This essay is based on the author’s recent book dedicated to the role of Italians in deporting their Jewish compatriots to the Nazi death camps: Simon Levis Sullam, The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews of Italy, trans. Oona Smyth and Claudia Patane (Princeton, 2018). Members of the Republican Fascist Party, police, the military, and ordinary citizens were responsible for the arrest of about 20 percent of Italian Jews in 1943-1945. The author argues that their participation in the Holocaust was driven not so much by anti-Semitism as by a combination of several profound crises that stirred up severe moral panic: Italy’s having lost in the world war, the escalation of the civil war with antifascists, the country’s split into two, and the German occupation of the northern part of Italy.
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