Jewish Professors and Racial Laws at the University of Venice

Simona Salustri


University of Ca’ Foscari, aligned with the regime in 1927, like many other Italian universities, diligently applied the racial laws. In little more than a decade, the Venetian University was prepared to the fascist anti-Semitic legislation promulgated in 1938 and it was ready to compile the census of Jews. Of the 74 teachers to whom the form was distributed, 4 were of Jewish race and were quickly suspended. Fascist anti-Semitism thus struck the well-known European historian Gino Luzzatto, who held the chair of Storia economica in Venice; the philosopher of law Adolfo Ravà, holder of the teaching of Diritto privato; the very young Elsa Campos, assistente volontaria to the chair of Diritto commerciale and Gustavo Sarfatti, lawyer and for just one year in charge of teaching Diritto marittimo as a libero docente. In addition to these names, we cannot fail to consider Olga Blumenthal: although not included in the lists, she was removed from the University where she was a lettrice of German language, later dying in Ravensbrück after being deported. The bureaucracy was also very attentive to the students and compiled a detailed list of 12 university students who were Jewish. At the end of the war, only professor Luzzatto returned to the University of Venice: he became rettore from 1945 to 1953 in the period of the reconstruction and the purge that did not punish those who had praised fascism and its politics racist.


Anti-Semitism; Italian racial laws of 1938; University of Venice

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ISSN 2282-0043 - Registered at the Court of Rome on Nov. 8, 2012, no. 305/2012

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