Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2002

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Jews are perceived as being people of divided loyalties, who have been known on occasion to put their loyalties to others above loyalty to their own country. -- David Irving's comment


London, Tuesday March 19, 2002

Marconi blocked Jews from Il Duce's academy

Inventor of the radio helped in Italy's anti-semitic campaign

Rory Carroll
in Rome

GUGLIELMO Marconi, the father of radio and Italy's scientific hero of the 20th century, has been outed as a fascist hatchetman for Benito Mussolini's anti-semitic policies.

Documents unearthed in Rome have exposed Marconi as a clandestine but willing enforcer of the dictator's campaign against Jews years before the persecution came into the open.

As head of the Academy of Italy, the Nobel prize winner systematically blocked all Jewish candidates at the behest of the dictator at a time when the regime still denied having any religious prejudice.

Marconi, revered in Italy for helping to usher in the technological age, wrote the letter "E" beside the names of Jewish scientists his colleagues had shortlisted to become members of the academy. The Italian word for Jew is "Ebreo".

Not one Jew was allowed to join during Marconi's tenure, which started in 1930, three years before Adolf Hitler took power in Germany and eight years before Mussolini's race laws brought his regime's anti-semitism into the open.

Historians yesterday were divided over whether the discrimination was the personal initiative of a scientist who considered Jews inferior or whether it was the action of a man too weak to oppose the regime's edicts.

The documents were discovered in Rome archives by researcher Annalisa Capristo, and revealed in The Exclusion of Jews From the Academy of Italy, an article published in the latest edition of the Israel Monthly Review.

Italian historians said the documents were authentic and surprising because anti-semitism was not thought to have been so pronounced in the early 30s, before Hitler's example emboldened Il Duce.

"The Capristo article confirms that - there existed in Italy a sort of anti-semitic ferment, a subterranean movement that became open only with the racial laws," Michele Sarfatti, an authority on the period, told La Repubblica.

Scholars needed to review the period because many had accepted Mussolini's public statements that at that point the regime had nothing against Jews, he said.

The revelation will embarrass Marconi fans who last year celebrated the 100th anniversary of his transatlantic wireless transmission. Hailed as an example of Italian genius, statues of him dot the country, including a bust at the entrance to Vatican Radio, and Bologna airport is named after him.

David Irving comments:

A POSSIBLE reason for Marconi's exclusion of the Jews is the same reason that the US Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have now quietly introduced rules barring Jews from sensitive positions and security defense contracts.
   Jews are perceived as being people of divided loyalties, who have been known on occasion to put their loyalties to others above loyalty to their own country.
   The actions of the Pentagon and the CIA would not be classified as anti-Semitism (except perhaps in the muddled mind of a Guardian- reading British High Court judge).


That Marconi collaborated with the fascist dictatorship was no secret; many if not most of his scientific peers did the same in response to the regime's carrots and sticks.

The academy he presided over was conceived by Il Duce as a way of coordinating the arts and sciences to further "the genius of our race, and to favour its expansion abroad".

Members were given a hefty salary, free first-class travel and a uniform with a plumed hat and gilt sword. In return, they guarded the purity of the Italian language and turned up at parades.

Mussolini indignantly rebutted claims that Jews were banned from the academy and said appointments were made on merit alone. In reality other documents uncovered by Ms Capristo show that the dictator was active in trying to block Jews from positions in public life. Marconi appears to have been party to this policy, blocking all Jews from the academy.

The rejection of Alessandro Della Seta, then Italy's most celebrated archaeologist, was especially telling. Despite being Jewish he was an enthusiastic fascist and loyal to the government.

Other heavyweights such as Giancarlo Vallauri, a leading physicist and mathematician, were also kept out.

Some members of the academy suspected a policy of discrimination and wrote to Mussolini requesting clarification but never received a reply.

Dr Capristo said more research was needed to determine whether the father of radio was racist. "However at this point it is evident that Marconi was not only aware of the anti-semitic discrimination, but was also willing to enforce it."

Since his death in 1937, Marconi has been remembered as a prodigy: he took out a patent on wireless telegraphy in 1896, aged 22, and with Carl Braun won the Nobel prize for physics in 1909.

Tourists flock to the Bay of Silence, on Italy's north-east riviera, to see where he performed his first experiments with radio waves. 


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