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.