Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fascists and Jews: Mussolini's Race Laws

Professor Michael A. Livingston has recently published what appears to be a fascinating account of Italy's anti-Semitic legislation under Mussolini. The publisher's website reads: "From 1938 until 1943 – before the German occupation and accompanying Holocaust – Fascist Italy drafted and enforced a comprehensive set of anti-Semitic laws. Notwithstanding later rationalizations, the laws were enforced and administered with a high degree of severity and resulted in serious, and in some cases permanent, damage to the Italian Jewish community. Written from the perspective of an American legal scholar, this book constitutes the first truly comprehensive survey of the Race Laws in the English language. Based on an exhaustive review of Italian legal, administrative, and judicial sources, together with archives of the Italian Jewish community, Professor Michael A. Livingston demonstrates the zeal but also the occasional ambivalence and contradictions with which the Race Laws were applied and assimilated by the Italian legal order and ordinary citizens. Although frequently depressing, the history of the Race Laws also involves numerous examples of personal courage and idealism, and provides a useful and timely study of what happens when otherwise decent people are confronted with an evil and unjust legal order." The book may be ordered here: In other news, today is the final day of the XIX International Congress of Comparative Law. Evidently, others expressed views similar to those expressed in my last post where I bemoaned the lack of attention played to criminal law topics. Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Sieber of the Max Planck Institute of Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany has been elected to the Executive Board of the International Academy of Comparative Law. We can hope that his election will mean that more criminal law topics will be included in the program of the next Congress which will be held in Fukuoka, Japan in 2018. The program topic selection is important as country reports are then prepared on each of the topics which are selected and those national reports are then compiled and summarized in a summary report. Because the topics have in the past reflected the International Academy's bias towards private law, little attention has been devoted to developments in the field of criminal law.

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