Between Mussolini and Hitler

The Jews and the Italian Authorities in France and Tunisia

Daniel Carpi

The Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 plunged the world into its second global conflict. The Third Reich’s attack, mounted without consulting its Italian ally, had other reverberations as well. Chief among them was Mussolini’s decision to conduct a “parallel war” based on his own tactical and political agendas. Against this backdrop, Daniel Carpi depicts the fate of some 5000 Jews in Tunisia and as many as 30,000 in southeastern France, all of whom came under the aegis of the Italian Fascist regime early in the war. Many were unskilled immigrants: still others were political refugees, activists, or anti-fascist emigres, the fuoriusciti who fled oppression in Italy only to find themselves under its rule once again after the fall of France. While the Fascist regime disagreed with Hitler’s final solution for the “Jewish problem,” it also saw actions by Vichy French police or German security forces against Jews in Italian-controlled regions as an erosion of Rome’s power. Thus, although these Jews were not free from oppression, Carpi shows that as long as Italy maintained control over them its consular officials were able to block the arrests and mass deportations occurring elsewhere.

Paper: $35
ISBN-13: 9781584652281
Pages: 351 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: May 1, 1994

“This important study should be in academic libraries and in public libraries with strong Holocaust collections.”

Dennis L. Noble


  • Fascist Italy faced a conflict with Nazi Germany regarding the fate of Jews, especially those of the Italian communities in southeastern France and in Tunisia. Carpi (history, Tel Aviv Univ.) has plumbed archival sources in Rome and Paris to detail this complicated but fascinating aspect of the Holocaust. He shows that most Italian diplomats and military personnel were strongly opposed to the policies of Nazi Germany toward the Jews, an enlightened attitude that resulted from a complicated mixture of economic, political, and cultural factors and especially the absence in Italy of the strong anti-Semitism found in Germany. This important study should be in academic libraries and in public libraries with strong Holocaust collections.

    Dennis L. Noble, Eastern Montana College - Billings

About the Author

Daniel Carpi

Prof. Daniel Carpi (1926–2005) was an historian with an expertise in Italian Jewry. Prof. Carpi was Head of the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University and acted as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. He also taught at Yeshiva University, Sorbonne, and St Anthony’s College at Oxford. He established the Department of Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University of the Vatican. Prof. Carpi initiated the collecting and editing of the volumes of correspondence written by …