Italian Citizens in Nazi-Occupied Europe:
Documents from the Files of the German Foreign Office, 1941-1943
by Lihana Picciotto Fargion
Translated from the Italian by Scott Brennan and Ivo Herzer; and from the German by Charlotte Hebebrand, Henry Friedlander, and Sybil Milton.
This study is based primarily on a group of documents constituting the records of Department Inland II of the German Foreign Office (Auswartiges Amt) concerning Jews in Italy (juden in Italien), 1941-1943 and 1943- 1944.1 The documents chosen from this group relate to the repatriation of Jews of Italian nationality residing within the German Reich or in the European territories conquered by Nazi Germany. The period covered extends from September 1942 to July 1943, that is, up to the time of the anti-Mussolini coup of 25 July 1943. As a result of the coup, Italy pulled out of the alliance with the Reich and was occupied by Germany on 8 September 1943 for a short time in the CentralNorthern region. The documents cover the topic with particular regard to France-and, by extension, to all of Western Europe-and to Salonika, that is, to places with substantial enclaves of Italian Jews.2
My analysis has also profited from the availability of relevant published documents. Foremost among these is the collection of documents assembled by the United Restitution Organization (U.R.O.).3 In addition, I used a publication prepared by the Italian Foreign Ministry (Ministero degli Affari Esteri) for the Paris Peace Conference in 1946. It provides an account of the efforts of the Foreign Ministry to protect Jewish communities. This report, which cites Italian diplomatic documents in summarized form, was an unofficial account and subsequently has not had wide circulation.4 Moreover, Daniel Carpi's essay with documents on Italian attitudes and the Jews in Greece was very helpful.5 A representative selection of documents in English translation from the German Foreign Office Archives follows this introduction.6
Unlike Nazi Germany, where the German Foreign Office performed a function supporting the objectives of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), which carried out the destruction of the European Jews, the Italian Foreign Ministry played a restraining role in regard to official Italian antisemitism. In Italy anti-Jewish policies were enforced from 1938 on by various agencies of the government: by the Ministry of the Interior, with its Directorate General for Demography and Race, and its Directorate General for Public Security; by the Ministry of Finance with its bureaucratic machinery for the confiscation of Jewish property; by the Ministry of National Education with its programs to purge Jews from the schools; and by the Ministry of Popular Culture with its directives for anti-Jewish propaganda in the press, in publishing, and on the radio. The documents clearly demonstrate that the Foreign Ministry remained largely immune to the antisemitic ideology.
It is not the task of this analysis to probe the reasons for this situation. That would necessitate a lengthy study of the diplomatic personnel, their origins and education, and an equally detailed examination of the relationship between the fascist government and the Foreign Ministry. It appears, however, that the diplomats belonged to the Old Guard of liberal prefascist Italy; their sense of honor and culture made them more resistant to antisernitic propaganda. In addition, they were traditionally more devoted to the Crown than to Mussolini and the fascist regime. In an article published in Corriere della Sera after fascism had gone from a monarchy to a republic and the political system defined as a diarchy no longer existed, Mussolini declared disdainfully
that the Monarchy had a diplomatic corps of its own, in addition to that of the government, not only through the diplomats who always turn to the Quirinal to confer when they return to Rome, but also through relatives of the noble or royal families.7
The fact that the diplomats considered Italian Jews residing in German- occupied countries as fellow citizens, entitled to the same diplomatic protection as any other Italian citizen, confirms that the diplomats were devoted more to Italy than to fascism.
A second element to emphasize is the particular interest which the prefascist Italian government, and later the fascist regime, had in the expansion of Italian influence in the central and eastern Mediterranean. Every effort had been made to spread Italian culture and to favor Italian economic investments. When Germany began to export its method of dealing with Jews in the conquered territories, Italy perceived a threat to its own plans, patiently developed for decades in a few countries through expatriate Jews of Italian nationality. At the end of May 1942, the Italian Royal Consulate in Paris wrote to the Italian Foreign Ministry about the restrictions on Jews that were to be established by the German authorities in occupied France, including the imposition of the yellow star and a wider application of deporta- tions. The diplomats in Paris asked for instructions in case Jews of Italian nationality residing in France should invoke the protection of the Royal Consular authorities to exempt themselves from the new rules.8 Even at that early date, the ministry readily replied:
In order to defend the standing acquired by the Italian communities in the various countries of the Mediterranean basin- particularly in Tunisia, Greece (Salonika),Morocco, and Egypt-we cannot disassociate ourselves from the fate of the Jews who are members of those communities. Nor can we, on the other hand, permit that discriminatory measures be applied to Italian Jews resident in other foreign countries, and particularly in French metropolitan territory, as compared to non-Jewish Italian citizens. This is our policy because those Jews enjoy Italian citizenship and consequently hold an Italian passport, which guarantees them our protection; moreover, indifference on our part would put us in a delicate position regarding the action which we intend to carry out in defense of the Jewish communities, particularly of Tunisia and Salonika.9
Already at the beginning, the shape of Italian policy was clear: Italian Jewish citizens were considered first and foremost as Italians. That fact was indissolubly tied to the defense of the property and of the positions of importance attained by Italian Jews in the Mediterranean region. To protect those Jews, it was necessary to protect all Jews, wherever they may have been.
The traditional Mediterranean mission of Italy, which had sought a prominent role through the emigration of Italian Jewish merchants to the Levant from the second half of the nineteenth century on, partially explains the stance of the ministry and the decisiveness with which it would make itself heard concerning the protection of Italian Jews and their property, especially in Salonika, beginning in spring 1943. Note, for example, the similarity in tone of the following assessments by civil servants in the Italian Foreign Ministry. The first is from 1893:
The stable component of the Italian colony occupies a conspicuous and well- merited place in the economic importance and opinion of the country. Here, Italians use the Italian language in general and within the family as well .... Among the Italians of Salonika are the wealthiest and most respected bankers and businessmen in Turkey.10
The other statement is from 1943:
The removal of Italian Jews from Greece, declared our sphere of influence, is a particularly sensitive matter which the Italian government must examine with care, as it is greatly affects Italian interests in such regions. The Italian Jews, originally from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, have been in Salonika for more than a century, and many of them have reached prominent positions in the field of business and finance.11
In mid-1942 the map of Europe could be divided into three groups of states: those occupied by Germany; neutral states; and annexed, allied, or satellite states. The Reich maintained individual relations with each of these, regulated by its Foreign Office. The favored ally was Italy, with which Germany shared the occupation of France, Yugoslavia, and Greece.
First of all, let us distinguish two issues that have often been combined by scholars and by the German authorities themselves at that time, who were interested in creating confusion on the subject:
1. the problem of Jews of Italian nationality resident in the countries and territories that had fallen under the control of the Reich; and
Here we will deal only with the first case, since the second case has already been treated in the studies of Leon Poliakov, Jacques Sabille, and Daniel Carpi.12
2. that of Jews, Italian or not, who were residents or refugees in territories that had fallen under the military or civil control of Italy (southern France, Croatia, Dalmatia, Montenegro, and Greece).
For the Germans, the Jews of Italian nationality living outside Italy belonged to the category of "foreigners," that is, citizens of a nation possessing some contractual power from the diplomatic point of view. All other Jews were subsumed under the "stateless" category in the eyes of the Germans. Therefore, exemption from deportation was a possibility only for those Jews who were citizens of states that were considered enemy, neutral,or allied. In 1942 this exemption applied to the following countries: Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Great Britain and her dominions, the United States, and the countries of Latin America.13
During the Wannsee conference of 20 January 1942, at which the leading Nazi bureaucrats had discussed the organization of the deportations, the Foreign Office representative, Under Secretary of State Martin Luther, had recommended immunity until agreements on the diplomatic level were in place. Naturally, when the "final solution" was implemented, the first to be approached for their views were Germany's allies; and among them, only Hungary and Italy decisively refused to withdraw diplomatic protection from their Jewish citizens. For this reason, these Jewish citizens of the two Axis partners were also included among the Jews from neutral states. But since Germany wished all its territory to be judenfrei, the neutral governments were invited to repatriate their Jewish citizens before a given deadline, after which all would fall under German anfi-Jewish measures. The RSHA fixed the deadline first for 31 March 1943, then extended it to 31 July 1943.14 Under pressure from the Foreign Office, the deadline was postponed several times-even delayed to 31 December 1943 in some cases.15
An analysis of Italian policy regarding the diplomatic protection of Jews of Italian nationality abroad must take another element into account: considerations of a judicial nature, deriving from the international obligations assumed by Italy before the outbreak of the war.16
According to the Foreign Ministry, official anti-Jewish policy in 1938 was so damaging to Italian interests abroad that from then on the ministry supported the principle of protecting the position of foreign Jews in Italy and the position of Italian Jews abroad. The Foreign Ministry maintained, therefore, that even after the institution of the Italian anti-Jewish laws, foreign Jews resident in Italy could not be subject to an integrated racial policy, in that the foreigners' status in Italy was regulated not only by general principles of law, but also by numerous established conventions stipulated by Italy with most foreign countries. Such conventions
were based on the concept of reciprocity of treatment for the respective citizens on the soil of the other country. It follows that the existing conventions assuring the exercise of economic activity and free availability of goods without discrimination by race must be observed with respect to Italian citizens abroad and of foreign citizens in Italy. The limitations of a personal nature and the reduction of rights that the racial policy had established for Jews in Italy could not, therefore, be applied to Jewish foreign citizens, because a domestic law could not modify the obligations derived from international conventions.
This interpretation prevented conscription for labor (instituted in spring 1942) from being applied to foreign Jews.
Such an argument was not irrefutable. One might reason that the racial laws, laws of public order, should have benefited from legal priority given to public order in all treaties. Second, as the Vichy government would later maintain: when Jewish nationals are subjected to judicial limitations, subjecting foreign Jews to the same limitations does not constitute an infraction of the principle of equality of treatment for nationals and foreigners. But these arguments were intentionally ignored and overlooked by the Foreign Ministry, which firmly supported the principle of the nonapplicability of the racial laws to foreign Jews in Italy. The clauses of the resident treaties ensuring the exemption of their respective citizens from service of an obligatory nature were cited as justification.
With this principle established and accepted, another can be deduced: that an analogous situation should be recognized for Italian Jews abroad in countries that have adopted the racial policy, affirming that these foreign Jews could not be regarded by the country of residence except as Italian citizens whose activities were guaranteed by the established conventions in effect. Another reason was cited by the Foreign Ministry: these Italian nationals lived outside Italy, and there was no reason to subject them to harassment inspired by racial concepts under the pretext of defending ourselves from the Jewish threat. In this way, for example, in relation to Germany itself, the thesis that Italian racial legislation was a matter of an essentially internal nature could be consistently maintained, and could therefore in no way interfere with the protection of the interests of [Italian] citizens in the Reich, whatever their race. 17
The anonymous author of this account, which was drafted for presentation by the Italian delegation to the peace conference of Paris, had a strong interest in portraying the Italians in a favorable light. Thus, it was certainly no accident that, in addressing the issue of the foreign Jews, he skimmed over the decree of expulsion from Italy, which was issued on 7 September 1938. Nevertheless, he outlined very ably the argument for the principle of reciprocity of treatment for foreigners in Italy and Italians abroad, which seems to have been adopted between 1938 and 1943 by the Italian Foreign Ministry.
That principle was the exact opposite of the situation in Germany. A law was in force there by which all German Jews living abroad lost their citizenship and were considered stateless, no longer subject to German laws but to those of the various countries in which they resided. As a result, Germany did not invoke any reciprocity of treatment whatsoever for Jewish foreign citizens in the territory of the Greater Reich, nor did they even consider it. Moreover, Germany felt obligated to negotiate the repatriation of Jewish citizens of allied or neutral states only for reasons of political convenience tied to its alliances in Europe. This willingness was seen, however, as a concession, not as a principle of law.
The documents suggest annoyance on the part of the Italians regarding German repatriation demands. Italy was forced to confront a problem for which the country was unprepared. Repatriation was a nuisance. In addition, there was a firm conviction that, at least in Salonika and in Tunisia, where there were solid Italian colonies, real and irreparable economic damage would be the result. For these reasons Italy was very reluctant to accept the German repatriation proposal, which also seemed to lessen respect of Italy as a sovereign and allied state.18
But when the Italians saw there was no other solution, Italy claimed immunity for its subjects with great determination and, especially in Salonika, generously considered as Italian also these noncitizens who had special value for Italy. However, Italy had to abandon Italian Jews living in the East to their fate because of the practical impossibility of carrying out their repatriation.
We have not yet been able to determine the number of persons involved. The account of the Italian Foreign Ministry speaks of the repatriation of 4, 000 Jews of Italian nationality,19 but this figure appears excessive. In a report of 6 March 1943 on the status of the "Jewish Problem" in France, Heinz R6thke, the representative of the Eichmann office in Paris, wrote that "at the end of March 1943, the Italians will have repatriated the Jews of Italian citizenship (a total of 1,000 in the two zones)."20 The repatriation not only involved Jews with Italian citizenship, but was also extended to near relatives, even if of foreign nationality,21 and in Salonika even to those who only had been of special value to Italy. But even including all these cases, we arrive at only 350 to 400 documented repatriations from Salonika,22 300 to 500 from France,23 100 or so from Belgium,24 100 or so from the Reich,25 and a few more from the other countries involved.26 Moreover, Martin Luther referred to 200 Italian Jews in the Reich and 500 in Paris in his analysis of 22 October 1942.27 Taking all these elements into account, we think that there were 1,000 to 1,500 Jewish citizens of Italian nationality throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.
Once the principle that Italian Jews were first of all Italian citizens had been established, the principle of total protection of their persons and property followed automatically. It thus required lengthy negotiations to resolve a problem that for the Reich was one of race and for Italy was one of nationality. The two principles, race and nationality, which coincided in the Greater Reich, would become the object of differing interpretations in the other countries. In fact, Switzerland,Turkey, and Portugal hurried to declare that their Jewish citizens had the same diplomatic protection as any other citizen. This reaction came as no surprise, but Germany was shocked by the position of Italy, which had racial legislation in effect after 1938. To the Germans it seemed inconsistent that Italy should claim the principle of nationality, and not that of race, for its Jews living abroad.
The matter quickly became one of principle rather than content. This is doubtless the reason behind the disproportion between the large quantity of documents produced at the time and the substance of the exhausting negotiations held on the matter, negotiations about little more than 1,000 cases.
However, once the Italian nationality of Italian Jews had been established, diplomatic protection was nothing extraordinary when seen from the Italian, not the German, point of view. Thus, uncritical praise of the Italian position by certain commentators, seems a bit exaggerated. It is hard to tell whether these commentators are more conditioned by the great mass of surviving documents or influenced by the annoyed and melodramatic tones of the German authorities on the subject. In any case, one thing is certain: the position held by the Italian Foreign Ministry regarding the Jews was enough to disturb the harmony of the Axis.28
In the spring of 1942, the Germans occupying France dictated that the Jews there should wear, as a visible sign of their status, a yellow star sewn on their clothes. The Italian consulate in Paris immediately opposed the extension of that provision to Italian nationals, and the diplomats of the Italian legation in Brussels did the same when the problem arose there on 31 July 1942.29 After several discussions, an agreement was reached in Paris on 21 July 1942 between Vice-Consul Pasquinelli and SS First Lieutenant (Obersturmfuhrer) Heinz Rothke that no anti-Jewish measures would be applicable to Italian Jews without the prior consent of the royal consulates and that, furthermore, the consulates themselves would examine whether such measures were applicable in each individual case, in agreement with the German authorities, but on the basis of Italian racial laws and instructions received.30
In the inner circles of the German Foreign Office one heard complaints that
it is deplorable to note that it is precisely in this matter that Axis policy is not uniform .... Should it not be possible to start evacuating the foreign Jews soon, it is at least advisable that the Italian government immediately recall its own Jews to Italy or give permission for their deportation to the East.31
Germany at that time, however, was not yet completely inclined to force its allies to act. In September 1942, for example, Reich Leader SS Heinrich Himmler had agreed to Vichy's requests not to deport Jews of French nationality from France.
Nonetheless, in the summer of 1942, the deportations from Western Europe to the East were already proceeding at full speed. The Germans needed to make a decision regarding Jewish citizens of their Axis partners who were in territories under German control: Hungarians, Italians, and Romanians. Thus, the matter could no longer remain in the hands of peripheral individual functionaries, but had to be the subject of negotiations at the level of the Foreign Office.
In the middle of September 1942, in fact, the German Foreign Office decided on an official initiative and gave orders to its ambassador in Rome to contact the Italian government, in order to probe its intentions.32 The Germans wanted to know whether Italy was willing to repatriate its citizens in order to exempt them from the general measures against Jews. The Germans gave assurances that they would, in the meantime, delay all persecutory measures regarding them. The question, which at this time applied to all the countries of occupied Western Europe, was submitted to the Italian government on 22 September 1942 in a letter from the German ambassador to Rome.33
There was a certain hesitancy, however, on the part of the Germans. Only two days later, in fact, in a telephone call to Martin Luther, Joachim von Ribbentrop recommended postponing the matter and delegating it to a negotiation between the Fuhrer and the Duce, or at least between the Italian and German Foreign Ministries.34
The problem began to appear very important. The Italian Foreign Minister, Count Galeazzo Ciano, did not take the responsibility for a decision himself and did not respond directly to the German letter of 22 September, but consulted Mussolini on the matter. On 10 October 1942 the Italians made clear that the protection of Italian Jews was dictated by the principle of the preservation of Italy's political and economic interests and that they would not consent to an attack on those interests using racial measures as a pretext. They nevertheless accepted, albeit with reservations, the measures against Italian Jews, including the imposition of the yellow star. As to the problem, noted by the Germans, of determining citizenship case by case, the Italians would order their consulates to put the necessary documentation at German disposal.35
On the following day, 11 October 1942, the head of Count Ciano's cabinet, Count Blasco Lanza d'Ajeta, delivered to the German embassy a supplementary text that completed the communication: the Jews of Italian nationality were first of all Italian and, as such, enjoyed the same diplomatic protection as other Italians. The Italian government could never consent to their deportation to the East. Acceptance of the German measures would weaken the Italian position vis-A-vis other countries, for example, France, which was trying, especially in Tunisia,36 to appropriate Jewish property for itself. Italy had already protested in Tunisia, affirming that Italian Jews were Italian citizens as well, not so much in support of the Jews themselves, as to save their extensive property. Count d'Ajeta, questioned personally on the Italian position regarding the recall of Jews from German-occupied zones in the West, declared that the Italian government had not yet taken a position on the subject.37
Martin Luther relayed the Italian response to the Foreign Office on 20 October 1942, accompanied by a note of his own. He suggested that the German embassy in Rome clarify that economic interests were not involved, since all Jewish property would be left at the disposal of the Italian government. Since deportation to the East was considered out of the question, Jews could at least be recalled from German-occupied territory, while the decision to have Italian Jews wear a badge was accepted. He also proposed that the measure be put into effect as soon as possible, in order to induce Jews to return to Italy spontaneously.38 Two days later Martin Luther analyzed the problem of Italian Jews who might find themselves subject to anti-Jewish measures in German- occupied territory and proposed general solutions, valid anywhere. He did not limit his comments to the situation that had developed in France. In a long note, submitted to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop via Secretary of State Ernst von Weizsdcker and dated 22 October 1942, he reviewed and criticized the attitude of Italy toward Italian Jews inside Italy and in the occupied territories. Thus Martin Luther presented very clearly the principles the German Foreign Office intended to apply to the so-called Jewish problem.39 Far from assuming a prudent stance and restraining role concerning the treatment of foreign Jews, the German Foreign Office thus strongly favored radical measures and refused to accept the Italian arguments.
The fundamental German principle seems to have been the desire to achieve both ideological and practical uniformity among the members of the Axis. Every other argument yields to this logic; Martin Luther's rigid insistence on asking Italy to conform to the Reich on the subject of antisernitism is noteworthy. The German position subsequently became extremely important when after 8 September 1943 Mussolini no longer headed an independent nation. One should keep this in mind when evaluating the actions of the later Italian Social Republic (September 1943 to April 1945).
While negotiations between Germans and Italians were in progress in December 1942, 20 Italian citizens were arrested in France by the German authorities and imprisoned in concentration camps. One of them died while three others were deported to the East. The Italian embassy in Berlin sent a note of protest, asking that the occupation authorities desist from proceeding against Italian Jews without consulting the Italians.40 By the end of 1942, the tension between Italians and Germans concerning the Jews was rather high, and after Martin Luther's heavy-handed intervention noted above, the German response to the Italian note of 10 October 1942 appears very sharp.41
1. This series of documents was seized by the Allies after World War II, was microfilmed in the United Kingdom at Whaddon Hall, and was returned thereafter to West Germany. I used them at the National Archives in Washington, where they are available in Microfilm Publication T-120. The originals are now located in the Politisches Archiv des Auswdrfigen Amtes in Bonn, where they are available as Inland Ilg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943 and Inland lIg, 193, Juden in Italien, 1943-1944. The entire collection of section Inland II of the German Foreign Office was not microfilmed at Whaddon Hall. For this reason it is possible that a few documents of the original series, not part of the film at the National Archives but only available in Bonn, may have escaped my analysis.
2. Although I plan to examine the corresponding records of the Italian Foreign Ministry in the near future, this was not essential for this study.
3. ludenverfoigung in Italien, den italienisch besetzlen Gebieten, und Nordafrika, ed. U.R.O. (Frankfurt, 1962) [hereafter cited as Judenverfolgung]. This collection includes some of the ca. 100 documents on the repatriation of Italian Jews from France at the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC) in Paris.
4. Relazione sull'opera svolta dal Ministero degli Affari Esteri per la tutela delle comunitd ebraiche, 1938-1943 (n.p., n.d.) [hereafter cited as Relazione]. The place and date of publication are not indicated in the text, although the date is given as 1946 in Lucien Steinberg's description in the inventory of documents of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Les autorites allemandes en France occupee (Paris, 1966), p. 223. In addition, the archives of the Public Security Division of the Italian Ministry of the Interior contain interesting documents on the reactions of bureaucrats within Italy to the policies of the Foreign Ministry outside Italy. The following document, for example, is surprising and shows how the Italian Foreign Ministry operated in relative autonomy with respect to the "center" and to the more politicized and antisernitic ministries:
For some time there has been a perceptible increase in the repatriation from France of our nationals of Jewish race, while the police departments of the cities where they intend to settle deny them authorization.
Rome, Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Ministero dell'Intemo, Direzione Generale della Pubblica Sicurezza, Cat. Al (1923-1945), 1942, Busta 29, Rachele Calef (the document was graciously furnished to me by Klaus Voigt, Berlin).
Last 15 February our nationals Nissim Calef and his cousin Rachel Calef entered the kingdom [Italy].
The Central Police Department of Rome did not grant their request to settle, and the Police Department of Livorno, where the aforementioned Jews subsequently asked to be sent, also responded in the negative.... [The similar case of Vittorio Pardo-Roques in Milan follows.]
By their own declaration, they had been persuaded to repatriate by our own Royal Consulate in Paris. This policy would seem to be in contrast to the regulations that tend to favor the exodus of Italian Jews from the kingdom.
5. Daniel Carpi, "Notes on the History of the Jews in Greece During the Holocaust Period: The Attitude of the Italians, 1941-1943," in Festschrift in Honor of Dr. George S. Wise (Tel Aviv, 1981), pp. 25-62; republished in Italian with the addition of documents as "Nuovi documenti per la storia dell'Olocausto in Grecia: I'atteggiamento degli italiani, 1941-1943," Michael 7 (1981): 120-200.
6. See pp. 117-141.
7. Benito Mussolini, 11 tempo del bastone e della carota: Storia di un anno (ottobre 1942-settembre 1943)," supplement to Corriere della Sera (Milan), 9 Aug. 1944, p. 40.
8. Relazione, p.23.
9. Ibid., pp. 23-24.
10. Regio Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Emigrazione e Colonie, Rapporti dei R. R. Agenti diplomatici e consolari (Rome, 1893), cited in Attflio Milano, Storia degli ebrei italiani nel Levante (Florence, 1949), p. 188.
11. Relazione, p. 47.
12. Leon Poliakov and Jacques Sabille, jews Under the Italian Occupation (Paris, 1955), p. 208 (Italian translation, Gli ebrei sotto loccupazione italiana [Milan, 19561, p. 187); Daniel Carpi, " The Rescue of Jews in the Italian Zone of Occupied Croatia," in Rescue Attempts During the Holocaust: Proceedinqs of the Second Yad Vashem International Historical Conference, April 1974 (Jerusalem, 1977), pp. 465-525; and Carpi, "Nuovi documenti."
13. See Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 2d rev. ed., 3 vols. paginated throughout (New York, 1985), pp. 445-47.
14. Bonn, Politisches Archiv des Auswdrtigen Amtes [hereafter cited as PAAA], Inland IIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: internal memorandum of the German Foreign Office, 12 July 1943.
15. Hilberg, Destruction, p. 447.
16. The Italian Foreign Ministry report cited above (see note 4), which describes efforts to protect Jewish communities, makes reference to such thinking.
17. Relazione, pp. 1-2.
18. See, for example, the telegram of 11 Sept. 1942 from Foreign Minister, Count Galeazzo Ciano, to the Italian legation in Sofia, published in Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," pp. 175-76: "Repatriation of the non-Aryan Italian families residing there cannot be impeded. However, it should not be facilitated."
19. Relazione, p. 6.
20. Judenverfolgung, pp. 158-59: Heinz Rothke's report on the state of the "Jewish Problem" in France, 6 Mar. 1943.
21. Renzo De Felice, Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo (Turin, 1972), p. 394; and Anne Morelli, "Les diplomates italiens en Belgique et la 'question juive' 1938-1943," Bulletin de lInstitut Historique Belge de Rome 53-54 (1983- 84):382.
22. See Document No. 21; and also Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," pp. 196-97: Zamboni to the Italian Delegation in Athens, 9 June 1943.
23. Enrico Serra, "La diplomazia italiana e la ripresa dei rapporti con la Francia," in J. B. Duroselle and E. Serra, Italia e Francia, 1939-1945, 2 vols. (Milan, 1984), 2:19.
24. Morelli, "Les diplomates italiens," p. 383.
25. Hilberg, Destruction, p. 445.
26. Relazione, under each individual country.
27. See Document No. 5.
28. See, for example, Martin Luther's complaint to Joachim von Ribbentrop, in Document No. 5.
29. On the protection of Jewish Italian citizens, see Morelli, "Les diplomates italiens," pp. 357-407. Morelli includes a document that describes how the Italian consul in Brussels attempted to exempt a Greek citizen, Sara Florentin, from having to wear the yellow star and from forced labor; he thus protected Greek Jews by equating them with Italian Jews because Italy occupied part of Greek territory. The attempt, entirely personal, on the part of Carlo Angelini, chancellor of the Italian consulate, and Francesco della Porta, the Italian consul, was subsequently censured by the head of the cabinet of the Italian Foreign Ministry, Count Blasco Lanza d'Ajeta, who sent the order on 14 August 1942 "to suspend all initiatives taken on the part of Jews of Hellenic citizenship" (pp. 378-80).
Indeed, a similar attempt was made in Paris, where Gustavo Orlandini, the Italian consul general, forwarded to the German embassy a request to permit Ines Hasson, a Greek ex-Italian citizen, to recover her original citizenship and to postpone for the moment any of the anti-Jewish measures. The handwritten marginalia by Heinz Rothke, Eichmann's representative in France, on the document states "What next?!" Uudenverfolgung, pp. 171-72). The interventions described above are not however so unusual, if we recall that the order which the Italian Foreign Ministry transmitted to all diplomatic and consular delegations to inform Italian nationals and to request their repatriation also included exYugoslav Jews from the territory annexed to Italy, to whom temporary passports had to be issued. See also Document No. 9.
30. Poliakov and Sabille, Gli ebrei sotto Voccupazione, pp. 35-36: Consulate General of Italy to the Commander of the Security Police and the SS Security Service (BdS) in the French sector of the Military Commander in France, 4 Aug. 1942. Rothke wrote in the document's margin: "This is not at all true! Absurdity! Insolence! It was never approved by me."
31. Nuremberg doc. NG-5094: Martin Luther to the Office of the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs, 24 July 1942.
32. See Document No. 1.
33. See Document No. 3.
34. See Document No. 2.
35. See Document No. 3.
36. On the diplomatic protection of Jews of Italian nationality in Tunisia, see Relazione, pp. 36-41; and Judenverfolgung, documents on pp. 72-75, 78, 121- 24.
37. See Document No. 4.
38. PA-AA, Inland IIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Martin Luther memorandum, 20 Oct. 1942. It is still unclear whether or not Jews of Italian nationality living in occupied Western Europe were in fact required to wear the yellow star. Luther's memorandum seems to resolve the question in the affirmative. Several witnesses who were interviewed by me, however, claim never to have worn the yellow star.
39. See Document No. 5.
40. PA-AA, Inland IIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Royal Italian Embassy Berlin to German Foreign Office, 18 Dec. 1942.
41. See Document No. 4.
Under Secretary of State Martin Luther to German Embassy Rome; the same with addendum to German Embassy Paris; carbon copy for the files, 17 September 1942.
Policies toward the Jews in the occupied western territories, especially in France, have made the question of how to deal with the Italian Jews acute. For the most part, the French population has accepted the political necessity of marking Jews with the Jewish star. Resentments and perhaps even a reversal of public opinion arose because foreign Jews, considered far more alien than native French Jews, have been until now only partially subject to German measures. The same applies even more to the expulsion of the Jews, where again certain groups of foreigners have appeared to be "privileged."
A number of factors have made our implementation of the necessary measures inordinately more difficult: the need to determine citizenship, the absence in many cases of the means to verify citizenship, the attempts to change citizen- ship, the insolence of those Jews exempt from our measures, the protests from foreign consulates, etc. In certain instances, conflict arose between the Security Service and the Italian Consulate. Urgent political considerations force us to end these conditions, especially because of the large number of Italian Jews. In addition to the technical problems already mentioned and to the undesirable strain on French public opinion toward our policies, foreign propaganda has recently tended to use these events in a clever way by claiming that German racial policies are only a pretext and are circumscribed by various considerations, especially within the Axis.
The Embassy and the Security Service in Paris deem it absolutely necessary to issue a decree that will make all Jews in occupied France, irrespective of nationality, subject to marking and all other Jewish measures by 1 January 1943. Therefore, the Italian Government should be approached in a suitable manner to inform it about our planned measures. It must be emphasized that military and other reasons make the need for uniform action absolutely necessary. If the Italian Government cannot agree that Italian Jews should also be subjected to the general anti-Jewish measures, including deportation to the East, we should suggest that it repatriate Italian citizens living in France by the end of this year.
Addendum to the German Embassy, Paris
In response to report of 7 September 1942:
The Rome Embassy has been instructed to approach the Italian Government in line with the above report. Until further instructions arrive, please do not enact the planned measures. For now, advise which groups of foreign Jews, other than Italians, can still be considered.
Nuremberg Document PS-3688
Memorandum for Your Information from Under Secretary of State Martin Luther to Secretary of State Ernst von Weizsacker, 24 September 1942.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs instructed me over the telephone today to speed up as much as possible the evacuation of Jews from various European countries, since it is a fact that these Jews are agitating against us everywhere and we must hold them responsible for acts of sabotage and assassination. After a short briefing on the current evacuations of Jews from Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, and other occupied territories, the Minister of Foreign Affairs ordered that we should now approach the Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Danish governments about starting deportations from those countries.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs wishes to handle the matter of the Italian Jews himself. That question should be discussed in person during a meeting either between the Fuhrer and the Duce or between the Minister himself and Count Ciano.
Presented to Secretary of State von Weizsdcker for his information. Our future measures will always be presented to you for approval prior to their implementation.
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to German Foreign Office, 10 October 1942.
The German Embassy's memorandum of 22 September of this year states the intention of the German authorities to extend the measures already applied against native Jews to foreign Jews residing in the occupied areas of Western Europe. It also states that if the Royal Italian Government cannot accept the extension of such measures to Italian Jews, it should withdraw Italian Jews from those areas.
The Royal Italian Government has taken great pains to review this delicate question with special attention to the role it plays within the context of protecting Italian interests abroad. It is important to emphasize that in addition to the German-occupied territories in the West, many Jewish elements of Italian citizenship also reside in other countries, especially in the Mediterranean basin, where they occupy significant financial and economic positions.
The Royal Italian Government has always protected these elements, regardless of their membership in the Jewish race, since they represent significant Italian interests in highly strategic areas. The Royal Italian Government will continue to protect them because racial laws have been instituted in some of these countries in order to attack the Italian economic position.
If the Royal Italian Government were to agree to the application of measures against Italian Jews living in the western territories, especially measures that would affect their property, its efforts to protect Italian Jews residing in other areas from similar measures would be seriously endangered. To agree would greatly damage the interests whose protection we have considered essential in the past and still do today. For those reasons, there is no way we can agree to the application of these measures, including deportation to the East, to Italian Jews living in German-occupied areas in the West.
On the other hand, the Royal Italian Government is aware that political and military necessities force the German authorities to institute measures. We are thus not opposed to Italian Jews being subjected to measures, except those just mentioned, that serve to limit their activities and that are justified by the alreadymentioned necessities.
As far as the order to wear the yellow star is concerned, from which Italian Jews have so far been exempted by the German authorities, the Royal Italian Government does not object if it is applied to those Italian Jews living in the Germanoccupied areas in the West. We must point out, however, inasmuch as the Italians Jews are forced to wear this badge, the exemptions upon which the Royal Italian Government must insist on principle would become more apparent.
Concerning the practical difficulties of determining citizenship, raised in the note of 22 September, we shall instruct the Royal Italian consulates in the affected territories to provide the appropriate German authorities promptly with all the documentation needed to determine the citizenship of Italian citizens of the Jewish race.
The Royal Italian Government does not doubt that the German authorities will show their usual understanding when considering this question in light of the above- mentioned concerns. We also hope that the authorities will consider the special Italian requirements when they apply to foreign Jews living in the areas in the West the measures that have already been applied to native Jews.
German Embassy Rome (sig. Hans Georg von Mackensen) to German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, Berlin, 11 October 1942.
Response to telegram No. 3727 of 17 Septembor this year. Concerns treatment of Italian Jews in occupied western areas.
The chief of Count Ciano's cabinet, at the time informed and handed a memorandum about the planned measures regarding Italian Jews residing in the western occupied territories, left a response to Envoy von Plessen today, emphasizing that he did so on the instruction of Count Ciano. I am enclosing a translation thereof. Count d'Ajeta explained at this point that the Duce himself had been approached in this matter. The position of the Italian Government is based first on its understanding of the law, which considers Italian Jews first of all as Italian citizens who can claim the same degree of protection as all other Italians. The Italian Government could certainly never agree to deportations to the East. Second, the position of the Italian Government is also based on the belief that if Italy were to agree with our planned measures, her position vis-a-vis other countries would be weakened. For example, France is using our Jewish policies to attack the holdings of Italian Jews within her sphere of influence, especially in Tunisia. In this instance, Italy protested on the basis that Italian Jews are also Italian citizens. The purpose was not support for Jews but rather the protection of significant Italian assets.
When asked whether the Italian Government would agree, if necessary, to withdraw Italian Jews from the occupied western territories, Count d'Ajeta replied that they had not yet taken a position, but were waiting for our answer to this correspondence.
Under Secretary of State Martin Luther to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for approval via the Secretary of State, 22 October 1942.
Concerning: Italy and the Jewish Question
For the solution of the Jewish question in Germany and in various other European countries, it has become ever more urgent to settle the question of how to treat Jews with Italian citizenship and how Italy herself views the solution of the Jewish problem. Practically speaking, the Italians have generally shown little understanding in this matter; alternately, they have proven to be quite sensitive when interests of Italian Jews are at stake.
The problem in its totality is as follows:
I. The German Reich and the Occupied Territories
Italian Jews living within the German sphere of influence have so far been exempt from all measures. The continued presence of such groups of foreign Jews, who see themselves as privileged and thus behave in a presumptuous manner, represents a constant burden for the German population as well as an element of domestic disintegration. In addition, the lack of an unified policy among the Axis partners is thus made evident on this important issue, and this, in turn, implies a criticism of German measures.
Moreover, exempting foreign Jews from our measures in the occupied western areas poses a propagandistic burden for our policies. These facts induced us to approach the Italian Government and ask it to agree that our measures are applied to Italian Jews in the occupied western territories or to repatriate them by the end of the year.
True, the number of Italian Jews in the German sphere of influence is small -in the Reich, including the Protectorate, about 200, in just Paris ca. 500 -but the issue is on this account not less significant if we consider the basic principle involved.
This move should create the opportunity to initiate a dialogue with Italy about the Jewish question. As far as the Italian response to our request is concerned, I would like to point to the separate memorandum.
In its legislation on Jews, Italy did not advance beyond some weak initial steps toward a solution, and even the war has not produced a trend toward greater intensification. On the contrary, it seems as if there is a tendency to avoid all drastic measures. Many particulars illustrate their caution when dealing with this matter: retention of Jews in key economic positions, permissions frequently granted to Italianize Jewish names, reversal of earlier denaturalization of Jews, etc. On the other hand, it therefore does not in practice mean very much that the Fascist Party recently intensified its anti-Jewish propaganda, although in this way it at least prepares the ground psychologically (public gatherings, founding institutes to study the Jewish question, media propaganda, etc.). Preziosi, an Italian opponent of the Jews, was therefore recently moved to raise the question in public whether the attempt to solve the Jewish problem has failed in Italy.
This attitude poses a great danger, because the continuous influence of Jewry will hardly serve the apparent aim of domestic pacification, but will instead be a burden for the already unstable Italian domestic front. On the other hand, an intensification of the policy will serve to strengthen the domestic alignment.
III. Other European countries
The problem in the rest of Europe stems from the fact that Italy places an exceptionally high value on the economic power of Italian Jews residing in the Mediterranean basin (the situation in Tunisia comes to mind), and Italy is therefore everywhere flinching away from anti-Jewish measures.
a. In Tunisia this led to Italian objections against the energetic French Aryanisation efforts, causing us not to exert any pressure on Vichy in this regard. The Paris Embassy had already pointed out the drawbacks for Italian colonial policies of the Italian position, which in Tunisia and Algeria make the French appear to be the persecutors and the Italians the protectors of the Jews. The embassy received orders not to concern itself with this matter for now.
b. In Greece, initial discussions about the marking of Jews between German and Italian representatives led the Italian representative, after checking with Rome, to recommend that this matter be postponed for the time being, because of the significant economic power of Italian Jews in the Mediterranean basin. Moreover, the problem is in Greece especially urgent, since the Jews (70,000; of them 40,00045,000 in German-occupied Salonika) are primarily engaged in usurious trade. Many of them speak German. They contribute appreciably to the exacerbation of economic conditions and public mood. The first call for forced labor in Salonika by Greek authorities led to a sizable exodus to the Italian-occupied zone, particularly of wealthy Jews. Local discussions between the German and Italian representatives about possible solutions are currently taking place; chances for joint action seem remote.
c. Reports from Romania and other southeastern countries state that Italy is disrupting anti-Jewish policies, partly implemented with great difficulty. Not only are Italian Jewish firms keeping their power and status, but repeatedly Italian firms hired Jews after their further employment had been rendered impossible by local measures. Resulting economic advantages for Italy have naturally not helped to popularize anti- Jewish measures in these regions.
d. In Croatia, the Italian occupation authorities promised protection to the Jews and thus opposed Croation measures for the evacuation of Jews. This led to the Duce's well-known decision, which has, however, not yet been implemented, as noted in a separate memorandum.
In light of this situation, it is suggested that the entire problem be discussed with Italy in direct conversations between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Count Ciano, or even between the Fuhrer and the Duce. We believe that our position can be formulated as follows:
I. In the German sphere of influence, the steps already implemented in the occupied territories should be extended so that Italian Jews residing in the Reich, including the Protectorate, are subjected to our measures or are repatriated to Italy by a stipulated date.
II. Italy must conform her measures and laws to ours. This is necessary because (1) general political considerations demand that there absolutely must be agreement among the Axis partners on as important an issue as the Jewish question. If Italy continues to appear as the protector of the Jews, as she has done so far, the enemy would be able to use this as a welcome opportunity to disrupt good relations among the Axis; as German policy toward the Jews becomes more uncompromising, this would increasingly be the case. We can already predict the time at which this issue could become a great danger.
(2) Jewry plays as dangerous a role in Italy as it used to do with us, and therefore the same reasons that demanded a solution in the Reich also apply in Italy.
(3) Furthermore, it needs to be stressed that the small number of Jews in Italy (officially 43,000, but experts on the Jewish question consider this a low estimate for valid reasons) ensures that the resolution of this issue will not have economic repercussions.
III. Italy must support the anti-Jewish policy of other states and, if possible, coordinate her actions with Germany.
As far as available official sources indicate, the main obstacle to a solution is primarily that Italy wants to consider Italian Jews living abroad not as Jews but as Italian citizens. Although Italy's own laws acknowledge the basic racial principle of the Jewish question, the concern to maintain existing as well as create new economic positions in the Mediterranean basin and in southeast Europe has been Italy's reason for these as well as her domestic exemptions. D'Ajeta's note and the accompanying report from the German Embassy are available in a separate memorandum.
However, this argument is dangerous and no doubt originates with the Jews still holding influential economic positions in Italy. It is not only dangerous because it signals a delay in the implementation of anti-Jewish measures. On the contrary, from our perspective, this could also lead to the following: a. increasing resistance among certain governments (for example, Hungary) to our planned synchronization of anti-Jewish measures;
b. obstacles to measures we consider necessary (Croatia, Greece);
c. active encouragement for Jewry, which will follow its alert instinct to take advantage of this permissiveness.
Their arguments even pose inherent dangers for Italy herself. Ultimately, Jewish economic positions in the Mediterranean basin will never be beneficial to Italian interests. Jewish capital is worldwide one of the biggest weapons directed against us, and every individual Jew is well aware of that. In addition, there are hardly any Jews in Europe who do not at least consider their own position as insecure and in danger, and for this reason will be driven by their own economic interests to attempt all means to shift their capital to the side of the enemy. We have witnessed this across the board and continue to observe it every day. The danger of such illicit transfers is especially great in Africa and the neighboring Mediterranean basin, since the proximity of the Anglo-American sphere of influence encourages, even incites, such exchanges. It is therefore quite possible that Italy's hesitation provides for Jewry the opportunity slowly to elude every economic control while completing the aforementioned transfer.
On the other hand, a few preparatory measures, even if they only indicate cooperation with us on this issue, would result in Jews retreating from their positions; for this, however, the speedy registration and control of the Jews is a precondition. This would signal the beginning of a gradual dejudaization, and the shifting of their economic position into non-Jewish hands, without damaging overall Italian interests.
Herewith submitted with request for instructions to the Reich Foreign Minister via the Secretary of State.
Telegram from Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop, Berlin, to German Embassy Rome, 13 January 1943.
In response to the report of 11 October 1942, D 111489 g (B 1550/42 g), regarding treatment of Italian Jews in the occupied western areas.
There are considerable differences between the official Italian and German positions on how to handle the Jewish question. Whereas we have recognized Jewry as a disease that threatens to corrupt the body politic and hinder the reconstruction of Europe, the Italian Government tends to think of Jews as individuals and reserves preferential treatment for individual Jews or certain groups of Jews. The Italian Government also protects Jews abroad if they hold Italian citizenship, especially if they are influential in the economy. The official Italian position is that these Jews "represent substantial Italian interests in territories of special political importance." It is our position, based on long experience, that Jews never represent national interests anywhere, but exclusively represent international and self-serving interests, which occasionally seem identical with national interests, but ultimately and invariably oppose them.
Given these considerable differences of opinion between the German and Italian positions, it seems essential for us to find an orderly solution of the problem in the German-occupied area. We cannot let the Italian position prevail within our own country and in the territories we control.
Therefore, I request that you orally relay the following reply to Count Ciano in response to the Italian Foreign Ministry's communication of 10 October of last year: As a special concession to our ally, we will still permit Italian Jews to stay in the territories we rule until 31 March 1943. After that date, important military and political considerations necessitate that we are free to act against all Jews in the Reich, the Protectorate, as well as other occupied areas. Unfortunately, Italian Jews cannot be exempted.
The Italian Government therefore has the possibility to repatriate from the aforementioned zones any Italian Jewish citizens in whom they have an interest.
In principle, Italian financial interests shall be protected. We can work out mutual agreements to secure them for the Italian Government.
I request that in this context you please point out the immense danger that the presence of Jews represents wherever they live. They are especially dangerous in politically and militarily strategic areas. Financially influential Jews present the greatest danger. In this context, you can cite to the Italians a few examples based on our own experience and emphasize that Jewry as a whole is the worst enemy for us and our struggle. This applies to Italy as much as to Germany. Therefore, we can never agree to special exemptions. For us, Italian Jews are simply Jews and must therefore be subject to our anti-Jewish laws.
I expect a report on this assignment.
Hans Georg von Mackensen, German Embassy Rome, to German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, Berlin, 16 January 1943.
In response to telegram No. 154 of 13 January 1943.
Adhering closely to the cabled instructions, I today explained to Count Ciano our position on the treatment of the Jews in the occupied western territories. He listened attentively to my comments and responded that personally he understood our position and that he agreed with it in principle. He added, however, that the implementation of our measures would affect many other ministries and raise a whole range of issues. He asked whether I could give him something in writing, which I declined by pointing to my instructions to inform him verbally. He then asked me to instruct Plessen to brief d'Ajeta along the same lines, and I agreed to do so. Further, I again pointed out to him that we were, after all, planning to come to a mutual agreement that protects Italian interests in property and secures it for the Italian Government. I will stress to Plessen, that the meeting with d'Ajeta requested by Count Ciano should serve only to reiterate our position on the Jewish question and under no circumstances leave it open for discussion. The meeting should thus deal only with possible Italian requests for the practical implementation of our position and the protection of Italian economic interests.
Telegram from Prince Otto von Bismarck, German Embassy Rome, to German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, Berlin, 27 January 1943.
Follow-up to No. 248 of 16 January.
D'Ajeta informed me today that the Italian Government has decided to repatriate Italian Jews residing in France, Belgium, and Holland (Western Europe). As soon as internal Italian deliberations concerning the logistics are completed, which will be in a few days, the Italian Government will contact us again to discuss proposals about transporting the Jews, their financial situations, etc.
Telegram from Hans Georg von Mackensen, German Embassy Rome, to German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIN, Berlin, 5 February 1943.
As follow-up to the memorandum (No. 405 of 27 January), d'Ajeta yesterday handed Bismarck notes regarding the treatment of Jews with Italian citizenship residing in the Reich, including the Protectorate, as wen as the occupied western areas. An exact text in German translation follows:
"Concerning the repatriation of Italian Jews residing in the territory of the German Reich, including the Protectorate, as well as in the German-occupied western areas, Italian delegations have been instructed to let those holding an orderly valid passport return to Italy without special formalities. Further, those holding expired passports must, prior to their departure, obtain validation of their passport for just the return trip. This revalidation can take place only after the Italian Ministry of the Interior has certified by telegram that it has received from the specified Italian delegation the following information:
1. Complete personal data from the person to be repatriated.
2. Destination and, when available, the name and address of persons at the Italian destination.
3. Confidential data about the past of the persons repatriating, in particular, data involving politics.
4. The name of the border crossing that will be used.
Finally, Italian Jews who do not have a passport may depart only after acquiring one, and it may be issued only after the Italian Ministry of the Interior has certified by telegram that there are no objections. The same applies to former Yugoslav Jews born in regions annexed by Italy; after authorization, temporary passports will be issued to them. The Royal Italian delegations have also been informed that fixed and mobile property that cannot be transported or transferred to Italy as well as businesses belonging to the specified Jews are to be considered the property of Italian citizens. Until a diplomatic agreement about financial matters is in place, it is therefore necessary, prior to departure and in consultation with the owners, to appoint trustees who will care for this property. It should be made as easy as possible for the owners to take property and valuables that can be transported with them. This should be facilitated by applying the current regulations for the simplification of repatriation. Since all repatriation matters must be completed by 31 March 1943, accelerated action has been ordered."
End of their note.
Diego von Bergen, Field Office of the German Foreign Office in Brussels, to German Foreign Office, Berlin, 23 February 1943.
Response to communication of 10 February 1943, DIII 150g, concerning repatriation of Italian Jews.
The military administration, which was informed that Italian Jews must return to Italy by 31 March 1943, has asked me whether those who do not avail themselves of repatriation can be treated like other Jews and, more important, whether they could also be deported to the East.
I request instructions.
Franz Rademacher, German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, Berlin, to Field Office of the German Foreign Office in Brussels, 27 February 1943.
In response to report of 23 February 1943, No. 475/43.
General measures against Jews are implemented by the local representatives of the SS Security Service (SD). The Foreign Office always informs the Reich Security Main Office when there are no objections to the application of general anti- Jewish measures against citizens of a foreign country. This has not yet happened in the case of Italian Jews. We can, however, count on it after 31 March.
Telegram from Bergmann, German Foreign Office, Berlin, to German Embassy Rome, 18 February 1943.
With reference to telegram No. 566 of 4 February.
As of 1 April of this year, general measures against Jews will be extended to include also Italian citizens of the Jewish race living in the General Government, the Baltic countries, and the occupied eastern territories.
I ask that the Italian Government be informed of this.
After sending, copy for his information to Under Secretary of State Gaus, Pol IV.
Royal Italian Embassy Berlin to German Foreign Office, 27 February 1943.
In its aide-memoire DIII of 17 February of this month, the Foreign Office announced that the German Government intends to extend the measures involving Italian citizens of the Jewish race to those living in the General Government, the Baltic countries, and the occupied eastern territories. Concerning this, the Royal Italian Embassy would like to ask the Foreign Office please to consider the following:
1. to permit that the repatriation of those mentioned above can take place after 31 March, that is, within a time frame that will allow the completion of formalities required by the implementation of these measures;
2. to provide this embassy in time with a list of the persons concerned;
3. to advise the proper German authorities that they should notify those concerned of the measures to be implemented;
4. to take steps to implement appropriate practical measures for the protection of the property of Italian citizens, be it to facilitate the transfer of movable possessions or possibly to appoint trustees for possessions that cannot be moved.
The Royal Italian Embassy would like to point out that the above suggestions have been offered because of the unique situation of the above-mentioned territories and the absence of Italian consular offices there which could carry out the measures that apply to Italian Jewish citizens.
Adolf Eichmann, Reich Security Main Office, Department IVB4, to Franz Rademacher, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, German Foreign Office, 2 February 1943.
Concerning measures against Jews in Greece. Reference to our communication of 25 January 1943, IVB4 2427/42g (1148).
When the Wehrmacht commander of the Salonika-Aegean area attempted to conscript the Jews in Greece for labor service, it was continuously discovered that particularly wealthy Jews of various nationalities applied for Italian citizenship at the Italian Consulate General in Salonika and actually received it, thereby avoiding their labor obligations.
The current attempt to deport the Jews from the Salonika area will probably lead to the intensification of such intrigues, because the wealthy Jews will try everything to avoid the imminent evacuation. To avoid this development, I would suggest that through negotiations the Italian Government be persuaded not to recognize as fully valid Italian citizens those who acquired their citizenship after a specific date and not to offer to them the usual protection the Italian Government otherwise grants.
An appropriate cutoff date might be 1 July 1942, the day the Jews are due to report for labor service in Salonika.
Since deportations will start in the next few weeks, this matter deserves immediate attention.
Please inform me of the outcome of the negotiations.