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8 Spiritual Racism in Power: Italian Anthroposophists and the Fascist Racial Laws, 1938–1945

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Chapter Summary

Italian anthroposophists faced unique choices and challenges during the Fascist era. In the complex evolution of government-sanctioned Fascist antisemitism, several Italian anthroposophists came to play a conspicuous role as promoters of "spiritual racism". Fascist racial legislation imposed severe restrictions on Jewish life in Italy. The transition to the Italian Social Republic brought a qualitative transformation in Fascist racial policy, with practical implementation now largely in the hands of the Germans. But German personnel depended on cooperation from local authorities, and under the RSI this took the form of mutually competing agencies administering various aspects of the race laws. Italian anthroposophists drew on a wide spectrum of occult approaches to mold their claims and inform their public statements. They invoked the authority of science though dismissing its conventional "materialist" premises. In the eyes of many Fascists, "Nazi racism, with its biological basis, appeared too materialistic and spiritually deficient".

Keywords: Fascist antisemitism; Fascist era; German; Italian anthroposophists; Italian Social Republic; Nazi racism; race laws



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