After writing about the Jews and Jewish Half-Bloods in their high ranks of the Third Reich, now is the time to talk about the Honorary Jews and the Jews in the high ranks of Fascist Italy.
Benito Mussolini did not consider the racial question to be fundamental in his pseudo-nationalist ideology, he gave into, (and not willingly), a few years prior to the war, just to please the Axis ally.
In fact, an indelible disgrace will forever remain on his figure for the time when he told the Jewish personalities who joined him in his office in the aftermath of the promulgation of the racial laws: “… I have never doubted your loyalty to the Italian State! “.
Giuseppe Bastianini, the “Honorary Jew“, had a prominent role among the fascists who were preparing to take power by organizing what was later called “the March on Rome“.
From August 1922 onwards, Bastianini had a notable part in the preparation of the march on Rome: in the Capital, on September 29, he was among the few fascist leaders informed by Mussolini of the next insurrection;
on 24 October in Naples – where he was for the San Carlo congress – he participated in the very restricted meeting at the Hôtel Vesuvio, during which Mussolini, the quadrumvirs and the three deputy secretaries of the party approved the definitive plan of the insurrection itself.
After the seizure of power in Italy by Mussolini’s Fascists (something also scorned by Adolf Hitler), Giuseppe Bastianini was appointed head of the Italian Fascists Abroad, a movement created to coordinate the activities of Italian fascists outside of Italy, in order to apply the fascist ideas to the lifestyle of his countrymen wherever they were. At least 40 groups scattered around the world actively participated in the initiative and Bastianini’s popularity grew quickly enough to make even the Dux worry that he had to reduce the power that the F.I.A.E. was consolidating, so much that Bastianini resigned in 1926.
However in 1941 Bastianini was appointed Governor of Dalmatia, and it was always Bastianini to supervise the deportation of Jews of that region in concentration camps in Italy.
On June 27, 1942, he ordered the creation of the Melada concentration camp, where thousands of civilians were rounded up in the interior during the anti-partisan operations and killed about a thousand prisoners, 300 of whom were shot as hostages.
The prisoners killed were not Jews but Slavs.
Bastianini was harsh against those Serbian and Croatian elements considered untrustworthy, who were expelled or imprisoned . The creation of the Dalmatian Governorate – by placing large swathes of territory under Italian direct jurisdiction – allowed the salvation of numerous Jews who were included or who managed to take refuge in the Italian area, thus being able to escape German and Croatian persecution . About 4000 Jews were concentrated in the Rab concentration camp in order to protect them from deportation and certain death. These were guaranteed much better living conditions than the Slavs deported to the same camp, who instead suffered all sorts of deprivations .
A high-ranking black shirt that protected Jews more than non-Jews.
Also this …
In his memoirs – which do not speak in any way of his anti-slave activities – Bastianini states instead that for his defense of the Jews he was defined by the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop as an “honorary Jew“: “That epithet was a tribute to me by Ribbentrop when I I found in Dalmatia where I had opened the doors to the Jews who were fleeing from Yugoslav territory so as not to be caught by the Ustashas and handed over to the Gestapo “.
Oh it’s not over…
Among the black shirts that marched on Rome there were also many Jews.
For example, Ettore Ovazza
Son of Ernesto Ovazza, a Jew, he graduated from the University of Turin in 1915 with a thesis on international law. Shortly after he volunteered for the front (like his father and brothers), becoming an artillery lieutenant. Fascist of the first hour, in October 1922 Ovazza participated with other black shirts in the march on Rome. He was a member of the National Fascist Party. Being Jewish and fascist was by no means rare in Italy in the 1920s.
Many members of the first hour of the PNF were Jews (like Aldo Finzi). Ovazza was active within the Jewish community of Turin to gain consensus in favor of fascism. In 1929 he met Benito Mussolini, remaining enthusiastic about him.
The Fascist Era in Italy saw other Jews occupying positions of absolute relevance.
Aldo Finzi (Israelite of origin and baptized), pilot officer of the «Serenissima» D’Annunzio Air Squadron in Vienna, was Undersecretary of the Interior and then Deputy Commissioner of the same Air Force.
Dante Almansi, Prefect, promoted to deputy chief of police.
Maurizio Rava, deputy governor of Libya, governor of Somalia and general of the Militia.
Raffaello Mondolfi, an in-law to the daughter of Benito Mussolini (and a Jew, yes), he even abstained from adhering to fascism in 1929 , not because he didn’t like it, but didn’t care about politics that much.
Guido Jung, a former deputy would even become Finance Minister in 1932, because, according to Mussolini, “a Jew was what was needed at the Finance Department“.
Mussolini’s fascism, even after the Lateran Pacts of 1929, did not prove there was hostility towards the Jews, given that the figure of the rabbi was completely equated to that of the Catholic-Christian priest, the rabbis could officially and serenely celebrate marriages.
Those who wish to learn more about the subject can read “The Jewish Soldiers of Mussolini“, Mursia 2008, by Giovanni Cecini.