Monday, September 21, 2015

Margherita Sarfatti,Mussolini’s Jewish Lover,Crafted Italian Fascism



Margherita Sarfatti,Mussolini’s Jewish Lover,Crafted Italian Fascism


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Mussolini's Jewish Lover Who Crafted Italian Fascism - Books

www.haaretz.com › Life › Books

Nov 23, 2014 - Margherita Sarfatti wasn't just the dictator's most erudite paramour; she was his secret ... Mussolini's Jewish Lover Who Crafted Italian Fascism ... decades of research in Italy, France, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.


  1. Benito Mussolini's women

    Telegraph.co.uk-Aug 31, 2011
    Margherita Sarfatti: Sarfatti was the daughter of a wealthy Italian Jewish lawyer and grew up in a grand palazzo in Venice. Despite being ...
  2. Story image for mussolini jewish Margherita Sarfatti from Telos Press

    Telos 164 (Fall 2013): Italian Jews and Fascism

    Telos Press-Sep 22, 2013
    Mussolini had any number of Jewish mistresses, most notablyMargherita Sarfatti, who, during the twenties, undoubtedly was the dominant ...
  3. Story image for mussolini jewish Margherita Sarfatti from Toronto Star

    The Catholic Pope and the fascist dictator

    Toronto Star-Feb 15, 2014
    Kertzer's new book is The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the ... He and Margherita Sarfatti were inseparable for many years. ... He didn't mind if Jews converted to Catholicism but he generally loathed ...
  4. Rita Levi-Montalcini's Death: The Little-Known History Of Italian Jews

    International Business Times-Jan 2, 2013
    Mussolini also appointed a Jewish Fascist named Aldo Finzi as national police chief; while Margherita Sarfatti, the daughter of a wealthy ...


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1 ago. 2008 - Best Answer: Ideologically Italian fascism did not discriminate against the Italian Jewish community: Mussolini recognised that a small ...



Despite the book’s title “My Fault,” chosen by Sarfatti decades ago for the memoirs, she expresses no regret over her relationship with Mussolini, who was responsible for the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law on their way to Auschwitz, the destruction of Italian democracy and the establishment of a dictatorship. On the contrary, Sarfatti evades responsibility, putting all the blame on Mussolini.........

But history lost out, Sullivan concludes, in that the book was not published in the late 1940s. Sarfatti possessed priceless photographs, letters and documents in Mussolini’s own hand.
“At least some of that historically precious material might have become available to scholars over sixty years ago,” Sullivan writes. “Instead, it passed into the possession of Sarfatti’s heirs after her death. They have refused permission to anyone to study those valuable records. Indeed, they have consistently denied their very existence. One can only hope they will have a change of mind.-Saviona Mane 




Queer Times: Christopher Isherwood's Modernity

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Jamie M. Carr - 2013 - ‎Literary Criticism
This particular feminist understanding of fascism, however, denies many ... Weimar Germany and “She Loved Mussolini: Margherita Sarfatti and Italian Fascism,” and “Female 'Fanatics': Women's Sphere in the British Union of Fascists” in Right ...



  1. Story image for mussolini jewish Margherita Sarfatti from Jewish Daily Forward

    Mussolini's Jewish Lover Who Helped Launch Fascism

    Jewish Daily Forward-Nov 24, 2014
    (Haaretz) On November 14, 1938, shortly after the Italian Racial Laws were passed, Margherita Sarfatti slipped out of her home near Lake ...
  2. Story image for mussolini jewish Margherita Sarfatti from NPR

    'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The ...

    NPR-Apr 24, 2015
    Historian David Kertzer says the Catholic Church lent strength and legitimacy to Mussolini's fascist regime. Kertzer recently won a Pulitzer Prize ...


http://www.haaretz.com/life/books/1.628007


Mussolini’s Jewish Lover Who Crafted Italian Fascism

Margherita Sarfatti wasn’t just the dictator's most erudite paramour; she was his secret adviser and ideologue. The English version of her memoirs is finally out.

Saviona Mane  Nov 23, 2014 8:38 PM
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Margherita Sarfatti.Courtesy
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read more: http://www.haaretz.com/life/books/1.628007






Mussolini’s Jewish Lover Who Crafted Italian Fascism
Margherita Sarfatti wasn’t just the dictator's most erudite paramour; she was his secret adviser and ideologue. The English version of her memoirs is finally out.


Signs of fascism in Israel reached new peak during Gaza op, says renowned scholar
Why’s the rising star of Italian politics getting cozy with anti-Semites?
Analysis Bereft of Berlusconi, Italy’s pro-Israel camp heads left
Rome Jewish leader insists on change of location of proposed Holocaust memorial
Vatican to beatify priest who died in Dachau after sheltering Italian Jews





read more: http://www.haaretz.com/life/books/1.628007



Margherita Sarfatti.Courtesy
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/life/books/1.628007








My Fault: Mussolini As I Knew Him, by Margherita Grassini Sarfatti, Enigma Books, 323 pages, $26


On November 14, 1938, shortly after the Italian Racial Laws were passed, Margherita Sarfatti slipped out of her home near Lake Como, got into her car and asked her chauffeur to drive her to the nearby Swiss border.
Among the few belongings the Jewish socialite and art critic had stuck in her two suitcases were 1,272 letters she had received from Benito Mussolini over their 20-year romantic and ideological relationship — a sort of insurance policy. Sarfatti, 58 at the time, would return to Italy only in 1947 after living in exile in France, Argentina and Uruguay.
In addition to art essays she wrote for local newspapers during her exile, Sarfatti published in 1945, shortly after Mussolini’s death, a series of articles in the Argentine paper Crítica in which she revealed details about her relationship with Il Duce. Scholars believe she waited until he no longer had the chance to harm the family members she had left behind in Rome.
Today, 70 years later, these articles have been published in the English-language book “My Fault: Mussolini As I Knew Him.” Dubbed by Enigma as “the unpublished memoir of Mussolini’s longtime lover,” the book’s 18 chapters come edited and annotated by historian Brian R. Sullivan, whose commentary is informed by three decades of research in Italy, France, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.
Just as the story of the long, intimate relationship between Sarfatti and Mussolini lay forgotten in archives for years until Philip V. Cannistraro and Sullivan published their 1993 work “Il Duce’s Other Woman,” Sarfatti’s memoirs remained abandoned in the shadows of history for decades.
Indeed, Sarfatti wasn’t just one of Mussolini’s hundreds of lovers. The aristocratic, intellectual and ambitious wife of wealthy Zionist lawyer Cesare Sarfatti, and mother of their three children, did not only share her bed with Il Duce. She also helped him forge and implement the fascist idea; she contributed advice — and Sullivan says, money — to help organize the 1922 March on Rome in which Mussolini seized power.
During those 20 years she was his eminence grise and unofficial ambassador, glorifying him in her 1925 biography that was translated into 18 languages.
Il Duce's many frailties
It was Clara Petacci who has gone down in history as Mussolini’s most famous lover. In April 1945, Italian partisans shot her and Il Duce and hung their bodies upside down in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto. But after their intense 20-year personal and political relationship, Sarfatti was apparently the one who knew him best — maybe even better than his lawful wife, Rachele Guidi.

From the cover of Margherita Sarfatti's book
“Mussolini and Sarfatti had shown each other their souls,” Sullivan writes in the book’s long introduction. “She had listened to his secrets … she knew most everything about Mussolini’s hidden weaknesses, his human frailties, his crude behavior, his superstitions, his ignorant misunderstandings about so many scientific and medical matters, and about his syphilis.”
But according to Sullivan, as much as Mussolini feared that Sarfatti would expose details on their sex life, he feared even more that she would reveal other shortcomings — and destroy the demigod image he had worked so hard to create.
Although Sarfatti’s 1955 Italian-language autobiography “Acqua Passata” (“Water Under the Bridge”) does not mention her relationship with Il Duce, her memoirs make up for it. She recounts a raft of personal and political anecdotes, provides quotes from Mussolini and talks about his sex addiction and cocaine use. But she never slides into bedroom gossip.
From her descriptions Mussolini comes across as a brilliant, charismatic statesman — but also an egocentric one ridden by inferiority complexes, fears and superstitions. He was also an unbridled womanizer, not to mention a manipulator who didn’t hesitate in his youth to threaten suicide in a letter to his mother “if she failed to send him some money for food.”
Sarfatti, meanwhile, comes across as a haughty, self-confident woman who often boasts of her good judgment, intuition and wisdom in both political and personal affairs.
Despite the book’s title “My Fault,” chosen by Sarfatti decades ago for the memoirs, she expresses no regret over her relationship with Mussolini, who was responsible for the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law on their way to Auschwitz, the destruction of Italian democracy and the establishment of a dictatorship. On the contrary, Sarfatti evades responsibility, putting all the blame on Mussolini.
Pesky Pact of Steel
Sarfatti maintains that fascism began as a positive idea that was distorted over the years. She claims that even Mussolini underwent a complete change. “After less than a decade in power, Mussolini seemed to me to have become someone else,” she writes. “He began to deny even the right to interior freedom and to subject the very souls of his people to the power of the state.”

Mussolini in Rome in April 1936. Photo by AP
As Sarfatti puts it, Mussolini’s alliance with Nazi Germany, which she opposed, was the main cause of his downfall. “But the Duce did not form the Rome–Berlin Axis or the Pact of Steel with the Führer by accident. Mussolini harbored within him a number of defects that attracted him to the Germans of his time. Thus he succumbed to the illness of power, to the madness of the Caesars.”
About one matter, though, she does accept the blame. “I cannot hide behind my work as an art critic. I must accept my responsibilities. I believed in Fascism and fought for it in the beginnings,” she writes.
“Worse, I wrote a book read by many that interpreted the goals of Fascism in a favorable light and proclaimed to the entire world that Mussolini was a hero of historic proportions. That was my fault .... It is my duty to declare that Mussolini fell because of his complete moral bankruptcy.”
Lamenting the failure of her “final, desperate attempt to guide Mussolini,” she adds: “Meanwhile, we discovered that behind the mask of Fascism lay an abyss of corruption, nepotism, favoritism and arbitrary lawlessness.”
Like most Italians, Sarfatti saw Mussolini as the embodiment of the “good tyrant,” adding that she had hoped he would turn out wiser, more level-headed and more just than the leaders produced by the ballot box.
Sullivan lambastes Sarfatti’s attempt to put all the blame on Il Duce. He writes that since it was Sarfatti, more than Mussolini, who crafted the ideological and philosophical basis of fascism between 1913 and 1919, she can’t evade responsibility for what others did based on her views. He adds that the original manuscript contains inaccuracies and spelling mistakes.
In his copious comments and remarks — often more comprehensive than the original text — Sullivan contends that after Sarfatti fled Italy, she agreed with Mussolini not to reveal details about their relationship. In exchange, no harm would befall her family still in Rome, among them her daughter Fiametta, her son-in-law and their three children.
But history lost out, Sullivan concludes, in that the book was not published in the late 1940s. Sarfatti possessed priceless photographs, letters and documents in Mussolini’s own hand.
“At least some of that historically precious material might have become available to scholars over sixty years ago,” Sullivan writes. “Instead, it passed into the possession of Sarfatti’s heirs after her death. They have refused permission to anyone to study those valuable records. Indeed, they have consistently denied their very existence. One can only hope they will have a change of mind.”

Saviona Mane
Haaretz Contributor
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http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/IWW/BIOS/A0258.html

Sarfatti, Margherita, (1880-1961)Portrait     Biographic Details     Digitized Texts     Editions of Works
The author of two dozen books and thousands of newspaper articles, Margherita Sarfatti is perhaps best known as the one-time lover and longtime companion of Benito Mussolini. She used her privileged relationship with Mussolini to carve out a pivotal role for herself in the official intellectual and artistic life of the Fascist regime. Indeed, as a key figure in the formation of Fascist cultural policy and the construction of the myth of the Duce, she was arguably the most powerful woman in Italy during the 1920s.
Margherita was born in the "Old Ghetto" neighborhood of Venice on April 8, 1880, the fourth child of Emma and Amedeo Grassini, both members of a wealthy and cultivated Venetian Jewish elite. Family friends included Pius X, Guglielmo Marconi, and the novelist Antonio Fogazzaro, while her cousin on her mother's side was Natalia Ginzburg. Although she was baptized a Catholic, Margherita converted to the cause of Marxist socialism in her mid-teens. She married young, at the age of eighteen, to Cesare Sarfatti, an established lawyer, who was thirteen years her senior, in 1898. The couple had two sons: Roberto and Amedeo as well as a daughter, Fiammetta. After the family settled in Milan in 1898, she became immersed socialist political life as a participant in Anna Kuliscioff's salon, art critic for the party daily, L'Avanti! , and proponent of voting rights for women. After Mussolini and radical elements won control of the Socialist party in 1912, Margherita abandoned Kuliscioff and her old reformist patrons and began a romantic and political partnership with the young revolutionary firebrand. Two years later, she followed Mussolini out of the Socialist Party over the issue of Italian intervention in World War I. During the war years, she served as the arts editor of the new newspaper, Il Popolo d'Italia, which he founded in 1915. More importantly, Margherita provided ideas, financing, and emotional support to Mussolini as he struggled to find a new role to play and a constituency to mobilize and lead during the war years.
After the founding of the Fascism in 1919, Margherita played an increasingly influential role in the formulation of the new movement's cultural policies. In 1921, for instance, she became the director of Mussolini's journal, Gerarchia, the principal source of Fascist orthodoxy. Margherita enjoyed her greatest power and influence in the decade that followed the establishment of the dictatorship in the mid-1920s. With the support of the Duce, she emerged, first of all, as the most important promoter of artistic modernism. She was especially instrumental in the founding and promotion of the Novecento, a group of artists in Milan whose members included such prominent figures as Giorgio Morandi and Mario Sironi. Her activities extended well beyond the world of the figurative arts, however. After the death of her husband in 1924, Sarfatti moved to Rome, where she presided over the most important salon of the era. Weekly receptions in her home brought together prominent intellectuals, artists, and political figures. Margherita also was a key architect in promoting the cult of the Duce. Her official biography of Mussolini, Dux, appeared in Italy in 1926. The book was eventually translated into eighteen other languages and helped to shape and bolster the Fascist dictator's image internationally as Italy's savior and the heir to the Caesars of Ancient Rome. Sarfatti's only novel, Il Palazzone, which idealized the fascist restoration of traditional gender relations, appeared in 1929.
By the mid-1930's, Margherita's power and influence began to wane as a result of changing personal and political circumstances. In 1933, Mussolini left her for a new and much younger mistress, Clara Petacci. At the same time, the growing bureaucratization of the Fascist regime limited Sarfatti's ability to dispense patronage on an informal basis as she had in the past. The following year the Duce refused to receive her and had her removed as editor ofGerarchia. Deprived of Mussolini's support, her entourage of friends and supporters melted away and she became increasingly vulnerable to attacks from Fascist extremists, who detested her support of artistic modernism. With the passage of the Racial Laws in 1938 that discriminated against Italians of Jewish ancestry, Fascist authorities suppressed Margherita's articles and her position became untenable. She left Italy in December of that year for Paris. Once World War II began, she fled to Portugal on a passport that Mussolini had provided her. She spent the war years in Uruguay, Argentina and the United States. Margherita returned to Italy in 1947 where she led a quiet life outside of the limelight. She died at the family villa, Il Soldo, near Lake Como and the Swiss border, on October 30, 1961.
Sources:
  • Bosi Maramotti, Giovanna, "Maregherita Sarfatti: Apunti per una storia della letteratura femminile nel period fascista," in Bruno Bandini, ed., Il pensiero reazionario. La politica e la cultura dei fascismi, Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1982.
  • Bossaglia, Rossana, "Margherita Sarfatti, critica d'arte," in A. Gigli Marchetti and N. Torcellan, eds, Donna lombarda, 1860-1945, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1982.
  • Cannistraro, Philip V. and Sullivan, Brian R., Il Duce's Other Woman. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1993.
  • Coen, Ester, "Una vita difficile: La Sarfatti fra arte e fascismo," Art Dossier (January 1987).
  • De Grazia, Victoria, How Fascism Ruled Women, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
  • Giuliani, Rosamaria, "Margherita Sarfatti: L'arte applicata e l'architettura," in La cultura italiana negli anni '30-45' (Omaggio ad Alfonso Gatto)Vol.II, Naples: 1984.
  • Marzorati, Sergio, Margherita Sarfatti. Saggio biografico, Como: 1990.
  • Nozzoli, Anna, "Margherita Sarfatti, organizzatrice di cultura: Il Popolo d'Italia," in Marina Addis Saba, ed., La corporazione delle donne: Ricerche e studi sui modelli femminili nel ventennio fascista, Florence: Vallecchi, 1988.
Submitted by Anthony L. Cardoza, Loyola University, Chicago, 2005.

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