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Historical Archives of the European Union

The flight of intellectuals from Italian fascism: the case of Ernesto Rossi

HAEU archivist Andrea Becherucci has contributed to a new bilingual portal detailing the history of intellectual migration from the fascist regime Italy. Becherucci’s article deals specifically with Ernesto Rossi, whose archives are held at the HAEU.

19 May 2022 | Research

University of Florence Professor of Cultural History Patrizia Guarnieri has launched the new bilingual web portal Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy: Migrants, Exiles and Refugees Fleeing for Political and Racial Reasons (Intellettuali in Fuga dall'Italia Fascista: Migranti, esuli e rifugiati per motivi politici e razziali).

The portal focuses on intellectual migration from Italy during fascism, and is the only one of its kind to focus on this heretofore-overlooked topic. A work-in-progress, the portal includes hundreds of names and stories of displacement, along with photographs, maps, and timelines of mobility of these expatriated scholars as they sought jobs and freedom from the fascist regime.

Among the hundreds of displaced scholars profiled in the portal is Ernesto Rossi, an Italian anti-fascist who was arrested and interned in Italy for his political beliefs, and eventually became a refugee in Switzerland. During his confinement on the island of Ventotene, he penned, with Altiero Spinelli, the celebrated ‘Manifesto di Ventotene’.

Ernesto Rossi’s private archives are held at the Historical Archives of the European Union, and Andrea Becherucci, the HAEU archivist who curated the Rossi fonds, wrote the portal’s biographical profile for this important figure in the history of Italian anti-fascism and European integration. The profile describes in detail the period of Rossi in Switzerland, as well as the insurmountable obstacles the scholar met in obtaining a university position in Italy after years of prison, confinement and exile.

Last update: 19 May 2022

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