anno e
mezzo, sempre calcolato dalla data della ammissione alla quota.
33. erich spitz 309

as to put an end to this torture and to emphasize, as primary motive, my


wifes illness, just as I ask You to send the foreign applications with the
greatest possible haste.
Begging You to forgive this new letter of mine,

Yours very truly


Erico Spitz

* * *
Merano, 11 October 1939

Most Reverend Father,

After returning to Merano I immediately had the letter from the American
Consulate photographed and I take the liberty of enclosing the photo. Since
it is a long lithographed document which no longer concerns the Ministry
of the Interior (list of requested documents), I only have had the section
photographed which shows that I have applied to emigrate and that since
July 13, 1939 I have been entered in the emigration quota (1st paragraph).
That I have also made a request to emigrate to Argentina You, Yourself,
Most Reverend Father, can testify to the Ministry.
I hope that I shall be granted time enough to emigrate to some country,
because otherwise I would not know what to do.
As soon as You hear something, either from the Ministry, or from the
Reverend Bishop Devoto, I beseech You warmly to let me know.
Today my wife permitted herself to send You a small token of our im-
mense gratitude for everything You have done for us, a small basket of Mer-
ano apples and we hope that they will be to Your liking. Moreover, I assure
You that our gratitude | will never cease and I hope to be able to demonstrate 2
it even after we shall be saved. May the Lord take this cup from us soon.

Yours very truly


[signature]

P.S. From the second paragraph of the photographed letter it also emerges
that I shall still have a long wait (since it is a lithographed form in which
only the names and personal dates are filled in). There is written: will have
to wait several months and perhaps many years, according to information
I have received personally from the consul himself may last from a year to a
year and a half, always reckoned from the date of ones admission into the
quota.
310 primary sources

* * *
Merano, 13/10/39

Reverendissimo Padre,

Oggi mi consigli qualcuno di presentare al Ministero anche lAffidavit,


quale prova principale, che potr emigrare negli Stati Uniti.
Mi permetto quindi di mandare anche questo documento (che per non
si pu fotografare causa il sigillo del notaio che copre parte del documento;
avendo per due copie, mando una copia originale) e prego, Reverendissimo
Padre, di aggiungerlo alla fotografia, se lo crede opportuno.

Devotissimo
[signature]

* * *
Merano, 22/10/39

Reverendissimo Padre,

Oggi veramente non so come ringraziare il Signore di aver alleggerito il mio


destino, ma anche Lei della Sua bont e delle fatiche. Sarebbe finalmente
una soluzione! Sintende che far tutto il possibile di soddisfare il P. Rettore
e gli altri miei superiori.
Quanto allimmigrazione nellArgentina prego per di non far interrom-
pere le pratiche del Monsignore Devoto. Sintende che resto in Italia finch
posso restare. Ma se oggi-domani la situazione diventasse peggio ancora
(come finora si peggiorata sempre), avr un paese, ove potr recarmi
subito. Lei sa, Reverendissimo Padre, che lanno scorso diedero in Ministero
delle assicurazioni che oggi non possono pi mantenere. Dagli Stati Uniti
per ho paura che dovr attendere ancora lungo, bench ho iniziato nuove
pratiche per sollecitare limmigrazione.
Finalmente prego ancora di non voler guastarmi la gioia di poter inviarLe
le mele Calville! Chi sa, quando mi sar di nuovo possibile di dimostrare la
mia gratitudine?
Appena avuto il permesso di soggiorno, la prego, Reverendissimo Padre,
di voler informarmene, onde poter presentarmi al Padre Rettore.
33. erich spitz 311

* * *
Merano, 13 October 1939

Most Reverend Father,

Today someone advised me that I should present to the Ministry even the
Affidavit, as principal proof that I will be able to emigrate to the United
States.
Thus, I take the liberty of sending this document too (which however
cannot be photographed because of the notarys seal which conceals part
of the document; since I have two copies, I send an original copy), and I
beseech You, Most Reverend Father, to add it to the photograph, if You deem
it appropriate.

Yours very truly


[signature]

* * *
Merano, 22 October 1939

Most Reverend Father,

Today, truly I do not know how to thank the Lord who has so lightened
my destiny, but also You for Your goodness and efforts. It would finally be
a solution! It is understood that I shall do everything possible to satisfy the
Rector and my other superiors.
As for emigration to Argentina I ask that the proceedings undertaken by
Monsignor Devoto not be interrupted. It is understood that I shall remain
in Italy as long as I am able. But if today or tomorrow the situation should
worsen again (as it has always worsened thus far), I shall have a country
where I can go at once. You know, Most Reverend Father, that last year in
the Ministry they made assurances which today they are no longer able to
maintain. From the United States, however, I fear that I shall still have to wait
a long time, although I have initiated new efforts to hasten immigration.
Finally, I beseech You once more not to deny me the joy of sending
the Calville apples! Who knows, when it shall again be possible for me to
demonstrate my gratitude?
As soon as the residence permit arrives, I beseech You, Most Reverend
Father, to let me know, so that I can submit it to the Rector.
312 primary sources

* * *
Dal Vaticano, 10 Gennaio 1939

N.o 112/39

Rev.mo Padre,

Rimetto alla P. V. Rev.ma, qui unito, un Appunto riguardante il Signor Attilio


Graziani e una lettera del Signor Erico Spitz, che vorr poi cortesemente
restituirmi.
Ambedue hanno gi inoltrato regolare ricorso al Ministero dellinterno; il
primo in vista di ottenere il beneficio della discriminazione, il secondo per
poter continuare a rimanere in Italia.
Prego la P.V. di volersi compiacere di raccomandare anche questi due
pietosi casi alla Commissione Ministeriale incaricata di studiare le singole
situazioni concernenti gli ebrei.
RingraziandoLa anticipatamente dei buoni Uffici, profitto volentieri
delloccasione per raffermarmi con sensi di religioso ossequio

Della P. V. Rev.ma
Aff.mo nel Signore
E. Card. Pacelli
33. erich spitz 313

* * *

From the Vatican, 10 January 1939

Most Reverend Father,

I forward to Your Reverence, here attached, a Note concerning Mr. Attilio


Graziani and a letter of Mr. Erico Spitz,136 which I ask you to courteously
return to me.
Both have already submitted regular applications to the Ministry of the
Interior; the first hoping to obtain the favor of discrimination, the second to
be able to continue to remain in Italy.
I ask Your Paternity to kindly recommend even these two pitiful cases to
the Ministerial Commission charged with studying the individual situations
concerning Jews.
Thanking You in advance for your good offices, I gladly take advantage of
the occasion to convey my senses of religious respect.

Of Your Most Reverend Paternity


Affectionately in the Lord
E. Cardinal Pacelli

136 Tacchi Venturis archive contains the files of Alessandro, Cesare, and Gino but not that
of Attilio Graziani.
34. Edmondo Tedeschi

As he explained in his direct letter to Mussolini (see below), Edmondo


Tedeschi was originally from Trieste, where he was born in 1867 to a Jew-
ish family and where he graduated in classics. Not willing to work under
the Austrians, he moved to Bologna, where he earned a law degree and
subsequently obtained Italian citizenship. Unknown to his family, he was
baptized in 1889 and joined the Azione Cattolica. Twenty years later, he also
became associated as a lay person with the religious orders of Dominicans
and Salesians. Politically, Tedeschi always stood with the parties of order.
He actively participated in ousting the Golinelli local administration that
he describes as Jewish and Masonic. He too supported corporative unions
by showing their connection to the ideals expressed in the papal encyclical
Rerum novarum (Leo XIII). Unsurprisingly, he welcomed the reconciliation
achieved by Mussolini with the Catholic Church. As Tedeschi highlighted,
his entire family was Catholic and his eighteen-year-old son and sixteen-
year-old daughter became members of the Fascist Youth Organization as
soon as they couldwhen each of them turned six. He described himself as
a convinced and practicing Catholic, [] esteemed in the Catholic camp as
a Christian and anti-Masonic propagandist, [] always [] hated by Masons
and by Jews, who saw [him] as a traitor to the race and who yet sought his
services with all the venom of their racial solidarity. This is why Tedeschi,
devoted son of his Homeland and Church, felt he was persecuted by the
racial laws unfairly.
Tedeschis case was recommended by the archbishop of Bologna to the
Vatican Secretariat of State, which forwarded customarily his files to Tac-
chi Venturi, for his precious and meritorious activity on behalf of con-
verted Jews which is very much appreciated, as Cardinal Maglione wrote
to the Jesuit in June 1939. The latter intervened with Undersecretary Buf-
farini Guidi but the decision of the Demorazza committee still had not
arrived even more than one and a half year after he had submitted his appli-
cation for discrimination (not extant in Tacchi Venturis archive), which
made seventy-three-year-old Tedeschi anxious, impatient, and fearful that
he might be sent to a concentration camp. The following letters testify to
his state of mind. Tacchi Venturis two replies show how he proceeded in his
and other cases. No further information about Attorney Tedeschis situation
is available.
316 primary sources

* * *
Avv. Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 3piano primo
Telefono 22-082

20-1-40/XVIII

Molto Rev. Padre,

Fino dal 9 corrente Le diressi una raccomandata con allegati, riflettente


la mia questione della razza. Non so spiegarmi il di Lei silenzio, sebbene
ponessi anche il francobollo per la risposta.
Comprendo di essere un importuno, e so di non poter nulla pretendere
da Lei, se non fosse per un atto di squisita bont, in memoria del nostro
compianto amico comm. Ferretti.
Ma, come ella avr veduto nella mia suddetta del 9, io non chiedevo se
non di essere consigliato QUALE STRADA POTREI PRENDERE anche a
costo di venire a Roma, per sollecitare una decisione. Perci non so cosa
debbo pensare. O che Ella affaccendato da pi impellenti occupazioni,
ed allora mi risponda semplicemente che no pu occuparsi di me, che
non sa consigliarmi nulla; ed io la pregher solo di scusarmi se sar stato
importuno. Oppure (questa ipotesi sarebbe forse un po azzardata) ella
attende di potermi dire qualche cosa di pi utile ed interessante, magari
avendo fatto qualche passo per me??
Ipotesi troppo ottimista, che riposerebbe solo sulla persuasione di una
di Lei bont veramente stragrande. Non oso quindi sperarla, non avendo io
alcun titolo a ricevere da Lei il beneficio di un personale interessamento.
Comunque, poich il tempo incalza, mi sono permesso dirigerle ancora
questa mia, con la quale IN OGNI IPOTESI imploro da lei di essere perdonato
se, nelle angustie in cui mi trovo, avr osato darle disturbo.
Mi creda con la pi alta stima

dev.mo
[illegible signature]
34. edmondo tedeschi 317

* * *
[FTV 2282]

Attorney Edmondo Tedeschi


Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 31st floor
Tel. 22-082

20 January 1940/XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

As early as the 9th of this month I sent You a special delivery letter with
attachments, concerning my racial situation. I do not know how to explain
Your silence, even though I included a stamp for the reply.
I understand that I am a nuisance, and I know that I have no claim on
You, if it was not for an act of exquisite goodness, in memory of our departed
friend Commendatore Ferretti.
But, as You will have noted in my aforementioned letter of the 9th, I only
sought advice on WHAT PATH I COULD TAKE even if it meant coming to
Rome, to hasten a decision. Thus, I do not know what to think. Either that
You are busy with more pressing matters, and so could simply reply that
You cannot occupy Yourself with me, that You cannot advise me anything,
and I would ask You only to forgive me if I have importuned You. Or (this
hypothesis may be too bold) You are waiting to be able to tell me something
more useful and interesting, perhaps having taken some step or other for
me?
Too optimistic a hypothesis, which would be based solely on the convic-
tion of a really extraordinary goodness on Your part. I do not dare hope this,
since I have no claim to receive from You the benefit of personal involve-
ment.
At any rate, because time presses on, I have allowed myself again to
address the present letter to You, with which, WHATEVER THE HYPOTH-
ESIS, I implore You to forgive me if, in the distress in which I find myself, I
have dared to disturb You.
Believe me with the highest esteem

Yours devotedly
[illegible signature]
318 primary sources

* * *
Al []
Sig. Avv. Edmondo Tedeschi
Via Garibaldi 3
Bologna

22.I.40 XVIII

Ill.mo Signore Avvocato,

Ebbi puntualmente la Vostra del 9 c.m. insieme con gli allegati. Essi non
mi erano nuovi, perch tutte copie di quelli gi trasmessemi dallEm. Cardi-
nale di Stato di Sua Santit sin dai primi di giugno dellanno scorso, quando
incominciai ad occuparmi della Vostra penosa questione per commissione
ricevuta dallo stesso Eminentissimo che a sua volta ne era stato pregato
dal Vostro degnissimo Arcivescovo. In prova di quanto qui scrivo Vi mando
copia della lettera che il 9 del predetto io ebbi ad inviare a S.E. il Sottose-
gretario di Stato per lInterno. Dallora in poi ripetute, frequenti volte []
richiesi notizia della Vostra pratica. Finalmente il 30 ottobre mi fu comu-
nicato verbalmente (comunicazioni a lettere in materia razziale non se ne
danno) che la Vostra pratica era pronta per la Commissione; ci significa che
era stata istruita, vale a dire che si avevano i pareri delle diverse autorit e
solo mancava che venisse risoluta in una delle solite sedute. Dal 30 ottobre
(sono ormai quasi tre mesi) tornai a chiedere se fosse stata proposta, ma non
riuscii mai ad ottenere risposta affermativa. Cos stanno le cose. Ora temo
che nulla possa fare se non portare un po di pazienza e continuare ad insi-
stere memore della parabola dellamico importuno! E con questa promessa
e con la speranza di essere finalmente ascoltato propter importunitatem mi
professo

[] dev.mo
34. edmondo tedeschi 319

* * *
To []
Attorney Edmondo Tedeschi
Via Garibaldi 3
Bologna

22 January 1940-XVIII

Illustrious Attorney,

I received punctually Yours of the 9th of this month together with the
attachments. They were not new to me, because all were copies of what
had already been transmitted by His Eminence the Secretary of State of
His Holiness in early June of last year, when I began to occupy myself with
Your pitiful question at the behest of the aforementioned Eminence who in
turn had been entreated by Your most worthy Archbishop. As verification
of what I am writing I enclose a copy of the letter that on the 9th I sent to
His Excellency the Undersecretary of State in the Interior Ministry. From
that moment on, on many, repeated occasions [] I sought information
concerning Your case. Finally on October 30 I was informed verbally (written
communications are not made in race matters) that Your case was ready
for the Commission. This means that it had been assembled, signifying that
the opinions of the various authorities had been obtained and that all that
remained was that it be decided in one of the usual sessions. Beginning on
October 30 (almost three months have passed) I repeatedly inquired if it had
been presented, but I could never obtain an affirmative reply. That is where
things stand. Now I fear there is nothing to do except to be a little patient
and continue to press on recalling the parable of the importunate friend!
And with this promise and with the hope of finally being listened to propter
importunitatem [because of importunity], I profess myself

[] Yours very truly


320 primary sources

* * *
Avv. Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 3piano primo
Telefono 22-082

6-3-40/XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

Perdoni se sento il bisogno di scriverle ancora. Ma non intendo darle sover-


chia noia, ch gliene ho gi data abbastanza. Solo voglio informarla di due
voci, contrastanti, venute al mio orecchio.
Un collega di Bologna mi dice che la Commissione discriminatrice ha
avuto ordine di sospendere TUTTE le discriminazioni.
Un collega di Firenze, che fu qui giorni fa, mi diceva invece che, a seguito
della negata proroga, fu per dato ordine alla Commissione di dare la pre-
cedenza allesame delle domande dei professionisti, appunto in causa del
termine imposto dalla legge alla cassazione del loro lavoro.
Questa diversa voce mi accese le angustie e le incertezze, mentre io
sono gi purtroppo entrato nel periodo pi disagiato e grave della mia vita
professionale, non solo, ma ancora familiare e sociale.
Se Ella ne sa qualche cosa, vorr nella sua bont ragguagliarmi. Se non mi
dir nulla, vuol dire che anche Lei non ha potuto apprendere nulla.
Ella comprende che, se avessero realmente data la precedenza ai pro-
fessionisti, potrei sperare di non essere uno degli ultimi, anche se non vi
alcunanima buona, che, conoscendo personalmente qualcuno, possa otte-
nere che la mia pratica sia esumata presto!
Perdoni il disturbo; lo perdoni, pensando che sono unanima in pena, anzi
che vi unintera famiglia cristiana in pena.
Mi creda sempre suo obbligatissimo e dev.mo

[illegible signature]
34. edmondo tedeschi 321

* * *
Attorney Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 31st floor
Tel. 22-082

6 March 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Forgive me if I feel compelled to write You again. But I do not intend to give
You additional bother, of which I have already done enough. I only want to
inform you of two contrasting rumors that have come to my ears.
A colleague in Bologna tells me that the discrimination Commission has
been ordered to suspend ALL discriminations.
A colleague in Florence, who was here a few days ago, told me instead
that, following the rejected postponement, the Commission was ordered,
however, to give priority to the examination of applications from profes-
sional people, precisely because of the deadline imposed by the law con-
cerning the cessation of their work.
These different rumors rekindled my anxieties and uncertainties, at a
time when I, unfortunately, have already entered in the most difficult and
heavy period of my professional life, not only, but also familial and social.
If You know something about this, will You out of your goodness inform
me. If you tell me nothing, it will mean that even You did not learn anything.
You understand that, if they had really given preference to professional
people, I might be able to hope to not be one of the last, even if there is no
kind soul who, personally knowing someone, might succeed in arranging for
my case to be exhumed soon!
Pardon the nuisance; pardon it, realizing that I am a soul in distress, in
fact that there is an entire Christian family in pain.
Believe me always most gratefully and truly

[illegible signature]
322 primary sources

* * *
Avv. Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 3piano primo
Telefono 22-082

24-5-40/XVIII

M. Rev. Padre,

Seguendo il suo consiglio, non ho inoltrato il ricorso per quella Commis-


sione che deve riconoscere la razza anche in disformit alle risultanze ana-
grafiche. Era poco fondato, e temetti dovesse far pi male che bene.
In un giornale della sera lessi giorni fa lavviso che qui sotto ho attac-
cato.137 Che Commissione sar? Che sia quella della discriminazione, che
sia stata rifatta? Non saprei quale altra Comm. centrale ci sia per i professio-
nisti di razza ebraica.
Forse ella ne sa qualche cosa. E se quella, io penso di mandare uno per
uno a tutti i componenti, copie semplici del mio ricorso e memoriale. La
mia paura anche quella che, dichiarata la guerra, vengano vere le voci,
che i disgraziati di razza [] maledetta vengano mandati nei campi di
concentramento! Alla mia et di 73 anni, che sia possibile?
Se fossi alla svelta discriminato, avrei titolo per essere lasciato in pace.
Se ella ha qualche cosa da comunicarmi su quanto sopra, gliene sar
gratissimo, e in ogni caso scusi la noia.

Sempre suo obb.mo


[illegible signature]

137 Here is the text of the announcement: La Commissione Centrale per i professionisti
di razza ebraica. Roma, 4 pom. Con Decreto Reale 8 aprile 1940-XVIII stata costituita
la Commissione centrale per i professionisti di razza ebraica, che risulta cos composta:
Presidente: Saltelli Carlo, Presidente di Sezione della Corte di Cassazione; membri: Pelosi
Donato, Direttore generale degli Affari civili e del Notariato presso il Ministero di Grazia e
Giustizia, Pezzali Giovanni, Ispettore capo presso il Ministero degli Interni, Cerruti Natale,
Vicesegretario del P.N.F., Collalto Collaltino, Direttore capo Divisione presso il Ministero della
Educazione Nazionale, Puliti Ugo, Direttore generale presso il Ministero dei Lavori Publici,
Bruno Alfonso, Ispettore generale presso il Ministero dellAgricoltura e delle Foreste, Roselli
Ugo, Ispettore generale il Ministero delle Corporazioni, Del Giudice Guido, designato dalla
Confederazione fascista dei professionisti e degli artisti.
34. edmondo tedeschi 323

* * *
Attorney Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 31st floor
Tel. 22-082

24 May 1940-XVIII

Very Reverend Father,

Following Your advice, I have not submitted the appeal to that Commission
which must rule on race even in divergence from the registry office informa-
tion. It was not well founded, and I feared it might do more harm than good.
In an evening paper some days ago I read the notice which I enclose
below.138 What Commission will that be? Can it be the one on discrimina-
tion, restructured? I would not know what other Central Commission there
could be for professional people of the Jewish race.
Perhaps You know something. And if that is the one, I am thinking of
sending one at a time to all the members, simple copies of my appeal and
memorandum. My fear also is that, after war is declared, the rumors will
become true that the unfortunates of the damned [] race will be sent to
concentration camps! At my age, seventy-three years, can it be possible?
If I could quickly be discriminated, I would have the right to be left in
peace.
If You have something to communicate to me about the above, I would
be most grateful and, in any case, pardon the nuisance.

Always Your Most grateful


[illegible signature]

138 Here is the text of the announcement: The Central Committee for professional people
of the Jewish race. Rome 4 p.m. By Royal Decree dated 8 April 1940-XVIII there is constituted
a Central Commission for professional people of the Jewish race, consisting as follows:
President: Saltelli, Carlo, President of the Section of the Court of Cassation; members: Pelosi,
Donato, Director General of Civic Affairs and of the Notariate in the Ministry of Mercy and
Justice; Pazzali, Giovanni, Chief Inspector in the Ministry of the Interior; Cerruti, Natale, Vice
Secretary of the National Fascist Party; Collalto, Collaltino, Director and Head of Section in
the Ministry of National Education; Puliti, Ugo, Director General in the Ministry of Public
Works; Bruno, Alfonso, Inspector General in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests; Roselli,
Ugo, Inspector General in the Ministry of Corporations; Del Giudice, Guido, appointed by the
Fascist Confederation of Professional People and Artists.
324 primary sources

* * *
Edmondo Tedeschi

27.V.1940.XVIII

Signor Avvocato,

Ha fatto egregiamente non inviare il ricorso, perch cose inutili non deb-
bano mai farsi. Ora mi trovo [] in grado di darVi una buona notizia. La
seconda Commissione alla quale sono per legge domandate le domande
di coloro che richiedono la discriminazione a titolo di benemerenze ecce-
zionali, riprende finalmente le sue tornate sospese sino dallo scorso feb-
braio. Spero quindi che anche la Vostra verr esaminata, ed io non man-
cher di raccomandarla, affinch ottenga il responso affermativo che Vi
dovuto.
2 La Commissione centrale per i professionisti | [] R.E. non si occupa dei
discriminanti ma piuttosto dei discriminati.
Con molti cordiali saluti.

dev.mo

Avv. Edmondo Tedeschi


Via Garibaldi, 3piano primo
Bologna

* * *
Avv. Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 3piano primo
Telefono 22-082

29-5-40/XVIII

Molto Reverendo Padre,

La ringrazio vivamente della sua comunicazione. La ripresa delle tornate


della Commissione indicherebbe una direttiva superiore nel senso favore-
vole a coloro che siano meritevoli. Ora per me le questioni che mi tengono
sospeso sono due: La prima, se cio il mio memoriale, spedito al Gran Uffi-
34. edmondo tedeschi 325

* * *
Edmondo Tedeschi

27 May 1940-XVIII

Dear Attorney,

You have done well not to send the appeal, because one should never do
useless things. Now I find myself [] in a position to give You good news. The
second Commission to which by law are sent the requests of those seeking
discrimination on the basis of exceptional merits, finally will resume its
sessions which have been suspended since last February. Thus, I hope that
yours too will be examined, and I shall not fail to support it, so that You may
receive the favorable response that is owed to You.
The Central Commission for professional people | [] R.E. does not 2
concern itself with the discriminating but rather with the discriminated.

With many cordial greetings


Yours truly
[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]

Attorney Edmondo Tedeschi


Via Garibaldi, 31st floor
Bologna

* * *
Attorney Edmondo Tedeschi
Bologna
Via Garibaldi, 31st floor
Tel. 22-082

29 May 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

I thank You heartily for your communication. The resumption of the Com-
mittees meetings suggests a directive from above favorable toward the de-
serving. Now for me two questions give me anxiety: The first, if my memo-
randum, sent to Grand Ufficiale Le Pera on 23 September last has been added
326 primary sources

ciale Le Pera il 23 settembre u.s. sia stato unito alla mia pratica e alle
informazioni, che appunto in quel tempo partivano da Bologna?
Le seconda questione quella del tempo! Chi sa quanto ce ne vorr, per
studiare e decidere 5000 ricorsi, e chi sa in quale migliaio, centinaio e decina
sar collocato il mio! Ella mi disse che bisogna aver pazienza e questo
naturale, e lavr, se non si potr trovar la strada per dargli una preferenza
numerica. Intanto mi rassicura la sua cortese riconferma, che Ella seguiter
a fare quanto in suo potere per il buono e sollecito esito. Del che non occorre
dirle quanto io le sia grato. Se sar discriminato, e dipoi se avr (come avevo
nel passato) occasione di venire a Roma due o tre volte almeno allanno per
discutere in Cassazione, mi far in tal caso un dovere di venire anche di
persona ad esprimerle la mia gratitudine.
Intanto le ripeto il mio grato animo coi migliori saluti.

[illegible signature]

* * *
A SUA ECCELLENZA IL CAPO DEL GOVERNO

DUCE!

La presente fiduciosa istanza riguarda un caso particolarissimo, che non


sfuggir allesame personale della E.V. per compiere un atto di clemente
giustizia.
Sono un triestino dorigine, figlio per di genitori ebrei. Finiti a Trieste gli
studi classici, non volendo esercitare alcuna professione in Austria, venni
allUniversit di Bologna. Laureato in legge, feci le relative istanze, ed ottenni
la cittadinanza italiana per Decreto Reale.
Ma prima, appena avevo finiti gli studi, mi dedicai al problema delle
verit religiose, e mi feci cattolico, ad insaputa della famiglia, con profonda
convinzione. Ci accadde circa 50 ANNI FA, e precisamente nel 23 Settem-
bre 1889, e fui battezzato per mani dello stesso Cardinale Arcivescovo. Da
allora militai sempre nelle file dellAzione Cattolica; nelle varie manifesta-
zioni specialmente di carattere religioso. Son gi da pi di 30 anni TER-
ZIARIO DOMENICANO e COOPERATORE SALESIANO. Quindi un cristiano
tutto intero e tale da tutti riconosciuto.
34. edmondo tedeschi 327

to my dossier and to the information, which precisely at that time was being
sent from Bologna?
The second question concerns the timing! Who knows how long it will
take to study and decide five thousand applications, and who knows in
which set of thousands, hundreds or tens mine will be placed! You told
me that it was necessary to be patient and this is natural, and I will have
to be if it is not possible to find a way to assign it a preferential number.
In the meantime I am comforted by your courteous reassurance that You
will continue to do whatever is in your power for a favorable and prompt
outcome. About this there is no need to tell you how grateful I am. If I shall
be discriminated, and then if I shall have (as I did in the past) occasion to
come to Rome at least two or three times year to argue cases in the Court of
Cassation, in such a case I shall make it my duty to come even in person to
convey to you my gratitude.
Meanwhile I reiterate my gratitude with my warmest greetings

[illegible signature]

* * *
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE HEAD OF GOVERNMENT

DUCE!

The present hopeful entreaty concerns a very particular case, which will not
elude the personal examination of Your Excellency so as to fulfill an act of
benign justice.
I am of Trieste by origin, the son, however, of Jewish parents. After hav-
ing completed classical studies in Trieste, not wanting to exercise any pro-
fession in Austria, I came to the University of Bologna. Having graduated
in law, I took the required steps, and obtained Italian citizenship by Royal
Decree.
But first, as soon as I had finished my studies, I dedicated myself to
the problem of religious truth, and became a Catholic, unknown to my
family, with deep conviction. This took place c. FIFTY YEARS AGO, precisely
on 23 September 1889, and I was baptized at the hands of the Cardinal
Archbishop himself. From that time I was always active in the ranks of
Catholic Action, and in various activities, especially of a religious character.
For over thirty years I have been a DOMINICAN TERTIARY and a SALESIAN
COADJUTOR. In other words, a whole Christian and recognized as such by
everyone.
328 primary sources

2 Politicamente fui sempre coi partiti dellordine; | attivo nelle lotte elet-
torali amministrative specialmente quando si tratt di rovesciare la famosa
amministrazione comunale Golinelli ebraica e massonica. Partecipai con
entusiasmo al plebiscito in favore del Regime attuale.
Al sorgere dellordinamento corporativo, ancora ai suoi inizi, tenni nei cir-
coli cattolici delle conferenze, dirette a togliere un certo senso di diffidenza,
che ancor sussisteva verso il Sindacalismo corporativo, dimostrando che il
movimento era sano e salutare, e corrispondeva anche alle lontane direttive
dellEnciclica Rerum novarum; e predissi fin da allora che lItalia sarebbe in
questo campo divenuta una seconda volta maestra del nuovo diritto a tutto
il mondo. Quando poi Voi, Duce, compiste la mirabile opera della Conci-
liazione, fui tra i primi, nelle adunanze dei circoli cattolici, ad analizzare,
commentare e far risaltare il valore del fausto avvenimento, i cui frutti non
avrebbero cessato di essere sempre pi benefici tanto per lo Stato quanto
per la Chiesa.
Mi costituii una famiglia cattolica totalmente; ed i miei figli (il primo
di anni 18, la seconda di 16) furono da me iscritti alla O.N. Balilla appena
3 compiuti i 6 anni, sebbene allora tale iscrizione | fosse solo facoltativa. Il
primogenito Capo Centuria Avanguardista; entrambi studenti al Liceo.
Noto da mezzo secolo a Bologna come cattolico convinto e praticante,
apprezzato anzi nel campo cattolico come propagandista cristiano e anti-
massonico, la E.V. pu ben pensare come io sia sempre stato inviso ai mas-
soni, ed agli ebrei, che vedono in me un traditore della razza. Per questo,
sebbene ormai anziano nella professione, non ho potuto accumulare alcun
patrimonio: non ho che la testa, le braccia e il mio buon nome di cittadino
e di cristiano.
La legge, che sta per essere votata, mi impedir totalmente di esercitare
comunque la mia professione: non a favore degli ariani, perch lo vieter la
legge; non a favore degli ebrei, che rifuggono da me con tutto il livore della
loro solidariet di razza.
Cos io, che dovrei essere riguardato con benignit, per il merito di es-
sermi totalmente da 50 anni staccato dai vincoli della razza, vengo invece
colpito appunto per questo pi duramente di quelli, che possono andar a
raccomandarsi ai loro correligionari per essere aiutati. Cos una famiglia
completamente cattolica viene castigata e sacrificata pi di una famiglia
ebrea, e messa alla miseria.
4 E si pu anche considerare che, col costituire | una famiglia cattolica con
prole cattolica, ho anche dal lato demografico interrotto, per quanto sta in
me, una delle linee di perpetuazione della razza ebraica.
34. edmondo tedeschi 329

Politically I was always aligned with the parties of order; | active in 2


the administrative election struggles especially when it was a matter of
overturning the famous municipal Golinelli administration, Jewish and
Masonic. I participated enthusiastically in the plebiscite in favor of the
current Regime.
At the beginning of the corporate establishment, when it was still in
its infancy, I gave lectures to various Catholic groups, intended to dissi-
pate a certain sense of diffidence which endured toward corporate trade-
unionism, showing that the movement was sound and salutary, and corre-
sponded even to the distant directives of the Encyclical Rerum novarum.
And even then I predicted that in this field Italy would become for a sec-
ond time mistress of the new jurisprudence to the entire world. When later,
Duce, you accomplished the marvelous work of Conciliation, I was among
the first, in the meetings of the Catholic groups, to analyze, comment upon,
and exalt the excellence of the fortunate event, the fruits of which would
not cease to be ever more beneficial for the State as for the Church.
I created a family for myself that was wholly Catholic; and my children
(the first, a boy is eighteen, the second a girl is sixteen) I enrolled in the
Balilla organization as soon as they turned six years old, although at the time
such enrollment | was only optional. The first born is chief centurion in the 3
Avanguardisti; both are Liceo students.
Known in Bologna for half a century as a convinced and practicing Cath-
olic, in fact esteemed in the Catholic camp as a Christian and anti-Masonic
propagandist, Your Excellency can well imagine how I have always been
hated by Masons and by Jews, who see me as a traitor to the race. Because
of this, even though I have grown old in the profession, I have not been able
to accumulate a patrimony of any sort: I have only my head, my arms, and
my good name as citizen and Christian.
The law which is about to be voted on will totally impede me in any case
from exercising my profession: not in the service of Aryans, because the law
will prohibit it; not in the service of Jews who oppose me with all the venom
of their racial solidarity.
So I, who should be regarded with favor, because for over fifty years
I have separated myself from the chains of the race, instead am struck
down precisely for this more harshly than those who can fall back on their
co-religionists for help. Thus, a wholly Catholic family is punished and
sacrificed more than a Jewish family, and cast into poverty.
And one can also consider that, with the establishment | of a Catholic 4
family with Catholic offspring, I have also from the demographic point of
view interrupted, as far as it lies with me, one of the lines of perpetuation of
the Jewish race.
330 primary sources

ECCELLENZA! Il vostro buon cuore ed il vostro alto senso di giustizia non


possono mancare di riguardare con specialissimo intendimento il caso, forse
unico in Italia, nel quale viene colpito irreparabilmente, senza colpe, anzi in
presenza di titoli di merito, un figlio devoto della Patria e della Chiesa, che
da mezzo secolo conduce un[a] vita tale, da dar prova assoluta e indubbia
di non appartenere ormai se non di nome alla razza ebraica, e di essersi
formato una mentalit ed una finalit di vita e di azione, conformi alle
direttive del Regime.
con questa fiducia che invoco dalla E.V. un provvedimento discrimi-
natorio speciale, che penso sia conforme alla giusta interpretazione della
Legge.
Con tale certezza, porgo alla E.V. i sensi della mia gratitudine e devozione.

Bologna, 22 Maggio 1939 XVII


AVV. EDMONDO TEDESCHI
34. edmondo tedeschi 331

EXCELLENCY! Your good heart and your high sense of justice cannot
fail to recognize with special cognizance the case, perhaps unique in Italy,
in which without any fault of his own, in fact in spite of his many merits,
a devoted son of his Homeland and Church is struck down irreparably, a
person who for half a century led a life which gives absolute and undoubted
proof of not belonging, except in name, to the Jewish race, and to having
nurtured a mentality and purpose of life that conform to the directives of
the Regime.
It is with this faith that I invoke from Your Excellency a special discrimi-
natory provision, which in my opinion is in harmony with the just interpre-
tation of the Law.
With this certainty, I extend to Your Excellency my sentiments of grati-
tude and devotion.

Bologna, 22 May 1939-XVII


Edmondo Tedeschi
35. Antonio Toribolo

Antonio Toribolo was born to Oscar Toribolo and Olga Fabian on Decem-
ber 20, 1910 in Trieste, where he lived at the time in via Pasquale Revoltella
7. He had a younger brother by the name of Alfredo Attilio (b. 9/29/1919).
When he was about to marry, the local government informed Antonio that
in the eyes of the law he was considered a Jew, for his father, dead at the time
of the proclamation of the racial legislation, was a son of an Aryan father
but of a Jewish mother and did not result to be baptized; hence he him-
self was considered a Jew. Moreover, Antonio was not baptized either (even
if his mother was Christian) until February 1939, when he began planning
his wedding. The date of his baptism was therefore after October 1, 1938
the governmental deadline in order to be considered Aryan. In his appli-
cation for Aryanization, he argued that both his families were Catholic
and Aryan and that the only Jewish person in his family was his paternal
grandmother, Virginia Toribolo (the daughter of Giacomo Tedesco) who was
born in Trieste 9/12/1841 and died there 2/17/1928. The governments deci-
sion not to recognize Antonios Aryanization resulted in the suspension
of his planned wedding with an Aryan woman in the commune of Mug-
gia. In his responses to the Ministry of the Interior, which he submitted in
March 1939 and in March 1940, and copies of which are found in Tacchi
Venturis archive, Toribolo argued that his father had abandoned Judaism
in 1909 and must have been baptized in 1928. He produced a certificate
to prove it from the pastor who baptized Antonios brother in 1928the
year of their Jewish grandmothers death (Virginia). Toribolo explained the
delays of baptisms in his family by the fact that his father was a strong
supporter of Triestes irredentism, which at the time meant also to be anti-
clerical, forAntonio arguedthe clergy was philo-Austrian and philo-
Slovenian.
The following few letters to Tacchi Venturi portray Antonios anxiety in
obtaining Aryanization so that he could marry his long-time fianc, his
state of depression caused not only by the prolonged wait for the gov-
ernmental decision, which denied his application twice, but also by his
mothers grave illness and eventual death, and his own fiancs depression.
Antonios correspondence also reveals the affection he developed towards
Tacchi Venturi, whom he met personally in Rome in the spring of 1939 and
1942 and whose consoling words became a divine balsam for him. After
almost four years of waiting for the hoped positive response to his appli-
35. antonio toribolo 333

Fig. 23. Antonio Toribolos handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.

cations and letters, Antonio Toribolo was declared as not belonging to the
Jewish race and hence free to marry an Aryan woman.
A relative Antonio does not mention in his correspondence is his paternal
aunt, Teresita Toribolo (b. 12/21/1872 in Trieste), the daughter of Antonio
Toribolo and Virginia Tedesco, who was arrested in July 1944 and sent to
Auschwitz, where she perished.139

139 Cfr http://digital-library.cdec.it/cdec-web/persone/detail/person-6862/toribolo


-teresita.html.
334 primary sources

* * *

Trieste, 17 maggio 1940/XVIII

Reverendissimo Padre,

presto trascorso un anno da quando mi accordaste un colloquio, potei


udire dalla Vostra bocca parole di fede e di speranza che in certo qual modo
calmarono il penoso stato danimo nel quale mi trovavo. Lattesa di una
risoluzione del mio caso mi ha snervato e temo di non essere pi in grado di
[] ragionare.
La ragione prima che la mia fidanzata (che non di costituzione molto
robusta) sempre pi depressa, ed assistere a questo lento ma inesorabile
esaurimento dellessere pi caro senza poter far nulla atroce e temo possa
portare alla totale distruzione delle mie facolt mentali.
Padre! Vi prego, se rientra nelle Vostre possibilit, aiutateci. Non oserei
2 importunarVi, se non vi fosse lassoluta necessit del Vostro | aiuto. A molti
pu sembrare che la fede e la speranza siano una ragione di vita sufficiente,
ma tale norma non si pu applicare al nostro caso []. Spesso si verifica che
il tardivo intervento del medico non riesce a salvare il paziente.
Ammetto che se la mia fidanzata avesse un carattere meno serio, meno
conscio delle responsabilit e che pure io non condividessi tali vedute,
lattesa della soluzione che non pu che essere favorevole, sarebbe pi facile;
ci sono al mondo tante persone che, pur non essendo cattive, sono dir
alla buona: prendono cio le cose come vengono e non si preoccupano
dellavvenire; generalmente a costoro va tutto per il meglio. Purtroppo n io,
n la mia fidanzata, possiamo abbracciare tali teorie.
3 Vi fu chi nel campo ecclesiastico mi consigli di contrarre matrimonio |
religioso. Cosa possibile, si sarebbe a posto il (nel ??) cospetto del giudizio
Divino, ma legalmente ci si troverebbe in una situazione intollerabile ed in
particolare modo per i nostri figli.
Divago troppo. Verso la fine di marzo ho inviato il memoriale, che accludo,
alle Eccellenze: Dino Grandi, Le Pera, e al Prefetto di Trieste. Ma chi nel
momento che attraversiamo pu occuparsi di due esseri che attendono da
questa pratica la conferma del loro diritto alla vita? Le pratiche vengono
archiviate e possono attendere mesi ed anni, ma cos non noi.
35. antonio toribolo 335

* * *
[FTV 2418]

Trieste, 17 May 1940-XVIII

Most Reverend Father,

Soon, it will be a year since you granted me an audience and I was able
to hear from Your mouth words of faith and of hope that in a certain way
soothed the painful state of mind in which I found myself. The wait for my
case to be resolved has unnerved me and I fear that I am no longer in a state
to be able to reason.
The primary reason is that my fiance (who is not of a strong constitu-
tion) is ever more depressed, and to observe this gradual but inexorable
deterioration of the person dearest to me without being able to do anything
is atrocious and I fear may lead to the total destruction of my mental facul-
ties.
Father! If it falls within the realm of Your possibilities, help us. I would
not dare to importune You, if we did not have absolute need for Your | help. 2
To many it might seem that faith and hope are a sufficient reason for living,
but such a rule cannot be applied to our case []. It often turns out that a
late intervention on the part of a physician fails to save the patient.
I admit that if my fiance was of a less serious disposition, less conscious
of responsibilities and if I too did not share these attitudes, the wait for
the resolution, which cannot fail but be favorable, would be easier. In the
world, there are so many people who, without being bad, putting it simply
[] accept things as they come and do not worry about the future; generally
for them everything turns out for the best. Unfortunately, neither I nor my
fiance can embrace such an outlook.
Someone in the ecclesiastical field advised me to contract a religious
marriage. | A possible thing, in the eyes of Divine judgment we would be 3
in order, but legally we would find ourselves in an intolerable situation and
especially for our children.
I stray too much. Toward the end of March, I sent the enclosed memoran-
dum to their Excellencies Dino Grandi, Le Pera, and the Prefect of Trieste.
But who, in the moment we are traversing, can concern himself with two
beings who await from this matter the confirmation of their right to live?
Cases can be filed away and have to wait for months and years, but this is
not the situation for us.
336 primary sources

Padre, aiutateci! Nelle mie preghiere prego il Signore di illuminarVi nella


via di seguire per risolvere il nostro caso e di ricompensarVi del tanto bene
che fate intorno a Voi.

Vostro devotissimo,
Antonio Toribolo

* * *
Trieste, 3 giugno 1941/XIX

Reverendissimo Padre,

nessuna frase pu esprimerVi la mia gratitudine, quella della mia fidanzata


e quella di mia madre, per il sollievo che apportate al animo nostro. DirVi
quanto ho sofferto negli ultimi due anni sarebbe difficile, per ero animato
dalla certezza che Dio non poteva permettere che a delle Sue creature fosse
negato quanto sapete.
Quando tre settimane fa or sono ricevetti la notizia a Voi nota, fui sul
punto dimpazzire e, specie nella notte ero colto da sintomi di congestione.
Trovai tuttavia la forza di venire cost, anche nella speranza di far pervenire
al Duce, che tanto amo, un mio esposto e tale decisione mi sostenne. Tale
passo non fu necessario e le Vostre parole furono un divino balsamo, Padre!
Devo esserVi sembrato ben goffo perch al momento non seppi nemmeno
esprimerVi n la gioia, n la riconoscenza. LasciatoVi, ci volle qualche tempo
perch mi accorgessi dello stato di grazia nel quale mi trovavo e, lentamente
minnebriai daria e di luce. La citt Eterna mapparve in una luce nuova,
superiore alla mia immaginazione, tutto era bello e risplendente sotto il
sole, mi sembrava di essere nato allora e gradatamente sentivo svanire
2 loppressione al cuore. | Volli subito confessarmi e al mattino dopo prendere
la S.ma Comunione per essere degno di tanta grazia.
Ora rientrato nella mia Trieste, mi sono rimesso con serenit al lavoro.
Ho fede in Dio e nellavvenire e nutro la speranza di poter essere presto a
Roma con la mia sposa per rinnovarVi lespressione della nostra imperitura
riconoscenza.
Sempre ricordandoVi nelle mie preghiere, Vi prego aggradire i miei devoti
ossequi.

Vostro Antonio Toribolo


35. antonio toribolo 337

Father, help us! In my prayers I beseech the Lord to guide You in the path
to follow to resolve our case and to reward You for the great good You do
around You.

Yours most truly


Antonio Toribolo

* * *
Trieste, 3 June 1941-XIX

Most Reverend Father,

No words can convey to You my gratitude, my fiances and my mothers for


the relief You bring to our hearts. It would be difficult for me to say how
much I have suffered in the last two years; however, I was encouraged by the
certainty that God could not permit His creatures to be denied that about
which you know.
When, about three or so weeks ago, I received that news known to You,
I was at the point of going mad and, especially at night, I was seized by
symptoms of congestion. Nevertheless, I found the strength to come to
You, even in the hope of having the Duce, whom I love so much, receive
a petition of mine, and this decision kept me going. Such a step proved
not to be necessary, and Your words were a divine balsam, Father! I must
have appeared very awkward to You because at the time I could not even
express to You either joy or gratitude. After I left You, it took a while before
I realized the state of grace in which I found myself, and gradually I became
intoxicated with air and light. The Eternal City appeared to me in a new light,
exceeding my imagination, everything was beautiful and resplendent under
the sun, it was as if I being born just then and by stages I felt the weight on
my heart being lifted. | I immediately wanted to make my confession and 2
the next day receive Holy Communion to be deserving of so much grace.
Now, back in my Trieste, I have returned to work in a serene mood. I have
faith in God and in the future and I am hopeful to be soon in Rome with my
spouse to renew to You the expression of our imperishable gratitude.
While always recalling You in my prayers, I beseech You to accept my most
devout respects.

Yours,
Antonio Toribolo
338 primary sources

* * *
Trieste, 5 Settembre 1941/XIX

M. R. Padre,

vari mesi sono trascorsi dal nostro ultimo colloquio e la situazione rima-
sta immutata almeno in ci che a Vostra conoscenza, perch il resto
peggiorato a cominciare da mia madre che, in aggiunta alla paralisi, ora
pure affetta da una forte artrite deformante e dora innanzi non potr pi
muoversi dal letto, poich in seguito a consulto fatto dai professori [] che
hanno tentato ancora alcune cure, questi hanno definito il male cronico e
mi consigliarono di farla ricoverare in un ospedale, cosa che esula dalle mie
moderate possibilit.
Anche la mia fidanzata sempre pi depressa e nervosa e mi pento di
non averla forzata ad accompagnarmi lultima volta a Roma perch sono
certo che avrebbe attinto dalle Vostre parole lenergia che le necessaria
per affrontare questi periodi cos travagliati.
Padre! Scusatemi, se mi permetto esporVi queste cose, ma avrei tanto
bisogno del Vostro aiuto e consiglio. La mia situazione sempre pi precaria
e solo sposandomi potr sollevare la mia fidanzata, circondare di maggiori
cure mia madre ed affrontare con serenit gli altri cimenti che la vita pre-
senta.
Sempre ricordandoVi nelle mie preghiere resto in speranzosa attesa di
una Vostra parola e porgendoVi i pi sentiti ringraziamenti, mi segno

Vostro affezionatissimo Antonio Toribolo

* * *
[draft]

Roma, 9.IX.1941

Gentilissimo Signore Toribolo,

Rispondo alla Vostra ultima del 5 di questo mese u.s.


Purtroppo non posso darVi le notizie consolanti da Voi attese. Ben due
volte la Direzione Generale Demografia e Razza mi ha risposto negativa-
mente alla questione della Vostra arianit: ci fu il 23 aprile e il 17 gennaio di
2 questo anno. Se non intervengono | mutamenti nelle presenti leggi razziali,
35. antonio toribolo 339

* * *
Trieste, 5 September 1941-XIX

Most Reverend Father,

Several months have passed since we last met and the situation has re-
mained unchanged, at least concerning that about which You know, because
the rest has deteriorated beginning with my mother who, in addition to a
paralysis, now is also afflicted by serious, deforming arthritis and from now
on will not be able to get out of bed, because following an examination
by doctors [] who attempted a few more cures, they have declared the
sickness to be chronic and advised me to have her admitted to a hospital,
a thing made impossible by my modest resources.
Even my fiance is ever more depressed and temperamental and I regret
not having made her accompany me to Rome the last time because I am
certain that she would have taken from Your words the strength she needs
to confront these very difficult times.
Father! Excuse me if I permit myself to tell You these things, but I have
such great need for Your help and advice. My situation is ever more precar-
ious and only through marriage will I be able to relieve my fiance, provide
my mother with better treatments and face serenely the rest of the trials
which life present.
While always remembering You in my prayers I remain hopefully awaiting
a word from You and, extending my most heartfelt thanks, I sign myself

Your most affectionate Antonio Toribolo

* * *
[draft]

Rome, 9 September 1941

Dear Mr. Toribolo,

I reply to Your latest of the 5th of this month.


Unfortunately, I cannot give You the consoling news for which You have
been waiting. Twice the General Administration for Demography and Race
replied to me negatively on the question of Your Aryan status: on April 23
and January 17 of this year. If there are no | changes in the existing racial laws, 2
340 primary sources

come si dice vi saranno, non veggo possibile che si muti il parere gi emesso
dalla Commissione che Vi ha dichiarato appartenente alla razza ebraica, e
con che simpedisce le Vostre nozze con una giovane ariana.
Sono pieno di compassione per il caso Vostro, ma Voi intenderete ottima-
mente non essere in mio potere di apportarvi rimedio.

Con cordiali saluti.


Devotissimo,

* * *
Trieste, 6 febbraio 1942/XX

Reverendo Padre,

di grande conforto mi giunta la Vostra cartolina e Vi ringrazio di cuore


per le buone parole e le preghiere in memoria della cara scomparsa. Ella
ha cessato di soffrire e forse Dio accoglier la sua anima.
Padre, non intendo che perdiate del Vostro prezioso tempo per rispon-
dere alle mie, ma permettete che Vi scriva di tanto in tantoil confidarmi
mi solleva un poco. Sono in uno stato danimo sconvolto, a volte mi sem-
bra dimpazzire. Di notte nella casa ormai vuota, passo lunghe ore insonni,
penso alla mia fidanzata sempre pi depressa per causa mia che sono impo-
tente a risolvere la situazione cui mi trovo. Era mia intenzione venire a Roma
appena ne avrei avuto la possibilit economica, in quanto le forti spese
recentemente sostenute assorbiranno i miei modesti introiti per ancora vari
mesi. Non posso per prevedere tale data perch da due settimane sono
richiamato e presto servizio ad un comando a Trieste. Spero per di otte-
nere lo stesso fra un paio di mesi una breve licenza e venire cost. Potr forse,
previo Vostro consiglio, esser ricevuto da qualcuno che possa risolvere que-
sto stato di cose e darmi la possibilit di creare la mia famiglia. Forse verr
2 inviato in zona doperazioni. Il mio dovere | verso la Patria lo far con dedi-
zione assoluta, solo temo che la mia fidanzata non potrebbe sopportare la
mia lontananza senza prima essere la mia sposa dinanzi a Dio e agli uomini.
Non posso scrivere oltre, nel mio cervello v una tale confusione che sono
incapace a riordinare le idee.
Scusate, Padre, se Vi importuno tanto e ricordatemi talvolta nelle Vostre
preghiere, come io Vi ho sempre presente nelle mie. A volte mi chiedo
perch Vi importuno tanto, non avendone il diritto. Mi conoscete tanto
poco, eppure sono spinto verso di Voi. Mi sembra che confidarmi con Voi
35. antonio toribolo 341

as it is said that there will be, I do not see the possibility that the opinion
already emitted by the Commission declaring You to be of the Jewish race
will change, as a consequence of which Your marriage to a young Aryan is
prohibited.
I am filled with compassion for Your case, but You will easily understand
that it is not in my power to remedy it.

Cordially
Yours very truly

* * *
Trieste, 6 February 1942-XX

Reverend Father,

Your postcard brought me great comfort and I thank You with all my heart
for the good words and the prayers in memory of the dear departed. She has
ceased suffering and perhaps God will accept her soul.
Father, it is not my intention to have You lose precious time replying to
my letters, but permit me to write to You now and thenconfiding raises my
spirits a bit. I am in a terrible state of mind, at times I feel I am going mad.
At night in the now empty house, I pass many sleepless hours, I think of my
fiance who is always more depressed because of me, impotent to resolve
the situation in which I find myself. It was my intention to come to Rome
as soon as I had the financial possibility of doing so. The weighty expenses
I have recently had to endure will absorb my modest income for several
months yet. I cannot, however, anticipate the date because two weeks ago I
was called back into service with a unit in Trieste. Nevertheless, I hope in a
couple of months to obtain leave and come there. Perhaps, subject to Your
advice, I can be received by someone who will be able to resolve this state
of affairs and grant me the possibility of creating my family. Perhaps I shall
be sent to a zone of operations. I shall fulfill my duty | to my country with 2
absolute dedication, only I fear that my fiance would not be able to support
my absence without first becoming my bride before God and man. I cannot
write more. In my head there is such confusion that I am incapable of sorting
out my ideas.
Forgive me, Father, if I importune You so much and remember me some-
times in Your prayers, just as You are always in mine. There are times when
I ask myself why I importune You so much, since I do not have the right to
do so. You do not know me very well, and yet I am drawn to You. I have the
342 primary sources

sia cosa naturale, come se Vi avessi sempre conosciuto, come se da Voi


attendessi la paterna guida che mi manca.
Scusatemi ancora.

Vostro dev.mo
Antonio Toribolo
[]

* * *
Trieste, 4 luglio 1942/ XX

Reverendissimo Padre,

rientrato da oltre un mese nella mia citt, ho portato i Vostri auguri e la


buona notizia datami dalla mia fidanzata e Vi lascio immaginare quale fu la
sua gioia e quanto ella Vi sia grata per il tanto bene fattoci. Non possibile
trovare parole per esprimerVi la nostra riconoscenza, solo tengo assicurarvi
che siete e rimarrete sempre nel nostro cuore.
Vorrei scriverVi spesso ma sono imbarazzatissimo perch mentre da un
lato Vi sento vicino come Vi avessi sempre conosciuto ed amato ed per
questo sono portato alla confidenza; daltra parte ho un enorme soggezione
perch temo dabusare del Vostro prezioso tempo e dimportunarVi.
Avevo subito comunicato alla locale R. Prefettura quanto era stato deli-
berato, ma fino ad oggi, nessuna comunicazione giunta dallon. Ministero.
In merito non so se pu servire che scriva per sollecitare, anche perch ave-
vamo progettato di sposarsi verso la met di agosto e dovremmo iniziare le
pratiche per le pubblicazioni.
Vi pregherei quindi, Rev. Padre, di volermi consigliare od aiutare in pro-
posito, semprech ci sia facile e, ringraziandovi di tutto cuore, attendo il
momento in cui potr farVi visita con mia moglie per ottenere la Vostra
benedizione.

Vostro devotissimo
Antonio Toribolo
[]
35. antonio toribolo 343

feeling that confiding in You is a natural thing, as if I had always known You,
as if I expected from You the paternal guidance I lack.
Forgive me yet again.

Yours most truly


Antonio Toribolo

* * *
Trieste, 4 July 1942-XX

Most Reverend Father,

Having been back in my city for more than a month, I brought Your good
wishes and the good news to my fiance and You can imagine how great her
joy was and how grateful she is toward You for the great good You have done
for us. It is not possible to find words to express our gratitude to You, only I
want to assure You that You are and always will remain in our heart.
I would like to write to You often but I am very embarrassed because while
on one hand I feel You to be close as if I had always known and loved You
and for this reason I am led to confide in You; on the other, I feel great awe
because I feel I am abusing Your precious time and importuning You.
I had immediately communicated to the local Prefecture what had been
decided, but as of today, no communication has been received from the
honorable Ministry. In this regard I do not know if it would be useful if
I wrote to move the matter along, also because we had planned to marry
toward the middle of August and we shall have to begin the process of
publishing the banns.
I would beg You, then, Reverend Father, to advise me or help me in the
matter, naturally only if that should not be difficult, and thanking You with
all my heart, I await the moment in which I shall be able to visit You with my
wife to received Your blessing.

Yours most truly


Antonio Toribolo
344 primary sources

* * *
Trieste, 20 luglio 1942/XX

Reverendissimo Padre,

il 15 corr. mi giunse la Vostra lettera e ne sono rimasto accasciato. Avrei


voluto non comunicarlo alla mia fidanzata, ma, sebbene avessi tentato di
nasconderle laccaduto per evitarle un nuovo dolore, ella intu subito che
nascondevo qualcosa e dovetti mostrarle la lettera. Ho fede in Dio e da lui
deve provenirmi la fede per sopportare questa nuova prova.
S.E. il Prefetto era assente da Trieste e potei recapitargli la lettera appena
2 sabato. Egli fu molto gentile | e cortese, letta la vostra lettera, mi promise
dinteressarsi per un sollecito disbrigo della pratica.
Debbo tutto a Voi, reverendo Padre, e nelle mie preghiere Vi ho sempre
presente e ringrazio Iddio davermi concesso di conoscerVi e il Vostro aiuto.
Riconosco che solo la fede in Lui mi diede la forza per sopportare tante
tristi e luttuose prove, mi addolora per che la mia fidanzata abbia dovuto
3 aggiungere alle sue pene pure le mie, perch tanto | doloroso apportare
dolori alla persona che si ama e vorrebbe felice.
Scusatemi ed accettate in uno ai miei riverenti saluti i miei pi profondi
ringraziamenti e quelli della mia fidanzata.

Vostro dev.mo
Antonio Toribolo
[]

* * *
Trieste, 1 ottobre 1942 XX

Reverendissimo Padre,

gi varie volte mi sono provato a scriverVi, poi, conscio dabusare della Vostra
bont, ho desistito.
DescriverVi il mio stato superfluo, le notti che trascorro insonni mi
lasciano inebetito, non posso ragionare n applicarmi al mio lavoro come
dovrei. La Prefettura, poche settimane dopo la richiesta, trasmise le infor-
mazioni richieste.
35. antonio toribolo 345

* * *
Trieste, 20 July 1942-XX

Most Reverend Father,

I received Your letter on the 15th of this month and I was crushed by it. I
would have wanted not to communicate it to my fiance, but even though I
tried to conceal what had happened to avoid new pain on her account, she
grasped at once that I was hiding something and I had to show her the letter.
I have faith in God and from Him must come the faith to support this new
trial.
His Excellency the Prefect was away from Trieste and it was only Saturday
when I could let him have the letter. He was very polite | and courteous, 2
after reading your letter he promised me that he would concern himself for
a prompt resolution of the matter.
I owe everything to You, reverend Father, and in my prayers I always hold
You present and I thank God for having allowed me to know You and Your
help.
I recognize that only faith in Him gave me the strength to support so many
sad and mournful trials; it hurts, however, that my fiance has had to add my
own sufferings to hers, because it is so | painful to bring sorrow to the person 3
one loves and would like to see happy.
Forgive me and accept together with my reverent greetings my most
profound thanks and those of my fiance.

Yours most truly


Antonio Toribolo

* * *
Trieste, 1 October 1942-XX

Most Reverend Father,

Already on a number of occasions I have tried to write to You, but then, afraid
to abuse Your goodness, I desisted.
It would be superfluous for me to describe my state to You. The nights I
endure without sleep leave me senseless, I cannot reason nor apply myself
to my work as I should. The Prefecture, a few weeks after the request,
transmitted the required information.
346 primary sources

Padre! Minvitaste a confidare in DioEgli certamente maiut a superare


momenti di sconforto e di dolore particolarmente nel veder soffrire la mia
fidanzata e per tutto il resto a Voi noto. Una benevola, giusta e rapida
risoluzione della pratica ci apporterebbe la vita, mentre se in tale attesa
trapelasse lattuale mia situazione, le conseguenze sarebbero irrimediabili.
Voglio fare una breve sintesi della mia vita perch possiate maggior-
mente conoscermi e giudicarmi. Di famiglia dorigine Veneta, mio nonno
nato a Trieste, avvocato, crebbe i suoi figli nellamore dellItalia e fidente
nellannessione di Trieste alla Madre Patria, mor nel 1914, dolente di non
poter assistere al fausto evento storico che presagiva. Mio padre, che gi
da studente fu perseguitato dalla polizia austriaca per manifestazioni irre-
2 dentiste, | non riusc allo scoppio della guerra a riparare in Italia, mentre
invece ci riuscirono due altri miei zii, uno il capitano Guido Bellen (con-
dannato in contumacia alla pena di morte) e che tuttora in vita; laltro
Alberto Trenca che fece tutta la guerra come capitano dei bersaglieri e dece-
duto quattordici anni or sono per causa di inguaribile male contratto in
trincea.
Mio Padre venne inviato in un forte della Boemia (Theresienstadt), dove
si prodig per aiutare gli altri irredentisti. Mia madre ed io lo raggiungemmo.
Fu l che dovetti frequentare le scuole elementari tedesche assieme agli altri
due unici ragazzi italiani (i figli del dottor Giachin di Pola) e perch italiani
fummo continuo oggetto degli insulti degli altri alunni.
In una fredda giornata dinverno, avendo terminato prima la scuola, mi
avviai coi Giachin verso casa, quando fummo rincorsi da ragazzi pi anziani
e, poich ero io il pi piccolo (avevo sei anni), fui raggiunto e gettato in una
vasca sita nel centro della piazza dopo che avevano spezzato lo strato di
ghiaccio. Sopraggiunto mio padre, egli riusc ad estrarmi dallacqua ancora
in vita, ma mi buscai una broncopolmonite che mi fece delirare per pi
settimane tanto che il medico curante si espresse che se sopravvivevo pro-
babilmente le mie facolt mentali ne sarebbero menomate. Difatti il mio
sistema nervoso rimase scosso per parecchi anni. Cos da bambino, attra-
verso umiliazioni e dolori, appresi ad amare la Patria ed ero orgoglioso
desser italiano.
Nel 1919 mio padre e con lui mio Zio Bellen, gi menzionato, furono tra
i primi assertori del fascismo e mi fu insegnato ad amare il Duce. [Come]
ragazzo feci parte delle organizzazioni fasciste, nel 1926 ero milite, poi capo-
squadra ed infine aiutante. Fui presidente di un dopolavoro e mai cessai di
prodigarmi per la Patria e il Fascismo.
35. antonio toribolo 347

Father! You invited me to trust in GodHe certainly helped me to over-


come moments of discouragement and of sorrow especially in seeing the
suffering of my fiance and for all the rest which You know about. A benev-
olent, just, and rapid resolution of the affair would restore life to us, while
if during this wait my actual situation should leak out, the consequences
would be irreparable.
I would like to sketch a brief synthesis of my life so that You can better
know me and judge me. From a family of Venetian origin, my grandfather
born in Trieste, a lawyer, brought up his children with a love for Italy and
confident in the annexation of Trieste to the Motherland, he died in 1914,
sorrowful not to be able to witness the happy historical event which he
foresaw. My father, who from the time he was a student was wanted by the
Austrian police for his participation in Irredentist demonstrations, | did not 2
succeed at the declaration of war to make it to Italy, while, instead, two of my
uncles did, one Captain Guido Bellen (condemned to death in absentia), and
who is still living; the other Alberto Trenca who served through the entire
war as a captain of the bersaglieri. He died fourteen or so years ago from
incurable ailments contracted in the trenches.
My Father was sent to a fort in Bohemia (Theresienstadt), where he
exerted himself to aid other irredentists. My mother and I joined him. It was
there that I had to attend the German elementary schools together with the
only two other Italian boys (the sons of Dr. Giachin of Pola), and because we
were Italian we were the objects of constant insults from the other students.
One cold winter day, having finished school earlier, I headed home with
the Giachin boys and were chased by some older boys, and since I was
the youngest (I was six years old), I was caught and thrown into a large
tank situated in the center of the piazza after they broke through a layer
of ice. When my father arrived, he succeeded in extracting me from the
water still alive, but I came down with a pneumonia which caused me to
be delirious for several weeks, so severely that the attending physician said
that if I survived probably my mental faculties would be impaired. In fact,
my nervous system remained affected for a number of years. Thus, as a child,
through humiliation and pain, I learned to love my country and I was proud
to be Italian.
In 1919, my father, together with the already mentioned uncle Bellen, were
among the first supporters of Fascism and I was taught to love the Duce. As a
boy I was a member of Fascist organizations, in 1926 I became a militiaman,
then head of squad and finally adjutant. I was the president of a workers
after hours group and I never ceased exerting myself for my homeland and
for Fascism.
348 primary sources

A diciottanni, rimasto orfano del padre, troncai gli studi e provvidi al


sostentamento della madre ammalata e del fratello decenne che oggi un
combattente e paracadutista. Ecco perch mi ribello contro il disgraziato
3 caso incorsomi, senza non solo averne colpa, ma | posso ben diresoltanto
per essere oggetto di un equivoco.
Ho prodigato sempre tutto me stessosenza nulla chiederelappar-
tenere alla milizia nocque alla mia carriera modesta e lenta di lavoratore,
attraversai lunghi e disagiatissimi periodima non difettai dalla mia fede e
dai doveri impostimi.
Potessi arrivare al Duce, sono certo che Egli mi renderebbe immediata
giustizia e mi approverebbe desser ricorso a lui. Una vita interamente dedita
alla fede e ai doveri avr bene un diritto e di questo mi faccio fortenon per
mema per la mia fidanzata.
Padre! Vi supplico consigliatemi ed aiutatemi ancora e perdonatemi.

Vostro devotissimo,
Antonio Torribolo
[]

* * *
Trieste, 14 dicembre 1942, XXI

Reverendissimo Padre,

dal locale Municipio mi stata comunicata ufficialmente la risoluzione


della mia situazione.
Non trovo parole per esprimere la riconoscenza mia e quella della mia
fidanzata per il bene che mi avete prodigato. Contiamo sposarci al pi presto
e di venire a Roma per esternarvi tutta la nostra gratitudine ed ottenere la
Vostra benedizione.
Nelle nostre preghiere Vi ricordiamo e ricorderemo sempre.

Vostro devotissimo
Antonio Toribolo
[]
35. antonio toribolo 349

At eighteen, at the death of my father, I stopped my studies and provided


for the support of my sick mother and ten-year old brother who today is in
combat as a parachutist. This is why I rebel against the unfortunate situation
which has befallen me, through no fault of mine, but | I can well say, merely 3
because I am the victim of a mistake.
I have always given of my entire self-without asking for anything
belonging to the militia harmed my modest and tentative career as a worker,
I endured long and troubled periodsbut I never let down my faith and the
duties imposed on me.
If I could reach the Duce, I am certain that He immediately would do
justice by me and would approve that I had appealed to him. A life entirely
dedicated to faith and to duties must indeed have a claim and for this reason
I draw strengthnot for myselfbut for my fiance.
Father! I beseech You, counsel me and help me once more and forgive me.

Yours most truly


Antonio Toribolo

* * *
Trieste, 14 December 1942-XXI

Most Reverend Father,

The local Municipal office has officially communicated to me the resolution


of my situation.
I cannot find the words to express my gratitude and that of my fiance
for the good you have brought me. We are intending to marry at the earliest
moment and to come to Rome to express to You all our gratitude and obtain
Your blessing.
We remember You in our prayers and will always do so.

Yours most truly


Antonio Toribolo
36. Gioconda Vitale

Gioconda Vitale in Terni was born July 2, 1914 to a mixed couple of Milan
Leopoldo Vitale and Emma Bissi.140 From the documents in Tacchi Venturis
archive we learn that in November 1937 she married Paolo Terni (son of
Vito Terni and Gina Foligno) according to the Jewish rite, even though
under the influence of her Christian mothershe was later baptized (on
September 12, 1938, just before the October 1 deadline established by the
government), remarried the same day in St. Francesca Romana church in
Milan, and had her daughter, Adriana Barbara Terni, baptized six days after
her birth on December 4, 1938. Her application for Aryanization was turned
down because of her Jewish marriage. Giocondas mother then wrote a letter
to Tacchi Venturi, a follow-up of their meeting in Rome in June 1939, in which
Bissi argues that her daughter should undoubtedly be considered Aryan,
for her Jewish marriage was just a formality succumbing to the will of her
husbands grandfather, who was close to death, and did not represent her
true inclination to the Christian religion of her mother. Furthermore, she
continued, Bissis late husband never practiced the Jewish religion. Indeed,
he was buried in a Christian cemetery. In response to Bissis lettera
mothers cry of anguishTacchi Venturi advised her to reapply by adding
the extenuating circumstances she mentioned in her letter, because a new
Demorazza committee had resumed its activities that had been suspended
for months. No further information about the fate of Gioconda Vitale is
known, except that her husband himself left Italy for the Americas, even
before Emma Bissi wrote to Tacchi Venturi. The United States immigration
records indicate the arrival of Gioconda V. Terni (b. 1914 in Milan) to Los
Angeles. Very likely she is the same Gioconda Vitale who married Paolo
Terni.

140 Leopoldo Vitale was born in Alessandria about 1861 and died in San Remo on Febru-
ary 9, 1933. He was a son of Anselmo Vitale and Benedetta Ottolenghi. Emma Bissi was born
in Pontedellolio July 5, 1884 to Vincenzo Vitale and Bellarosa.
36. gioconda vitale 351

Fig. 24. Emma Bissis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


352 primary sources

* * *

Reverendo D. Pietro Tacchi Venturi,

Venni da Voi a Roma nel mese di giugno e ho tardato finora a scriverVi,


perch avevo saputo da Voi che ogni attivit sarebbe stata sospesa per il
periodo di ferie.
La bont e la compassione che ho sentito nellanimo vostro mi danno
forza e coraggio per supplicarvi ancora, ardentemente, perch vogliate, nel
magnanimo senso di vostra giustizia e di carit cristiana, riprendere in
esame la pratica concernente Gioconda Vitale in Jess e fare quanto sar
possibile in Voi per ridare alla mia povera figliola un po di pace; quella
pace che vorr a mantenere quella fede che ha profonda malgrado le ultime
terribili prove.
Come avrete potuto consta[ta]re dallesposto che Vi abbiamo consegnato,
la mia figliola, senza il minimo dubbio, deve essere considerata ariana, per-
ch nata da matrimonio misto anche se, cedendo alle insistenze, veramente
dure, del nonno del marito (vecchio di novanta due anni e morto un mese
dopo il matrimonio) annu di contrarre matrimonio con rito ebraico. Ci
le cost sacrificio perch essa, educata da me cristianamente, ebbe inclina-
zione per la mia religione che adott facendosi cristiana in data anteriore il
Io ottobre 1938 e ricelebrando il matrimonio con rito cristiano e battezzando
la sua creatura nata a Milano al 4 dicembre 1938.
Fu educata in collegi religiosi e Don Stoppani e Don Mutroni furono i
suoi educatori in maturit religiosa, come possono far fede le dichiarazioni
lasciate dai medesimi. Il padre suo, pur essendo ebreo, non pratic mai il
suo culto, tanto chegli non volle esser sepolto nel cimitero ebraico, men-
tre riposa lultimo sonno nel loculo N. 260 nel cimitero cristiano, come
facile constatare; laltra mia figliola (e io ho solo due figlie) ha sposato un
ariano. Sono elementi questi che possono chiaramente dimostrare che la
mia figliola non ha, non pu avere inclinazioni ebraiche e che il suo matrimo-
nio fu semplicemente un atto formale, non sostanziale, fatto solo per togliere
2 dissidi nei riguardi della famiglia dello sposo. |
Ha ricorso per essere considerata ariana; purtroppo la sua domanda fu
respinta e io attesto allo spettacolo della disperazione della mia figliola
che accusa il marito daverla spinta a un atto contrario alla sua convin-
zione; che ha un dibattito dolorosissimo di coscienza, come Voi potete
immaginare; che ha una spina nel cuore altrettanto dolorosa, pensando alle
36. gioconda vitale 353

* * *
[FTV 2317]

Reverend D. Pietro Tacchi Venturi,

I came to You in Rome in the month of June and I have delayed writing up
to now because I had learned from You that all activity would be suspended
during the holidays.
The goodness and compassion which I felt in your soul give me the
strength and courage to beseech You once more, ardently, that You may,
in the magnanimous sense of your justice and Christian charity, renew
your examination of the case concerning Gioconda Vitale in Jess and do
whatever shall be possible to You to restore some peace of mind to my poor
daughter; the peace needed to maintain that faith which she harbors deeply
in spite of the last terrible trials.
As You have been able to ascertain from the account we presented to
You, my daughter without the slightest doubt, has to be considered Aryan,
because she was born in a mixed marriage even if, succumbing to the really
forceful insistence on the part of her husbands grandfather (ninety-two
years old and deceased a month after the wedding) she consented to be
married in the Jewish rite. This involved a sacrifice because she, brought
up by me as a Christian, inclined toward my religion which she adopted
becoming a Christian before October 1, 1938 and celebrating her marriage
anew by the Christian rite and baptizing the little child born at Milan on
December 4, 1938.
She was educated in religious colleges and Don Stoppani and Don
Mutroni were her teachers in religious studies, as the statements made by
the aforementioned attest. Her father, although a Jew, never practiced his
cult, to the point that he did not want to be buried in the Jewish cemetery,
and is resting in his final sleep in tomb n. 260 of the Christian cemetery,
as it is easy to ascertain. My other daughter (and I only have two) married
an Aryan. These are elements that can easily demonstrate that my daughter
does not have, cannot have Jewish leanings and that her marriage was simply
a formal act, not an essential one, only performed so as to eliminate dissen-
sion in her husbands family. | 2
She has appealed to be considered Aryan; unfortunately, her request was
rejected and I am witness to the spectacle of my daughters desperation who
accuses her husband of having pressured her to perform an act contrary to
her convictions; who is undergoing an extremely painful debate in her con-
354 primary sources

gravi conseguenze che un suo atto inconsulto pu portare alla sua piccola
innocente creatura.
[] il marito che partito per le lontane Americhe. [] fate, Padre, chella,
qualunque cosa debba accadere, possa avere una patria, una famiglia nella
nostra Italia. Quanto vi espongo un grido dangoscia materno; ma avete un
omaggio sereno alla verit.
So che mai inutilmente si fa appello al vostro senso di giustizia e di
umanit cristiana. Se potete fare qualcosa per noi, in nome di Dio aiutateci!
Vogliate, Vi prego, dirmi, se Vi consta che sia stata costituita, o sia in pro-
cinto di esserlo, la commissione presso il Ministero degli Interni, prevista
dallultimo decreto per la razza. Vi sarei infinitamente grata, se mi vorre-
ste ritornare la bozza di ricorso, che Vi lasciai, con qualche vostra preziosa
osservazione, particolarmente per ci che riguarda il profilo di diritto cano-
nico (dove, mi fu detto, il ricorso piuttosto defic[i]ente).
Ho molte speranze in Voi e ho la convinzione, come donna profonda-
mente credente, che Dio, al disopra di tutto e di tutti esaudir la mia pre-
ghiera; che in questione tanto tragica e dolorosa un raggio di sole briller
nella casa della mia figliuola.
Vi ossequio con tutta deferenza e fiducia

Emma Bissi ved. Vitale


Tadino 44, Milano

* * *
21.9.39.XVII

Gent.ma Signora,

Sono pieno di compassione, come gi ebbi a dirvi a voce, per il caso della
vostra figliuola. La risposta data dalla Commissione giusta secondo la
legge; lunico suggerimento chio posso darvi per quanto mi consta essersi
fatto in altri casi analoghi a vostra figlia, di chiedere S.E. Ministro dellIn-
terno un nuovo esame della questione, adducendo le circostanze che pos-
sono influire in un responso di grazia, e sono pressappoco le stesse che
esponete nella vostra lettera del 18 c.m.
Non sono in grado naturalmente dirvi nulla dellesito che potr avere
questo nuovo passo; dico solo che nelle presenti circostanze non veggo
quale altra via si possa tentare.
36. gioconda vitale 355

science, as You can imagine; who has a thorn thrust through her heart that
is equally painful, reflecting on the serious consequences that a thoughtless
act on her part can have on her small, innocent child.
[] the husband who has departed for the distant Americas []. Act,
Father, so that she, whatever thing might occur, will have a homeland, a
family in that Italy of ours. What I am expounding to you is a maternal cry
of anguish; but you have a serene regard for the truth.
I know that one never appeals to your sense of justice and Christian
humanity in vain. If you can do something for us, in the name of God help
us!
If you will, I beseech You, tell me if you know whether the commission in
the Ministry of the Interior, provided for in the last racial decree has been
constituted, or is about to be. I would be infinitely grateful to you if you
would return to me the draft of the appeal that I left with You, with some
precious observation on your part, especially in that which pertains to canon
law (an aspect in which I was told, the appeal is rather deficient).
I place great hopes in You and I am convinced, as a woman who is a
profound believer, that God, who is above everything and everybody will
listen to my prayer; that in such a tragic and painful matter a ray of sun will
shine in my daughters house.
I pay my respects with complete deference and trust.

Emma Bissi, widow Vitale


Tadino 44, Milan

* * *
21 September 1939-XVII

Gentle Lady,

I am full of compassion, as I have already told you by voice, over the case
of your daughter. The reply given by the Commission is just in terms of the
law; the only suggestion that I can make to you in light of what I believe was
done in other cases similar to your daughters, is to ask His Excellency the
Minister of the Interior for a new examination of the question, adducing the
circumstances that might influence a favorable response, and they are more
or less those you present in your letter of the 18th of this month.
Naturally I am not in a position to say anything about a possible outcome
that this new step might have; all I can say is that in the present circum-
stances I do not see what other steps one can attempt.
356 primary sources

Il nuovo tribunale stato gi costituito, ma non ancora funziona; esso,


2 per, mi affretto a dirlo per risparmiarsi inutili tentativi, non ha alcuna |
competenza in casi come quello che tanto giustamente Vinteressa.
Quanto alla bozza che mi scrivete avermi lasciata, mi duole di non averla
potuta rintracciare fra le mie carte.

Con religioso ossequio,

* * *

Milano, 18 Ottobre 1939 XVII

Reverendo Padre,

Le parole della vostra lettera cos piena di piet per la mia povera figliola
Gioconda Vitale in Terni, la premura che avete avuta nel rispondere alle mie
povere parole che racchiudevano per tanta riconoscenza e tanta fede per
Voi e in Voi, mi incoraggiano non solo a supplicarvi ancora con tutte le forze
del mio animo ad aiutarci, ma anche ad accludere alla presente la bozza
che Vi avevo lasciata a Roma e che, disgraziatamente, and smarrita, con la
preghiera di volerla prendere in esame.
A tutte le sofferenze gi accennateVi che tentano la mia figliola unaltra se
ne aggiunge. La colpa cio che fa al marito daverla spinta a fare un atto a cui
la sua coscienza si ribellava. una sottile quanto intossicatrice insidia che la
mia figliola, giovane e inesperta, forse neppure avverte, ma che a me fa tanta
paura, perch minaccia il suo focolare, lavvenire suo e della sua creatura.
Padre, dopo aver preso in esame la pratica, dateci il vostro prezioso
consiglio; additateci la strada da tenere e, se possibile, appoggiateci con la
vostra autorevole personalit.

Con religioso ossequio e [] fiducia


Emma BissiVed. Vitale
Via Tadino, no. 44
Milano
36. gioconda vitale 357

The new tribunal has already been constituted, but is not functioning yet.
However, and I hasten to say so to save us from useless attempts, it has no | 2
competence in cases such as the one which quite justly interests You.
As for the outline which you write that you had left with me, it pains me
that I have not been able to locate it among my papers.

With religious respects,


[Pietro Tacchi Venturi, S.J.]

* * *
[FTV 2360]

Milan, 18 October 1939-XVII

Reverend Father,

The words contained in your letter, so full of pity for my poor daughter
Gioconda Vitale Terni, the solicitude which you showed in responding to my
poor words which, however, contain so much gratitude and so much faith
for You and in You, encourage me not only to entreat you once again with all
my heart to help us, but also to enclose in the present letter, with my prayer
that you take it in consideration, the draft I had left in Rome and which,
unfortunately, was lost.
To all the sufferings afflicting my daughter already brought to Your atten-
tion, one more can be added. The blame she holds against her husband
of having pressured her to commit an act against which her conscience
rebelled. It is a subtle and intoxicating deception which my daughter, young
and inexperienced, perhaps does not even discern, but which frightens me
so much, because it threatens her home, her future and that of her child.
Father, after you have examined the case, give us your precious advice;
point out to us the path to follow and, if possible, help us with your author-
itative person.

With my religious respect [] and faith


Emma Bissi-Widow Vitale
Via Tadino, no. 44
Milan
37. Sigmund Weigl

Sigmund Weigl was born in Birnbaum (Moravia) on June 13, 1879. During
WWII, he lived in Vienna. His daughter, Rosa Weigl in Gangi, married an
Italian of Fiume (which was under Italian administration at that time),
where she moved. She must have contacted Rabbi Carlo Zelikovits who
wrote the following letter to Tacchi Venturi, asking him to arrange for Sig-
mund Weigl to come to Fiume, so that he, who was ill, could stay with
his ailing daughter and avoid being deported to a concentration camp in
Poland. Because the racial laws prohibited a foreign Jew from entering
Italian territory, Tacchi Venturi had to intervene with the head of police,
Carmine Senise. Neither the rabbi nor the Jesuit could do anything else for
the Viennese Jew, foras the Central Database of Shoah Victims Names
informs ushe was deported to Kovno in Lithuania, where he was killed
on November 24, 1941, four days before Zelikovits wrote his letter to Tacchi
Venturi.
The letter, the only one by a rabbi to be found in the Jesuits archive,
testifies to the appreciation Rabbi Zelikovits had for Tacchi Venturis work
saving Jewish lives. As he wrote, You know, as well as I the Talmudic verse:
Who saves a human life, it is as if he had saved an entire world. 141

141 Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.


37. sigmund weigl 359

Fig. 25. Rabbi Zelikovitss typed letter to Tacchi Venturi.


360 primary sources

* * *

Rabb. Carlo Zelikovits


FIUME

Fiume, l 27 novembre 1941.XX

Rev.mo Padre Pietro TACCHI VENTURI


ROMA

Padre,

linfinita bont e squisita gentilezza, colla quale accoglieste sempre le prati-


che che mi sono permesso di raccomandarVi, mincoraggiano di invocare il
Vostro alto interessamento pure al pietoso caso, che mi prendo la libert di
esporVi.
Questa volta si tratta, in semplici parole, di salvare una vita umana,
duna persona buona e distintissima, che non ha altra colpa al suo pas-
sivo, che quello dessere ebreo. Egli vive a Vienna e [con] la minaccia di
venire deportato in Polonia, dovrebbe necessariamente morire di fame o di
freddo, poich cost queste disgraziate anime vengono riunite sotto il cielo,
in dei campi di concentramento, senza la pur minima assistenza, comple-
tamente abbandona[ti] alla loro sorte. Malato gravemente di cuore, com,
non potrebbe reggere, nemmeno per breve tempo, ai disagi che lo atten-
dono.
Si pertanto pensato di farlo ottenere un visto per poter venire in Italia
allo scopo di visitare sua famiglia unica, una figlia gravemente malata, qui
abitante dal suo matrimonio a Fiume. Una volta qui, si potrebbe in un
secondo tempo, presentare domanda pel suo internamento e salvarlo cos,
dalla triste sorte che lo attenderebbe in Polonia.
Non so, stimatissimo Padre, quanto queste congetture siano basate sulla
realt e quanto vorreste e potreste fare per la loro realizzazione. Ma Voi
conoscete, quanto me, il detto talmudico: Chi salva una vita umana, come
avesse salvato un mondo intero. Pertanto, se il piano di sopra non fosse
attuabile, vorrei pregarVi di fare valere la Vostra altissima autorit, acciocch
il disgraziato in parola venga aiutato ed appoggiato a mezzo del Vaticano,
poich sono convinto che, se il Vaticano si interesser di lui, il mio racco-
2 mandato non si perder, neanche in Polonia. |
37. sigmund weigl 361

* * *
[FTV 2564]

Rabb. Carlo Zelikovits


Fiume

Fiume, 27 November 1941-XX

Most Reverend Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi


Rome

Father,

The infinite goodness and exquisite courtesy with which you always re-
ceived the cases which I permitted myself to recommend to You, encourage
me to invoke Your high concern even for the pitiful case which I take the
liberty of presenting to You.
This time it is a matter, in simple words, of saving a human life, of a good
and most distinguished person, who has no other fault than that of being a
Jew. He is living in Vienna and with the threat of being deported to Poland
would necessarily die from hunger or cold, because there these unfortunate
souls are held under open skies in concentration camps, without the mini-
mum of care, completely abandoned to their fates. Suffering from a serious
heart ailment, he could not bear, not even briefly, the hardships that await
him.
We have, therefore, thought to have him obtain a visa to be able to come
to Italy for the purpose of visiting his only family, a daughter, gravely ill,
residing here due to her marriage in Fiume. Once he is here, we could
eventually ask for his internment and thus save him from the sad fate that
would await him in Poland.
I do not know, esteemed Father, how much these conjectures may be
based on reality and how much You would want and could do for their real-
ization. But You know, as well as I the Talmudic verse: Who saves a human
life, it is as if he had saved an entire world. Thus, if the aforementioned plan
could not be realized, I would beseech You to take advantage of Your high
authority so that the poor wretch here mentioned might be aided and sup-
ported through the Vatican, since I am convinced that, if the Vatican should
interest itself in him, my recommended person will not be lost, not even in
Poland. | 2
362 primary sources

Padre, io conosco il Vostro grande cuore, la Vostra calda anima compren-


siva ed oso sperare che, farete quanto Vi possibile i[n] favore dun essere
tanto disgraziato!
Ve ne ringrazio con tutto il calore del mio cuore e Vi prego di per[me]t-
termi di invocare su di Voi la benedizione Divina.
Vi porgo le espressioni della mia pi alta e sincera stima.

Vostro dev.mo
[unreadable signature]

P.S. Ecco i dati che possono essere utili allo svolgimento della pratica:
Sigmund WEIGL, nato a Birnbaum (Protettorato Boemo-Moravo) il 13 giu-
gno 1879, cittadino tedesco di razza ebraica, residente a Vienna, in Wien I,
Habsbuergergasse 5. malato di cuore. Sua figlia, Rosa Weigl in GANGI,
abita a Fiume, via Edm. de Amicis 5 ed gravemente malata.
37. sigmund weigl 363

Father, I know Your great heart, Your warm, understanding soul and I dare
to hope that You will do whatever is possible for such an unfortunate being!
I thank you with all the fervor in my heart and beseech You to permit me
to invoke Divine benediction over You.
I extend the expression of my highest and most sincere esteem.

Yours most devotedly


[illegible signature]

P.S. Here is the information that may be useful in pursuing the case: Sigmund
Weigl, born in Birnbaum (Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia) June 13, 1879,
German citizen of the Jewish race, residing in Vienna, Wien I, Habsbuerg-
ergasse 5. He suffers from heart disease. His daughter, Rosa Weigl (married
name Gangi), via Ed. de Amicis 5, is gravely ill.
38. Giulia Zacutti

From a copy of the application that Giulia Zacutti sent to Tacchi Venturi
with attached documents we learn that she was born in 1885 in Padua to
Ciro Zacutti and Annetta Udine. As a child she attended the Professoresse
Signorine Quomo School in Pesaro, where she was baptized. In Pesaro, she
also studied music at the G. Rossini Conservatory. After some years, she
returned to Padua. Because of her Catholic feelings and other family rea-
sons that she did not spell out in her application, Giulia did not live with her
parents but with her paternal uncles, Achille and Carlo, who were Catholic
and wed to Aryan women. Later, Zacutti married an Italian of pure Aryan
race, Antonio Viola, who died in 1928. She had with him two daughters
(the name of one of them was Edda), who were sent to be educated by the
Catholic nuns in Crespano Veneto (Crespano del Grappa near Treviso). Giu-
lias daughters married Ignazio Gazetta and Tullio Rasia dal Polo, Aryan Ital-
ians, who were decorated participants in the Great War. Many of Zacuttis
cousins were also veterans, whose contributions to the homeland she exten-
sively cites in her letter.
Giulia declared herself a fervid believer in Fascism and an enemy of
any subversive communist or masonic organization. Indeed, she relates that
in 1924 a vile communist had assaulted her in Florence. Zacutti entered
the female branch of the Fascio and since 1936 had held a title of visitatrice
(home visitor) in the Fascist Mario Gioda Group in Turin.142 On the occasion
of the wedding of her daughter Edda, she composed an award winning piece
of music dedicated to Mussolini, for which the Duce thanked her in a letter
dated May 30, 1930. She also composed Linno delle donne fasciste and Il
canto dei confinari, for which Mussolini thanked her in a telegram that she
preserved.
The case of Zacutti was warmly recommended by the curia of the arch-
bishop of Turin, which contacted Tacchi Venturi on December 31, 1938, and
by the Vaticans secretary of state, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli. Tacchi Venturi
wrote the undersecretary of internal affairs, Guido Buffarini Guidi, on Jan-
uary 4, 1939, asking him to consider Zacuttis application because she had
many merits, by which she was entitled to be declared Aryan. Two years
later, Tacchi Venturi interceded again with the Italian government on behalf

142 Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il rivoluzionario: 18831920 (Turin: Einaudi, 1995), 594.
38. giulia zacutti 365

of the poor zitella who risked becoming a beggar. In response he was


informed that her case had to be examined by a special committee, which at
that time had suspended its meetings. This situation must have not changed
until May 1942, when Zacutti wrote Tacchi Venturi, asking again for help
with her application.
The Jesuits archive contain an abundant documentation regarding the
case of Tullio Zacutti,143 born in Venice to Fortunato Zacutti, who was
Jewish, and Maddalena Ronchi, who was an Aryan Catholic converted to
Judaism, but the information contained therein does not reveal any blood
relation to Giulia Zacutti.144

143 See Maryks, Pouring Jewish Water into Fascist Wine, 25558.
144 Ibid., 25054.
366 primary sources

* * *

Torino, 1 gennaio 1939

Reverendissimo Padre Tacchi Venturi,

Mi permetto di ricorrere alla ben nota bont di V.S.R. fiduciosa che V.P. vorr
aiutarmi nelle difficili contingenze in cui mi trovo.
Israelita di nascita, venni battezzata privatamente fin da piccina e le ceri-
monie del mio Battesimo vennero supplite nel 1933 alla parrocchia della
Madonna degli Angeli di questa Citt di Torino. Ho due figlie che vennero
battezzate ed educate cattolicamente in Collegio di Suore. Vedova da dieci
anni di un cattolico ariano desideravo sposare un cattolico con cui convivo
fin dalla mia vedovanza, ma non potei mai effettuare questo mio desiderio
per la assoluta contraria volont dei miei genitori, i quali solamente oggi,
dopo le disposizioni prese dal Governo Nazionale nei riguardi degli Ebrei,
hanno smessa la loro formale opposizione. Se non che, caduta la loro oppo-
sizione, io mi trovo nella impossibilit di regolarizzare la mia situazione a
causa del noto divieto che proibisce il matrimonio fra ariani e non ariani.
V. Paternit potr comprendere in quale tristissima condizione io mi
trovi. Sono cattolica con famiglia cattolica e non posso sposare un cattolico
a causa della mia origine israelita. Non vi adunque mezzo alcuno per far
riconoscere la mia condizione di cattolica e sistemare dinnanzi a Dio la mia
posizione?
Dopo dieci anni di convivenza col suaccennato individuo non m pos-
sibile abbandonarlo, tanto pi che ormai siamo ritenuti marito e moglie.
Voglia la V.P. occuparsi del mio doloroso caso e suggerirmi quello che io
possa fare per uscire da questa cos dolorosa situazione, ed eventualmente
appoggiare colla ben nota efficacia e cortesia Sua la domanda di discrimi-
nazione che alluopo ho presentata al competente Ministero.
Sicura di ottenere [] dalla P.V.R. ne porgo fin dora i miei sentiti ringra-
ziamenti in anticipo, mentre con la massima osservanza passo a professarmi
di V.P.R.

Dev[otissima] Giulia Zacutti


Corso R[egio] Parco 1, Torino
38. giulia zacutti 367

* * *
[FTV 2191]

Turin, 1 January 1939

Most Reverend Father Tacchi Venturi,

I take the liberty of appealing to the well-known goodness of Your Reverence


trusting that Your Paternity will want to help me in the difficult situation in
which I find myself.
Jewish by birth, I was baptized privately as a little girl and the ceremonies
of my Baptism were formalized in 1933 in the parish of the Madonna degli
Angeli here in Turin. I have two daughters who were baptized and educated
as Catholics in a College of nuns. The widow for ten years of a Catholic
Aryan, I have wanted to marry a Catholic with whom I have been living
since I was widowed, but I could not fulfill this desire due to the absolutely
contrary will of my parents, who only today, after the measures taken by
the National Government regarding Jews, dropped their formal opposition.
Except that, their objections out of the way, I find myself faced by the impos-
sibility of regularizing my situation because of the well-known prohibition
against marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans.
Your Paternity will understand in what an extremely sad situation I find
myself. I am a Catholic with a Catholic family and cannot marry a Catholic
because of my Jewish birth. Is there no way then to make known my condi-
tion of being a Catholic and regularize my position before God?
After ten years of co-habitation with the aforementioned person, it is not
possible for me to abandon him, especially since by now we are considered
to be husband and wife. Will Your Paternity occupy himself with my sor-
rowful case and suggest to me what I can do to get out of this so painful
situation, and possibly, with Your well known efficacy and courtesy, sup-
port the request for discrimination which I have presented to the competent
Ministry.
Certain of obtaining [relief] from Your Reverend Paternity, I extend as
of now my most heartfelt thanks, while with the greatest respect I profess
myself of Your Reverend Paternity,

Yours most truly Giulia Zacutti


Corso R[egio] Parco 1, Turin
368 primary sources

* * *
Torino, 30 aprile 1939

Reverendissimo Padre,

La ringrazio vivamente di quanto benevolmente mi ha comunicato in pro-


posito alla mia istanza e della speranza che mi infonde. Prego molto il
Signore che mi dia la forza di superare lo stato di dolorosa incertezza in cui
versi in questa penosissima attesa.
Il mio sogno sarebbe quello di poter estinguere la mia origine ebraica che
detesto, e di poter essere considerata ariana e come tale di essere riassunta
nel Partito, di cui gelosamente conservo le mie divise con la speranza di
poterle ancora onorevolmente indossare. Prego, supplico Vostra Paternit
Reverenda di unire le Sue sante preghiere alle mie fervidissime, e di racco-
mandare con la Sua grande personalit il mio caso disgraziatissimo.
Se dal Cielo Benedetto potr avere questa grande grazia, non dimenti-
cher mai il bene ricevuto da Vostra Paternit personalmente, verr a ringra-
ziarLa ed a lasciare nelle Sue pietose mani unofferta pro Missioni in segno
della mia riconoscenza.
Prego Vostra Paternit Reverenda di non rispondermi se non quando Le
sar dato di potermi dare una parola di lieta certezza sullesito della mia
istanza.
Con riverente filiale ossequio di Vostra Paternit La saluto.

Giulia Zacutti
Corso Regio Parco 1, Torino

* * *
Torino, 23 luglio 1939 XVII

Reverendissimo Padre,

Altra volta ebbi a pregarVi di non scrivermi fino a che non Vi fosse dato
di potermi comunicare qualcosa di certo in riguardo alla mia istanza di
discriminazione. Vogliate perdonarmi, R.P., lansia di cos lunga sconsolata
attesa [che] mi sta distruggendo fisicamente, e non so pi resistere alla
tentazione di importunare la Vostra grande e indulgente bont, pregandoVi
umilmente, sempre che Vi sia possibile, di volermi dare qualche indicazione
sulla sorte toccata alla mia istanza su cui fondai tante mie speranze.
38. giulia zacutti 369

* * *
Turin, 30 April 1939

Most Reverend Father,

I thank You profusely for what You have benevolently communicated regard-
ing my appeal and for the hope with which it fills me. I am praying hard
to the Lord that He may grant to me the strength to overcome the state of
painful uncertainty in which I find myself during this stressful waiting.
My dream would be to be able to extinguish my Jewish origin which I
detest, and to be considered Aryan and as such to be readmitted to the Party,
of which I jealously preserve my uniforms in the hope of being able honor-
ably to wear them again. I beseech, I supplicate Your Reverend Paternity to
join His holy prayers to my fervid ones, and to recommend with his great
authority my most unfortunate case.
If from the Blessed Heavens I shall be able to obtain this great grace, I shall
never forget the good I have received from Your Paternity and I shall come
personally to thank You and to leave in Your merciful hands an offering for
the Missions as a sign of my gratitude.
I beg Your Reverend Paternity not to reply except when You will be able
to give me a word of happy certainty on the outcome of my appeal.
With reverent filial respect towards Your paternity, I extend my greetings
to You.

Giulia Zacutti
Corso Regio Parco 1, Turin

* * *
Turin, 23 July 1939-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

The last time I beseeched You not to write until You were able to communi-
cate something certain in regard to my application for discrimination. Will
You forgive me, Reverend Father, the anxiety of such a long unhappy wait
which is destroying me physically, and I can no longer resist the temptation
to importune Your great and indulgent goodness, humbly beseeching You,
only if it is possible for You, to give me some indication concerning the fate
of my application on which I had placed so many of my hopes.
370 primary sources

Ho la pi viva fede nella nostra Santa Religione [e] la parola di conforto


del R. Padre mio confessore mi aiuta a vivere e mi rifugio pi che posso nel
Signore, offrendo a Lui Misericordioso il mio soffrire. Sono per una misera
donna ed ho dei momenti di debolezza e di accoramento, il mio spirito
malato e nulla posso pi fare se non otterr la grazia dessere discriminata.
Ho dovuto abbandonare la mia attivit di musicista con cos durissime e
tristi conseguenze spirituali e materiali, e per quanto cerchi di reagire non
riesco pi a sottrarmi alla situazione del mio animo.
Essere paragonata ad unebrea, io che fin da piccolina professai la fede
cattolica, e cos crebbero le mie creature e cos fu il mio povero marito, ci
mi deprime e mi umilia lanimo. Vi prego perci, Reverendo Padre, di volermi
scrivere qualcosa che valga a sollevarmi e confortarmi, Iddio Grande Ve ne
render centuplicato merito.
Nellattesa fiduciosa e certa di essere esaudita da Vostra Paternit Reve-
renda col massimo ossequio Vi bacio le benefiche mani.

Giulia Zacutti

* * *
Torino, 27 agosto 1939 XVII

Reverendissimo Padre,

Ho ricevuto la Vostra lettera e senzaltro ho deposto lidea di scrivere al Duce


esponendoGli il mio compassionevole caso. In Voi solo, Reverendo Padre, ho
il mio pi alto consigliere e Vi ringrazio di cuore della paterna bont di cui
mi beneficate.
In questo frattempo sono stata malata e perci non Vi ho subito risposto,
vogliate, R.P., perdonarmi per i disturbi che Vi reco nella mia impaziente
attesa di vedermi liberata da questa situazione dincubo, che purtroppo [h]a
fatto di me una ben povera cosa. Era tanta la speranza creatami dal parere
datomi da quel magistrato, che mero illusa di poter forse essere liberata
dalla mia odiata origine ebraica, ma ora so di non poter contare se non nel
Vostro paterno e autorevole aiuto, ed in Voi soltanto ripongo la speranza
dessere esaudita.
Molto mi conforta la Fede e la preghiera e chiedo al Signore Iddio che
mi conceda sempre la Vostra preziosa assistenza. Con lespressione del mio
reverente ossequio Vi bacio le sante mani.

Giulia Zacutti
38. giulia zacutti 371

I have the most lively faith in our Holy Religion, and the comforting word
of the Reverend Father, my confessor, helps me to live and I take refuge as
much as possible in the Lord, offering my suffering to Him the Merciful.
However, I am a pitiable woman and I have moments of weakness and of
heartache, my spirit is ailing and I cannot do anything more if I do not
obtain the grace of being discriminated. I have had to abandon my activity
of musician with harsh and sorrowful spiritual and material consequences,
and however much I try to react I can no longer free myself of the state of
my heart.
To be compared to a Jew, I who from childhood professed the Catholic
faith, and thus also my children were raised as was my poor husband, this
depresses me and humiliates my heart. I beseech You, therefore, Reverend
Father to write something to me that will serve to relieve me and comfort
me. God the Great will reward Your merit a hundredfold.
In the trusting and certain expectation of being supported by Your Rev-
erend Paternity, with the greatest respect I kiss Your beneficent hands.

Giulia Zacutti

* * *
Turin, 27 August 1939-XVII

Most Reverend Father,

I have received Your letter and I have absolutely abandoned the idea of writ-
ing to the Duce telling Him about my pathetic case. In You only, Reverend
Father, do I have my best counselor and I thank You with all my heart for the
paternal goodness with which You help me.
In the meanwhile, I have been ill and thus I did not reply to You right away.
Will You, Reverend Father, pardon me for the inconveniences I impose on
You in my impatient wait to see myself freed from this nightmarish situation,
which, unfortunately, has reduced me to a wretched thing. So great was the
hope created by the opinion given to me by that magistrate, that I fooled
myself into believing that I would be freed from my hated Jewish origins,
but now I know that I can only count on Your paternal and authoritative
help, and in You alone I rest my hope of being heard.
I am greatly comforted by Faith and prayer and I ask Lord God to always
grant to me Your precious assistance. With the expression of my reverent
respect, I kiss Your saintly hands.

Giulia Zacutti
372 primary sources

* * *
Reverendissimo Padre,

Non mi resta nel mio strazio che una ultima speranza, quella di implorare
Voi, supplicandoVi a mani giunte di fare qualche cosa per me che possa aiu-
tarmi a uscire da questa vita di dolore, di umiliazione e di degradazione che
sono caduta vittima innocente e che pi non posso assolutamente soppor-
tare. Indirizzatemi se potete a persona competente che possa aiutarmi e
dirigermi per tentare il procedimento di arianizzazione che mi assicurino
fattibile nel mio caso, e che altri in condizioni meno favorevoli sono riusciti.
Sinceramente ditemi se occorrono denari per le spese, che vender tutto
quel poco che posseggo. Padre Santo, salvatemi perch a Voi segretamente
dico che a una povera donna abbandonata dagli uomini e dal Signore non
resta altro che una sola soluzione. Morire. Vi chiedo in ginocchio perdono e
Vi bacio la santa Vostra mano.

OssequiandoVi,
Giulia Zacutti
Corso R[egio] Parco 1, Torino
[Torino], 13-5-1942
38. giulia zacutti 373

* * *
Most Reverend Father,

In my desolate case there remains nothing but one final hope, that of
imploring You, beseeching You with clasped hands to do something for
me that may help me to escape from this life of sorrow, humiliation, and
degradation into which I have fallen, innocent victim and which I absolutely
can no longer bear. If You can, address me to a competent person who will
help me and lead me to attempt to obtain Aryanization, which I have been
assured is doable in my case, and in which others in less favorable conditions
have succeeded. Sincerely, tell me if money is needed for the expenses, I shall
sell everything of that little which I possess. Holy Father, save me because
to You I secretly confide that to a poor woman abandoned by both men and
the Lord there remains but one solution. To die. I beseech Your pardon on
my knee and kiss Your saintly hand.

With respects,
Giulia Zacutti
Corso R[egio] Parco 1, Turin
[Turin,] May 13, 1942
374 primary sources

Fig. 26. Giulia Zacuttis handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


39. Adele Zangen Chodroner

Adele Zangen Chodroner and her daughter Eugenia Dittrich Chodroner


were German Jews who had converted to Protestantism. They moved to Italy
because of the serious heart problems of the former. After the promulgation
of the racial laws they submitted an application (not extant in Tacchi Ven-
turis archive) to extend their stay in Italy, which was granted. However, in
January 1939, they received an order from the police of Milan, requesting
them to leave the country before August 31 of that year. In the beginning
of August, Adele Zangen and her daughter wrote in broken Italian a letter
to Tacchi Venturi, in which they explained their deplorable situation. The
characteristic anxiety that permeates their letters led them even to write
that without the Jesuits help they would have only one solution left: find
asylum in another world, where peace reigns and whence nobody can drive
us away.
Tacchi Venturi reacted immediately by writing a letter to Undersecretary
Buffarini Guidi, in which he asked him to console the two ladies who seemed
to be losing their minds by thinking of killing themselves. The Jesuit also
argued that if they were not granted the permit to remain in Italy, they would
end up in a concentration camp in their homeland, Germany. The same day,
Tacchi Venturi wrote also a brief letter to Zangen informing her about his
intercession for her and her daughter. He could not guarantee anything
he wrotebut he was sure a delay of their departure from Italy would be
granted.
Thankful, Eugenia Dittrich replied to the Jesuit and asked for a meeting
with him during her trip to Rome on August 21. Tacchi Venturi must have
received her, for she wrote another letter upon her return to the Milanese
hotel, in which she thanked the Jesuit for the visit. In the conclusion of that
letter, she also asked him to suggest to her the name of a priest she might
meet, because for a long time she had desired to become a Catholic. She
also assured that her desire was not born just out of her gratitude to Tacchi
Venturi.
The deadline for leaving Italy having passed, the two Germans received
neither the governmental decision, nor the Jesuits reply. Alarmed, Eugenia
Dittrich wrote another apprehensive letter to Tacchi Venturi, asking for his
intervention, but no further information about their fate is to be found in
the Jesuits archive or elsewhere.
376 primary sources

* * *

Il [sic] 8 Agosto 1939

Al Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore Tacchi Venturi [sic]


Citt del Vaticano

Mi permetto di prendere la libert di rivolgermi all Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsi-


gnore per chiedervi il Suo benevole aiuto e la Sua alta protezione in questo
momento cos terribilmente tragico e disperato della nostra vita!
Mi stato riferito che Voi, Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore, ha [sic] la grande
bont dinteressarsi e dintervenire in casi simili al nostro e perci chiedo
perdono dellardire, fiduciosa nella bont e nella magnanimit dellanimo di
Voi, Rev.mo Monsignore, che vorr proteggere due povere donne infelici [!
Il nostro caso veramente pietoso: la mia povera Mamma det danni 64,
2 suddetta tedesca e io, | la sua unica figlia e parente di an[n]i 38 abitiamo
da parecchi anni in Italia, dove ci siamo trasferiti e preso definitivamente
residenza per causa della grave infermit della mia povera Mamma, quale
molto ammalata di cuore e si trova in uno stato avanzato di tubercolosi pol-
monare, solo il clima mite dItalia e assoluta tranquillit e molte cure sono
lunica speranza di prolungare la Sua povera vita. Disgraziatamente siamo
stati colpiti anche noi dalla legge contro la razza ebraica, pure essendo con-
vertiti al Protestantesimo da molti anni.
Per salvare la mia povera madre ho fatto di tutto per ottenere dal Mini-
stero degli Interni il permesso per poter rimanere in Italia. Nonostante che
3 la nostra domanda stata giudicata favorevole dalla Commissione | Esa-
minatrice nel gennaio d.q.a., abbiamo ricevuto improvvisamente lordine di
lasciare lItalia entro il 31. Agosto [].
Mi permetto daggiungere la copia della nostra domanda spedita ieri al
Ministero degli Interni a Roma per spiegare meglio all Ill.mo e Rev.mo
Monsignore la nostra situazione veramente disperata.
Siamo talmente abbattute che ci permettiamo di rivolgerci all Ill.mo e
Rev. Monsignore per invocare il Suo generoso aiuto nel nostro caso deplo-
revole, per ottenere il permesso di rimanere almeno qualche mese ancora
in Italia, essendo nella assoluta impossibilit di lasciare lItalia entro queste
mese, date le condizioni di salute della mia disgraziata Madre, e non avendo
potuto ottenere nessun visto n permesso per entrare in qualunque paese
4 confinante in un tempo | cos breve e senza aiuto daltrui.
39. adele zangen chodroner 377

* * *
[FTV 2307]

8 August 1939

To The Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Monsignor Tacchi Venturi


Vatican City

I take the liberty of appealing to the Most Illustrious and Reverend Mon-
signor to ask for His benevolent help and His high protection in this so
terribly tragic and desperate moment in our lives!
I have heard that You, Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor, possess
the great goodness of concerning himself and intervening in cases similar
to ours, and thus I ask forgiveness for our presumption, trusting in the
goodness and magnanimity of Your heart, Most Reverend Monsignor, that
You will want to protect two poor unhappy women!
Our case is truly pathetic: my poor mother is sixty-four years old, a Ger-
man subject, and I | her only daughter and relative thirty-eight years old have 2
been living in Italy for many years, where we moved and took permanent
residence because of the serious infirmity of my poor mother, who suffers
from serious heart disease and has an advanced case of pulmonary tubercu-
losis. Only Italys mild climate, absolute quiet and many cures offer the hope
of prolonging her poor life. Unfortunately, we too have been affected by the
law against the Jewish race, even though we had converted to Protestantism
many years ago.
To save my poor mother I have done everything possible to obtain from
the Ministry of the Interior permission to remain in Italy. Even though our
request was judged favorably by the Examining Commission | in January of 3
this year, we suddenly received an order to leave Italy by August 31 [].
I take the liberty of adding a copy of our application mailed yesterday
to the Ministry of the Interior in Rome so as to explain better to You Most
Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor our truly desperate situation.
We are so beaten down that we are allowing ourselves to turn to the
Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor to ask for His generous help in
our deplorable case so as to be able to remain at least some months more in
Italy, since it is absolutely impossible to leave Italy by the end of this month,
given the state of health of my unfortunate mother, and not having been
able to obtain any visas or permits to enter any bordering country in such a
brief time | and without any sort of help. 4
378 primary sources

Il mondo per noi oramai chiuso ermeticamente, non avendo pi parenti


vivi che possono aiutarci e se lIll.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore non ci viene in
aiuto, credo lunica soluzione per noi disgraziati sia di cercare asilo in un
altro mondo, dove regge la pace e da dove nessuno pi ci pu scacciare
Iddio ci perdoni il peccato!
Chiedo perdono dellardire, fiduciosa solo nella grande bont danima
dellIll.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore e della immensa piet della Santa Chiesa,
invocando con tutta la nostra speranza una risposta prossima, data la brevit
del tempo che ci resta, della quale lIll.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore ci vorr
onorare.

Con profonda osservanza


Eugenia Dittrich Chodroner
Adele Zangen Chodroner

Indirizzo: Albergo Continentale Milano

* * *
[second draft]

Sig. Adele Zangen Schodroner


Albergo Continentale
Milano

9.8.39

Ho ricevuto la Sua lettera di ieri e subito oggi stesso ho raccomandato a S.E.


il Sottosegretario di Stato per lInterno il pietoso suo caso.
Non sono naturalmente in grado di dirle quale potr essere leffetto della
mia intercessione, credo nondimeno di doverla assicurare che non sar
negato a Lei e a Sua figlia una qualche conveniente dilazione alla partenza
dallItalia.

Con religioso ossequio,


dev.mo
39. adele zangen chodroner 379

The world for us now is hermetically sealed, no longer having any living
relative to help us and if the Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor does
not come to our aid, I think that the only solution for we unfortunates will
be to find asylum in another world, where peace reigns and whence nobody
can drive us awayMay God forgive this sin!
I ask forgiveness for this presumption, trusting only in the great good-
ness of heart of the Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor and of the
immense mercy of Holy Church, beseeching with all our hope a reply in the
near future, given the brief time that remains to us, in which the Most Illus-
trious and Reverend Monsignor may want to honor us.

With profound respect


Eugenia Dittrich Chodroner
Adele Zangen Chodroner

Address: Albergo Continentale Milan

* * *
[second draft]

Ms. Adele Zangen Schodroner


Albergo Continentale
Milan

9 August 1939

I received Your letter of yesterday and at once, today itself, I recommended


your pitiful case to His Excellency the Undersecretary of State for the Inte-
rior.
Naturally I am not in a position to tell you what the effect of my interces-
sion will be. I believe, nevertheless, that I can assure you some convenient
postponement of your departure from Italy will not be denied to You and to
Your daughter.

With religious respect


Yours truly
380 primary sources

* * *
Milano, il 17 Agosto [19]39

Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore!

Mi permetto di ringraziarvi della Sua gentilissima risposta del 9-VIII che


porta un po di speranza nella nostra terribile disgrazia. Verr domenica a
2 Roma e prego Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore di voler | concedermi la grazia
di ricevermi in udienza luned il 21 di questo mese; in mattinata verr a
presentarmi all Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore pregandovi di avere la bont
di ricevermi.

Con devotissimo ossequio


Eugenia Dittrich-Chodroner
Figlia di Adele Zangen-Chodroner

* * *
Milano, 23/VIII.39

Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore!

A[p]pena giunto a Milano vorrei ringraziarvi di tutto il mio cuore anche


nel nome della mia povera Ma[m]ma per tutta la Sua grande bont verso
2 noi due infelici e scusarmi per il disturbo che | Vi ho causato, Ill. Monsi-
gnore!
Ora stiamo aspettando con molta impazienza il verdetto cos importante
per la nostra vita futura e speriamo con tutta la nostra fede che ci sia
concesso di rimanere in Italia, almeno per il po di tempo che il buon Iddio
vorr concedere ancora alla mia povera Ma[m]ma, la quale condizione
3 di salute | tuttaltra che rassicurante. Abbiamo messo il nostro destino
nelle Sue mani, Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore, e per questo siamo piene di
fiducia, perch lIll.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore ha avuto la bont doccuparsi
de] nostro destino. Spero che sia dato anche a me il permesso di rimanere
vicino alla mia Mama, perch sola non pu rimanere neanche per qualche
4 giorno, e solo molte | cure affettuose e molta tranquillit danima potranno
prolungare la sua vita.
Ill.mo Monsignore, mi permetto anche di ripetere la mia devota preghiera
di voler nominarmi il Reverendo al qual potr confidare la mia anima
per ricevere leducazione necessaria per diventare degna della religione
39. adele zangen chodroner 381

* * *
Milan, 17 August 1939

Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor!

I take the liberty of thanking you for Your gracious reply of August 9, which
gives a bit of hope in our terrible misfortune. I shall come to Rome on Sunday
and I beg the Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor to | grant me the 2
grace of receiving me in audience Monday, the 21st of the month. During
the morning, I shall present myself to the Most Illustrious and Reverend
Monsignor beseeching You to have the goodness to receive me.

With the most sincere respects


Eugenia Dittrich-Chodroner
Daughter of Adele Zangen-Chodroner

* * *
Milan, 23 August 1939

Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor!

Having just returned to Milan I should like to thank you with all my heart,
also in the name of my poor mother, for all Your great goodness towards two
unhappy souls and to excuse myself for the nuisance I caused You, Illustrious
Monsignor!
Now with great impatience we await that verdict which is so important
for our future life and we hope with all our faith that we receive permis-
sion to remain in Italy, at least for the short time that the good God will
still want to grant to my poor Mother, whose state of health | is anything but 3
reassuring. We have placed our fates in Your hands, Most Illustrious and Rev-
erend Monsignor, and because of this we are filled with faith, because the
Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor has had the goodness of occupy-
ing himself with our destiny. I hope that I too shall receive permission to
remain near my mother, because alone she cannot remain even for a few
days, and only much affectionate care and much peace of mind may be able
to prolong her life.
Illustrious Monsignor, I take the liberty also of renewing to You my devout
prayer to name the Reverend to whom I may be able to entrust my soul to
receive the education necessary to become worthy of the Catholic religion.
382 primary sources

cattolica. un desiderio che nutrisco da molto tempo e Vi prego di credermi,


Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore, che non sola la gratitudine verso la S. Chiesa
che mi inspira!

Con devotissimo ossequio


Eugenia Dittrich Chodroner

* * *
Milano, 4/IX.39

Ill.mo e Rev.mo Monsignore!

Essendo finora senza nessuna risposta da Voi, Rev.mo Monsignore, temo che
la mia ultima lettera inviata per espresso mercoled scorso andata persa.
2 Per questo mi permetto | ora dimplorarvi una altra volta dessere cos
buono di inviarmi una risposta per farmi sapere lesito del vostro generoso
intervento al Ministero.
Finora, qui nella Questura non arrivata nessuna risposta e la nostra
3 situazione diventata difficileper non dire disperata. Ill.mo Monsignore, |
vi prego tanto davere piet di noi povere donne e della mia adorata Mamma
che non resiste pi per tutta questa inquietudine e che devo sorvegliare
continuamente che non facesse unaltro [atto] disperato.
Illustrissimo Monsignore, se volete avere la grande bont di [intervenire]
4 presso al Ministro, tanto | che Voi vi siete gi occupato e che Vi stata
promessa una soluzione favorevole per noi, che mandassero una risposta
alla Questura di Milano o forse una parola scritta ed indirizzata a Voi, che
posso mostrare.
Ill.mo Monsignore, mi vuole generosamente perdonare il disturbo e le
seccature e Vi prego tanto di voler onorarmi di una risposta per farmi sapere
come stanno le cose.

Con devotissimo ossequio


Eugenia Dittrich-Chodroner
39. adele zangen chodroner 383

It is a desire that I have been nurturing for a long time and I beseech You
to believe me, Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor, that it is not only
gratitude toward Holy Church which inspires me!

With my most sincere respects


Eugenia Dittrich Chodroner

* * *
Milan, 4 September 1939

Most Illustrious and Reverend Monsignor!

Since I am still without a reply from You, Most Reverend Monsignor, I fear
that my last letter sent by express mail last Wednesday has gone astray.
For this reason I take the liberty | now of imploring you one more time 2
to be so good as to reply to let me know the outcome of your generous
intercession with the Ministry.
So far, no reply has come to the Questura and our situation has become
difficultnot to say desperate. Most Illustrious Monsignor, | I pray to you so 3
fervently to have pity on us poor women and on my adored mother who can
no longer endure because of all this anxiety and over whom I must watch
continually to keep her from committing another desperate [act].
Most Illustrious Monsignor, if you would have the great goodness to
[intercede for us] with the Ministry, especially since You already have con-
cerned Yourself and You have been promised a solution favorable to us, that
they may send a reply to the Questura of Milan or perhaps a word in writing
addressed to You, which I can show.
Illustrious Monsignor, will you generously pardon me this intrusion and
the nuisance I have caused and I beseech You to honor me with a reply to
inform me where things stand.

With most sincere respects


Eugenia Dittrich-Chodroner
384 primary sources

Fig. 27. Dittrich-Chodroners handwritten letter to Tacchi Venturi.


40. Guido Zargani

Guido Zargani was the son of a Jew named Zargani and a Catholic, Silvia
Piccardi of Turin. Based on the information contained in the following
three letters that Piccardi wrote to Tacchi Venturi, the couple separated
(without being married) before the birth of Guido in 1932. His father married
another woman, with whom he had children. Left with his mother, Guido
was baptized at birth but a few years later (July 1938) his father had him
circumcised and enrolled in the Jewish community of Turin in exchange for
legally recognizing him as his son and giving him thus his family name. The
child, nevertheless, attended a Catholic school, the Institute International
Don Bosco, where in December 1938, after the promulgation of the racial
laws, he received his first Communion. According to these statuteswhich
were welcomed by Guidos mother as a proof of the Duces geniusthe boy
was deemed to be Jewish, which greatly upset her. She contacted then the
Jesuit Burrito of the Social Institute in Turin, who advised her to get in touch
with his confrre Tacchi Venturi after she submitted her sons application for
Aryanization (not preserved in the archive). Silvia and Guido visited Tacchi
Venturi in Rome on May 4, 1939 to solicit his intercession, for the Demorazza
committee had been delaying its decision, which still had not been issued
as late as August.
In her letters to the Jesuit, Silvia Piccardiwho was a piano teacher at
the Realer Educatory Della Provvidenza in Turinexpresses her anger at
her former partner, calling him a vile and deceptive Jew, who traffics in
the conscience and innocent soul of his son. Anxious and frightened about
Guidos, she begged Tacchi Venturi for help, reassuring him about her own
and her sons Christian faith and loyalty to the regime: [He] will turn out a
perfect Fascist, Italian, Christian and will never experience the maleficent
social and religious influence of the [Jewish] father. The Jesuits archive or
other sources do not contain any other information about Guido Zarganis
case.
386 primary sources

* * *

Molto Reverendo Padre Tacchi Venturi,

A priori, la sottoscritta cattolica alla nascita e di famiglia cattolica, inse-


gnante di pianoforte nel Reale Educatorio della Provvidenza di Torino Vi
chiede umilmente scusa pel disturbo che Vi reca ora e per quello che Vi pro-
curer fra qualche giorno nel venire a Roma da Voi. In nome del Signore,
la sottoscritta Vi supplica di riceverla, di ascoltarla e di aiutarla, Voi che
potete. Si tratta di salvare un innocente, ignara e preziosa esistenzail suo
figlioletto di appena 7 annida un giudizio che pur dato in buona fede ed
interpretando i sentimenti del nostro grande Capo del Governo, sarebbe
in questo caso sventurato, una sciagura irreparabile per quel Bimbo ado-
2 rato che non ha altra colpa che quella dessere stato, | per la sua mala sorte,
oggetto inconsapevole del pi nero ricatto del birbante suo padre.
Padre Bodrito, dellIstituto Sociale, che si degnato di ascoltarmi e di
presentarmi a Voi sa quanto di vero e di pietoso vi nel mio caso che verr
a citarVi. Ora, per sommi capi, la sottoscritta accenna solo alla situazione.
Si tratta del suo Bimbo da salvare, il quale battezzato alla nascita, ha vissuto
e vive sempre Cristianamente, frequentando lIstituto Internazionale Don
Bosco, che dai primi del settembre 1938 si prepar per la 1a S.ta Comunione
che fece l8 dicembre.
La sventura sta in questo che giunta lepoca di iscriverlo alla scuola, la
madre sottoscritta, nubile, che non aveva combinato le nozze con ligno-
bile ebreo padre del Figlio, per non convertirsi allebraismo, che non aveva
accettato il riconoscimento del Figlio, molte volte offertole, per non pie-
gare al duro patto della conversione del Piccino, lestate scorsa presa dallo
sgomento che il Figlio dovesse rimproverarla di non avergli dato un padre
ed un nome, accett disperata dopo dura lotta che soltanto Nostro Signore
3 Ges Cristo vide e cono|sce, il riconoscimento che il vile giudeo ricatt da
par sua, colla conversione. Ma conversione solo di nomeringraziando il
Signore! Che se il 29 luglio u.s. il padre ascriveva alla sua comunit il Figlio,
il Bimbo mai cambi la Fede salda che la madre aveva in cuore per se e per
Lui. Provvide vennero le leggi che il genio incomparabile del Duce dett
e che valsero ad impedire al padre di abusare oltre della sua autorit e la
madre sottoscritta che prima aveva tanto sofferto e temuto perch il Pic-
cino potesse essere preda morale, materiale del padre, pot proseguire forte
e sicura nel Cristianesimo, tant vero che al 2 settembre appena ristabilito il
40. guido zargani 387

* * *
[FTV 2271]

Most Reverend Father Tacchi Venturi,

First of all, the undersigned woman, a Catholic at birth and of a Catholic


family, a teacher of piano at the Realer Educatory Della Provvidenza in
Turin, humbly asks to be forgiven for the annoyance she causes You now
and for that which she will cause You when in a few days she will come
to You in Rome. In the name of the Lord, the undersigned beseeches You
to receive her, to listen to her and to aid her, You who can. It is a mat-
ter of saving an innocent, unknowing and precious existenceher son
barely seven years oldfrom a judgment which although rendered in good
faith and interpreting the sentiments of our great Head of Government,
would in this instance be a misfortune, an irreparable tragedy for that
adored Child whose only fault is that of having been, | it is his misfortune, 2
the unknowing object of the blackest revenge on the part of his rascally
father.
Father Burrito, of the Social Institute, who has deigned to listen to me and
to introduce me to You, knows how much there is of the true and the pitiful
in my situation which I am about to describe to You. For the time being the
undersigned will allude to the situation only in general terms. It concerns
her Child to be saved, he who, baptized at birth has lived and continues
to live as a Christian, attending the International Institute Don Bosco. In
early September, he began to prepare for his first Holy Communion which
he received on December 8.
The misfortune rests in the fact that when the time came to enroll him
in school, his undersigned mother, unmarried, who had not entered into
matrimony with the dishonorable Jew, father of the Boy, so as not to convert
to Judaism, who had not acknowledged paternity of the son, many times
offered to her so as not to bend to the harsh act of the conversion of the
Little One, last summer seized by the anxiety that the Son would reproach
her for not having given him a father and a name, in her desperation she
accepted after a hard struggle seen and known only by Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the recognition that the vile Jew for his part vengefully took for his part,
with conversion. But a conversion in name onlythanks be to the Lord!
Even if on July 29 the father enrolled his Son in the community, the Child
never abandoned the solid faith which the mother had in her heart for
herself and for Him. Providentially came the laws which the incomparable
388 primary sources

piccino dallodiosa circoncisione imposta colla violenza dal padre iniquo, si


fecero i preparativi per la 1.a Santa Comunione, non considerando che dolo-
rosa parentesi chirurgica lavvenuto. La sottoscritta, in ginocchio, supplica
ora da Voi che possiate intervenire presso la Commissione giudicante, per-
4 ch in nome del Signore, venga compreso | lesposto inviato a suo tempo e
corredato dei testimonianti documenti. Il Bimbo Cristiano di nascita, di
educazioneil padre vive per conto proprio ammogliato, con figli, a nulla
provvede a noi, non vi , n vi sar mai nessun rapportoquindi il Piccolo
riuscir perfetto Fascista, Italiano, Cristiano e non subir mai linfluenza
malefica sociale e religiosa del padre. Vogliate, Reverendo Padre, meditare
su quanto una povera madre disperata Vi ha scritto e non negatele il Vostro
aiuto autorevole, Cristiano, pietoso: che non venga spezzata immeritata-
mente una preziosa esistenza in fiore e quella ormai stanca (ma che della
prima tutta vive ed ad esso si consacra) di una madre vittima dellimbroglio
losco di un giudeo, mercante della coscienza e dellanima innocente di suo
Figlio.
Nellattesa di ringraziarVi a viva voce, Vi ossequia con devozione.

20-III-1939-XVII. Torino
Silvia Piccardi
Via Piazzi 14

* * *
30-V [1939]-XVII

Molto Reverendo Padre Tacchi Venturi,

Perdoni se ancora una volta Le reco tanto disturbo: desidero anzitutto rin-
graziarLa vivamente della Sua accoglienza allorquando venni a Roma. La
prego di non dimenticare la triste causa del mio povero Figlioletto Guido
Zargani. Spero che Le saranno pervenute quelle copie che io svelta portai
2 alla Portineria. Vivo assai inquieta pel pericolo di una con|danna sul capo
innocente del mio Piccino che ha solo subito la violenza del padre malva-
gio e La supplico, per Ges misericordioso, di aiutare questa povera madre
40. guido zargani 389

genius of the Duce dictated and which served to prohibit the father from
encroaching beyond his authority. And the undersigned mother who earlier
had suffered so much and feared that the Little One could become the
moral, material prey of the father, was able to persevere strong and sure
in her Christianity, to the point that on 2 September as the little one had
recovered from the odious circumcision violently inflicted by the iniquitous
father, began preparations for the First Holy Communion, deeming what
had happened as only a sorrowful surgical parenthesis. The undersigned,
on bent knee, now beseeches that You may intervene with the presiding
Commission, so that in the name of the Lord, the exposition | forwarded 4
earlier and accompanied by supporting documents may be understood. The
Child is a Christian by birth, by upbringingthe father lives separately, he
is married, with children, and does not provide for us in any way. There
is not now nor will there ever be any relationship. So, the Little One will
turn out a perfect Fascist, Italian, Christian and will never experience the
maleficent social and religious influence of the father. Will You, Reverend
Father, meditate on what a poor desperate mother has written to You and
not deny her Your authoritative, Christian, merciful help: that a precious,
flowering existence not be undeservedly smashed, as well as the by now
fatigued one (but who lives wholly for the first and has consecrated herself
to him) of a mother victim of the foul conniving of a Jew, who traffics in the
conscience and innocent soul of his Son.
In the hope of thanking You in person, with respect and devotion,

20 March 1939-XVII. Turin


Silvia Piccardi
Via Piazzi 14

* * *
30 May [1939]-XVII

Most Reverend Father Tacchi Venturi

Forgive me if once again I cause You so much annoyance: first of all I wish
to thank You heartily for Your welcome when I came to Rome. I beseech You
not to forget the sad case of my poor Young Son Guido Zargani. I hope You
will have received those copies that I hastily brought to the concierge. I am
quite anxious over the danger of a condemnation | over the innocent head of 2
my Little One who has only experienced the violence of an evil father and
I beseech You, for the sake of merciful Jesus, to help this poor distraught
390 primary sources

disperata! Oso finalmente chiederLe, Reverendo Padre, se ha un attimo di


tempo di voler degnarsi di farmi inviare qualche notizia. Profondamente
La inchino ed ossequio, ringraziandoLa riconoscente, in nome del nostro
Signore Ges Cristo!

Silvia Piccardi

* * *
Torino, 5 agosto 1939-XVII
(Silvia Piccardi, Via Piazzi 14)

Molto Reverendo ed Illustrissimo


Padre Tacchi Venturi

Voglia anzitutto avere la bont di perdonarmi se, approfittando di Padre


Bodrito e di Don Malleus, io, con tanta indiscrezione e con tanta insistenza,
continuo a disturbarLa. La stessa Sua gentile accoglienza, fatta a me ed al
mio figlioletto il 4 maggio u.s. a Roma mi incoraggiano ad importunarLa
ancora per chiederLe rispettosamente notizie, soccorso sulla mia tremenda
pratica razziale. Essa che porta il no di protocollo 22396 giunta cost al
Ministero degli Interni, Direzione Generale Demografia e Razza colla lettera
daccompagnamento della Prefettura di Torino sin dal 24 aprile u.s. XVII e fu
corredata, attrezzata di tutti i documenti necessari e scaturiti dal cuore di
una mamma disperata che lotta per salvare il proprio Bimbo.
In seguito alla Sua cortese lettera del 29 maggio [], io mi ero presa la
libert di scriverLe per informarLa con precisione di come essa pratica si
trovava: ossia situazione generale: io madre cristiana ed ariana, nubile, il
2 bimbo battezzato alla nascita e praticante | la Religione Cattolica e soprat-
tutto citavo la testimonianza della Curia Arcivescovile di Torino che atte-
stava che il bimbo ai primissimi del settembre 1939 si preparava allIstituto
Internazionale Don Bosco alla 1a S.ta Comunione e che frequentava quoti-
dianamente detto Istituto dallet di 5 anni per la sua formazione Religiosa.
Come pu Onorevole Commissione agli Interni considerare unicamente e
dar valore allatto malvagio del padre naturale ebreoche ignobilmente alla
fine del luglio 1938-XVI mi estorceva la circoncisione e la contingente iscri-
zione alla Comunit Israelitica del Piccino, come orrendo duro riscatto del
riconoscimento da parte sua? Non simile padre che nulla fece mai pel Figlio,
che gli volt le spalle prima della nascita sposandosi, creandosi una fami-
glia, facendo in tutto il suo comodaccio sprezzante e noncurante sempre di
questo piccino e dei doveri sacrosanti verso di Lui, e che si mise improvvisa-
40. guido zargani 391

mother! I dare fina[lly] to ask You, Reverend Father, if You have a moment
to deign to send me some news.
I kneel deeply and extend my respects, thanking You gratefully, in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Silvia Piccardi

* * *
Turin, 5 August 1939-XVII
(Silvia Piccardi, Via Piazzi 14)

Most Reverend and Illustrious Father Tacchi Venturi

First of all, will You have the goodness to forgive me if, taking advantage
of Father Bodrito and Don Malleus, I, so indiscreetly and so insistently,
continue to disturb You. Your own gracious way of welcoming me and my
little son on May 4 in Rome encouraged me to importune You again to
respectfully ask for information and aid in my terrible racial case. The case
which has been given a protocol number 22396 arrived there at the Ministry
of the Interior, General Administration for Demography and Race, with a
covering letter from the Prefecture of Turin, as early as this past April 24-
XVII and was accompanied by all the necessary documents, exuded by the
heart of a desperate mother who is fighting to save her own Child.
Pursuant to Your gracious letter of May 29 [], I had taken the liberty
of writing to inform You precisely where the case stood, in other words
about the general situation: I, a Christian and Aryan mother, unmarried, the
child baptized at birth and practicing | the Catholic Religion. And above all 2
I cited the testimony given by the Archiepiscopal Curia of Turin attesting
that the child in the very first days of September was being prepared for
his First Communion at the International Don Bosco Institute and that
he had been attending the Institute daily for his religious education from
the age of five. How can the Honorable Commission in the Department of
the Interior consider solely and give credence to the malevolent act of the
natural fatherwho dishonorably at the end of July 1938-XVI extorted the
circumcision and contingent enrollment in the Jewish Community of the
Little One, as the harsh, horrible condition for his recognition? There cannot
be a similar father who never did anything for his Son, who turned his back
on him before birth, marrying, creating for himself a family, doing what
suited him in every way, always disdainful and uncaring about the little one
392 primary sources

mente sulla nostra strada soltanto per rovinare il Figlio, imponendogli latto
chirurgico, che la Povera Creaturina dov subire, ignaro, inerme, innocente,
ed io stessa tollerare per dare un nome alla mia Creatura sventurata! Padre
Tacchi, se pu, intervenga perch rimanga in nome di N.S. Ges Cristo, Cri-
stiano questo Bimbo che nato Cristiano, che ha vissuto Cristianamente la
Sua breve ed infelice esistenzaha 7 anni e mezzoe soltanto colla povera
madre Cristiana dalla quale ha avuto tutto a base di sacrifici e deprivazioni,
mentre collo sciagurato padre naturale ha nulla in comune: n fede, n prin-
cipi, n educazione, n sentimenti, n vita. Il responso della Commissione
si fa dolorosamente attendere: quindici mesi sono trascorsi! In ginocchio,
il mio Bimbo ed io Le chiediamo di aiutarci, salvando Lui da tanta rovina:
N.S. Ges Cristo terr gran conto di questa sua opera, Padre Tacchi Venturi!
Voglia altres degnarsi di assolvermi pel disturbo che Le ho recato e colla
presente ancora: la disperazione che a Lei mi fa ricorrere. Io ho al mondo
solo quel Bimbonessun mezzo economico, perduta la famigliachiedo
al Signore che mio Figlio sia dagli uomini riconosciuto Cristiano come me!
La supplico di occuparsi di Lui e con Suo comodo incaricare il suo segretario
di darmi qualche notizia. La ossequio e ringrazio riconoscente e devota-
mente

Silvia Piccardi
40. guido zargani 393

and of his sacrosanct duties toward Him, and who suddenly turned up in our
path only to ruin the Son, inflicting him with that surgical procedure which
the Poor Little Creature had to bear, unknowing, defenseless, innocent, and
which I too had to tolerate to give a name to my unfortunate Creature!
Father Tacchi, if you can, intervene, that this child may remain a Christian
in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born a Christian, who
has lived his brief and unhappy existence as a Christian. He is seven and
a half years old and only has the poor Christian mother from whom he
has received everything on the basis of sacrifices and deprivations, while
instead with his wretched natural father he has nothing in common: neither
faith, nor principles, nor education, nor sentiments, nor life. The reply of
the Commission is painfully awaited: fifteen months have passed! On bent
knees, my Child and I beseech You to help us, saving Him from such ruin: Our
Lord Jesus Christ will hold in high esteem this work of Yours, Father Tacchi
Venturi! Will You also deign to absolve me from the annoyance I have caused
You, including with the present letter: it is desperation that makes me appeal
to You. I only have this Child in the worldno financial resources, my family
gone. I beseech the Lord that my Son be recognized as a Christian as I am!
I entreat You to concern Yourself with Him and at Your convenience ask
your secretary to keep me informed. I extend my respects and thank you
gratefully and devoutly.

Silvia Piccardi
41. Alfredo Zeller

Almost no biographical information is found in Tacchi Venturis archive


about Alfredo Zeller, an accountant of Turin who lost his job at the Banca
Commerciale Italiana, except that his mothers maiden name was Stroppa;
that he was married to a Christian woman and had with her three sons; and
that he had two brothers who were WWI veterans and irredentists, which
suggests that his family may have been originally from northeast Italy, a
contested region at the border with the Austrian empire until 1919. From
a governmental note sent to the Jesuit it results that Zeller was granted dis-
crimination but not Aryanization, for both of his parents were Jewish,
even if he converted to Catholicism before the required date. It is unknown
whether his application to change his family name into Stroppa was suc-
cessful.
The following correspondence between Zeller and Tacchi Venturi reveals
the formers disappointment with the policy of the Demorazza committee
that, unlike in cases (which he cites) of allegedly richer successful applicants
who were in the same position of having both Jewish parents yet with
fewer exceptional merits towards the fatherland, turned down his request
for Aryanization.

* * *
[Edited slightly for clarity]

Alfredo Zeller,
Torino
Via Madama Christina, 8

Torino, 10 febbraio 1941, XIX

Eccellentissimo Molto Reverendo Padre,

il mancato riscontro ad alcune lettere che mia moglie ed io ci eravamo


presi la libert di indirizzarVi dal ottobre al dicembre dellanno scorso, mi
indusse ad approfittare di un viaggio a Roma compiuto recentemente da
mia cognata, la signora Giorgina Zeller, pregandola di procurarsi di perso-
nalmente qualche notizia in mia vece. Pensavo pi che altro alla possibilit
di un disguido di tali lettere e fui quindi lieto di apprendere che ricordavate
41. alfredo zeller 395

* * *
[FTV 2506]

Alfredo Zeller
Via Madama Christina 8
Turin

Turin, 10 February 1941-XIX

Most Excellent Reverend Father,

The lack of a reply to a number of letters which my wife and I had taken the
liberty of writing to you from October to December of last year, induced me
to take advantage of a recent trip to Rome by my sister-in-law, Mrs. Giorgina
Zeller, asking her to personally seek out some information in my stead. I
thought especially of the possibility that the letters had gone astray and
I was therefore happy to learn that you remembered receiving them and
396 primary sources

invece di averle ricevute e soltanto che, non ritracciandole pi, non avevate
presente il loro contenuto. Ho questa notizia da mia cognata a mezzo lettera,
vivendo essa in Toscana ed anchio quando le scrissi per affidare lincarico, in
vista della complessit e delicatezza dellargomento, non la misi al corrente
della cosa, talch mia cognata non pot venirVi in aiuto a ricordarVi, di quale
pratica si trattasse.
Seguendo ora cortesi istruzioni da Voi date a mia cognata, io mi permetto
oggi di rinnovare la mia interpellanza e comincio per rammentarVi in ordine
cronologico degli avvenimenti:

con mia del 23 ottobre Vi intrattenevo sul provvedimento preso dal Mini-
stero col riconoscere il diritto alla dignit di qualche singolo discrimi-
nato;
con stimata Vostra del 28 stesso mese mi avete onorato di riscontro e
dubitavate soltanto della esattezza della notizia di cui sopra;
In data 30 stesso mese mi sono permesso, fra altro, di trascriverVi testual-
mente la comunicazione pervenuta per incarico del Sottosegretario di
Stato al Senatore Isaia Levi di Torino, onde fornirVi una prova del provve-
dimento applicato anche nei confronti di questultimo. Con lanzidetto
provvedimento venne infatti dichiarata la sua non appartenenza alla
razza ebraica malgrado tale lo avessero definito le vigenti leggi perch
nato da genitori entrambi di razza ebraica;
La suddetta mia del 30 ottobre rimase senza evasione e la stessa sorte
subirono altre due lettere, di cui una di mia moglie in data 17 novembre
ed una mia diretta verso met dicembre.

Nel frattempo quanto consta a me analogo provvedimento benefic altri


discriminati fra cui il Ministro Rav, il Generale Pugliese, il Colonnello
Backi, il Tenente Medaglia dOro Bruno Jesi, il Chirurgo Donati, lindustriale
Modiano, i Commercialisti Leoni e Lechner. Infine si ha sentore di un de-
creto gi pronto a favore di tutta la categoria dei volontari ex-irredenti, e
dicessi altrettanto a favore dei componenti dei matrimoni misti, se con-
vertiti al cattolicesimo prima del 1 ottobre 1938. Io apparterei ad entrambe
queste due ultime categorie. Comunque la domanda di cui trasmisi voi
a suo tempo una bozza che voi mi restituiste con Vostra del 28 ottobre,
non mi sono ancora deciso di inviare al Ministero. Voi stesso la trovaste
ben fatta ma esprimeste i Vostri dubbi per un esito felice della medesima.
Ed io comprendo benissimo dal canto mio, come Vi avevo gi scritto, che
indirizzare la mia richiesta per via postale era lo stesso che fare fallire
2 limpresa ma che se | potesse essere da Voi avviata in giuste mani e meritare il
41. alfredo zeller 397

only that, not being able to locate them, you no longer had their content in
mind. I have received this information from my sister-in-law by letter, since
she lives in Tuscany. I too, when I wrote her to entrust her with the errand,
in view of the complexity and delicacy of the subject, did not explain the
matter to her, so that my sister-in-law could not come to Your aid and recall
for You what was involved.
Pursuant now to the courteous instructions You gave to my sister-in-law,
I permit myself now to renew my appeal and I commence by recalling the
events for You in chronological order:

With my letter of 23 October I mentioned to You the measure taken by the


Ministry with the recognition of the right to that dignity of every single
discriminated person;
With Your esteemed letter of the 28th of that month You honored me
with a reply and you expressed doubts about the accuracy of the afore-
mentioned information;
On the 30th of the month I took the liberty, among other things, of
transcribing for You verbatim the communication received by Senator
Isaia Levi of Turin at the request of the Undersecretary of State, so as to
provide You with evidence of the measure as it was being applied even in
his regard. By the aforesaid measure the fact that he did not belong to the
Jewish race was in fact declared in spite of the fact that the existing laws
had defined him as such because he was born from parents who were
both of the Jewish race;
My aforesaid letter of October 30 remained unanswered and the same
was the fate of two other letters, one of my wife dated November 17 and
one of mine dated approximately mid-December.

In the meantime, to the best of my knowledge, a similar measure has ben-


efited other discriminated persons, among whom the Minister Rav, Gen-
eral Pugliese, Colonel Back, the decorated Lieutenant Bruno Jesi, the sur-
geon Donati, the industrialist Modiano, the businessmen Leoni and Lech-
ner. Finally, there is a rumor of a decree, ready to be promulgated, in favor of
the entire category of ex-irredentist volunteers, and the same is being said
in favor of members of mixed marriages, if they converted to Catholicism
before October 1, 1938. It would seem that I belong to both of these two
final categories. Nevertheless, I have not yet decided to send to the Ministry
that request which some time ago I submitted to You in draft form, which
You returned to me with Yours of October 28. You yourself found the pro-
posal well formulated but expressed doubts about a happy outcome to the
398 primary sources

Vostro appoggio, potrebbe essere accolta favorevolmente come gi avvenuto


per gli altri discriminati pi sopra riferiti.
Ecco, Eccellentissimo Padre, perch con le mie precedenti lettere mi ero
rivolto fiducioso a Voi! Proprio a questo scopo [] scongiurarvi caldamente
di fare questo per me, tenendo presente che lottenimento del beneficio da
me tanto desiderato unicamente per lavvenire dei miei figli!
Spero che mi vorrete concedere il Vostro aiuto che mi tanto necessario
ed unisco alla presente di nuovo la domanda con vivissime scuse per la
libert che mi prendo e con lespressione del mio ossequio pi deferente
e della mia profonda gratitudine.

Vi rimango il Vostro devotissimo


A. Zeller

* * *
Rag. Alfredo Zeller, Torino
Via Madama Christina, 8

Torino, 14 marzo 1941, XIX

Eccellentissimo, Molto Reverendo Padre,

Mi pervenuta la stimata Vostra del 5 corrente.


Vi ringrazio sentitamente del Vostro benevolo interessamento: invero
esso era degno di pi felice riconoscimento di cui si tratta e ci, non lo
nascondo, per me fonte di vero dolore.
Del resto Voi comprendete, Eccellentissimo Padre, che io non mi sarei
peritato in un simile tentativo se non avessi avuto la certezza quando chie-
devo, sia pure annettendovi un carattere del tutto eccezionale, se era pos-
sibile ed attuabile. Il che potrete Voi stesso accertare, constatando come i
nominativi che mi permetto di comunicarVi sullunito foglietto, inequivoca-
bilmente appartenenti per larticolo 8 lett. a) della legge alla razza ebraica,
ne siano stati esclusi con specialissimo provvedimento ministeriale, e Vi sar
facile anche appurare che il nuovo caso non solo non era pi meritevole
per benemerenze combattentistiche sociali e religiose, ma che, a differenza
di me, nessuno di essi stato spinto a fare domanda per necessit di vita
ch sono anzi persone di larghe possibilit e di forti aderenze. A costoro
41. alfredo zeller 399

matter. And I understand perfectly for my part, as I had already written to


You, that to send my request by mail was the same as causing the initiative
to fail, but if | You could have it reach the right hands and be deserving of 2
Your support, it would be received favorably as has already happened for
the other aforementioned discriminated persons.
Here then, Most Excellent Father, is why with my previous letters I had
turned trustingly to You! Precisely for that reason [] I entreated You warmly
to do this for me, keeping in mind that for my part obtaining the benefit is
so greatly desired solely for the future of my children!
I hope that You will want to give me Your help which is so necessary to
me and I again attach to the present letter the application with my profuse
apologies for the liberty I am taking and with the expression of my most
deferential respect and of my profound gratitude.

I remain Yours most truly


A. Zeller

* * *
Rag. Alfredo Zeller, Turin
Via Madama Christina, 8

Turin, 14 March 1941, XIX

Most Reverend and Excellent Father,

I have received Your esteemed letter of the 5th of the present month.
I thank You most earnestly for Your benevolent interest: to tell the truth
it was worthy of a more felicitous recognition than what it received, I do not
conceal it, and it is for me the cause of true sorrow.
However, You understand, Most Excellent Father, that I would not have
dared to make a similar attempt if I had not been certain about what I was
asking, even while attaching to it a wholly exceptional character, that it was
possible to accomplish it. This is something that You yourself can ascertain,
recognizing how the names which I permit myself to communicate to You
on the enclosed sheet, unequivocally belonging to the Jewish race according
to article 8 (letter a.) of the law, have been excluded by an extraordinary
ministerial measure. And it should be easy also for You to verify that the
new case not only was not more worthy either for military, social or religious
merits, but that, different from my case, none of these persons was driven to
make the request [for discrimination] out of the necessities of life since they
400 primary sources

stato possibile ottenere un simile provvedimento: evidentemente essi non


hanno avuto per risposta che a quanto desideravano ostava il disposto della
legge. Perch dunque tanta diversit di trattamento? Non sono forse le virt,
i meriti di tutta una vita trascorsa nella pi scrupolosa dedizione al proprio
dovere di cittadino e di soldato, quelli che contano?
Ma Voi Padre, Voi che Vi siete cos benignamente occupato di me, giu-
sto e doveroso che mi lasciate dire lealmente tutto questo, anche se mi
necessario stabilire confronti che sono sempre odiosi, ma talvolta perdona-
bili e indispensabili. Daltra parte non colpa mia se la discriminazione non
mi ha permesso di conseguire almeno quel giovamento che le leggi chia-
ramente concedevano, cos da vedermi costretto ad avanzare nuovamente
una domanda. Vedete, Padre Molto Reverendo, a me sembra ben difficile che
si possa trovare unaltra famiglia che abbia dato tre fratelli volontari della
grande guerra e un legionario fiumanotutti e quattro iscritti al P.N.F. fino
dalla vigilia, e poich attraverso le pratiche della discriminazione mia e dei
miei fratelli abbiamo fornito per tutto ci la pi ampia documentazione,
dovevo pur ritenere che similmente a quanto avvenuto per i nominativi
suaccennati anche il sottoscritto potesse essere degno di venire dichiarato
pari a tutti gli italiani; ch lItalia la terra dove nato, che ha amato e servito
con fervente fedelt e schietto patriottismo!
Ancora riguardo al riconoscimento della appartenenza alla razza ebraica:
perch non si deve tenere conto che egli si convertito alla fede cattolica
molto prima che fossero emanate le leggi razziali, che fino dal 1918 egli non
fu pi iscritto a nessuna comunit israelitica fra la popolazione ebraica, che
2 egli al contrario ha fondato proprio una fa|miglia ariana?
Dopo ci posso chiederVi pregarVi di voler fare le indagini nei riguardi
dei nominativi arianizzati accennati pi sopra? Cos da convincerVi che
le cose stanno effettivamente nei termini da me riferiti? Appena avessi un
Vostro breve accenno al riguardo, se avete la cortesia di favorirmelo, mi
recherei cost e potremmo vedere se, di presenza, la formula adottata dal
Ministero potr essere riveduta e modificata anche nei miei confronti.
Intanto Vi rinnovo i sensi della mia viva gratitudine e con religioso osse-
quio mi professo

Vostro devotissimo
[A. Zeller]
41. alfredo zeller 401

are persons with vast possibilities and great influence. To these people it has
been possible to obtain such a provision: evidently they did not receive as
a reply that what they sought was opposed by a provision of the law. Why
then such a disparity in treatment? Are not perhaps the virtues and merits
of an entire life passed in the most scrupulous dedication to ones duty as
citizen and as a soldier those which should count?
But You, Father, You who has so benignly preoccupied himself with me, it
is just and proper that You permit me to faithfully say all this, even if I have to
compare my situation to that of others, which is always odious, but at times
forgivable and necessary. On the other hand, it is not my fault if the discrim-
ination has not permitted me to achieve at least that relief which the laws
clearly granted, so that I found myself compelled to put in a new request.
See, Most Reverend Father, it seems very difficult for me to find another fam-
ily which has given three brothers as volunteers in the Great War and one
Fiume legionnaire, all four members of the Fascist Party from the beginning.
And since through the applications for discrimination, mine and my broth-
ers, we have furnished for all this the fullest documentation, I had the right
to believe that similarly to what happened for the aforementioned persons,
even the undersigned might have been worthy of being declared equal to
all Italians; that Italy is the land where he was born, which he has loved and
served with fervent loyalty and sincere patriotism!
Turning again to the question of belonging to the Jewish race: why should
it not be taken into consideration that he converted to the Catholic faith long
before the promulgation of the racial laws; that as far back as 1918 he was not
a member of any Jewish community among the Jewish people; that, on the
contrary, he actually established an Aryan | family? 2
After this may I entreat You to conduct an investigation in regard to the
Aryanized persons named above? Just so that You will be convinced that
things actually stand as I have reported them? As soon as I receive a brief
sign from You on the matter, if You will be so courteous as to favor me with
one, I would come there and we could see if, in person, the formula adopted
by the Ministry could be revised and modified in my situation.
Meanwhile, I renew the expressions of my gratitude and with religious
respects, I am

Yours truly
[A. Zeller]
402 primary sources

* * *
Torino, 21/4/1941-XIXo

Gentilissimo Molto Reverendo Padre,

ricevo la molto gradita Vostra cartolina e Vi ringrazio anche a nome degli


interessati del Vostro cortese pronto interessamento.
I miei due figliuoli maggiori si apprestano a servire con cuore e con brac-
cio la Patria. Purtroppo anche in questa circostanza debbo rammaricarmi,
per ovvie ragioni, che una mia domanda presentata fin dal settembre del
1940 allOnorevole Ministero degli Interni, Direzione Generale Demografia
e Razza, con tramite di questa Prefettura, non abbia avuto tuttora alcun
esito. Con tale domanda miro ad ottenere per i miei figli il cambiamento del
cognome in quello materno, come consentito dalle vigenti disposizioni
ministeriali, e per Vostra migliore conoscenza, mi permetto accludervene
copia.
Perdonatemi, Rev. Padre, questo nuovo ricorso alla Vostra grande bont.
Se vorrete sentire alla prima occasione propizia che cosa avvenuto di que-
sta domanda ed eventualmente sollecitare lesito, Ve ne sar tanto ricono-
scente.
Poi spero di non disturbarVi pi con queste mie noiose pratiche perso-
nali. Vi prego frattanto di gradire lespressione delle mie scuse e della mia
sincera gratitudine.

Con ossequio,
Vostro devotissimo
A. Zeller

Molto Reverendo Padre


Pietro Tacchi Venturi
Piazza del Ges, 45
Roma
41. alfredo zeller 403

* * *
Turin, 21 April 1941-XIX

Dear Reverend Father,

I have received Your very welcome postcard and I thank You also in the name
of the interested parties for your courteous and prompt concern.
My two eldest sons are preparing with stout heart and arms to serve
their homeland. Unfortunately, even in this circumstance I must express
my regrets, for obvious reasons, that a request I presented as far back as
September 1940 to the Honorable Ministry of the Interior, General Adminis-
tration for Demography and Race, through the Prefecture here, has had no
response. With this request I am trying to obtain for my children the change
of their name to the maternal one, as is permitted by the existing ministerial
provisions, and for your information, I permit myself to enclose a copy.
Forgive me, Reverend Father, this new appeal to Your great goodness. If
You could inquire, on the first suitable occasion, concerning what happened
to my request, and, if possible, hasten the process, I would be so grateful to
You.
Then I hope not to have to disturb You again with these annoying personal
matters. I entreat You in the meantime to accept my excuses and my sincere
gratitude.

Respectfully, Yours truly


A. Zeller

Most Reverend Father


Pietro Tacchi Venturi
Piazza del Ges, 45
Rome
404 primary sources

* * *
Torino, 12 ottobre 1941, XIX

Oggetto: pratica tendente al cambiamento di cognome dei minori Zeller in


quello materno di Stroppa.

Gentilissimo Molto Reverendo Padre,

in seguito al cortese interessamento per la pratica in oggetto lOnorevole


Ministero dellInterno (Direzione Generale Demografia e Razza) mi richiese
nello scorso maggio altri due documenti che ho subito inoltrati a giro di
posta.
La domanda che stata da me presentata fino dal 5 settembre 1940
cos corredata di ben 14 documenti redatti su carta da bollo, legalizzati e
in tutto rispondenti alle formalit richieste dalle leggi vigenti in modo che
nulla sembra giustificare adesso un altro rinvio della pratica. Ci nonostante
non ho nessuna speranza che essa venga orientata verso una soluzione
favorevole, se non interviene una nuova spinta per farle riprendere la marcia
con qualche risultato.
Vi prego di scusarmi, Eccellentissimo Padre, se colla ostinazione del
bisogno abuso troppo della bont e oso ancora disturbarvi a favore di questa
pratica. Informatevene, Vi prego Padre, e vedete un po perch si arenata e
di che altro abbisogna per la sua definizione.
Abbiate fin dora i miei vivissimi ringraziamenti e vogliate gradire lespres-
sione del mio ossequio pi deferente.

Vostro devotissimo,
A. Zeller
[]
41. alfredo zeller 405

* * *
Turin, 12 October 1941-XIX

Subject: Application for the Change of Name of the minor children Zeller
into the maternal one of Stroppa.

Dear Most Reverend Father,

pursuant to the courteous interest for the present application the Honorable
Ministry of the Interior (General Administration for Demography and Race)
asked me last May for two other documents which I immediately forwarded
by return mail.
The application which I presented as far back as September 5, 1940 is thus
accompanied by 14 actual documents on official stamped paper, all of them
authenticated and in all respects corresponding to the formalities requested
by present laws, so that nothing now would seem to justify a postponement
of the application. Nevertheless, I do not have any hope that it is headed
toward a favorable solution, if some new effort does not intervene to set it
in motion again with the hope of some solution.
I beg You to forgive me, Most Excellent Father, if with the obstinacy of
necessity I abuse too greatly Your goodness and dare once again to disturb
you on behalf of this application.
Inform Yourself, I beg You, Father, and see why [the case] is grounded
again and tell me what else is needed for its resolution.
Please accept as of now my most hearty thanks and the expression of my
most deferential respect.

Yours truly
A. Zeller
INDEX

Albania 12, 24, 272 Assicurazioni Generali 70, 8889


Alessandria, Italy 176, 258 Attilio Vallecchi (law firm) 268269
Almanac of Gotha 63 Attilio, Alfredo 332
Almanacco della donna italiana 60 Auschwitz, Poland 72, 333. See also
Alto Adige 12 concentration camps
Ambrosiana Library 10 Austria 24, 70, 263, 294, 302, 326327
Amedeo Giannini Group 1011 Austrian empire 294, 394
Angioli family 46. See also specific Austrian Jews 294313
members Azione Cattolica 12, 315
Angioli, Alfredo 34
Angioli, Cesare 4546 Ballerini, Antonio 19
Angioli, Enrico Giovanni 4546. See also baptism (of Jews). See Catholic Jews
Di Minin, Maria Barbera, Mario 19
letters to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 4657, Bastico, Ettore 112113
59 Battocchio, Luigi 201, 202
Angioli, Giovanni 45 Baumgarten, Gertrud 66
Angioli, Maria. See Di Minin, Maria letter to Tacchi, Venturi, Pietro 6769
Anschlu 24 Belarus 192
anti-Fascism 20. See also Bolshevism Belgium 237, 301, 305
anti-Jewish legislation (1938). See anti- Bellarosa (mother of Bissi, Emma)
Semitic legislation 350n140
anti-Semitic legislation 1, 2, 2n2, 24, 3435. Bellen, Guido 346347
See also racial laws Bemporad, Efsiba 262
anti-Semitism 18, 19n48 Benedict xvi (pope) 23
Italian Fascism and 19n55 Benevolence and Betrayal (Stille) 1n1
Jesuits and 18, 19n48, 20n58 Benito Mussolini: Fascist Italian Dictator
roots of 20n58 (Haugen) 13n32
Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu (ahsi) Berger, Adele 104105
10n20 Berger, Alberto 107
Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (arsi) Berger, Enzo 107
7n6, 22n65, 24n72, 34n91 Berger, Eugenio 70
Argentina 290, 293, 295, 300, 301, 308309, fate of 72
311 letter to Lucas, Santiago 7275, 8283,
Arias, Gino 4 9499
Aruch, Eugenio 60 letter from Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 78
Aruch, Gabriella 60, 61f12 79, 8485
letters to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 6365 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 7276,
Aryan race 26, 53, 119, 183, 364 7982, 8594, 100105
Aryanization 23, 4546, 124, 147, 158, 176, Lucas, Santiago and 71
189, 214, 228, 245, 272, 332, 350, 373, Montanari, Bruno and 70, 72
385, 394 Berger, Eugenio (of Fiume) 71, 91
Ascalesi, Alessio Cardinal 158 Berger, Giacobbe 81
408 index

Berger, Giulio 81 Brckner, Emilio 115


Berger, Ignazio 107 Buffarini Guidi, Guido 24, 38
Berger, Roberto 107 Aruch, Gabriella and 61
children of 107 Baumgarten, Gertrud and 66
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 108109 Berger, Eugenio and 8081
Berger, Thomas (Tommy/ Tommaso) 3, 107 Calimani Sylvio and Lya and 124
Onora il padre 107n116 Chodroner, Adele Zangen 375
Levissima 107 Coen, Massimiliano and 158
Bergmann, Emanuele Filiberto 110111 De Poliakoff, Nadejda and 176, 184185
Bergmann, Giacomo 110 Somerfeld, Max and 290
Tacchi Venturis nephew and 110113 Spitz, Erich and 294, 307n135
Le Pera, Antonio and 110 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 37f7
Bergmann, Salomone Girolamo 110 Tedeschi, Edmondo and 315
bersaglieri 346347 Zacutti, Giulia and 364
Bert, Loredana 107
Birnbaum (Moravia) 358, 362363 Calabria 268269
Bissi, Emma 350. See also Vitale, Gioconda Calderoni, Alberto 120
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 351f23, letter to Tacchi, Venturi, Pietro 120122
352354, 356357 Nacam, Ebe Helen and 120
Tacchi Venturis reply 356357 Calderoni, Ebe (Nacam, Ebe Helen) 120
parentage of 350n140 Calderoni, Massimo 120, 122123
Blinn, Alphonse 294 Calderoni, Sabato 120
Blinn, Maria 294 Calderoni, Wanda 120, 122123
Bocchini, Arturo 75n113, 7677, 8283, Calderon family 120
108109, 212. See also Berger, Eugenio Calimani, Fausto 124
Boggiano-Pico, Eugenio 20n60, 25f3 Calimani, Gemma Jommi 124
Bohemia 34, 36 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 125f13,
Bolaffi, Gino 263 126139
Bologna 228, 290293, 315331 Calimani, Lya 124127, 129, 131, 133, 135, 137,
Bolsheviks 12 139
Bolshevism 4, 264. See also Communism Calimani, Maria Grazia 124, 130131
Bon, Silva Calimani, Silvio 124127, 129, 131, 133, 135,
Gli ebrei a Trieste 70n108 137, 139
Boniforti, Luigi 189 Camagni, Ernesto 196
Ehrman, Giuseppe and 189 Camerino, Mario 263n131
Pereyra de Leon 189 Canada 298301, 304305
bourgeoisie 264 Cannistraro, Philip
Braila, Romania 192 Il Duces Other Woman 12n27, 13n36,
Brescia 3, 233242, 272, 276277 16n37
Breuer, Regina 70 Canto dei confinari, Il (Zacutti) 364
Brienza (Potenza) 206 Carafa, Gian Pietro (Paul iv) 34
Briscak, Marianna 245 Cardoso, Walter 141
Brother Lucas Galanti, Rina and 141
Paggi, Marios letter to 265f20, 268 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 142
271 143
Brckner, Aurelio 115 Carnelutti, Francesco 107
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 116119 Cassuto, Arnoldo 147
index 409

Cassuto, Augusto 147 Chile 301


letter to Traglia, Luigi 150152 Chodroner, Adele Zangen 375
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 148150, Chodroner, Adele Zangen/ Eugenia Dittrich
152157 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 376379
Castelfranchi, Alessandro 62 Chodroner, Eugenia Dittrich 375
Castelfranchi, Claudio 62 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 380
Castelfranchi, Diana. See Castelfranchi 383, 384f26
Gallico, Diana Christian Jews. See Catholic Jews
Castelfranchi, Edoardo 62 Christian servants in Jewish households. See
Castelfranchi Gallico, Diana Catholic domestics
letter to Ministry of Interior 252253 Civic Registry of Births 167
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro from Civilt cattolica, La
Mondov, Giorgio and 250, 253 anti-Semitism of 1920
Castelnuovo, Giacomo 120, 122123. See Il manifesto della razza and 28
also Calderoni, Alberto Jewish question in 20
Castelfranchi, Luisa Testa 250251 philo-Semitism of 22
Castelnuovo, Massimo 120 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 18, 23
Catholic domestics (in Jewish households) Codenotti family 235
203, 290, 294, 297, 307 Coen, Anna Maria 158
Catholic Fascism 4 Coen, Carlo 158
Catholic Jews 1, 5, 2325, 27, 31 Coen, Cecilia 158
Catholic Church on 24, 27 Coen, Corrado 158
change of names for 45, 49, 7071, 81, Coen, Laura 158
105n114, 228, 237, 272, 275, 385, 394, Coen, Massimiliano 158
405 Coen-Schioppa, Clotilde 158
initiatives concerning 24 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 159f14,
non-baptized Jews and 27 160170, 172174
Tacchi Venturi, Pietro on 2629, 30f4, Collodi, Carlo
31f4b, 32f5, 33f6, 3436, 37f7 Giannettino 8
Catholicism 1, 4, 66, 69, 206, 258, 394, Comunit ebraica di Pitigliano dal xvi al xx
397 secolo, La (Salvadori) 262n130
anti-Semitism and 20n58 concentration camps 206, 224, 227, 263
Catholic Jews and 24, 27, 28n82, 35 264, 297, 299, 302, 305, 315, 323, 358,
Fascism and 11 361, 375
as Italys state religion 11 Conciliazione 11, 16n38, 328
Sweden and 12 concordat 4, 11, 14, 16, 19, 27, 35. See also
Cattaneo, Margherita 60 Lateran Pacts
Cavalieri, Providenza 224n128 Congo 233235. See also Belgium
Central Commission (for Jewish profession- Consolidation Act (Testo unico) 255
als) 323, 325 Contessa, Giovanni 214
Central Database of Shoah Victims Names Lampronti, Eugenios letter to 214217
358 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 214
Cesare, Pier 112113 converted Jews. See Catholic Jews
Ceselli, Gioacchino 7 Coppa, Frank
Ceselli, Orsola 7 The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust
Chianciano 214215 20n58
Chigi Library 1011 Corsini, Neri (Count) 6063
410 index

cosmopolitanism 4. See also irredentism Duces Other Woman, Il (Cannistraro)


Cremona 19, 263264 12n27, 13n36, 16n37
Croatia 24, 70. See also Austrian empire
and irredentism Egypt 4546, 51, 53, 55, 57
Cum nimis absurdum (Paul iv) 34 Ehrman, Emanuele 189
Cuomo, Franco Ehrman, Giuseppe 189
I dieci 28n80 Boniforti, Luigi and 189
Cupientes iudaeos (Paul iii) 29 letter to Tacchi Venturi 190191
Czechoslovakia 81 Thorn, Giuseppina and 189
Eisenach, Germany 290291
Daffin, Oreste 211213 Enciclopedia Treccani 61n104
Dalla Costa (archbishop of Florence) 141 Endrici, Celestino, prince-bishop 282283
Dalmatian irredentism 4. See also England 305
irredentism Ernisch, Erna Maria 189. See also Ehrman,
De Angelis (assassin of Tacchi Venturi) 16 Giuseppe
De Colli, Aldo 262, 268269 Ethiopia 1112, 26, 301. See also Italian
De Felice, Renzo empire
Mussolini il rivoluzionario 364n142
delle Vigne, Pier 13 Fabian, Olga 332
De Poliakoff, Nadejda 10n117, 176188. See Falusca, Pacifico 8
also Lombard, Giovanni Farinacci, Roberto 5, 1921, 264
Demorazza (Demografia e Razza) 4546, Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 5, 6f1
51n101, 66, 107109, 115, 122, 124, 141, Farnese, Cardinal Alessandro 21n63
176, 214, 220, 222, 233, 252, 272, 278, Fascism
315, 338, 350, 385, 390, 394, 402, 404 anti-Fascism 20, 22
detention camps. See concentration camps anti-Semitism and 19n55
Devoto (Bishop) 308311 Catholicism and 4, 11
Di Minin, Maria 4546. See also Angioli, Jesuits and 20, 22. See also under
Enrico Giovanni Tacchi Venturi, Pietro
letters to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 5659 Jewish assurances of allegiance to 5,
Dieci, I (Cuomo) 28n80 245, 264, 347, 364
discrimination 23, 27, 71, 89, 91, 95, 99, Fascist Party 12, 45, 103, 115, 141, 147,
103, 105, 110111, 120, 123, 141, 143, 145, 323n138, 401
147, 149, 151, 153, 211, 213, 233, 235, 237, Fascist Youth Organization 315
239, 241, 253, 258, 262, 264, 269, 282, Fascists and the Jews of Italy (Livingston)
313, 315, 321, 323, 325, 367, 369, 394, 1n1
399, 401. See also Aryanization Federico ii (emperor) 13
Dominicans 315, 327 Felicetti, Amalia 115
Dresna (Dresden), Germany 311, 312 Ferrajoli, Natalia, Marchioness 203205.
Dreyfus, Alfred 19 See also Hannau, Bindo
Dubowski, Ignacy 189 Ferrara 3, 211213
Duce, Il (Mussolini, Benito) 4, 11, 1617, 45, Ferry, Jules F.C. 9
115, 118119, 132133, 160161, 242243, First World War (Great War) 4, 10, 26, 70,
258260, 276277, 296297, 304305, 141, 211, 227, 263264, 401
326329, 336337, 346349, 364, 370 Fiume (Rijeka) Italy/Croatia 3, 71, 8081,
371, 386, 389 9091, 108109, 228, 358, 360362,
private secretary of 258, 261 401
index 411

Florence 3, 6061, 63, 141, 143, 189, 191, 206, Gli ebrei nellItalia fascista (Sarfatti) 1n1
262264, 267, 269, 321, 364 Gogliardi, I (Paggi) 263
Fo, Carlo 4 Goldstein, Carola Montanari 70
Foligno, Gina 350 Graeco-Catholic Patriarchate 55
Fondo Tacchi Venturi (ftv) 7n6n7, 8n9, Graziani, Attilio 312313
10n19n20, 11n21, 11n24n25, 12n28, Great Britain 25f3, 289
13n30, 13n32, 13n35n36, 16n38, 18n44, Guidi, Rachele 12
20n57, 22n66, 25f3, 27n77, 28n81, Gut, Emerico 196
34n9293, 35n97, 36n99, 37f7, 47, letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 196201,
61n104, 63, 67, 73, 109, 111, 117, 121, 202f16
127, 143, 149, 161, 177, 191, 193, 197, Guttalin 107. See also Berger, Roberto
205, 209, 213, 215, 229, 235, 247, 251,
259, 267, 275, 279, 283, 287, 291, 297, Hannau, Bindo 203. See also Hannau,
317, 335, 353, 357, 361, 367, 377, 387, Regina Rolli
395 Paoletti, Virginia and 203
Fragiacomo (mother of Giorgio Levi) 228 Ferrajolli, Natalia (marchioness) and
France 9, 25f3, 224225, 227, 299, 305 203205
Fubine, Italy 258261 Hannau, Regina Rolli 203
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 204205
Galanti, Rina 141. See also Cardoso, Walter Hannau, Vico 203
Gallico, Emma 60. See also Aruch, Haugen, Brenda 13n32
Gabriella Benito Mussolini: Fascist Italian Dictator
Gangi, Rosa (Weigl, Rosa) 358 13n32
Garibaldi, Giuseppe 7 Hessberg, Adolfo. See Sommerfeld, Adolfo
Gasparri, Pietro Cardinal 16 Hessberg, Meta 290293
Gasperi, Alcide de 12 Hettner, Florian
Gazetta, Ignazio 364 Hettner, Marfriede Jeannette 206
Gazzetta Ufficiale 172173, 274275 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 313314
General Administration for Demography Hettner, Roland Otto 206
and Race 123, 253, 339, 391, 403, 405. Hirsch, Carlo 211
See also Demorazza, 506 Hirsch, Renato 211
Genoa 3, 115, 117, 119, 192, 206 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 212213
Germany 35, 66, 151, 207, 290291, 299, Hitler, Adolf 12, 24, 34n94
375 Holland 299, 301
Gersony, Arrigo (Enrico) 192 Holy See 2728, 227, 257, 269. See also
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 193195 Vatican
Gersony, Daisy 192 Hungarian Jews 72105, 196202f16
Gersony, Guido 192 Hungary 19, 196
Gersony, Isidro 192
Ges, Il (Rome) 17, 21n63, 34 Inno delle donne fasciste, L (Zacutti) 364
Ghislanzoni, Ugo 120121 Institute of Roman Studies 28
Ghisoli, Giovanni 70 International Catholic-Jewish Historical
Giachin of Pola 347 Commission 23
Giannettino (Collodi) 8 internment camps. See concentration
Giannetto (Parravicini) 8 camps
Giovent Italiana del Littorio (gil) 227 interventionism (Italian) 4, 263
Gli ebrei a Trieste (Bon) 70n108 Inverno pi lungo, L (Riccardi) 28n79
412 index

Ireland 299, 301, 305 German 290293, 206, 290293,


irredentism/irredentist movement 4, 70, 313, 314
245, 332, 347, 397 Hungarian 72105, 196202f16
Ischia 206 Romanian 193195
Isonzo, Third Battle of 263 Trieste 224227, 245, 246247
istituti scolastici parificati (private schools) Italian Fascism and 5, 19n55, 20, 22
27 Italian race and 28, 35, 143. See also
Italian empire 4. See also Ethiopia and racial laws
irredentism Lutheran 206, 290291
Italian Encyclopaedia 60 Maglione, Luigi Cardinal and 23, 27,
Italian Fascism 5 38f8, 147, 214, 294, 315
anti-Semitism and 19n55 Masons and 89, 11, 16n39, 245, 315,
Jesuits and 20, 22 329, 364
Jews and 22 Paul iii and 29
Italian Jews under Fascism (Tedeschi and Paul iv and 34
Tedeschi) 1n1 Switzerland escapees 10, 107, 120, 158,
Italianism 4, 263 196, 211, 224, 299
Italianization 12 Jews by race, Catholics by faith. See Catholic
Italians and the Holocaust, The (Zuccotti) Jews
1n1 Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule
Italy, German occupation of 27 (Zimmerman) 1n1
Jews in Mussolinis Italy, The (Sarfatti) 1n1,
Jesi, Bruno 396397 2n2, 3n4, 19n55
Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews, The Judaeo-Bolshevism 4
(Maryks) 29n85, 29n88, 34n90, 35n95 Judaeo-Masonic plutocracy 8. See also
Jesuits. See also Tacchi Venturi, Pietro masons under Jews
anti-Semitic tradition of 19 Judaism 1, 4, 27, 28, 34, 71, 101, 124, 196, 203,
anti-Semitism and 18, 19n48, 20n58 231, 245, 262, 263, 332, 365, 387
intercession on behalf of Catholic Jews. Julian irredentism 4
See specific persons under Tacchi Jung, Guido 4
Venturi, Pietro
Italian Fascism and 5, 20, 22 Kamen, Henry
racial laws of Italy and 3536 The Spanish Inquisition 29n86
Jewish descent. See Catholic Jews Kertzer, David 1718
Jewish Question 5, 20, 23 The Pope and Mussolini 1n1, 17n42,
Jews 19n49, 20n56, 26n75
actual 2 The Popes against the Jews 18n47,
Bolsheviks/Bolshevism and 4, 264 20n58, 22n64, 23n68
Catholic 1, 5, 2325, 27, 31 Knpfelmacher, Salomon 70
domestics (Catholic) in households of Knpfelmacher, Sofia 70
203, 290, 294, 297, 307 Kovno, Lithuania 358
foreign baptized 27, 41, 115, 117, 189, 206, Kristallnacht 35
290, 358
foreign in Italy La Sapienza. See Royal University of Rome
Austrian 294313 La Via, Lorenzo 214. See also Demorazza
Fiume 3, 71, 8081, 9091, 108 laicism 7
109, 228, 358, 360362, 401 Lampronti, Eugenio 314
index 413

letter to Contessa, Giovanni 214217 Levi, Ugo 224


letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 218 Levissima 107. See also Berger, Thomas
221 Liceo Vittorio Emanuele (Naples) 9
Tacchi Venturi, Pietros reply to letter of Livingston, Michael
222223 The Fascists and the Jews of Italy 1n1
Lampronti, Nerea 214, 220223 Livorno 45, 4849, 5455
Lampronti, Vittorio 214, 220223 Loewy, Edoardo 245
Lampronti family 214 Loewy, Ida 245
Laparini, Dora 228 Lombard, Giovanni 176
Lateran Pacts 4, 11, 14, 14f2, 16, 19, 27, 35. De Poliakoff, Nadejda and 176
See also Conciliazione letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 176183,
Lebanon 24, 25f3 186187, 188f15
Ledchowski, Wodzimierz 10 letter from Tacchi Venturi, Pietro in
Leopoli (Lviv, Poland) 190191 response to 184187
Le Pera, Antonio Loyola, Ignatius of 29
Berger, Eugenio and 9293 Jews and 29
Bergmann, Giacomo and 110 Judaism and 34
Cardoso, Walter and 141 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 34
De Poliakoff, Nedejda and 176, 184187 Lucas, Santiago (secretary of Tacchi Venturi)
Gut, Emerico and 196 71
Hirsch, Renato and 211 Berger, Eugenios letter to 7275, 8283,
Tedeschi, Edmondo 325326 9499
Toribolo, Antonio and 334335 Paggi, Marios letter to 265f20, 268270
Letta, Guido 112113 Lutheranism 206, 290291
Levi, Elio 224
Levi, Emma (mother of Enrico Angioli) Macchioro, Giuseppe 224
34, 45 Macchioro, Rita
Levi, Eugenio (father to Mario) 224 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 224
Levi, Fulvio (son of Elio) 224 227
Macchioro, Ritas letter on behalf of Macerata, Italy 8, 124, 126133, 136137,
224227 206, 211
Levi, Giorgio (son of Guido) 228 Macerata, University of 134135
Laparini, Dora and 228 Maestro, Gastone 245
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 228231, Maestro, Ida 245
232f18 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 248249
Levi, Guido 228 Maestro, Tullio 245
Levi, Isaia 397 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 246247
Levi, Mario (father of Giulio Davide) Maestro, Vittorio 245
272 Maglione, Luigi Cardinal 23, 27, 38f8, 147,
Levi, Mario (son of Eugenio) 233 214, 294, 315
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 234235, Malaguti, Giacomo 71
238243 Maledetti figli di Giuda, vi prenderemo!
Tacchi Venturi, Pietros reply to 236 (Scomazzon) 120
237 Manifesto della razza, Il. See also racial laws
Levi, Primo Giorgio 272. See also Pauletti, 28
Giulio Davide Mantua 3, 250251, 253, 257, 275, 277
Levi, Silvia 228. See also Levi, Giorgio Marcovich, Anna Maria 70
414 index

Marcovich, Elvira 7071. See also Berger, Montanari, Bruno 70


Eugenio Berger, Eugenio and 7072
Marinelli, Giuseppe 206 Montanari, Carola 70. See also Goldstein,
Mario Gioda Group 364 Carola
Martin, Alfonso 264 Montini, Giovanni Battista (Paul vi)
Martn, Luis 9 28n81, 33f6
Martina, Giacomo 22 Montresor, Luigi 110, 112, 114
Storia della storiografia ecclesiastica Morante, Elsa 34
nellOtto e Novecento 22n65 Moravia 70, 358, 363
Martinelli-Santoro, Amalia 250251 Moravia, Alberto 23n68, 34
Maryks, Robert A. Morelli, Guido 258
The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 258, 259,
29n85, 29n88, 34n90, 35n95 259f19, 260261
Pouring Jewish Water into Fascist Wine reply from Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 260261
(volume i) 2, 365n143 Muggia, Italy 332
Masonry/Masons (Freemasonry) 89, 11, Munich 12
16n39, 245, 315, 329, 364 Mussolini il rivoluzionario (De Felice)
Mazzetti, Roberto 364n142
La questione ebraica in un secolo di Mussolini, Benito. See also Duce
cultura italiana 20n59 anti-Semitic legislation and 19, 35
Mazzini, Giuseppe 262 assassination attempts on 12
Mazzinianism 262 baptism of children of 12
Memorie biografiche del P. Camillo Mearini cabinet of 11
(Tacchi Venturi) 9 Coen, Massimiliano and 158
Mengarini, Bice 203 Conciliazione and 4, 12, 16, 315
Merano, Italy 296301, 304311 Di Minin, Marias letter to 45
Milan 23, 10, 107, 109, 120, 123, 158, 192, fall of 2
195197, 199, 207, 214215, 219, 221, 223, foreign ministers office assumption by
227, 278, 294, 350, 353, 355, 357, 375, 10
379, 381, 383 Great Britain and 46
Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazio- Morelli, Guido and 258
nale (m.v.s.n.) 45 Paggi, Mario and 264
Ministry for Italian Africa 287 Palazzo Venezia and 10, 21n63
Ministry of the Interior 24, 47, 6970, 81, Pius xi and 10
89, 103, 115, 117, 119, 135, 181, 199, 201, racial laws and 2
221, 223, 229, 253, 275, 277, 297, 305, Sarfatti, Margherita Grassini and 13
309, 313, 323n138, 332, 355, 377, 391, Simoncelli, Gina and 124
403, 405 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 3, 1013, 16,
Ministry of War 269 24n72, 2627, 30f4, 31f4b, 3435, 206,
mixed families 24, 36n98, 250, 255, 257. 233
See also Castelfranchi-Gallico, Diana Tedeschi, Edmondo and 4, 315
and Mondov, Giorgio Zacutti, Giulia and 364
mixed marriages 2, 173, 231, 297, 397 Muzio, Giuseppe 258
Mondov, Giorgio 250
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 250251, Nacambu, Ebe Helen (Nacam, Ebe Helen)
254257 120, 123
Montanari, Alberto 72 Calderoni, Alberto and 120
index 415

Naples 3, 9, 19, 4547, 49, 51, 53, 57, 59, papal nuncio 18
158, 161, 163, 165, 167, 169, 173, 175,
Papal States 11
245 Parravicini, Luigi Alessandro
Nardoni, Fulvio 141 Giannetto 8
Nascetti, Francesco 290, 292, 293 Partito dAzione 262n129
Natale, Alfredo 45 Partito Liberale Italiano 262n129
National Directorate of Combatants 269 Pasquale Revoltella, Italy 332
New York Times 11, 16 Paul iii (pope) 29, 34
Nitrolinol 107 Cupientes iudaeos 29
non-Aryan Catholics 24 Paul iv (pope) 3435. See also Carafa, Gian
Nulla salus extra Ecclesiam 34 Pietro, Montini, Giovanni Battista
anti-Jewish legislation of 35
Office of Extraordinary Affairs (Vatican) 2, Cum nimis absurdum 34
290 Pauletti (Levi), Giulio Davide 272
Orvieto, Angiolo 263 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 273f21,
Ottolenghi, Benedetta 350n140 274277
Ottoman Empire 115 Pereyra de Leon family 189
Pesaro, Italy 364
Pacelli, Eugenio, Cardinal (Pius xii) 27 Pesaro, Almerinda 211
Nazis and 19 Petazzi, Giuseppe
Pius xis secret deals with Mussolini and Berger, Eugenio and 71, 7881, 8487,
26 9293
Spitz, Erich and 41f10, 294, 311313 Levi, Giorgios case and 228
Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 23, 32f5, philo-Semitism 29. See also anti-Semitism
41f10 Piccardi, Silvia 385
Zacutti, Giulia and 364 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 386393
Paggi, Davide 262 Pino (nephew of Tacchi Venturi, Pietro)
Paggi, Gastone 262 Bergmann, Giacomo and 110, 112
Paggi, Giacobbe 262 letter to Tacchi, Venturi, Pietro 111113
Paggi, Guido 262 Lombard, Giovanni and 110n117, 182
Paggi, Letizia 262 183
Paggi, Mario (b. 1894) 262 Pinocchio (Collodi) 8
family of 262 Pitacco, Giorgio 70, 103
First World War and its aftermath for Pitigliano, Italy 262
263 Pius xi (pope)
Italianism and Judaism for 263 assassination attempt on Tacchi Venturi,
Judaism for 262263 Pietro and
letter to Lucas, Santiago 265f20, 268 Manifesto (racial laws) and 28
270 Mussolini, Benito and 10
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 266269 Sommerfeld, Maxs letter to 290293
Paggi, Mario (b. 1902) 262n129 speech on anti-Semitism 20n56
Paggi, Osvaldo 262 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 10, 17, 22
Palazzo Venezia 10, 21n63 Pius xii (pope) 19, 22, 26
Paoletti, Virginia 203 Pizzardo, Giuseppe Cardinal 147149. See
papacy 7. See also Holy See also Cassuto, Augusto
Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust, The Pizzoli (near LAquila) 264
(Coppa) 20n58 Poland 191, 206, 358, 361
416 index

Pollitzer, Renato 34 Regime fascista, Il (Cremona) 19, 20, 2n64


Pontifical Gregorian University 9 Rerum novarum (Leo xiii) 315, 328329
Pope and Devil (Wolf) 20n56, 23n69, Ribadeneyra, Pedro de 29
34n94 Riccardi, Andrea
Pope and Mussolini, The (Kertzer) 1n1, Linverno pi lungo 28n79
17n42, 19n49, 20n56, 26n75 Ricci, Matteo 8
Popes Jews, The (Waagenaar) 19n55 Rinnovamento sociale 263
Popes against the Jews, The (Kertzer) Rio de Janeiro 107
18n47, 20n58, 22n64, 23n68 Risorgimento 7, 11
Popular Party 264. See also Fascist Party Rives Altes 224, 226, 227
Pottschach, Austria 294, 302 Roatta, Giovanni Battista 60
Pouring Jewish Water into Fascist Wine Rolli, Regina 203. See also Hannau, Bindo
(volume i) (Maryks) 2, 365n143 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 204205
Prete, Virginia 278 Roman ghetto 35
Prima casa di S. Ignazio di Loyola in Roma, Roman Jews 29, 34
La (Tacchi Venturi) 10n18 Roman Question 5, 11. See also Lateran
Protestantism 206, 375, 377. See also Pacts
Lutheranism Roman Seminary 8
Protestants, Jewish ancestry of in Italy Rome 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 21n63, 27, 28,
5n4 29, 45, 63, 67, 70, 71, 75, 79, 109, 113, 131,
133, 143, 145, 147, 149, 151, 153, 155, 161,
Questione ebraica in un secolo di cultura 169, 179, 191, 192, 193, 197, 203, 206, 209,
italiana, La (Mazzetti) 20n59 213, 214, 215, 219, 221, 227, 243, 247, 253,
255, 258, 267, 269, 275, 279, 282, 283,
racial laws 287, 291, 297, 299, 317, 323, 327, 332,
amendment attempts to (1938) 35, 337, 339, 341, 349, 350, 353, 357, 361,
279 375, 377, 381, 385, 387, 389, 391, 395,
anti-Semitic legislation 2, 20, 22, 24, 403
3435 Ronchi, Maddalena 365
Christian domestic and servants of Jews Roosevelt, Franklin D. 25f3
and 203, 290, 294, 297, 307 Rossi, Abramo 224n128
Hungarian racial law 196, 199 Rossi, Amalia Grazia 224
Italys 12, 53, 60, 66, 6971, 89, 115, 124, Royal Decree 323n138
158, 189, 203, 225, 233, 235, 264, 282, Royal University of Rome (La Sapienza) 9
294, 315, 339, 358, 375, 385, 401 Rummel, Joseph Francis 66
Jesuits and 3536 Rumpler, Adele 70, 105n114
Jewish wealth and 176 Russia 12, 107, 176, 274, 275
La Civilt catolica and 19, 23 Rutter, Luigi 102, 103
Pacelli, Eugenio Cardinal and 26
psychological effects of 3 Sacerdote, Umberto 278
Memoriale on racial laws (Tacchi letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 278281
Venturi) 26 Sacra Rota 7
Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 5, 1213, 21, Sacred Heart of Jesus (devotion to) 46, 59,
21n62, 2223, 29, 35, 3738 139, 299, 301, 302
Ragni, Angela (of Ancona) 7 Sadun, Adelaide 262
Rasia dal Polo, Tullio 364 Saint Ignace de Loyola dans lart aux xviime
Rasputin, Grigori 12 et xviiime sicles (Tacchi Venturi) 10n18
index 417

Salesians 315 Spitz, Erich (Erico) 294. See also Pacelli,


Salomon, Siegfried 206. See also Hettner, Eugenio Cardinal
Marfried Jeannette letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 296
Salvadori, Roberto 302, 303f, 304311
La comunit ebraica di Pitigliano dal xvi Pacelli, Eugenio Cardinals letter to
al xx secolo 262n130 Tacchi Venturi on behalf of 41f10,
Samaia, Ugo 282 294, 311313
Samaja, Mario 282 Spratzern, Austria 263
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 282 Stille, Alexander 20n56
285 Benevolence and Betrayal 1n1
Samaja family 282 Storia della Compagnia di Ges in Italia
Samuel of Fiume 71 (Tacchi Venturi) 10
San Severino Marche 7, 206 Storia della storiografia ecclesiastica nellOtto
Santa Clara, California 294 e Novecento (Martina) 22n65
Sarfatti, Margherita Grassini 4 Stroppa (family name) 394, 404, 405. See
Jewish heritage of 13 also Zeller, Alfredo
Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 13, 16 Sweden 12
Sarfatti, Michele Switzerland 10, 107, 120, 158, 196, 211, 224,
Gli ebrei nellItalia fascista 1n1 299
The Jews in Mussolinis Italy 1n1, 2n2,
3n4, 4n3, 19n55 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro
Savoy, House of 4 Angioli, Enrico Giovannis letter to 68,
Scaravaglio, Gabriella Aruch. See Aruch, 69, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 80, 81, 82, 89, 90
Gabriella anti-Semitic legislation and 2, 20, 22,
Schwarz, Jacob 286 24, 3435
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 286289 archivist 24
Scomazzon, Francesco Aruch, Gabriella and 61
Maledetti figli di Giuda, vi prenderemo! Aruch, Gabriellas letters to 6365
120 assassination attempt on 16, 16n39,
Sebastiani, Osvaldo 260261, 286287 1718
Second World War (wwii) 3, 358 autobiography (unpublished) of 7
Secret Vatican Archive 60, 63 Baumgarten, Gertruds letters to 67
Secretariat of State of the Holy See 269 69
Senise, Carmine 192, 206, 224, 264, 358 Berger, Eugenios letter to 7276, 79
Serdi, Jusztinin Gyrgy Cardinal 196, 82, 8594, 100105
198, 199 Berger, Eugenios letters and reply of
Sibilia, Enrico Cardinal 192, 193 7879, 8485
Siderich, Agnese 245 Bissi, Emmas letters to 351f23, 352
Simoncelli, Gina 124 354, 356357
Slovenia 24 Bissi, Emmas letters and reply of 354
Smolnica, Poland 189 357
Sommerfeld, Adolfo 290 Boggiano-Pico, Eugenios letter to
Sommerfeld, Max 290 20n60, 25f3
letter to Pius xi 290293 books that influenced 8
Sorani, Olga 262 Buffarini, Guidos letter to 37f7
Spanish Inquisition, The (Kamen) 29n86 Calderoni, Albertos letter to 120122
Spiritual Exercises (Loyola) 8 Cardoso, Walters letter to 142143
418 index

Cassuto, Augustos letter to 148150, Hirsch, Renatos letter to 212213


152157 Il Ges (Rome) for 17, 21n63, 34
Castelfranchi Gallico, Dianas letter to intercession on behalf of Catholic Jews
252253 24. See also specific person
Catholic Jews and. See specific persons Italian affairs and 12
Chodroner, Adele Zangen/ Eugenia Italian Jews and 21
Dittrichs letter to 376379 Jesuit training of 8
Chodroner, Eugenia Dittrichs letter to Jesuits as fiduciary of Vatican 10
380383, 384f26 Jewish requests for assistance from. See
Coen-Schioppa, Clotildes letter to specific persons
159f14, 160170, 172174 Judaism and 28, 34
Coen-Schioppa, Clotildes letter and Judass betrayal postcard and 14f2
reply of 170171, 173175 La Civilt cattolica and 18, 23
conversion of Jews by 29 Lampronti, Eugenios letter to 218
Daffin, Oreste and 211 221
death of 10, 12, 13 Lampronti, Eugenios letter and reply of
Di Minin, Marias letter to 5659 222223
document types in archives of 16n39 La prima casa di S. Ignazio di Loyola in
education of 8 Roma 10n18
education of baptized Jewish children laicism and 7
35 Le Pera, Antonio and 24. See also
Ehrman, Giuseppes letter to 190191 names under Le Pera, Antonio
Enciclopedia italiana and 18 Levi, Giorgios letter to 228231,
familys devotion to pope 8 232f18
Farinacci, Roberto and 5, 6f1 Levi, Marios (son of Eugenio) letter to
Fascist ideology and Catholicism for 234235, 238243
11 Levi, Marios (son of Eugenio) letter and
foreign Jews in Italy requesting assis- reply of 236237
tance from Lombard, Giovannis letter in behalf of
Austrian 294313 his wife to 7683, 186187, 188f15
Fiume 3, 71, 8081, 9091, 108109, Lombard, Giovannis letter in behalf of
228, 358, 360362, 401 his wife and reply of 184187
German 290293, 206, 290293, 313, Macchioro, Ritas letter on behalf of Levi,
314 Fulvio to 224227
Hungarian 72105, 196202f16 Maestro, Idas letter to 248249
Romanian 193195 Maestro, Tullios letter to 246247
Trieste 224227, 245, 246247 Maglione, Luigi Cardinal and 23, 27,
Gersony, Arrigos (Enrico) letter to 193 38f8, 147, 214, 294, 315
195 Matteo Riccis works on China and 8
gifts from Catholic Jews to 309, 311 maturit of 9
government responses to intercessions memorial on racial laws by 2627
(for Catholic Jews) of 24 Memorie biografiche del P. Camillo
Gut, Emericos letter to 196201, 202f16 Mearini 9
Hannau, Regina Rollis letter to 204 Mondov, Giorgios letter to 250251,
205 254257
Hettner, Marfriede Jeannettes letter to Montini, Giovanni Battista and 28n81,
313314 33f6
index 419

Morelli, Guidos letter to 258, 259, Rolli, Reginas letter to 204205


259f19, 260261 Roman question and 5, 11
Morelli, Guidos letter and reply of Sacerdote, Umbertos letter to 278
260261 281
Mussolini, Benito and 3, 1013, 16, Saint Ignace de Loyola dans lart aux
24n72, 2627, 30f4, 31f4b, 3435, 206, xviime et xviiime sicles 10n18
233 salvation for 34
Muzio, Giuseppe and 258 Samaja, Marios letter to 282285
New York Times obituary for 11 Sarfatti, Margherita Grassini and 13, 16
novitiate of 9 Schwarz, Jacobs letter to 286289
on Catholic discipline and fascism in siblings of 7
Italy 12n26 Spitz, Erichs (Erico) letter to 296302,
origins of last name of 7 303f, 304311
Pacelli, Eugenio Cardinals letter on Erich Spitz, Erichs case and intercession to
Spitz to 41f10, 294, 311313 king by 307n145
Paggi, Marios letter to 266269 Storia della Compagnia di Ges in Italia
papal nuncio and Italian ambassador 10
role of 18 Tardini, Domenico and 38f8, 39f9,
parents of 7 40f9b
patron saint of 165n118 Tedeschi, Edmondos letter and reply of
Pauletti (Levi), Giulio Davides letter to 318319, 324325
273f21, 274277 Tedeschi, Edmondos letter to 316317,
pederasty rumors on 17 320327
Petazzi, Giuseppe and. See under Petazzi, theology studies of 9
Giuseppe Toribolo, Antonios letter and reply of
philo-Semitism of 22 338339
photo of 6f1 Toribolo, Antonios letter to 333f22,
Piccardi, Silvias letter in behalf of 334349
Zargani, Guido to 386393 transfer of 10,000 Jews and 25f3
Pius xi and 22, 26 Vatican and Italian state reconciliation
professions and classes of Jews request- and 11
ing assistance from 3 Vatican Secretariat of State and 2, 18,
accountants 250, 394 2223, 38f8, 41f10, 124, 141, 196, 224,
engineers 158 233, 315
housewifes 10n117, 176 Zacutti, Giulias letter to 366373,
lawyers 141, 228231, 262264 374f25
merchants 192 Zelikovits, Carlos letter on behalf of
opthalmologists 110 Weigl, Sigmund for 359f24, 360
pharmacists 258 363
physicians 233, 245, 262, 268269 Zeller, Alfredos letter to 394405
printers 262 Tacchi, Antonio (of Bergamo) 7
university professors 147 Talmud 20, 358n141
war veterans 120 Tardini, Domenico
racial laws and 5, 1213, 21, 21n62, 22 Sommerfeld, Maxs letter to pope and
23, 29, 35, 3738 290293
reconciliation of Conciliation and 16 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro and 38f8, 39f9,
regency of (supervision of students) 9 40f9b
420 index

Tedeschi, Anne Valenti, Silvia 7


Italian Jews under Fascism 1n1 Vatican City 235, 291, 377.See also Papal
Tedeschi, Edmondo 315 States and Lateran Pacts
letter to Mussolini, Benito 326328 Vatican Secret Archives 23, 41
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 316317, Vatican Secretariat of State 2, 18, 22
320327 23, 38f8, 41f10, 124, 141, 196, 224, 233,
reply of Tacchi Venturi, Pietro to 318 315
319, 324325 Venice 3, 72, 365
Tedeschi, John Venturi, Luigi 7
Italian Jews under Fascism 1n1 Verona 3, 110113, 176181, 184187
Tedesco, Giacomo 332 Viale, Elsa 104105
Tedesco, Virginia 333 Vienna 25f3, 70, 105n114, 107, 358, 360363
Terni, Adriana Barbara 350 Viennese Jews 24. See also Austrian Jews
Terni, Gioconda Vitale 350 and Hungarian Jews
Terni, Paolo 350 Viola, Antonio 364
Terni, Vito 350 Viola, Edda 364
Testi, Assunta 45 Vitale, Anselmo 350n140
Thorn, Giuseppina 189. See also Ehrman, Vitale, Gioconda 525, 526, 527, 529, 534,
Giuseppe 535
Time Magazine 16 Vitale, Leopoldo 525, n1, 525
Toffanin, Paolo 107 Vitale, Vincenzo n1, 525
Toribolo, Antonio 332 Vittorio Emanuele ii (king) 4
letter from Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 338
339 Waagenaar, Sam
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 333f22, The Popes Jews 19n55
334349 Waldheim, Martha 206
Toribolo, Oscar 332 War Cross 120, 123, 264, 267, 269, 271. See
Toribolo, Teresita 333 also discrimination
Toribolo, Virginia 332 Warschauer, Federico 37, 38
Traglia, Luigi 147, 150151 Weigl, Sigmund 358, 359f24, 360363
Trattner, Teofilo 230231 Wernz, Franz Xaver 10
Tredici, Giacinto 233 White Russia 107. See also Belarus
Trent 3, 196, 199, 283 Wolf, Hubert
Trieste 3, 26, 7091, 9495, 100103, 115117, Pope and Devil 20n56, 23n69, 34n94
190191, 224231, 245249, 282, 315, wwi. See First World War
326327, 333349
Turin 3, 227, 278, 364, 367, 369, 371, 373, Zacutti, Achille 364
385, 387, 389, 391, 394395, 397, 399, Zacutti, Carlo 364
403, 405 Zacutti, Ciro 364
Tuscany 45, 397 Zacutti, Fortunato 365
Zacutti, Giulia 364365
Udine, Annetta 364 Il canto dei confinari 364
Ufficio Provinciale delle Corporazioni 272 letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 366
Under His Very Windows (Zuccotti) 1n1, 373, 374f25
23n68 Linno delle donne fasciste 364
United States 66, 69, 147, 149, 158, 295, 305, Mussolini, Benito and
311, 350 Zacutti, Tullio 365
index 421

Zargani, Guido 385, 387, 388, 391, 393. See Zeller, Giorgina 394395
also Piccardi, Silvia Zimmerman, Joshua
Zelikovits, Carlo Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro on behalf 1n1
of Weigl, Sigmund 359f24, 360363 Zuccotti, Susan
Zeller, Alfredo 394 The Italians and the Holocaust 1n1
letter to Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 394405 Under His Very Windows 1n1, 23n68