The series aims at highlighting
The series aims at highlighting the stories of Italian artists, scientists, and intellectuals forced to leave Italy for political reasons and racial persecution, and come to the United States.
Historians Renato Camurri and Federico Finchelstein discuss the American experience of two political intellectuals: Gaetano Salvemini and Max Ascoli.
Salvemini and Ascoli who both fled to the US as political dissenters, represent two very different souls of antifascism.
While Ascoli eventually embraced the Italian ambiguous and loaded shift toward democracy, Salvemini remained profoundly critical of Italy’s inability to come to terms with its past and base the newly born republic on a clear seizure from the politics and the representatives of the fascist era.
An acute critic of Italian politics and of the concept of nation state, until 1922, Salvemini believed that Fascism was too small to be a serious political challenge. In his eyes, it was different from nationalism only in its excess, and could be understood within the context of Italian postwar disillusionment. Moreover in his eyes, Mussolini was not fundamentally different from Giolitti. However, after the murder of the socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti in 1924 and Italy’s subsequent turn in a more totalitarian direction, Salvemini became the most vocal leader of the anti-fascist opposition in Florence.
He was arrested in June 1925 for his memberdship in the Florentine Cultural Circle—an anti-fascist organization that included Carlo and Nello Rosselli, Ernesto Rossi, and Piero Calamandrei—and for his involvement in the anti-fascist journal Non Mollare.
He escaped and made his way first to France, then to England, and finally to the United States.
Exile offered Salvemini a “sense of freedom, of spiritual independence.” Rather than “exile” or “refugee,” he preferred the term fuoruscito (political expatriate), “a man who has chosen to leave his country to continue a resistance which had become impossible at home”. He first arrived in the United States in 1927 for a lecture tour and brought with him a clear anti-fascist agenda.
Max Ascoli (1898-1978) was born into a Jewish family in the northern Italian city of Ferrara, which he later referred to as the “cradle of Fascism.” Trained in political philosophy and law, he began teaching in Italian law schools. In 1928, he was arrested after his name was found in the address book of another intellectual charged with clandestine political activities. With his university career in Italy over, Ascoli fled to the United States in 1931 having obtained a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation.
“In correspondence with a fellow exile of Italy, Ascoli observed that there were two currents among Italians in America: those exiles (esuli) who did not intend to become Americans and who live like pilgrims (pellegrini) in expectation of returning to Italy, and those American citizens of Italian origin, including himself, who did not think about returning to Italy.”
He created The Reporter in 1949, a magazine that became a leading voice for liberalism in America for the next 20 years.
Source: Transatlantic Perspectives.
Immage: A meeting o fthe Mazzini Society in New York, 1941
Historians Davide Rodogno (The Graduate
Historians Davide Rodogno (The Graduate Institute) and Sergio Luzzatto (University of Turin) will present and discuss their current research on cases in which, during the century that was theater to two world conflicts, the notion of humanitarian intervention took shape and and shaped the societies that received it as well as those that practiced it.
Admission: this program is primarily meant for an academic audience. A limited number of seats are available for the general public. Location: Wolff Conference Room, D1103, 6 East 16th Street.
The program is co-sponsored by the News School for Social Research, Department of History and is introduced and moderated by Federico Finchelstein (Department Chair, NSSR).
Davide Rodogno will present his research tentatively entitled: Night on Earth: Humanitarian Organisations’ Relief and Rehabilitation on Behalf of Civilian Populations (1918-1939). He will give some examples of the social engineering ambitions of a number of non-state actors, such as philanthropic foundations, international associations and organisations that operated in what they perceived to be “the faultlines of Western civilization” in between the two world wars. Some of their activities concerned agricultural, public health and educational programs, with a specific focus on refugees and children who, most of the time happened to be orphans.
Sergio Luzzatto will discuss his new book, Moshe’s Children (Einaudi 2018), the the story of a group of some 700 children who, after escaping the final solution, ended up at Selvino, near Bergamo in northern Italy, in what was then the largest refugees orphanage in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. It is also the story of Moshe Zeiri, who took responsibility for these orphans of the Holocaust, and created the conditions for them to have a second life in Eretz Israel. Moshe was trained as a carpenter and belonged to a small group of young Zionists from Eastern and Central Europe who had emigrated to Palestine in the 1930s, and returned to Europe between 1943 and 1945 to fight as volunteers with the British forces in the Italian peninsula. After a dramatic meeting with some young survivors, Moshe built a sort of republic of orphans at Selvino where a large number of Jewish refugees had gathered under the auspices of the Joint, Delasem and other local relief organizations.
The story of Moshe’s children is above all a tale of redemption, but it’s also a tale of illusions. After the war of independence of 1948, the Selvino kibbutz’s utopian ideals would come in conflict with new (and brutal) forces in the nascent state of Israel.
About the speakers:
Davide Rodogno is professor of history at the Graduate Institute and served as head of the International History Department until 2017. He is the author of Fascism’s European Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2006), Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire (1815-1914) (Princeton University Press 2011). During the summer of 2012 the Kofi Annan Foundation charged Rodogno with writing a report documenting the experience of the United Nations and League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria. He co-edited and authored a volume on the history of Humanitarian Photography, a volume on Transnational Networks of Experts in the Long Nineteenth century, and another on the League of Nations’ social work. He is currently working on two SNSF-funded projects, on the history of minorities in Western Europe (2017-2020) and the Rockefeller Foundation fellows around the world (2018-2022).
Sergio Luzzatto teaches Modern History at the University of Turin. He is the author of Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age (Metropolitan Books, 2010), which won the prestigious Cundill Prize in History; of e Body of Il Duce: Mussolini’s Corpse and the Fortunes of Italy (Metropolitan Books, 2005), and of Primo Levi’s Resistance. Rebels and Collaborators in Occupied Italy (Metropolitan Books, 2016).
Federico Finchelstein is Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College. Professor Finchelstein is the author of five books on fascism, populism, Dirty Wars, the Holocaust and Jewish history in Latin America and Europe.
His new book is: From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, September 2017). Professor Finchelstein has published extensively on Fascism, Latin American Populism, the relationship between history and political theory, the Cold War, Genocide and Antisemitism. He is contributor to major newspapers including The New York Times, The Guardian, Reuters, The Washington Post, Politico, Mediapart (France) El Diario (NYC) Clarin (Argentina) and Folha de S.Paulo (Brazil).
Viterbi Symposium in Mediterranean Jewish Studies Series. Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
This half-day symposium brings together a group of distinguished, international scholars engaged with the life, writings, and impact of Primo Levi (1919-1987), an Italian Jew who survived Auschwitz and helped define what it means to bear witness to the Holocaust—and the modern condition. More than a survivor of the Holocaust, Levi was also a chemist, a humanist, and a storyteller, whose writings reflected on the natural world, human violence, testimony, and even language itself. The symposium celebrates the publication, in 2015, of Levi’s complete works in English (by editor and translator Ann Goldstein, published by W. W. Norton) and probes the literary, philosophical, and historical legacy of Levi. It asks: What does it mean to read Primo Levi today? How do his writings help us develop a language for bearing witness to violence in both the past and the present? And, finally, how does his work speak to urgent political concerns and provide models for public engagement and resistance today?
Sarah Abrevaya Stein (UCLA), Michael Rothberg (UCLA), & Todd S. Presner (UCLA)
Sponsored by UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. Cosponsored by UCLA Department of Italian, Centro Primo Levi NY, The Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, UCLA Department of History, UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
Sarah Abrevaya Stein (UCLA), Andrew Viterbi, Sergio Luzzatto (University in Turin, Italy), Stef Craps (Ghent University), Jonathan Druker (Illinois State University) Lina Insana (University of Pittsburgh), Michael Rothberg (UCLA), Simona Forti (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy) Enzo Traverso (Cornell), Lia Brozgal (UCLA), Ann Goldstein (Translator and Editor)
A conversation with Shulim Vogelman
A conversation with Shulim Vogelman (La Giuntina, Florence)
Born in Florence in 1978, Shulim Vogelmann received a degree in History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and went on to become director of the Giuntina Publishing house which his father founded. Vogelman initiated a new series of Iraeli literature called “Israeliana” for which he translated 15 novels. For ten years he curated the International Festival of Jewish Literature in Rome. In 2004 he published the novel Mentre la città bruciava.
Italy is renowned as the cradle of the printed Hebrew book. Shortly after the invention of the printing press, the first two volumes in Hebrew were printed in Rome and Reggio Calabria approximately between 1472 and 1487. For the following two centuries or more, the Hebrew book flourished in the peninsula’s city-states. By the 17th century, Hebrew printing began migrating to other lands in the Ottoman Empire, Northern Europe and eventually the Americas.
The printed book had profound effects on the Jewish world, on one side opening networks of communication and exchange, on the other introducing new forms of internal normativity and authority.
With small numbers of remarkable exceptions, Hebrew printing suffered an increasing decline in the peninsula that reflected the progressive loss of resources of a society forced to live in segregation.
Emancipation, which began in the Napoleonic era, brought about profound changes in Jewish life: equality and access to a fully integrated social life as well as dilemmas concerning the preservation of tradition and the status as religious minority in the newly formed nations state.
In the wake of the new reality, publishing became a familiar area where Jews contributed and negotiated ideas concerning the country and the society that were being formed. School books, youth literature, atlases, science and technology manuals for vocational schools, translations of foreign classics, guides to the Italian regions, from Pinocchio and Salgari’s adventure stories to H.D. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly are just examples of the many fields embraced by this an emerging group of Jewish publishers.
Treves, Bemporad, Formiggini, Lattes, Belforte, Olschki are some of the family-run publishers that flourished up to the first decades of the 20th century participating in the shaping of public life, education as well as the debate and aspirations of the new country.
Early fascist purges, censorship and, eventually, the race laws of 1938 put an end to this story. Jewish-run publishing houses were either closed down or confiscated and passed into the hands of non-Jewish owners.
After the end of World War II, Jewish publishing resumed in various forms, newsprints and zines, the national journal La Rassegna Mensile di Israel, community bulletins, as well as Yiddish and Hebrew press produced in DP camps.
A new generations of Jewish publishers emerged now focusing on Jewish topics, history, traditions, liturgy, and the Shoah.
Italian Jews partecipate in great numbers to the post-war flourishing of Italian publishing in general, reaching position of influence and prestige in almost all the major italian publishing houses Einaudi, Mondadori, Rizzoli, Bompiani, Zanichelli, Le Monier, Marzocco, Feltrinelli.
Between the 1970s and the 1980s several new small publishers began to focus on Judaism, its history, philosophical debates, and religious currents. Among the most significant were Beniamino Carucci and Daniel Vogelman. Shortly after, the Livornese imprint Belforte also reconnected to its roots with a series of works of Jewish topics. Silvio Zamorani included in his otherwise eclectic publishing enterprise a Jewish history series.
Much has changed in the past 30 years and Jewish publishing has taken new and different forms. Shulim Vogelman, a representative of a new generation of Italian publishers committed to nourish Jewish life and make it known to the larger society, will discuss history and current perspectives.
The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra op.
The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra op. 207 (1966), voice and guitar. Luigi Attademo, guitar
Free and open to the public. Make a reservation.
Musing his own life and exile in the last years of life, the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco decided to dedicate a cycle of song to the Spanish poet Moses Ibn Ezra whose exile from his native Granada disrupted his early life and became a source of inspiration. Castelnuovo Tedesco came himself from a family of Spanish origin that traced its arrival in Italy to the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
Born in Florence in 1895, as a young composer he distinguished himself in the cultural milieu of Ildebrando Pezzetti and Alfredo Casella. In 1926 he premiered his first opera, La Mandragola, based on Nicolò Machiavelli’s play, inaugurating a long interest in literature that would lead him to put to music writers such as Aeschylus, Virgil, John Keats, William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Miguel de Cervantes, Federico García Lorca.
The racial laws of 1938 banned his music from the public cultural scene and put an end to its work in Italy. In 1939 he managed to flee to the US with the help of his friend and admirer Jascha Heifetz who obtained from him a contract with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Castelnuovo Tedesco remained in America working for the film industry as well as a teacher. He composed new works inspired by American literature and by his renewed interest in the Jewish liturgical tradition.
His passion for the guitar was sparked by his encounter with André Segovia in 1932 and the magnificent song cycle The Divan of Moses Ibn Ezra is his last homage to the instrument and the tradition it represents.
Luigi Attademo has performed at many festivals and concert halls the music of contemporary composers. He has appeared on the Italian public Radio3 RAI and Rete Toscana Classica. Working in the archive of the Andrés Segovia’s Foundation he discovered unknown manuscripts of important composers, such as Jaume Pahissa, Alexandre Tansman, and Gaspar Cassadò which he published in the Spanish musicological review La Roseta.
Attademo recorded a CD dedicated to Scarlatti’s Sonatas and one of Bach transcriptions. Other recording include Variations on Folia and Boccherini’s quintets. He received a doctorate in philosophy and composed music for the theatre piece Il canto della Tenebra (Berlin 2004) dedicated to the esoteric Italian poet Dino Campana.
Centro Primo Levi requests the pleasure of your company at the second Centaur Award presented by Robert S. Kapito, President of BlackRock Inc. honoring Alessandro Di Rocco, Professor of Neurology at Hofstra/Northwell and System Director of Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at Northwell Health.
As founder of Centro Primo Levi, Dr. Di Rocco has passionatelly promoted the international circulation of Levi’s writings and the study of Italian Jewish history.
A scientist like Levi, he continues to infuse the center’s ethos with his commitment to a society capable to accept and respect all human beings, regardless of their abilities and background. Dr. Di Rocco is a board member of the Parkison’s Foundation. His vision originated the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center and the wellness program for Parkinson’s disease at JCC. He is currently working at the expansion of this model at Northwell Health System.
The Centaur Award is an opportunity to create awareness of the values that inspire Centro Primo Levi’s activities and to showcase its work and projects to supporters and institutional colleagues. If you wish to become a sponsor and participate in the ceremony please send your inquiry to: email@example.com
6:30 PM | Cocktail reception and screening of highlights from Centro Primo Levi’s video productions.
7:00 PM | Live musical interlude featuring Lorenzo da Ponte’s arias performed by Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble.
7:30 PM | Gala dinner & award presentation. Invitation to follow. Dinner features Genoese and Mediterranean Jewish delicacies prepared under rabbinical supervision.
The 2013 Centaur Award was presented to John Turturro by John Elkann, Chairman of Fiat Crysler.