The Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry

Between Mussolini and Hitler: The Jews and the Italian Authorities in France and Tunisia

"Between Mussolini and Hitler: The Jews and the Italian Authorities in France and Tunisia" book cover with a historic photograph of a group of Jewish men in the background

Daniel Carpi

A landmark study of the forces shaping Fascist Italy’s policies toward Jews in occupied territories during World War II. 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.

Winner of the Karen Hayesod United Israel Appeal Leyb Yoffe Prize.

"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 Coll., Billings "Library Journal"

About the Author

Professor Daniel Carpi was an historian with an expertise on Italian Jewry. Professor Carpi was Head of the Department of Jewish History at the Tel Aviv University.