|The letter, signed by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop himself, was delivered by the German embassy in Rome on 13 January 1943.42 This document, more an antisemitic ideological manifesto than a diplomatic communication, underlined the difference in outlook between Nazism and Italian fascism with respect to the Jews: While the Germans viewed the Jews as a disease to be eradicated, the Italians dealt with Jews as individuals and reserved the right to grant them preferential treatment. As a special favor to their Italian ally, however, Ribbentrop asked the German ambassador, Hans Georg von Mackensen, personally to tell Count Ciano that the German authorities would allow Jews of Italian nationality to remain in their territory until 31 March 1943; thereafter Germany had to have a free hand to include Italian Jews under the anti-Jewish measures. On 16 January 1943 Mackensen duly conveyed this German viewpoint to Foreign Minister Ciano and, at the request of Ciano, Baron Johann von Plessen of the German embassy also briefed Count d'Ajeta. The Germans insisted, however, that the German position could only be transmitted, not discussed.43 The Italians could no longer play for time. On 27 January 1943 Prince Otto von Bismarck of the German embassy recorded that the Italians had succumbed to pressure. He telegraphed Berlin that the Italian government had decided to repatriate the Jews in France, Belgium, and Holland (Western Europe) and that the logistics of the operation would be communicated in the next few days.44 On 28 January 1943 the German Foreign Office informed the German embassies in Paris, Brussels, The Hague, and Prague about the Italian decision.45 On 3 February 1943 Count Ciano himself sent a circular letter to the Italian representatives in Berlin, Paris, Prague, The Hague, Oslo, and Brussels, with instructions that Italians of "Jewish race" be informed as soon as possible of the repatriation arrangements.46
On 4 February 1943 Count Blasco Lanza d'Ajeta finally delivered a response to Prince Otto von Bismarck concerning the regulations for the repatriation of Italian Jews, which were transmitted to Berlin the next day. The repatriation involved Italian Jews resident within the Reich, the Protectorate, and the occupied countries of the West. Those in possession of a valid passport could repatriate without difficulty. Those with expired passports had to request a permit for the one-way trip, presenting documentary evidence. Jewish Italians without a passport could leave only after obtaining a new one from the Italian Ministry of the Interior. Former Yugoslav Jews living in the territory annexed to Italy were to be included in this last category and would be provided with temporary passports. The transfer of money and transportable valuables had to be facilitated for those concerned, whereas trustees had to be named for business property and real estate. The expected deadline for the operation was 31 March 1943.47
The Germans were determined to act once the deadline expired. When the representative of the German Foreign Office in Brussels asked what should be done about those Jews who might not take advantage of the possibility of repatriation, Franz Rademacher of Department Deutschland of the Foreign Office simply responded that "general measures against Jews are implemented by the local representatives of the SS Security Service (SD)."48
When Italy decided to repatriate its Jewish citizens, the status of those residing in the General Government, the Baltic countries, and the Eastern territories had not been considered. Just when the issue seemed to have been resolved, Bergmann of the German Foreign Office specified in a telegram to the German embassy in Rome that after 1 April 1943, the measures against Italian Jews would be adopted also against those residing in the East.49 The Italian government, caught off balance, requested a postponement to 20 April 1943.50 On 27 February 1943, the Italian ambassador to Berlin had approached the German Foreign Office about this extension and the need for additional support to facilitate repatriation, since the absence of consular offices in the East made it impossible for the Italians on their own to repatriate their citizens and their property.51
Meanwhile, the agreed arrangements for repatriation were implemented. On 17 February 1943 Italy requested the list of Italian Jewish citizens living in Germany to prepare for their repatriation. Other countries had made similar requests-Italy was not the only nation interested in this matter. The German Foreign Minister, in fact, expected similar requests on the part of Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, and Turkey, and for this reason ordered that the RSHA prepare lists by country. In any case, the repatriation deadline for all was 31 March 1943.52
Also in February 1943, Joachim von Ribbentrop, who was preparing an official visit to Rome to discuss relations between the two countries with Mussolini, inquired of Himmler whether he had any wish or particular problem to submit regarding the Jewish question. He received no response, however, and Ribbentrop, who was about to leave, was therefore obliged to repeat his request: "The Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs requests an immediate reply from the Reich Leader SS regarding his wishes on the Jewish question in Italy and in territories occupied by the Italians, so that negotiations with the Duce can begin."53
Concening Himmler's aims, there is the evidence provided by a note of 25 February to Bergmann of the Foreign Office, sent by the Eichmann office over the signature of Heinrich Muller, the chief of Department VI (Gestapo) in the RSHA. No doubt, Muller represented Himmler in matters involving the "final solution." In his note, Muller mentions only the Italian position in the territories occupied by Italy itself, but does not mention the issue of Italian Jews residing in the territories occupied by Germany.54
Joachim von Ribbentrop, who might not even have had time to review Himmler's wishes (he was, in fact, already in Rome on 25 February), only discussed with Mussolini in a vague way the problem he knew well -the fate of the Jews in the Italian zone of occupied France.55
In general, the problem of Italian Jews in the territories occupied by Germany had been, more or less, solved. The Italians had agreed to repatriate them, and in reality it was only a matter of a few hundred cases. By now the German position on the issue was to make the treatment reserved to Italian Jews equal to that of Jewish citizens of neutral countries.
In fact, on 31 March two trains of Italian citizens left France, the first from the Gare de Lyon in Paris with ca. 250-300 aboard, and the second from the zone south of the line of demarcation with about 150-200 on board.56
As the issue of Jews residing in France and in Western Europe had been solved, and as Italy did not invoke diplomatic protection for Jews residing in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, there developed a new jurisdictional conflict about the Jews in Greece.57
As we know, Greece was divided between Germany and Italy. The partition ceded most of the country, including Athens, to Italy. Germany kept Salonika with an ample hinterland in Macedonia, part of the Aegean islands, and a strip of the Turkish border. Thrace and Macedonia were occupied by the Axis partner Bulgaria.
In German-controlled Salonika, both Germany and Italy had consulates general, headed respectively by Schonberg and Guelfo Zamboni. Athens, controlled by Italy, was the headquarters of Ambassador Pellegrino Ghigi, the Italian plenipotentiary heading the royal Italian delegation in Greece; there was also in Athens a German delegation headed by Gunther Altenburg. The Italian consulate in Salonika naturally reported to the royal Italian delegation in Athens, while the German consulate in Salonika reported directly to the German Foreign Minister.
After 2 February 1943 Adolf Eichmann had alerted von Ribbentrop that from the start of the imposition of forced labor on Greek Jews in the preceding July, many rich Jews had tried to obtain Italian citizenship from the consulate in Salonika. Since their deportation was planned, an increase in such attempts to obtain Italian citizenship could be expected. To avoid this, Eichmann requested that negotiations with the Italian government begin, so that it would desist from recognizing as Italians those who had become citizens after 1 July 1942. In addition, he asked that the utmost be done to convince the Italian government to instruct its representatives to grant no additional citizenships. Furthermore, he asked for speedy action, so that the deportations could begin in the following weeks.58
The staff of the German embassy in Rome contacted Count Blasco Lanza d'Ajeta at the Italian Foreign Ministry immediately; it asked for clarifications and raised objections against Italy's possible granting of citizenship in the future. For two reasons Count d'Ajeta expressed grave doubts that this could happen; a very long procedure was required to obtain Italian citizenship, and the racial laws served as an obstacle to the acquisition of such citizenship. Count d'Ajeta asked for concrete examples, but thought in any case that citizenships granted involved only irregularities not permitted by the Italian government.59
In March 1943 the deportations of Greek Jews began. For Germany this entailed new confrontations with countries, both allied and neutral, who had guaranteed diplomatic protection to their Jews. As in the Reich, the Protectorate, and the occupied West, the Germans again offered individual countries the chance to repatriate their Jewish nationals.
Horst Wagner, the official responsible for Jewish affairs in Department Inland II of the German Foreign Office after the reorganization following Martin Luther's removal, wrote to the German ambassador in Rome on 30 April 1943 that the deportation of Jews would also begin in Greece and that only foreign nationals would be exempted. However, he considered it advisable to extend the deportation measure to foreign nationals as well after the deadline of 15 June 1943. This group of foreigners included 281 Italian Jews, and Italy could, if it wished, repatriate them.60
As usual, the conflict initially developed in the field and was handled on the local level. On 29 March 1943 Guelfo Zamboni, the Italian consul in Salonika, sent to the royal Italian delegation in Athens a detailed report on the situation that had developed in Salonika regarding Italian Jews and those who, although not Italian citizens, could demand "to obtain, recover, or confirm their citizenship." The German authorities in Salonika had made known that a postponement of the deportations, although brief, could be obtained for those who could produce a declaration from the Italian consulate stating that steps toward the acknowledgment of their Italian citizenship were being taken. Zamboni asked for instructions, and Athens responded, without waiting for the official answer from Rome, that he conduct himself "according to criteria of generosity."
Approval for this general policy followed on 7 April 1943 from Under Secretary of State Giuseppe Bastianini. On 23 April instructions were issued regarding the various contingencies for those not yet in clear possession of Italian citizenship, but who could have a laissez-passer indicating that acknowledgment of their citizenship was in progress. This applied especially to (1) Jewish and non-Jewish women of Italian origin who were widows of Greek Jewish citizens or Jewish foreigners, (2) persons of Italian origin who probably did not possess Italian citizenship, (3) Greek Jews married to Italian Jewish citizens without the prescribed authorization, and (4) Jewish and non-Jewish Italian women currently married to living Greek Jews.61
Italy tried to procrastinate until negotiations on the diplomatic level could take place between the two powers. On 22 April 1943, however, the Italian Foreign Ministry ended the delays and sent, via its embassy in Berlin, a firm note clarifying its position on behalf of those Jews of Italian nationality residing in Salonika. Pointing to the successful arrangement for repatriation that had been implemented in Germany and Western Europe, the ministry argued that this scheme should apply also in Salonika and that "no reason can be adduced to argue that the application of a racial law should harm Italian interests to the advantage of third parties." Finally, the ministry asked that until agreement was reached anti-Jewish measures against Italian Jews in Greece should not be implemented.62
In the meantime, while Italy had prudently not raised the issue to the diplomatic level, the German representative in Salonika had already informed Department Inland II of the German Foreign Office that the Italian consulate had issued 48 certificates for Italian citizenship, and that it had requested repatriation for these Jews, in addition to those already possessing Italian citizenship. Eberhard von Thadden presented the problem to his superiors, pointing out that no Italian citizens, including those of doubtful citizenship, would be deported, but that deportation would apply to all Greek and stateless Jews.63 On 24 April 1943, von Thadden summoned a functionary of the Italian embassy in Berlin to respond officially to the Italian communication of 22 April. The deadline for repatriation had been fixed for 15 June 1943, and the Germans would not proceed against Jews of doubtful citizenship if it could be assumed that they were Italians. In order to accelerate the operation, he asked that the Italian consul in Salonika send a list of doubtful cases.64 On 29 April 1943 Eberhard von Thadden prepared a draft for his superiors summarizing the issue of repatriation from Salonika and explaining in detail the position of the RSHA.65 A few days later, on 3 May 1943, Wagner clarified the German position, indicating that it naturally remained for the Italian authorities to decide about doubtful citizenships, but only for those who had already applied for citizenship confirmation prior to 1 May 1943.66
On 29 April 1943, while the deportation of the Jews of Salonika to the East had already begun, notices went to the German diplomatic delegations in Rome, Ankara, Madrid, Bern, Budapest, Sofia, and Lisbon, so they could advise their respective host governments that their Jews had to be repatriated prior to 15 June 1943.67 As to the Italians, there were 281 Jews who were undoubtedly Italian, and 48 doubtful cases. The German Foreign Office had informed the German consulate general in Salonika that only those in possession of clear Italian citizenship could be excluded, not those who did not currently have it. Department Inland 11 of the Foreign Office argued that exceptions for Jews with unconfirmed Italian citizenship would damage German interests because (1) throughout the Balkans resistance to anti- Jewish measures had been increasing, and (2) Sweden and Finland were also granting Jews citizenship to help them escape anti-Jewish measures.68
At the end of April 1943, the German consulate general in Salonika informed the German Foreign Office that the Italians had tried to transport Jews clandestinely from the German to the Italian zone on tourist trains. For example, on 26 April, 18 Jews traveling to the Italian zone had been stopped, 13 of whom were Italian citizens. Therefore, on 3 May 1943 the German embassy in Rome was instructed to ask the Italian government to suspend tourist traffic between the two zones, and further to protest that the expatriation of Italian citizens was taking place not to Italy but to the Italian zone of occupied Greece.69 Thereupon the German authorities in Salonika refused to grant exit permits to Jews traveling to the Italian zone.70
On 12 May 1943 the Italian Foreign Ministry reacted to the German decisions with a firm diplomatic communication to the German embassy in Rome, signed by Under Secretary of State Giuseppe Bastianini. The communication restated the Italian position, rejected German accusations, and pointed to specific cases in which the German authorities in Greece had violated existing agreements by arresting or deporting Italian Jews, adding a verbal protest regarding the lack of consideration for Italian interests and wishes by the German authorities in Greece. On 14 May 1943 Count Cossato, the legal advisor of the Italian embassy in Berlin, also delivered this communication to the German Foreign Office, adding to it a verbal protest.71 This diplomatic communication showed a rather decisive Italian government in possession of all the powers of an allied state.
The Germans replied a few days later. On 18 May 1943 Eberhard von Thadden drafted an answer for submission to the Secretary of State. Although von Thadden rejected as unfounded the Italian claims of German violations, he did conclude that German intransigence could not be maintained against Italian objections.72
On the next day, 19 May 1943, the German Foreign Office notified the German authorities in Salonika to free the arrested Italian Jews and to permit the Italians to decide the merits of repatriation cases.73 As for the property of the Jews, on 27 May Max Merten, chief of the German Military Administration in Salonika, issued a direct order to the local Association of Notaries stating that non-Greek Jews returning to their native countries could entrust their property to a non-Jewish trustee for an undefined period.74
The final communication from the German Foreign Office, sent to the Italian ambassador on 4 June 1943, was even more conciliatory than the draft prepared by von Thadden. The Germans thus finally granted the Italians the right to remove their nationals to the Italian occupation zone in Greece. As far as the arrested Italian Jews were concerned, the Germans promised "to issue exit permits immediately for those at liberty, and to see to the release and repatriation of those already in a concentration camp." And if Italian Jews had already been deported, the German authorities would institute investigations to discover their whereabouts.75
There was evident bad faith by the Germans. Only four days later, on 8 June 1943, an internal document of the German Foreign Office concerning matters that might be discussed during a planned visit by Himmler to Mussolini clearly stated:
Even if we wanted to meet the Italians halfway on this matter, it could no longer be done, because ... people claimed by the Italians have meanwhile been transported to the East, and for various reasons can no longer be transported back and freed.
In the same document, and for the same reasons, the German Foreign Minister rejected the repatriation of Signora Cozzi, a Jewish native of the Baltic states who had acquired Italian citizenship by marrying an Italian officer, but who had always lived in Riga and spoke only a few words of Italian.76
The sudden generosity of the Germans was no doubt due to the fact that they were in a hurry to conclude negotiations that had gone on for far too long. Salonika was already "free of Jews," since the last train carrying deportees to the East had left on 1 June 1943. In order "fully to solve" the local "Jewish Problem," it was necessary for the Germans to conclude negotiations about the foreign Jews. The deadline for their repatriation had been fixed for 15 June 1943 (and for some Italians for 15 July). On 15 March 1943 there were residing in Salonika 852 Jews of allied or neutral nationality: 511 Spaniards, 281 Italians (the total had risen in the meantime to 350-400 persons), 39 Turks, a few Portuguese, Swiss, Egyptians. and others.77 At the beginning of June 1943, most of them were still in the German zone, including 350-400 Italians and 511 Spanish citizens; the Germans wanted to rid themselves of these Jews as soon as possible.78
On 15 June 1943 Schonberg, the German consul general in Salonika, telegraphed Berlin that the last Jews had been released from the internment camp. Guelfo Zamboni, the Italian consul in Salonika, had delivered the same communication to the royal Italian delegation in Athens on 8 June.79
The repatriation issue was basically over. On 7 July 1943 the last notice from the German Foreign Office arrived at the Italian embassy in Berlin: beginning on 15 August 1943 all Jews, even Italians, would be subject to anti- Jewish measures, because "the fact that these persons have remained leads us to assume that the Royal Italian Government has no interest in these Jews."80 On 19 July 1943 all remaining Italian Jews had crossed the demarcation line into the Italian-occupied zone of Greece.81
42. See Document No. 6.
43. See Document No. 7.
44. See Document No. 8.
45. PA-AA, Inland Ilg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Fritz-Gebhardt von Hahn to embassies and legations, 28 Jan. 1943.
46. Ibid.: Fritz-Gebhardt von Hahn to the German Foreign Office, 8 Feb. 1943. See also JudenverfoIgung, pp. 141-42; and Morelli, "Les diplomates italiens," pp. 398-99.
47. See Document No. 9.
48. See Document No. 11.
49. See Document No. 12.
50. PA-AA, Inland Ilg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Hans Georg von Mackensen to German Foreign Office, 23 Feb. 1943.
51. See Document No. 13.
52. Eichmann Trial doc. 932: Fritz-Gebhardt von Hahn to RSHA, 17 Feb. 1943; doc. 230: Adolf Eichmann to German Foreign Office, 27 Mar. 1943.
53. PA-AA, Inland 11g, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Franz von Sormleithner to Reich Leader SS, 24 Feb. 1943; Fritz-Gebhardt von Hahn to Adolf Eichmann, 25 Feb. 1943.
54. PA-AA, Inland IIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Heinrich Muller to Bergmann, 25 Feb. 1943.
55. Nuremberg doc. D-734: communication concerning conference between Ribbentrop and Mussolini, Palazzo Venezia in Rome, 25 Feb. 1943. Also attending were the German ambassador in Rome, Hans Georg von Mackensen; the Italian ambassador in Berlin, Dino Alfieri; and the Under Secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry, Giuseppe Bastianini.
56. Serra, "La diplomazia italiana," p. 19.
57. For the question of the Jews in Greece, see the Italian diplomatic documents summarized in Relazione, pp. 42-59; and Carpi, "Nuovi documenti."
58. PA-AA, Inland Ilg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Adolf Eichmann to Franz Rademacher, 5 Feb. 1943; Bergmann to German Embassy Rome, 15 Feb. 1943.
59. See Document No. 15; and PA-AA, Inland Ilg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941- 1943: Fritz-Gebhardt von Hahn to Adolf Eichmann, 18 Feb. 1943. Thus on 22 March 1943 Hans Georg von Mackensen reported that the Italian consul in Salonika had sent a telegram in which he declared that during his service naturalizations of Jews had not taken place.
60. See Document No. 17.
61. Carpi, " Nuovi documenti," pp. 178-80, 183-84: Councilor Antonio Venturini of the royal Italian delegation in Athens to the Italian Consulate in Salonika, 2 Apr. 1943; Councilor Antonio Venturini to the Italian Foreign Ministry, 2 Apr. 1943; Under Secretary of State Giuseppe Bastianini to the royal Italian delegation in Athens, 7 Apr. 1943; Under Secretary of State Giuseppe Bastianini to the royal Italian delegation in Athens, 23 Apr. 1943.
62. See Document No. 18. See also Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," p. 182, for the communication requesting suspension of all anti-Jewish measures against Italian Jews in Greece, forwarded by the Italian Foreign Ministry to the royal Italian delegation in Athens, 21 Apr. 1943.
63. See Document No. 19.
64. See Document No. 20.
65. See Document No. 21.
66. See Document No. 23.
67. See Document No. 21.
69. See Document No. 22.
70. See Document No. 24.
71. Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," pp. 186, 188: Under Secretary of State Giuseppe Bastianini to the Italian embassy in Berlin, 12 May 1943. In addition, see Document No. 25; and PA-AA, Inland lIg, 193, Juden in Italien, 1943-1944: Under Secretary of State Andor Hencke to Secretary of State, 16 May 1943; Hans Georg von Mackensen to the German Foreign Ministry, 15 May 1943.
72. See Document No. 26.
73. PA-AA, Inland lIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Horst Wagner to Salonika and to Athens, 19 May 1943.
74. See Document No. 27.
75. PA-AA, Inland lIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Eberhard von Thadden to Salonika, 5 June 1943; and Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," pp. 194-96: Dino Alfieri, Italian ambassador in Berlin, to the Italian Foreign Ministry, 7 June 1943.
76. PA-AA, Inland lIg, 192, Juden in Italien, 1941-1943: Foreign Office memorandum, 8 June 1943.
77. Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," p. 145: German consul general in Salonika to German Foreign Office, 15 Mar. 1943.
78. On the Spanish Jews in Salonika, see Haim Avni, "Spanish Nationals in Greece and Their Fate During the Holocaust," Yad Vashem Studies 8 (1970): 31-71.
79. See Document No. 28. See also Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," pp. 196-97: Zamboni to the Italian Delegation in Athens, 9 June 1943.
80. See Document No. 29.
81. One report placed the number at 350 (Carpi, "Nuovi documenti," pp. 199-200: Pellegrino Ghigi to the Italian Foreign Ministry, 13 Sept. 1943), and another at 400 (PA-AA, Inland IIg, 193, Juden in Italien, 1943-1944: Altenburg to the German Foreign Office, 9 June 1943).
Draft telegram from Hans Georg von Mackensen, German Embassy Rome, to German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, Berlin, 16 February 1943.
Response to No. 587 of 15 February.
Since I have no objections to carrying out the task assigned in the telegram (Nr. 587 of 15 February), I charged Bismarck to raise the matter with the Chief of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using the case of Salonika as the example. The Chief of the Cabinet doubted that upon application Italian consulates, including the one in Salonika, actually extended Italian citizenships to foreign Jews. He pointed out that obtaining Italian citizenship involved a lengthy procedure and, apart from that, the Italian racial laws prevented this. However, he will immediately order that this matter is investigated carefully; meanwhile he would appreciate it if we would provide details about specific cases known to us. As this can only involve irregularities, the Italian Government will certainly pursue them. I request instructions by telegram.
Fritz-Gebhardt von Hahn, German Foreign Office, Department Deutschland, Office DIII, to Adolf Eichmann, Reich Security Main Office, 24 February 1943.
Follow-up to communication of 18 February.
The German Embassy in Rome reports that the Chief of the Cabinet of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday showed Mr. von Bismarck a telegram from the Italian Consul General in Salonika, which states that during his entire term of office neither he nor his office ever naturalized a single Jew.
Telegram from Horst Wagner, German Foreign Office, Department Inland II, to German Embassy Rome, 30 April 1943.
Compelling reasons of a military, security, and police nature force us to extend general anti-Jewish measures into the northern Greek area occupied by German troops. Deportation of Greek Jews living there has started. Foreign citizens of the Jewish race have so far been exempt from general anti-Jewish measures. The occupied northern Greek area cannot be secured if foreign Jews are permitted to remain, since they have close family and business ties to the Greek Jews. Thus intend as of 15 June this year to apply general anti-Jewish measures to all foreign Jews still in residence. This includes 281 Jews with Italian citizenship. Please inform the government at your end that until 15 June this year it may repatriate its citizens of the Jewish race from Salonika.
Since the Italian Embassy objected to local demand that Italian citizens be repatriated by 15 May on the grounds that northern Greece belongs to the Italian sphere of influence, it should be pointed out in attachment to telegram of 24 April, No. InI.U 1027g, that local deadlines were assigned without the knowledge of the Foreign Office. All concerned governments are to be officially notified only now that general anti-Jewish measures are to be extended to the Salonika area.
The list of the 281 Italian Jews with incontestable Italian citizenship will be handed over to the embassy here. Concerning cases of doubtful citizenship, refer to the above- mentioned telegram.
Royal Italian Embassy Berlin to German Foreign Office, 22 April 1943.
The Royal Italian General Consul in Salonika has been informed by the local German military authorities that the Jews with Italian citizenship residing in the German-occupied Greek area must be repatriated no later then 15 May of this year.
The Royal Italian delegation in Athens, on the other hand, has reported that the German authorities in Salonika would immediately deport all Jews residing there whose Italian citizenship has not been clearly determined.
The Italian position is the following:
The removal of Italian Jews from Greece, which has been declared an Italian sphere of influence, is an especially sensitive matter, even if the removal takes place in Greek areas occupied by Germany, and the Fascist Government must examine this matter scrupulously, because of the inherent severe repercussions to Italian interests in this region.
Italian Jews, mostly originally from Tuscany, have resided in Salonika for over a century. Many of them have been extremely successful in trade and finance and have proven that they consider themselves Italians. Almost all Italian interests in this region lie in Jewish hands. The removal of these Jews would result in the loss of important and valuable positions which we want to maintain and protect.
In the past the German Government was made aware of the need to give special consideration to Italian interests in the Mediterranean. At that time the German Government acknowledged the unique situation of Italian Jews residing in Tunisia, and in consideration of our interests, the limitations imposed by the racial legislation were not applied. The same concerns now apply to Greece, and the Italian side expects that they will receive the necessary consideration.
When the German Government demanded the removal of Italian Jews from Germany and various European territories occupied by German troops, negotiations between the Foreign Office and the Royal Foreign Ministry led to an exchange of views and an agreement that settled the guarantees and details of how the measures were to be implemented. As for Greece, the Fascist Government has not yet received a request for repatriation.
While the Italian Government already registers every reservation concerning such repatriation, she would also like to emphasize that the determination of the Italian citizenship of the Jews in question must be left to the Italian authorities. This method, by the way, proved extremely successful for the investigations necessary for the repatriation of Italian Jews from the Reich and the abovementioned territories.
In any case, prior to such repatriation, the Fascist Government must definitely concern itself in detail with the property of Italian Jews, since this property will remain Italian. No reason can be adduced to argue that the application of a racial law should harm Italian interests to the advantage of third parties.
In connection with the above, Italy is confident that Germany will refrain from measures against Jews with Italian citizenship residing in Greece. Even if such measures are implemented, this would first require negotiations by a stipulated deadline.
In any case, anticipating agreement on a wider basis, Italy would be grateful if the German Government would issue urgent orders for the cessation of all measures against local Jews whose Italian citizenship has not yet been clearly confirmed.
Memorandum by Eberhard von Thadden, German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 22 April 1943.
Concerning Italian aide-mimoire of 22 April this year.
The General Consulate in Salonika reported by telegram that the Italian General Consulate provided a number of persons with certificates indicating that they would acquire Italian citizenships - initially 48 cases were mentioned, the number has apparently meanwhile risen. At the same time, the Italian General Consulate requested that not only Italians with incontestable citizenship, but also those holding such certificates, be exempted from the deportation of Jews from the Salonika zone.
The following have apparently received these certificates:
a. former Italian citizens, whose citizenship lapsed over time and who are now trying to recover it;
b. persons who have lost their Italian citizenship because of marriage and who are now trying to recover it;
c. persons who have recently applied for Italian citizenship and command special influence and wealth.
Department Inland 11 has argued that all Italian citizens, including those cases where doubt exists whether those concerned now hold Italian citizenship, are to be exempted from the deportations, whereas all stateless Jews and all Greek Jews who only now are trying to obtain or recover Italian citizenship are to be included in the deportations. Without knowledge of the steps taken by Italy, draft instructions to that effect for Rome, Salonika, and Athens were sent to Legationsrat Wagner, presently staying in Fuschl [sic]. All relevant documents accompanied these drafts and are thus not available at the present time, and cannot be sent back to Berlin in time for the meeting of department heads on 24 April.
Memorandum by Eberhard von Thadden, German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 24 April 1943.
As instructed, I asked Mr. Casardi of the Italian Embassy to come see me today and informed him of the following:
After examining the Italian communication of 22 April regarding Italian Jews in Salonika, the proper German authorities have been instructed to proceed as follows:
1. to extend the deadline for the repatriation of Italian Jews until 15 June;
2. to exempt from general anti-Jewish measures for the time being those Jews whose Italian citizenship has not yet been verified but who are presumably considered Italian.
In order not to delay the implementation of the cleansing operation in the Salonika area, we request that the Italian General Consulate in Salonika, if possible, promptly provide the German authorities with a final list of all doubtful cases requiring investigation. The German General Consulate in Salonika has already been advised via telegram to inform the Italian General Consulate of this request.
The German Embassy in Rome, the plenipotentiary of the Reich in Athens, the General Consulate in Salonika, and the Reich Security Main Office have been notified of the Italian move and of the contents of the verbally delivered answer. They have been instructed to act according to this answer.
Concerning the question whether Germany should consider exempting from general anti-Jewish measures those Jews whom the Italians intend to naturalize, I shall present further recommendations, as soon as I receive the materials requested, and await instructions.
Herewith submitted as instructed to the Secretary of State.
Herewith submitted for your information to Legationsrat Wagner.
Memorandum by Eberhard von Thadden, German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 29 April 1943.
As part of the deportation of Jews for labor in the East, units of the Reich Security Main Office have begun to implement this operation in the German-occupied Salonika zone in Greece. On 29 April 1943 German representatives in Rome, Ankara, Madrid, Bern, Budapest, Sofia, and Lisbon received instructions to notify governments there that general anti-Jewish measures were being extended to the Salonika zone, and to advise them to repatriate Jews of their nationalities by 15 June of this year.
Together with the German General Consulate in Salonika, the SS unit implementing these measures has, without the knowledge of the Foreign Office, already undertaken preliminary discussions with local consular representatives of the various countries concerned. In regard to the Italians, the following resulted:
Two hundred and eighty-one Jews, all of them clearly Italian citizens, reside in the Salonika zone. The Italian General Consulate also requested that 48, possibly even more, additional Jews be treated as Italian citizens. The majority of these cases involve Jews whose Italian citizenship has lapsed due to expiration or marriage and who have now applied for reinstatement; other cases involve Jewish families whose naturalization is pushed because of their allegedly Italian outlook, Italian heritage, their special services to Italy, or for various other reasons.
In accordance with the positions taken in all occupied areas, Department Inland II has replied to the General Consulate in Salonika that only those Jews with incontestable Italian citizenships can be exempted from anti-Jewish measures. Those, however, who do not now have incontestable Italian citizenship, but are only now trying to obtain Italian citizenship, cannot be considered exempt. Further, those newly naturalized can no longer receive consideration.
In the memorandum of 22 April of this year, translation enclosed, Italy has now emphatically requested that only Italian authorities should determine Italian citizenship, because of the particular Italian rights in Greece and the need to protect Italian interests in the Salonika area, which are in Jewish hands.
In response to the Italian request, orders were issued immediately that measures will not be implemented at this time against those Jews whose citizenship is considered doubtful by the Italian General Consulate.
Considering the nature of these doubtful cases, compliance with the Italian request would imply recognition of the right to grant Italian citizenship through naturalization or reissuance in order to exempt even those Jews who do not at this time unambiguously possess Italian citizenship from general anti-Jewish measures. The Italian intention is clearly evident from the explanations of the Italians about the prominent position occupied in trade and finance by these "Italian" Jews.
Department Inland II believes that granting the Italian request is not defensible, as long as there are no special political reasons for doing so. On the contrary:
1. Finland and Sweden are also trying to help Jews leave the German sphere of influence by naturalizing individual Jews. At the end of March, we already notified Sweden that these naturalizations would no longer be recognized. To act differently in the Italian case would create a precedent for those other countries.
2. In the Balkan states, resistance to our anti-Jewish measures has increased. Were we to submit to the Italians, these tendencies would be encouraged, and such submission would be considered a sign of weakness.
3. Our prestige in Greece would suffer significantly if, in the Greek zone occupied by us, we permit Italy to protect wealthy and influential Jews who were previously not Italian citizens.
Department Inland II thus suggests that the Italians be informed that obviously the Italian authorities themselves can conduct the investigation whether Jews currently hold Italian citizenship. Jews presently without Italian citizenships cannot be exempt from general anti-Jewish measures on principle and to prevent setting a precedent, even if their applications for naturalization or reissuance are currently pending. Herewith submitted with request for instructions to the Secretary of State via the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
Telegram from Eberhard von Thadden, German Foreign Office, Department Inland II, to German Embassy Rome, 3 May 1943.
Follow-up to telegram of 29 April.
The General Consulate in Salonika reports that the deadline for the departure of Italian Jews has not yet been fixed. The Italian communication about this is in error.
Salonika further reports that Italy is attempting to use vacation trains for the secret departures of Jews from the Salonika zone to the Italian-occupied zone. On the vacation train of 26 April, 18 Jews were found, among them 13 with Italian citizenship, who could have traveled on any other train. They were permitted to depart, but the other five were detained. More detailed report will arrive from Salonika by courier.
Please ask the Italian Government to issue the necessary instructions to end departure of Jews on vacation trains. In addition, point out most strenuously to the Italian Government the military objections against the departure of Italian Jews from the Salonika zone to the Italian-occupied area of Greece. The General Consulate in Salonika will receive instructions only to issue papers to Italian Jews for departure to Italy and to prevent departures to the Italianoccupied area.
Please notify by telegram if the Italian Government does not share our military reservations and insists on permitting the departure of Italian Jews to the Italianoccupied area.
Telegram from Horst Wagner, German Foreign Office, Department Inland II, to German Embassy Rome, May 1943.
Follow-up to No. 38 of 24 April. Concerning Jews of Italian or disputed citizenship in Greece.
The following instructions were sent to the embassy in Rome: Concerning treatment of Jews with contested citizenship, please inform the Italian Government that obviously Italian authorities in Salonika will make the determination of who possessed Italian citizenship prior to 1 May of this year. However, in order not to create a precedent, Jews cannot be exempted from general anti-Jewish measures if they do not yet possess Italian citizenship at the stipulated deadline, and this also applies if their application for obtaining or reobtaining Italian citizenship is pending.
End of telegram to Rome.
Schonberg, German Consul General Salonika, to German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 13 May 1943.
Concerns cable 146 of 7 May to the plenipotentiary of the Reich in Greece.
No German documents are being issued to Italian citizens for departure from Salonika to the Italian-occupied area. Based on the instructions to prevent the departure of Jews for the Italian zone, I asked the commander of the SalonikaAegean area to take the necessary steps. He has asked the Italian General Consul, as I have also done, to prohibit Jews from traveling to the Italian zone on Italian military trains. Nevertheless, a number of Jews once again left on the most recent Italian military train. Since these trains are under Italian military guard, forceful intervention is out of the question, since it would lead to clashes. Other means of transport to the Italian zone do not exist for Jews.
The Italian General Consul today informed the commander of the SalonikaAegean area that he has received instructions from Rome to permit Italian Jews to enter the Italian zone. As justification, the Italian Government explicitly stated that only it can determine this question, which poses potential military risks for the Italian zone.
Please send instructions by telegram.
Telegram from Hans Georg von Mackensen, German Embassy Rome, to German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 19 May 1943.
Attachment to No. 2274 of 15 May.
In response to our memorandum regarding Italian Jews in North Greece (telegram 1740 of 3 April, telegram 1763 of 3 May, and telegram 1906 of 12 May), the Italian Foreign Ministry has now transmitted the promised written position of the Italian Government. The following is a German translation of the text:
In reference to the memorandum of 4 May 1943 transmitted via the Italian Embassy in Berlin [Comment by embassy: involved telegram numbers 1740 of 30 April, 1763 of 3 May, and 1696 paragraphs 2 and 3 of 25 April], it has already been pointed out that removal of Italian citizens of the Jewish race from Germanoccupied area will severely damage our entire economic and political interests in this region. The memorandum today is also based on the belief that these extremely delicate interests in Greece, recognized to be our sphere of influence, justifiably deserve the utmost attention. It is undeniable that the measures against Italian Jews can be considered only within the context of the special situation created by the fact that in Greece, as well as in other parts of the Mediterranean, the Jewish elements have always done their loyal duty as Italian citizens. It is our opinion that the public interest in the application of basic regulations, as well as in the extension of security measures, does not justify the harm that the destruction of our foreign colony will bring about. These considerations lead us to request that the embassy should point out to the Foreign Office the severity of the measures recently taken by local officials, which do not coincide at all with the embassy's assurances. These assurances included the following points, here summarized:
1. Jews with foreign citizenship, and thus also the Italian Jews, can reside without fear in the German-occupied Greek area until 15 June. 2. Presently, no measures of any kind shall be implemented against Jews whose Italian citizenship has not been determined.
3. Jews with Italian citizenship may not transfer from the area occupied by German troops to that occupied by Italian troops, but may leave for Italy. In fact, disregarding objections raised by the Italian authorities, local authorities applied immediate measures in 75 cases, about which our consul in Salonika reported as follows: Thirty-four persons have already been deported, the whereabouts of 18 are unknown, and 23 are in concentration camps. These measures contradict point 2 above.
Further, there is the case of a 73-year-old woman who was deported even though she had papers proving her Italian citizenship. This case contradicts point 1 above.
Under these circumstances, we are justified urgently to request that the Foreign Office use its influence to see that those deported are returned, those missing are found, and those interned in a concentration camp are freed. As far as the determination of Italian citizenship in these questionable cases is concerned, it appears justified to us to leave that task to the Italian authorities, just as was done with doubtful cases during the repatriation to Italy from German-occupied western and eastern European areas.
In fact, only the Italian authorities are competent to decide cases where determination of citizenship requires special investigation; only they can do this, after investigations in Italy and evaluations of expert opinions from appropriate authorities, basing their determination on legal and factual data. As laid out in the memorandum of 14 May [Comment by embassy: involved telegram number 1906 of 12 May], this matter does not involve the question of how to differentiate between those Jews who were already Italian citizens as of 1 May 1943 and those who acquired their citizenships after that date. This eventuality simply cannot occur under the current regulations. Instead, this matter involves the determination, after a thorough investigation of all legal and factual data, of who is and who is not an Italian citizen today. This situation requires that all measures be halted against the aforesaid Jews for the time being, as outlined in the 4 May memorandum from the German Embassy, until the expected results of the necessary investigations are available.
We would thus be grateful if the Foreign Office would, once and for all, acknowledge as unfounded the various allegations made against Italian offices in Greece, accusing them of presenting as Italian citizens persons who do not hold such citizenship. In this regard our agencies have offered unequivocal assurances. There is no evidence to support the assumption that our delegations or our consuls have acted improperly. On the contrary, these assumptions are based on rumors started by biased local German authorities, who were responsible for the severe measures mentioned above.
Some cases may actually not be a matter of citizenship but rather of special legal claims to Italianism and of real services with political value to Italy. We would be grateful if in such cases, which should be the subject of an open and free discussion without the need to use fictitious arguments justifying non- existent citizenship, the German authorities would view our concerns with favor. When applying anti-Jewish measures, we feel it is our duty to grant special considerations to those Jews who, because of their long and useful activities for our benefit, occupy an especially important position. Finally, there remains the very delicate matter of the ruling put forth by local authorities prohibiting the transfer of Jewish Italian citizens from the German- occupied zone to the Italian-occupied zone (confirmed, moreover, with the same arguments by the Foreign Office). We regret to note that we cannot share this view. Such a prohibition to transfer the above-mentioned Jews from the German to the Italian zone would seriously damage our economic and political interests even more, on top of the damage already inflicted by the liquidation of Jewish elements in Salonika.
The political orientation of these elements prevents us from having serious concern that after transfer to the Italian zone these Jews will pose any serious threat. Anyhow, the local Italian authorities have been instructed to take all necessary and proper security precautions in order to avoid any possible surprises. These precautions will suffice to prevent any possible dangers which might trouble local Italian authorities as much as the German ones. In the context of our overall position in the Mediterranean, the question of Italian Jews in Greece takes on a special political meaning. The question must therefore be studied within this context, especially as our Mediterranean interests presently require increasing protection and careful attention. We are therefore confident that the Foreign Office will appreciate the above-mentioned arguments within this context, and we hope that it will assist us insofar as we have mutual interests in dealing with this question. (End of Italian memorandum.)
Concerning the argument about the alleged benefit of Jews to Italian interests, we pointed out to the Foreign Ministry that National Socialist opinion holds that because of their race Jews are exclusively concerned with Jewish interests and never with the national interests of any country, even though camouflage occasionally requires that they attempt to give this appearance. The responsible department head explained that the Italian Government is well aware of this opinion from the various discussions about the Jewish question in the occupied territories, but did after all decide after careful consideration to make the above proposals for exceptional treatment of the Salonika Jews, since decades of Italian experience, and moreover 20 years of experience by the Fascist Government, provided a different picture about the Jews in the Mediterranean basin. Jews from the Mediterranean area - Count Vidau mentioned especially Jews in Greece and Tunisia, who are racially different than other Jews, though he was not willing to expound on this -have always provided valuable support for Italian political and economic influence in the Mediterranean.
Memorandum by Eberhard von Thadden, German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 18 May 1943.
Memorandum concerning the Italian aide-memoire of 15 May 1943, copy attached. A. Although the Italian aide-memoire does not explicitly demand that Italian Jews be allowed to stay in Salonika against German wishes, nevertheless its occasionally very sharp tone seems to imply just that.
Department Inland 11 believes that under no circumstances should we modify our demand that Italian Jews also depart from Salonika.
1. Representatives of missions here have repeatedly asked Department Inland II whether the demand for the repatriation of Jews with foreign citizenships has indeed been asked of all countries. The answer has always been in the affirmative. We can therefore expect that all other countries will cause difficulties in repatriating their citizens, if we treat Italian Jews in a way that deviates from the norm.
2. Any concession granted now on the Jewish question would be viewed as a sign of weakness throughout the Balkans and would further impede the implementation of our anti-Jewish program in all Balkan countries.
3. The Greeks have already shown minimal understanding for our anti-Jewish measures. If we grant special concessions to the Italians, our prestige in Greece will suffer substantial damage.
Department Inland II thus suggests that Italy receive the following general answer: The recognition of the pernicious nature of Jewry makes it absolutely necessary to eradicate immediately all Jews in the regions occupied by us for security and strategic reasons. Our experiences after the deportation of the Jews from the former northern Greek areas, Macedonia, and Thrace have indisputably confirmed the validity of our views. In the days following the implementation of these security measures, smuggling and profiteering with foodstuffs suddenly ceased, and from then on British radio newscasts clearly revealed a scarcity of new information. Therefore, despite our regard for the expressed Italian concerns, the Reich Government cannot relinquish the demand that Italian Jews be withdrawn from the Salonika area, and asks for Italian support. Moreover, Germany is prepared to prevent all damage to Italian interests in the area of Salonika that might result from these necessary measures. Should, in individual cases, the deadline of 15 June for transferring Jewish shops to Italian Aryans result in damage to the business, we are prepared to extend the deadline until 15 July. This offer, however, cannot be allowed to impede our entire program, and we must therefore insist that the majority of Jews with Italian citizenship leave Salonika by 15 June.
B. Comments concerning individual Italian requests:
1. In reference to the 75 cases in which immediate measures were allegedly taken, they presumably involve persons of Greek citizenship or stateless persons, who have been designated as Italians by the Italian side and whose naturalization or renaturalization is pending. The Secretary of State has on submission from Department Inland II already ordered:
a. that in questionable cases only Italian officials are to determine who receives the designation of Italian citizen,
b. that those persons who even in the view of the Italians do not presently have Italian citizenship, on the other hand, cannot be treated as Italian citizens, even if Italian officials are planning to naturalize or renaturalize them.
At that time, the embassy in Rome had received immediate instructions to inform the Italians of this.
The enclosed report from the General Consulate in Salonika shows that the 23 already deported Jews, whose return the Italian Embassy demands, are exclusively persons who, on the basis of the aforementioned decision by the Secretary of State, have no right to claim treatment as Italian citizens. That is, they are Greek citizens who either possessed Italian citizenship prior to their marriage or have close ties to Italian citizens, so that Italy wants them treated as if they were, so to speak, their wards. As far as this is therefore concerned, the Italian Embassy should be informed that a return of those deported is out of the question, since this involves exclusively persons who, under Italy's own interpretation, do not possess Italian citizenship.
Concerning the Davran case, Salonika will be asked to report by telegram. In addition, the General Consulate Salonika should be asked to report whether there are among the arrested Jews claimed by Italy any who should be treated as Italians on the basis of the above regulations of the Secretary of State. At the same time, the General Consulate should be instructed to exert its influence that these cases be discharged from detention at once. Simultaneously, the chief of the Security Police and the Security Service operational unit in Salonika should be instructed to make allowances in this matter for the requests of the German General Consulate.
A telegram draft to this effect is attached.
On this matter a reply to the Italian aide-memoire should therefore be postponed.
2. Department Inland II agrees with the objections raised by German military offices and the chief of the Security Police and the Security Service against the transfer of Italian Jews from Salonika to the Italian-occupied portion of Greece.
In agreement with the Political Department, the embassy in Rome has been instructed to approach the Foreign Ministry in a proper manner with the German request that they should return the Jews to Italy and not transfer them in Athens. At the same time, Salonika was instructed to issue documents to departing Jews with Italian citizenship that do not allow them to transfer into the Italian- occupied Greek zone.
Given the Italian preponderance in Greece, our previous position can despite all our security misgivings not be sustained in the face of Italian opposition and the Italian claim that all preparations have been made to transfer the Jews to another territory because Italian offices consider this necessary to maintain military security and public order. Moreover, after the investigation of every individual case by Italian authorities, we will have to grant permission for transfer to the Italian-occupied zone if it is requested by Italy.
Herewith submitted to the Secretary of State, via the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, with the request for instructions whether the Italian aide-m~moire can be dealt with along lines of the above suggestions or whether a memorandum should be submitted to the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Max Merten, Military Administration Salonika, to Association of Notaries in Salonika, 2 7 May 1943.
Concerns the rights of disposition of transferrable and nontransferrable property by Jews with foreign citizenships. Refers to communication of 20 May 1943.
There are no objections to letting non-Greek Jews who are returning to their so- called homelands hand over their transferrable and nontransferrable property to an Aryan trustee. This trustee, however, may not be married to a Jew. These non-Greek Jews may leave their belongings here for an unlimited period but must themselves assume responsibility for their storage and safekeeping.
These authorizations can be notarized; they do not require permission from the occupying power.
This rule does not apply to Jews from enemy countries, including Iran (Persia). For these enemy nationals, the decree regarding enemy property in the occupied territory of 10 April 1943 applies. (See Verordnungsblatt of the Supreme Commander Southeast, No. 3, page 14, and the supplement of 30 January 1943 Verordnungsblatt of the Supreme Commander Southeast, Nr. 12.)
Telegram from Schoriberg, German Consul General Salonika, to German Foreign Office, Department Inland 11, 15 June 1943.
Concerning communication of 4th of this month, Inl.II 151931 geh.
Upon presenting their Italian documentation, Italian Jews were each time immediately discharged from the internment camp here. The last of them were released on 8 June. Since then, no Jew claimed by the Italians remains in the camp.
Aide-Memoire from German Foreign Office, Department Inland II, to Royal Italian Embassy Berlin, 7 July 1943.
The Foreign Office has the honor to inform the Royal Italian Embassy, that since almost all foreign Jews have left the Reich and German-occupied areas, general anti- Jewish measures are finally to be applied to all remaining Jews.
We therefore request that the departure of all Jews with Italian citizenship still remaining in the German sphere of influence, except those living in the Salonika zone, be accelerated. After 15 August general anti-Jewish measures will thereafter also be applied to Italian Jews living in the German sphere of influence, because the fact that these persons have remained leads us to assume that the Royal Italian Government has no interest in these Jews. If the absence of transportation for individual cases with severe illness renders repatriation by 15 August impossible, the Foreign Office should be notified by 20 July with detailed personal data and the reason for the delay of these specific cases, so that these exceptions can be brought to the attention of the responsible local authorities prior to the expiration of the deadline.
Since the Foreign Office was unable to meet your request to provide the Royal Italian Embassy with a complete list of all Italian citizens living in the occupied territories, the responsible police offices will be instructed to notify the Foreign Office prior to deportation of the names of all Jews holding valid Italian passports, who have been selected for transport for labor in the East as part of the implementation of general anti-Jewish measures. The Foreign Office will then immediately inform the Royal Italian Embassy of these cases, thereby granting Italian authorities a last chance, if they are so interested, to repatriate these Jews to Italy.