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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 6. The Beginning of the End
[H. Reactions abroad to the Reichskristallnacht / crystal night and to the split of CSSR]

[6.24. Italy's policy against Jews 1938-1939 with deprivation of citizenship - exodus]

JDC had to intervene in other countries in Europe as well. A steady stream of refugees had been entering Italy. At the end of 1938 there were some 6,000 German and Austrian Jews there, and they were not treated too badly. But as we have already seen a decree of September 7, 1938, issued as a result largely of German influence on the Italian Fascist regime, stated that anyone who had acquired Italian citizenship in recent years would have to leave the country by March 12, 1939. Apart from the six thousand refugees, this also affected 9,000 older immigrants into Italy.

JDC tried its best to influence the Italian government to desist from its declared intentions, and in early February, Troper contacted Myron C. Taylor, who promised to do his best to change the Italian's intentions. Earlier, an influential Anglo-Scots banker, Sir Andrew McFadeyan, a partner of Sigmund Warburg's in London, also promised JDC to use his influence with the Italians.

(End note 123:
-- R10, Troper memo on talk with Myron C. Taylor, 2/15/39 [15 February 1939];
-- R55, report, 1/8/39 [8 January 1939])

[Anti-Semitic Italy: Jewish Exodus by 12 March - further Jewish exodus]

While it is impossible to say whether all these efforts had any effect, it is clear that by the time the fateful March 12 came, half of the 15,000 Jews had left Italy; between March and September, another 2,500 left. In the end, about 4,000 people stayed behind and were not molested by the authorities. Most of the emigrants went to the Americas, and quite a number went to Nice. Apart from the Jewish organizations, the Friends were again effective in aiding the emigrating Jews (many of whom pretended to be Catholics) get to South American countries.

(End note 124: Rosswell McClelland, interview (H).