The Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 plunged the world into its
second global conflict. The Third Reich's attack, mounted without
consulting its Italian ally, had other reverberations as well.
Chief among them was Mussolini's decision to conduct a "parallel
war" based on his own tactical and political agendas. Against this
backdrop, Daniel Carpi depicts the fate of some 5000 Jews in
Tunisia and as many as 30,000 in southeastern France, all of whom
came under the aegis of the Italian Fascist regime early in the
war. Many were unskilled immigrants: still others were political
refugees, activists, or anti-fascist emigres, the fuoriusciti who
fled oppression in Italy only to find themselves under its rule
once again after the fall of France. While the Fascist regime
disagreed with Hitler's final solution for the "Jewish problem," it
also saw actions by Vichy French police or German security forces
against Jews in Italian-controlled regions as an erosion of Rome's
power. Thus, although these Jews were not free from oppression,
Carpi shows that as long as Italy maintained control over them its
consular officials were able to block the arrests and mass
deportations occurring elsewhere.
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