By Jonathan Steinberg
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy have been united in a 'brutal friendship'. either had savage racial legislation: either Hitler and Mussolini viciously denounced the 'Jewish menace'. but each one country taken care of the Jews really in a different way. when Jews who fell into the palms of the German military have been consigned, virtually with out exception to focus camps, now not one Jew taken by means of the Italians suffered an identical destiny. Italian officials safe not only Italian Jews, yet Jewish refugees of each nationality. Jonathan Steinberg makes use of this striking and poignant tale to solve the factors and forces underpinning either Nazism and Fascism in an try and get to the bottom of the underlying query: Why?
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Extra info for All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-43
Admiral Horthy in Hungary made a clear distinction between Magyar Jews, ‘who are as good Hungarians as you or I’,21 and the alien Jews who could be deported. Other regimes and ethnic groups participated with varying degrees of enthusiasm in the extermination of the Jews. The Nazis needed help to collect and to murder six million people and they got it from Latvians and Lithuanians, from French policemen and Croatian priests, from Rumanian colonels and Hungarian gentlemen. The Italians not only refused; they made no distinction between ‘their’ Jews and the rest.
Hitler breathed a little easier. If the Italians could just hold the line, his attack on Greece would relieve them and chase the British planes away from the oilfields. Unfortunately, the Italians had collapsed in North Africa while Hitler had been worrying about Greece. Sidi-el-Barrani fell on 10 December and the British took Bardia on 5 January 1941. 28 On 11 January Hitler issued ‘Führer Directive No. 29 Mussolini had problems at home too. 30 The collapse in Africa began to erode Mussolini’s own self-esteem.
Italian documents use such vocabulary all the time. And then there was the stark fact that every Jew who fell into the hands of the Wehrmacht went to a concentration camp. No Jew under Italian protection did. Comparison between German and Italian behaviour must be made — #8212;indeed the story of how Italians saved Jews while Germans murdered them cannot be told in any other way—but easy generalizations about national character will not do. Jewish policy in Italy and Germany, as was true of all other policy, arose from a complex matrix of institutions, traditions, habits, customs, unspoken assumptions, conflicts both structural and personal, laws and 8 THE PROBLEM their evasion, leadership, order and chaos; in short, out of the almost infinite complexity of the interrelations we call for short ‘reality’.