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“Discriminate, but Do Not Persecute”: Mussolini’s Urban Plan for the Jews of Rome

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dc.contributor.advisor Friedman, Andrew, 1974-
dc.contributor.advisor Gerstein, Linda Sanchez, Meghan 2015-09-03T15:51:40Z 2015-09-03T15:51:40Z 2015
dc.description.abstract During the early 1930s, Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini began his urban plan to reconstruct and rebuild Rome to its former ancient glory. Black-and-white photographs were taken to mark each momentous, groundbreaking occasion. These images depict Mussolini and his squads of Fascist youth and political goons traipsing across the ruins and remains of classical Rome. Through reconstruction, he wanted to uncover the great city that was once the capital of the leading empire of Western civilization and graft this legacy onto Fascist Rome. This urban project would create a nation that would be envied by all. While Mussolini sought to use these sites from ancient Rome as a bridge between classical antiquity and the modern capital of Italy, he also reemphasized a relationship between the Romans and Jews that had lain dormant among these ruins, in which Roman Jews from antiquity were not seen as Roman, but as “others” living in a land amongst true Roman citizens. The three sites that I focus on, Largo Argentina, the Roman Forum, and the Theater of Marcellus, are all within a mile of the Roman Jewish ghetto. Mussolini’s urban renewal project uses these sites to separate the revitalized center of Rome from the Jews, and attempts to marginalize them from Italian Fascist history. My thesis uses photographs of the three sites to demonstrate the revival of these ancient spaces and how they separate the Jews from the Roman architectural landscape, which acts as a precursor to the 1938 racial laws implemented to discriminate against the Jews of Italy. Many historians suspect that Mussolini enforced these laws to appease and follow the lead of Nazi Germany, but I claim that anti-Semitism has always been a part of Italian history and this relationship resurfaced in 1930 as a way to align Fascist Italy with its forefathers of classical Rome.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of History
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Jews -- Italy -- Rome -- History -- 20th century
dc.subject.lcsh Mussolini, Benito, 1883-1945
dc.subject.lcsh Urban renewal -- Political aspects -- Italy -- Rome -- History -- 20th century
dc.subject.lcsh City planning -- Political aspects -- Italy -- Rome -- History -- 20th century
dc.subject.lcsh Fascism and architecture -- Italy -- Rome
dc.subject.lcsh Area sacra di Largo Argentina (Rome, Italy)
dc.subject.lcsh Roman Forum (Rome, Italy)
dc.subject.lcsh Theaters -- Italy -- Rome
dc.title “Discriminate, but Do Not Persecute”: Mussolini’s Urban Plan for the Jews of Rome
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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