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My aim was to explain in detail the facts surrounding Fascist anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews in Mussolini's Italy. Too many people in Italy and elsewhere underestimate or deny the tragic fate of European Jewry and anti-Semitism between the two world wars. A few short years ago anti-Semitism appeared defeated and reduced to a tiny group of fanatics. But now it seems to be regaining ground in its more political incarnation, probably the most dangerous one, because next to the religious, social and economic varieties it is the most insidious of all.
The author occupies a central position among Italian historians specialized in modern Italy's political history. He broke new ground by first publishing this book in 1961 having obtained special permission to consult the files in the Archives of the Italian Jewish Communities concerning the Fascist regime's persecution of the Jews in Italy from 1938 to 1945. The book's release coincided with the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem that brought the Holocaust to the attention of other historians and to the world public. The English translation of the final 1993 edition was supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This paperback and electronic book edition is published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.