TRIESTE: RACIAL LAWS AND A BURDENSOME FASCIST LEGACY
It is the anniversary of the shameful proclamation of Italian racial laws. On September 18th, 1938, Benito Mussolini, the “Duce”, the guide of the new Italy united at the price of blood, chose Trieste, annexed to Italy after World War I, as his stage to announce the shameful Italian anti-Jewish laws to the world.
This is how the brutal regime that wanted to get rid of Trieste’s multicultural and multireligious identity raped the city. This identity was the legacy of the tolerant Austria-Hungary, the Empire that had turned Trieste from a small fishing village to a great, cosmopolitan maritime emporium. It was the richness of Trieste. And the Jewish community was an important part of it.
The fall of the Empire and the raising of Fascism hit this European island of tolerance for all ethnicities, shaking its roots, and destroying its fruit, harmony born through centuries, forever. Italian racial laws were the beginning of a nightmare that ended only with the defeat of the bloodthirsty dictatorships that only rose because of the end of Austria-Hungary, the Empire that granted balances in Europe. It was as if a bright galaxy collapsed, as if hate swallowed and ultimately turned into a black hole of human evil. This is how Europe remained lightless, falling into the abyss of absolute evil.
Even in our days, we must come to terms with the legacy of this latent hatred. And Trieste, martyr city of Italian Fascism and Italian nationalism, knows full well.
FROM NEWSPAPER IL PICCOLO, 18 SEPTEMBER 1938:
EPURAZIONE IN ATTO (PURGING) measures against Jewish workers in Triestine Insurance Companies.
[with translation notes]
“A legal provision with special relevance especially in Trieste is that regarding the exclusion of Jews from the administration of private Insurance Companies. This exclusion is the latest in a series regarding the Civilian administrations of the State, Fascist offices, Provinces, Municipalities, welfare, municipal utilities, parastatal companies established under public law, etc.
Nowadays, private Insurance Companies are almost the same in nature as parastatal companies, therefore they must receive the same treatment. However, while the State, the Party, the Army, the administrations of Provinces, Municipalities, etc. cannot employ people of the Jewish race, not even those discriminated [the meaning of “discriminated” in this context is detailed below], discrimination applies to private Insurance Companies. Essentially, this means that those described at art. 13 of the law, namely, Italian citizens of Jewish race that belong to families of the Fallen in the Libyan war, of the World War, and of the Spanish was, as well as to families of the Fallen for the Fascist Cause, can stay employed at Assicurazioni Generali, at Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà and in all the companies depending on them…
Even before the publications of the requirements, our insurance companies started reviewing their personnel on this basis, now clearly set by the Council of Ministers. Obviously, all measures proceed with the needed gradualness, but also with maximum intransigence. The decision of the Government excluded the Jews from jobs and works as offices or providing services of the State like the Tax Police, Railroads, etc.; the administration of the Province and of the Municipality, including their firms. No Jew employee can hold a position at assistance facilities like hospitals, the Red Cross, the Congregazione di Carità [Congregation of Charity] etc.
The same measure applies to the bodies of the Party and the organizations that depend on it. But, as for the matter, all that was to be done is done. All that remains is individuals to be dealt with in the next days. The presence of Jews in big banks like the Banca d’Italia, the Banco di Sicilia, the Banco di Napoli, the Banca Commerciale Italiana, la Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, the Credito Italiano etc. is to be excluded”…
Racial laws and Trieste
The decision about service personnel – The Insurance sector – House ownership – Public employment.
The cancelled history of Jews in Trieste and Mitteleuropa:
Anti-Semitism and racial laws in Trieste:
The history and legacy of Italian nationalism in Trieste: