The present article links the empowerment, consolidation and radicalization of Italian Fascism between 1919 and 1938 to the personal trajectories of Fascist and Fascist-sympathizing Jews in Trieste. At the same time, it aims to illustrate the relevance of Trieste as a testing ground for Fascist racism since the 1920ies. Trieste’s ambivalence as a multiethnic city as well as a racist laboratory created a form of “border-Fascism” where a distinctive Anti-Slavism anticipated contents and methods of Italy’s 1938 anti-Semitic laws. Becoming part of Italy only in 1919/20, the city’s geographical and cultural isolation from the “motherland” created a special political environment that Mussolini described as exemplarily for his – at the time – still nascent movement. For this article five Jews from different social and cultural milieus in Trieste have been selected, they are: Pietro Jacchia, the founder of the Fascist movement in Trieste (1919), Enrico Paolo Salem, the city’s Podestà (1933-1938), Achille Levi-Bianchini (1937-1938) and Marco de Parente (1938-1939), two presidents of the local Jewish Community and, finally, Italo Zolli, Trieste´s Chief Rabbi (1919-1940). These figures reflect both interconnections and conflicts between Triestine Judaism and the development of Fascism on a national scale.

issue 11 / October 2017 by Rene Moehrle