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"Brown booklet titled, ""Deutsches Reich, Reisepass."" Includes photograph on page 2 of 32 pages, no marks on pages 14-31, back cover torn.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:

It is assumed that Ernestine travelled to Italy accompanied by her parents or relatives, fleeing Nazi persecution that reached a crescendo with the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938. Her temporary entrance visa indicated that she would depart from Italy via Trieste, and her British consular visa - issued in Rome - allowed her to travel to British Mandatory Palestine.

It seems counter-intuitive that Ernestine - and Jews in general - would for a time seek sanctuary from Nazi persecution in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, which would become by the late 1930s a German ally in WW2. However, Italian Jews were more fully integrated into Italian society than they were in Germany and had attained civil rights guaranteed by law on a par with those of non-Jews. Many Jews intermarried with Catholics. Indeed, some Jews were members until the late 1930s of the Fascist Party. Moreover, Fascism was neither inspired nor driven by the racial antisemitism of Austria and Germany. Civil rights did become an important matter in 1938 when a version of Germany’s Nuremberg laws was introduced in Italy, perhaps in an effort to placate Hitler and the Nazis. Even then, the Fascist version was not as aggressively enforced as it had been in Germany and Austria. Facing little discrimination, Jews who experienced the upsurge of antisemitism in other countries felt that aid and assistance would be forthcoming in Italy.

There is no gainsaying, however, the harm inflicted on Jewish relations with their non-Jewish neighbors toward the end of the 1930s. The discrimination that did occur would adversely impact the quality of life for Jews and many would emigrate after 1938.


6 1/2 x 4 1/4"


Ernestine Aigner, Italy, Fascism, Refugees, Mussolini



J-Stamped Reisepass for Ernestine Aigner



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