after Hitler took power, Mussolini said "National pride has no need
of the delirium of race!" However, in 1938, Mussolini decided to cement
a military alliance with Hitler, and Italian fascism had to perform
verbal somersaults to explain away Mussolini's anti-racist statements.
in the store fronts shown in the film 'Life is Beautiful' "No Jews or
dogs allowed" were, in fact, common in most Italian cities after 1938.
were excluded from public jobs, public schools and many professions.
But persecution did not lead to extermination until toward the end of
World War II. In September of 1943, the Italian government, seeing that
the war was lost, ousted Mussolini, made a separate peace with the Allies
and tried to withdraw from conflict. The Germans quickly occupied most
of Italy and began hunting down and deporting Jews. In the eighteen
months of German occupation, some 15,000 of the roughly 57,000 Italian
Jews were arrested and deported.