A propos of Giuseppe Tucci, the main character of my book Mussolini’s Explorer, and his supposed antisemitism, on this International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Tucci was a nationalist and a spokesperson of Fascism in India and Japan, however, he was not anti-Semitic.
The Jewish German psychologist Ernst Bernhard, in his book Mitobiografia (Adelphi 1969 and Bompiani 1977), talking of a premonition dream he had in 1935, writes that in 1941 Tucci saved him from being deported to a Nazi concentration camp from a Fascist camp in Calabria. Thanks to Tucci, Bernhard was able to go back to Rome and live hidden at home.
On the Holocaust Memorial Day, dedicated to the Shoah, I would like to clarify the position of Tucci on racism and anti-Semitism. The issue has sparked much controversy in the Roman Jewish community, in Italian media and at parliamentary level, when on May 25, 2010, a widening in Rome was named Largo Giuseppe Tucci in his honor.
The Manifesto of Racist Scientists or Manifesto of Race was published in Il Giornale d’Italia (Newspaper of Italy) on July 15, 1938. Later on were given the names of ten scientists who had “prepared or supported” the document. One of them, professor Nicola Pende, director of the Institute of Special Medical Pathology at the University of Rome, a few months later denied having given his support.
On the Internet and was picked up by some journalists a list of public figures – all men – that would be deployed publicly in favor of the “Manifesto of Race”. Among them politicians, distinguished intellectuals, cartoonists, physiscians, journalists, and Giuseppe Tucci.
The Declaration of Race was approved by the Grand Council of Fascism on October 6, 1938 and a few days after it was published in the Paper of the National Fascist Party (PNF). King Vittorio Emanuele III, under Mussolini proposal, along with the ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Justice, of Finance, and of Corporations, on November 17, 1938 approved a which established the Measures for the Defense of the Italian Race.
Racial discrimination occurred in both public and private sectors and in the education of children born to Jewish relatives: evil should be extinghuished from the start. Finally, the Royal Law of November, 15 1938- XVII integrated and coordinated in a single text the rules for the defense of race in Italian schools. They were hard rules, which, among other things, separated Jewish children in special sections of the school “in places where the number was not less than ten children”, and forbade Jewish adults to obtain the license to teach at university and to become members “of academies, institutes and associations of science, literature and arts. In 1939 Il Duce also established that Jews could not be teachers, notary public, and journalist, and were established special sets of rules for the other professions.
Il Duce's Explorer: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, v. 1 is out!
Those of you who pursue studies in the History of Religions, Italian History, Tibetan Buddhism, History of Asian Art, International Politics, Asian Archaeology – and those of you who would like to know a bit more on Giuseppe Tucci, the visits of Gandhi, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tagore, and Subhas Chandra Bose in Italy, and Italian Fascism in India, Afghanistan, and Japan – may wish to read the book just published Il Duce’s Explorer. The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, authored by Enrica Garzilli.
This is the 1st out of 9 volumes. This book is the revised and enlarged translation of the omonimous Italian book (1st ed. Memori-Asiatica, Aug. 2012; 3rd ed. April 2014). I want to thank Todd Portnowitz, the translator, who did an excellent job.
Here is a description of the book and a Table of Contents.
When the capital of Tibet was still the mythical “Forbidden City”, a mysterious destination for the most adventurous explorers, when Nepal was covered with forests and swamps, swarming with dangerous beasts and forbidden to foreigners, when Italy was ruled by the Fascist regime greedily eyeing potential colonial possessions in Asia, a learned and adventurous man, the perfect embodiment of that era’s virile ideals, entered places where no Western man had before set foot: crossing glittering peaks of snow, desolate deserts and ruins of ancient cities, constantly challenging himself, he discovered archaeological treasures from past civilizations.Even today, in the East as well as in the West, the name of this intrepid Italian explorer and insatiable researcher is cloaked in an aura of legend.
One could hardly imagine a richer and more exciting life than that of Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), the scholar who may quite rightly be considered one of the fathers of modern Oriental Studies and a central protagonist of Fascist cultural policy in Asia: from his first expeditions to the valleys of the Himalayas and the plains of the Ganges, to his diplomatic activity in Japan as spokesman for the Duce; from his encounters with scholars and leaders such as Gandhi, Tagore, the XIV Dalai Lama, Mircea Eliade and Giovanni Gentile, who was his great protector together with Giulio Andreotti, to the archaeological excavations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in more recent years; a human and intellectual adventure inextricably linked to the history of modern Italy, which he himself helped to forge.
An adventure that can be traced in the pages of this book, where the pace of a thrilling narrative combines with the scientific and historical reconstruction of the Fascist policy in Asia, and of Tucci’s precious creation, the powerful Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East. A history based on eyewitness accounts and historical documents, such as the original and unpublished correspondence between Tucci and Andreotti, Gandhi, Tagore, the XIV Dalai Lama, Mircea Eliade, Giovanni Gentile, the Raj Guru of Nepal, and the historian D. R. Regmi, and the previously unknown notes of Mussolini. An adventure retraced in the pages of this book that reads like an adventure novel.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME 1
1 Index of Maps in Volume 1
xxiii Index of Figures in Volume 1
xxv Preface to the English Edition
lxv Note on the Text
I From Youth to the First Voyage: Enlightened by the Buddha
One could hardly imagine a richer and more exciting life than that of Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), a scholar who may rightly be considered one of the fathers of modern Oriental Studies and the central protagonist of Fascist cultural policy in Asia.
From his first expeditions to the valleys and peaks of the Himalayas and the plains of the Ganges, to his encounters with scholars and leaders such as Gandhi, Tagore, the Dalai Lama, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Giulio Andreotti, to his role as Mussolini’s spokesman in Japan — Tucci’s is a human and intellectual adventure tied inextricably to the history of modern Italy, which he himself helped to forge. An adventure that can now be retraced in the pages of this book.