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World War II

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Italian dictatorship had already stripped Jews of civil rights and had expelled Jews who did not have Italian citizenship. When Italy entered the war in 1940, many Jews appealed to Mussolini and to the king, reiterating their loyalty to their country and requesting to be able […]

Florence

Jews settled in Florence before 1400. They were not needed in this flourishing commercial city – the scene of factional strife between the Guelfs and Ghibellines – as there was an abundance of capital, the Florentines being the greatest speculators and the most rapacious usurers of the Middle Ages. But having admitted the Jews, the Florentines […]

Trieste

The first written mention of a Jewish presence in Trieste is in the 14th century. After this tiny village came under Austrian protection in 1382, German Jews settled there, engaging in moneylending, banking and trade. In 1697, Trieste’s 60 Jews were forced to live in a ghetto. To create a mercantile empire, the Hapsburg rulers […]

Venice

In 1516, Venice’s ruling council confined all the Jews in a small area not far from today’s train station, where there had been getti, or foundries. The gates were locked at night, and restrictions were placed on Jewish economic activities. Jews were only allowed to operate pawn shops and lend money, trade in textiles, and […]

Rome

The Jewish Community of Rome is probably the oldest in the world, with a continuous existence from classical times down to the present day. The first record of Jews in Rome is in 161 BCE, when Jason b. Elazar and Eupolemus b. Johanan are said to have gone there as envoys from Judah Maccabee. The […]

Vercelli

 In 1446, the commune granted Abramo della Vigneria and his son Angelo a concession to establish a loan-bank in Vercelli with the condition that they be prepared to lend the commune up to 100 florins on request. A small Jewish community formed around these bankers, regulated by the severe statutes issued in 1430 by Amadeus […]

Veneto

While Jews did not settle in Venice until the 13th century, many Jewish merchants and moneylenders visited and worked in the city beginning in the 10th century. Jews were mentioned in documents from 945 and 992 that forbade Venetian captains from accepting Jews onboard their ships. In 1252, Jews were not allowed to settle in the […]