In 1855, the Badia affair, the sequel to a blood libel against a Jewish businessman in a Veneto town, temporarily put in question relations between state, society and the Jewish minority in the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom. After reconstructing the stages of the episode, the present article analyzes the strategies of response to the crisis resorted by the Jewry of Hapsburg Italy, then in the process of emancipation nearly achieved. With the support of state authorities, community leaders and Jewish intellectuals together with some Catholics, Venetian liberalism urged in favor of an apologetic explication to undermine majority prejudice. The effort led to the creation of a text, published as a supplement in the authoritative Eco dei Tribunali, which used the trial minutes against the slanderer, making the legal proceedings into a refutation of the ritual murder stereotype.

issue 14 / December 2018 by Emanuele D'Antonio