Renzo De Felice's The Jews in Fascist Italy: An Historical Appraisal

A panel on Renzo De Felice’s The Jews in Fascist Italy: An Historical Appraisal was held at the Calandra Institute on January 28, 2016. The panel included Frank Adler, Telos Editorial Associate and editor of Telos 164 (Fall 2013): Italian Jews and Fascism. Copies of Telos 164 can be purchased in our online store. Panelists explored the genesis of De Felice’s book and its place in contemporary historiography. Commissioned by the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities and published in 1961, it was the first study of the anti-Jewish persecution in Italy to reach a general audience. It was also a young historian’s first book on the Fascist era. This glance into a chapter of national history, that Italy had been quick to bury, set De Felice on a path to become one of the leading and most controversial scholars of Fascism. How was his attempt to capture an unsettling past received at the time of the book’s publication? What place does this book have in the current scholarship when many of its conclusions have been overturned after five decades of research on Italian state-sponsored anti-Semitism? And to which degree have the studies of Fascism and of the persecution of the Jews shed light on one another?

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