November 26, 2019

Three Rome streets, once named for antisemites, rededicated to Jews

Source: Jpost
Two streets in Rome that were named after Italian scientists who signed the antisemitic Manifesto della Razza (Racial Manifesto) in 1938 have been rededicated to two pioneer Jewish female scholars. A third has been renamed for an anti-fascist professor, who was one of the very few academics who refused to pledge loyalty to dictator Benito Mussolini.

The streets of the Italian capital previously carried the names of psychiatrist Arturo Donaggi and Edoardo Zavattari, a biologist who promoted the idea of scientific racism.

The Manifesto, which they both promoted along with other prominent Italian scholars, became the ideological and pseudo-scientific base for the racial policies of Mussolini’s fascist regime.

A few weeks after the Manifesto was published, the regime passed anti-Jewish legislation, the Italian equivalent of Nazi Nuremberg Laws.

The streets in Rome named for Donaggi and Zavattari were renamed for Enrica Calabresi, Nella Mortara and Mario Carrara.

After 1938, Jewish zoologist Calabresi devoted herself to teach Jewish students who were expelled from Italian schools. She took her own life in prison in 1944 to avoid being sent to Auschwitz.

During the persecutions, Mortara, a physicist, fled to Brazil. After the war, she was given her position back, in 1949.

Carrara, a forensic physician, was arrested in 1936 for promoting anti-fascist activities and died in prison in 1937.

Their names were selected for the streets by students and residents of the two Roman neighborhoods from among a group of relevant personalities.

Virginia Raggi
“We must learn history to understand who we have been and what we want to be,” Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, said after the new street signs were unveiled on Thursday, as reported by the Italian Jewish newspaper Pagine Ebraiche.

Attending the ceremony were also the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Noemi Di Segni, US Ambassador to Italy Lewis Eisenberg, and Israeli Ambassador Dror Eydar.