In the spring of 1936, during the war against Ethiopia, dictator Benito Mussolini began sending directives to Italian authorities in Africa against so-called “mixed unions,” from which “mixed-race” children were born. In the fall of 1938, the Fascist government permanently banned marriages of Italian citizens “of the Aryan race” with “Camites” and “Semites” of any citizenship. This essay tells the story of that course and documents the fact that the 1938 ban on “racially mixed marriages,” which unilaterally amended the Concordat, constituted a clear victory for Mussolini over the Holy See and the Catholic Church. It thus demonstrated the strength that fascism had at that time.

issue 22 / n.2 (2022) by Michele Sarfatti