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Building the New Man

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Francesco Cassata

Chapter V. Eugenics and Racism (1938–1943)

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  • 1 Mauro Raspanti, “I razzismi del fascismo,” in Centro Studi F. Jesi, ed., La menzogna della razza. (...)

1Current historiography has completely dismantled the monolithic description of fascist racism in Italy. In fact, according to the most recent research, official racism developed in Italy, between 1938 and 1943, along three different lines, each distinct from an ideological, political and institutional point of view.1

  • 2 See Aaron Gillette, “The Origins of the ‘Manifesto of the Racial Scientists,’” Journal of Modern I (...)
  • 3 On Telesio Interlandi, see Francesco Cassata, “La Difesa della razza.” Politica, ideologia e immag (...)

2Biological, or “Nordic” racism, characterized the publication of the most important scientific document, the so-called “Manifesto of the racial scientists.”2 The principle exponents of the biological current came from two different, although linked, groups: one, the journalistic lobby, headed by Telesio Interlandi, leading journalist of the regime and director of the daily newspaper Il Tevere, the weekly review Quadrivio and the twicemonthly journal La Difesa della razza;3 the other, from the four main drivers of the “Manifesto” of July 1938. The latter group included the young anthropologist Guido Landra, main editor of the “Manifesto” and director from August 1938 of the Race Office of the Ministry of Popular Culture (Ufficio Razza del Ministero della Cultura Popolare); Lidio Cipriani, professor of anthropology at the University of Florence and director of the Florence national museum of anthropology and ethnology; Leone Franzì, assistant professor in the pediatric clinic of the University of Milan; Lino Businco, assistant professor of general pathology at the University of Rome and Marcello Ricci, assistant professor of anthropology also at the University of Rome.

  • 4 The High Council of Demography and Race included: Giacomo Acerbo; Filippo Bottazzi, professor of h (...)
  • 5 On Giovanni Preziosi, see Renzo De Felice, Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo (Turin: E (...)
  • 6 For a complete biography of Julius Evola, see Francesco Cassata, A destra del fascismo. Profilo po (...)
  • 7 On these two projects, see Cassata, “La Difesa della razza.” Politica, ideologia e immagine del ra (...)

3Nationalist, or “Mediterranean,” racism centered around historical and geographical considerations about race. It assumed an institutional relevance in February 1939, when Landra was replaced at the Race Office by Sabato Visco, director of the institute of general physiology at the University of Rome, and founder of the National Institute of Nutrition. The most famous exponent of this current was Giacomo Acerbo, president of the High Council of Demography and Race (Consiglio Superiore della Demografia e Razza), which was the principle institution of nationalist racism.4 One of the most relevant initiatives of the General Council was the April 1942 document on the “Italian race,” which among its stated intentions, aimed to become a new “Manifesto” on race. The rise of Alberto Luchini at the head of the Race Office in May 1941 was an evident sign of the growing influence of the esoteric-traditionalist racist current, politically supported by Giovanni Preziosi and Roberto Farinacci,5 and represented above all by the biological-metaphysical theories of Julius Evola.6 Between 1941 and 1943, esoteric-traditionalist racism developed two particular projects: an investigation of the racial components (biological, psychological and spiritual) of the Italian population; and the constitution of a bilingual Italian–German review, entitled Sangue e Spirito [Blood and spirit], in which the planned contents were supposed to constitute—at least in Luchini’s intentions—the basis for a new and more radical racial policy.7

4Eugenics represented a fundamental component of the opposition among the three directions of fascist racism. In particular, the nature/nurture debate acted as a boundary tool, mapping the different currents of fascist racism and defining their relationships with Nazi racial ideology and politics.

1. Biological Racism and Hereditarian Eugenics

  • 8 On this topic, see Cassata, “La Difesa della razza.” Politica, ideologia e immagine del razzismo f (...)

5Nazi negative eugenics was the point of reference for fascist Italian biological racism from 1934, as demonstrated between 1934 and 1938 by the journalistic campaigns carried out by Interlandi’s journals, Il Tevere and Quadrivio.8

6Starting from August 1938, the principle organ of diffusion of biological racism became La Difesa della razza. This journal was financed by the Ministry of Popular Culture and by a variety of banks, industrial concerns and insurance companies. Its foundation was closely linked with the publication of the “Manifesto of the racial scientists”: the first issue of the magazine carried articles by the eight members of the Racial Manifesto committee, five of whom were on its editorial board (Landra, Cipriani, Franzì, Businco and Ricci).

7In 1938, from their first issue, the hereditarian eugenicists of La Difesa della razza attempted to demonize and dismantle the neo-Lamarckian basis of Italian eugenics. Guido Landra was a driving force behind the anti-Lamarck campaign. Race—Landra declared in December 1938—essentially meant heredity. The environment did not exert any influence on ethnic types, described essentially as immutable and immortal:

  • 9 Guido Landra, “L’ambiente non snatura la razza,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 3 (5 December 1938): (...)

Commonly, we speak of the youth, maturity or age of a population. These terms, used mostly by historians, have value when they are used to refer to a population, but not when they refer to a race. Racial qualities do not trace this fatal parabola: indeed, they always stay the same. And this holds true for physical qualities and, in a yet more outstanding manner, for psychical qualities. Racial qualities really have an immortal character, and are maintained as long as the men of a particular race are living.9

  • 10 Willi Nix, “Eredità e destino,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 13 (5 May 1940): 14.

8In May 1940, the journalist Willi Nix declared that heredity was “destiny.” And further: “progenitors and descendants are inseparably linked to each other; the one is only a link in the chain, and completes the other like a new link.”10 At the beginning of 1941, in reference to the diverse vocational aptitudes of the races, the brother of Guido, Silvio Landra, insisted on the hereditarian paradigm:

  • 11 L. S. [Silvio Landra], “Ambiente razza e attitudini professionali,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 5 (...)

Man may change country, clothes, education, language, but from his deep interior there is always something connecting him to his racial origin, which, at any given moment and under determinate conditions, can bloom and manifest itself. […] We can verify in men those things that we can verify in the entire animal kingdom. A hound is always a hound, a greyhound always a greyhound, a dachshund always a dachshund, not only in exterior form, but in its different ways of seizing and catching, which cannot be modified by his master.11

  • 12 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Il sangue. Individualità biologica di razza,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 5 (5 (...)

9For the physician Giuseppe Lucidi, the biological purity of race lay in the “identity of blood” transmitted through the generations.12 Blood groups therefore, had to be considered as “constitutional factors”:

  • 13 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Rapporti fra gruppi sanguigni e caratteri antropologici,” La Difesa della razza (...)

From various research studies it appears evident that the blood groups must be considered as constitutional factors: recent research puts them in strict relation with the various anthropological characteristics, since the blood group of each individual is nothing less than the expression of the biological substrate of the individual. In fact, agglutinogens and agglutinins similar to those contained in blood are also contained in tissue. To be clearer, it is scientifically proven that if an individual has a blood group, their blood is different because the flesh is different, different from others.13

  • 14 Lino Businco, “Individuazione e difesa dei caratteri razziali,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 10 (2 (...)

10While Lino Businco underlined the need to deepen the hereditary etiology of diseases,14 Luigi Castaldi, director of the Anatomic Institute of Cagliari, referred to “Galton’s law” in November 1938 to demonstrate the heredity of the cephalic index:

  • 15 Luigi Castaldi, “Nonni, figli e nipoti. Eredità dell’indice cefalico,” La Difesa della razza 2, no (...)

Through the germ plasm, something of our own substance passes to our descendents, reproducing in them our image, our attitude and abilities, our virtues and our weaknesses. And this sensation of living in them, and therefore of continuing in some way through them, is one of the principal causes of the affection and care that grandparents and parents have for us and that we have for our children, and in this long line, they will continue to be the basis of social life.15

11In August 1938, the attack against neo-Lamarckism assumed the shape of a true “return to Galton,” fuelled by concern over the progressive “decadence of the upper classes.” The journalist Elio Gasteiner, for example, wrote:

  • 16 Elio Gasteiner, “Un pericolo per la razza. La decadenza dei ceti superiori,” La Difesa della razza (...)

Leafing through magazines and journals we can observe the very large allocation of space dedicated to the various types of sport, and certainly almost all the readers have the firm conviction that it is in order to create a maximum of effort toward the future of the Nation.
Racism—that is, the ensemble of sciences that deal with eugenics, human biology, and social anthropology—must, however, promptly disabuse them of this gratifying opinion. This immense work for the physical education of the youth has no effect on quality or on a desired hereditary racial improvement. For the individual there will certainly be constitutional advantages, but these improvements are paratypic; that is, they are not hereditary and therefore cannot change the race […]. If it were truly possible to change man through exterior forces then the human race would not exist; its invariability through the millennia has been indisputably ascertained.16

  • 17 Giuseppe Pensabene, “L’evoluzione e la razza. Cinquant’anni di polemiche ne ‘La Civilta Cattolica, (...)

12The architect and art critic Giuseppe Pensabene did not hesitate to evoke the criticism aimed by the Jesuit periodical, La Civiltà Cattolica, against Lamarckian theories in the second half of nineteenth century.17 In this ideological context, even Lino Businco, in other cases sympathetic to the idea of environmental influences, placed Francis Galton at the origins of fascist eugenics:

  • 18 Lino Businco, “Salute della famiglia, forza della razza,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 4 (20 Decem (...)

Galton did not limit his works to scientific research. Convinced that his own ideas provided both model and warning for those scientists wrapped up in themselves, he enthusiastically acted. He wrote propaganda books and brought the people of London an institute of eugenics to which all who were preparing to celebrate marriage could turn for consultation. […]
In the climate created by fascism, with its renewed racial pride and the duties it brings, this fertile science can go among the people and make a great contribution to the increasingly strong new life born in imperial Italy.18

  • 19 Marcello Ricci, “Le leggi di Mendel,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 2 (20 August 1938): 16–17.

13Marcello Ricci stressed the relevance of Mendelism as the theoretical lynchpin of hereditarian eugenics.19 Under Ricci’s interpretation, the laws referred not only to human anomalies and pathologies, but normal human characteristics, like eye and hair color:

  • 20 Marcello Ricci, “Il mendelismo nell’uomo,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 3 (5 September, 1938): 19.

We can therefore conclude that all of human heredity explicates itself like that of plants and animals, dependent on Mendel’s laws. The generalization appears justified by the fact that we cannot see why a diversity of transmission should exist among the various characteristics of an organism.20

  • 21 Ricci, “Il mendelismo nell’uomo,” 19.

14Rather, it was above all the evident validity of Mendelian mechanisms in transmitting hereditary pathological and abnormal characteristics that gave rise to the hope, according to Ricci, of an “opportune application to the field of racial eugenics.”21 In October 1938, after focusing on the Mendelian transmission of hereditary diseases, the same author discussed the practical consequences more deeply:

  • 22 Marcello Ricci, «Ereditarietà ed eugenica,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 5 (5 October 1938): 31.

It is therefore necessary to recognize that, ultimately, the single greatest benefit for racial improvement could come from the elimination of defectives. If rationally conducted over successive generations, the lack of continued inlet of new heterozygotes, hidden carriers of diseases, […] would lead to an always greater rarification of abnormal and pathological cases. […] A true racial improvement, based on effectively diminishing genetic defects through the application of means aimed at limiting active reproduction of the harmful individuals, appears to be the logical inference of a simple and serene reflection on what we have written.22

15The article concluded, not by chance, with a reference to one of the most celebrated cases of international eugenic literature: Ada Juke and her “degenerate” descendants.

16Galton and Mendel were not the only illustrious names invoked in this “invention of tradition” by La Difesa della razza. Guido Landra salvaged, for example, the hologenetic theory of Daniele Rosa, and its two functional applications to Italian racist ideology:

  1. the common origin of racial elements that have contributed to the anthropological substrate of Italy with those of the other European populations, which today reveal physical and psychological affinities with our population, to higher or lower degrees;
  2. the formation of a unique race on the soil of our homeland, a formation begun in a remote era, and accompanied by a continual evolution; as the centuries pass, the Italian race is increasingly differentiated from the other similar races, accentuating and developing determinate physical and psychological characteristics.23
  • 24 On Montandon’s hologenesis, see Georges Montandon, “La formazione delle razze umane,” La Difesa de (...)
  • 25 Fortunato Matarrese, “Demografia ed eugenica di Tommaso Campanella,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. (...)
  • 26 Fortunato Matarrese, “Léon Battista Alberti, studioso di problemi razziali,” La Difesa della razza (...)
  • 27 Guido Landra, “Poligenismo e monogenismo,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 21 (5 September 1941): 27– (...)
  • 28 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Costituzione e natalità,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 9 (5 March 1939); Guido L (...)
  • 29 Georges Montandon, “Vita e opere di Vacher de Lapouge,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 12 (20 April (...)
  • 30 Luigi Castaldi, “Eredità delle attitudini psichiche,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 3 (5 December 1 (...)

17Rosa’s hologenesis, as elaborated by Georges Montandon in 1928,24 was invoked to demonstrate the evolution of species “by internal forces,” in opposition to Lamarckian environmentalism. Theoretical references included the utopian narrations of Tommaso Campanella25 and Léon Battista Alberti;26 Vincenzo Giuffrida-Ruggeri’s “monogenism;”27 constitutionalism, with its contributions to the relationship between biotypes and fertility;28 Georges Vacher de Lapouge’s29 anthroposociologie and genealogical researches, primarily that of the socialist physician Gaetano Pieraccini on the family pedigree of the Medici of Cafaggiolo.30

  • 31 See Guido. Landra, “I metodi per lo studio delle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 20 (20 (...)
  • 32 A review of “racial studies” was curated by Landra between June 1939 and June 1940. See Guido Land (...)
  • 33 Guido Landra, “Studio razziale delle impronte digitali,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 12 (20 April (...)
  • 34 Guido Landra, “La forma del viso nelle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 21–22 (5–20 Sept (...)
  • 35 Guido Landra, “Le variazioni del sistema tegumentario nelle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, (...)
  • 36 Guido Landra, “Ricerche moderne sui gruppi sanguigni,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 2 (20 November (...)
  • 37 Guido Landra, “Gli studi di patologia ereditaria in Germania,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 17 (5 (...)
  • 38 Guido Landra, “I fattori ereditari dell’accrescimento,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 19 (5 August (...)

18But it was above all the contributions of German and American eugenics that furnished the most solid scientific support for the biological racism of La Difesa della razza. This emerged most strongly in the writings of Guido Landra. The common thread running through Landra’s contributions to the biweekly could be seen in his shift from nineteenth-century physical anthropology to twentieth-century “science of heredity” and racial genetics. He did not disdain traditional anthropometric methods31 or the descriptions of the different taxonomies developed from international “racial studies,”32 but favored the analysis of hereditary processes that characterized a single racial factor: from finger and palm prints33 to facial shape;34 from the “integumentary system”35 to blood groups;36 from the heredity of illnesses37 to the factors of corporeal optimization.38 Mapping the quotations in Landra’s articles it is possible to explicitly demonstrate the influence exercised on the Italian anthropologist by National Socialist eugenics. Furthermore, as head of the Race Office and then as a journalist, Landra visited some of the more active and relevant institutions of German Rassenhygiene. In particular, he made contacts within the laboratories of Eugen Fischer and of Othmar von Verschuer, respectively first and second director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin; the Institute of Anthropology and Ethnology of Breslau, headed by Egon von Eickstedt; and the Institute for Race and Heredity, directed by Heinrich Wilhelm Kranz at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Giessen.

  • 39 Guido Landra, “Gli studi di patologia ereditaria in Germania,” 18–22.
  • 40 Guido Landra, “Il metodo dei gemelli,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 18 (20 July 1940): 28–31.
  • 41 Guido Landra, “I fattori ereditari dell’accrescimento,” 36–39.
  • 42 Eugen Fischer, “La realtà della razza,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 1 (5 November 1939): 11–17.

19La Difesa della razza frequently ran articles—especially those signed by Guido Landra—dedicated to studies on hereditary diseases (Lange, Lenz, von Verschuer, Weitz),39 twins,40 and growth factors (Boas, Davenport, Dunn, Rodenwaldt, Fischer).41 The 5 November 1939 issue contained, in prime position, a long essay by Eugen Fischer on the concept of race.42

  • 43 Silvestro Baglioni, “Continuità della razza,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 4 (20 December 1939): 6 (...)
  • 44 Giovanni Marchiori, “Propaganda eugenica o misure coercitive?, ” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 18 ( (...)
  • 45 Marchiori, “Propaganda eugenica o misure coercitive?,” 21.

20References to the Nordic eugenic paradigm were accompanied by a proposal of eugenic practical measures, which seemed notably close to the Nazi legislation. There were certainly many discordant voices. The physiologist Silvestro Baglioni believed that eugenics must “elevate and cultivate the love of children,” using the tools of preventive medicine and hygiene, rather than repressive methods.43 In an article from July 1940, Giovanni Marchiori somewhat paradoxically interpreted the Nazi policy of sterilization as “the greatest racial experiment since Lycurgus,”44 while radically rejecting negative eugenics: “segregation, like sterilization, is a coactive measure that clashes against our moral and juridical norms, that prohibit among other things the use of sanctions against those who have not committed any crime and are compos mentis.”45 These same doubts also clouded the potential efficacy of premarital certificates:

  • 46 Marchiori, “Propaganda eugenica o misure coercitive?,” 21.

In a conscious population, premarital examinations, eugenic certificates, and the prohibition of marriage in the case of serious situations should have their value. Today their effectiveness is dubious and such prohibitions could result in worse evils and open unions. Besides, marriage sometimes has only emotional aims, or offers mutual assistance, or regulates an earlier union: particularly for the elderly.46

21In the pages of La Difesa della razza, Renato Semizzi, professor of social medicine at the Universities of Padua and Trieste, wrote a column on social medicine entitled Salute della razza, in which he constantly repeated the “euthenic” refrain:

  • 47 Renato Semizzi, “La medicina della masse,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 9 (5 March 1941): 13–15; s (...)

The State must impose a rigid euthenics. They must provide for the improvement of the environment in which all national activities are developed, […] encourage prolific marriages in every way, to obtain a considerable number of hereditary combinations until the most favorable emerge […], and above all combat the decreasing birth rate.
The State must provide for the prophylaxis and the correction of the disabled in the fight against all social illnesses; as it must prevent, and possibly eliminate, all the causes suspected of facilitating the rise of determinate regressive mutations.47

22The same author went on to hypothesize a genetic influence of “civilization” (that is, of a “perfected social organization”) on the laws of heredity:

  • 48 Renato Semizzi, “L’influenza della civilta sui popoli,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 14 (20 May 19 (...)

Civilization also has a great importance in the field of heredity because its influence—whether or not it can be evaluated—together with euthenics and the evolution of human thought, modifies the complicated structure of genes, by altering, interweaving or dividing them, accelerating or slowing the reciprocal influence. In this way, new psychological constructions and somatic adjustments are created through temporal hereditary modifications […] which, attentively observed, controlled, compared and followed, indicate the unmistakable and prolonged influence of the civilized environment.48

23Opposing these limited voices critical of negative eugenics, most contributors invoked a more radical eugenic interventionism. In particular, the creation of a national index of Italian biological characteristics was frequently suggested by many collaborators of La Difesa della razza. From the first issue, the president of ISTAT, Franco Savorgnan, hoped for an update of the anthropometric inquiry into the Italian population, first realized by Ridolfo Livi in 1896:

  • 49 Franco Savorgnan, “I problemi della razza e l’opportunità di un’inchiesta antropometrica sulla pop (...)

An anthropometric inquiry conducted on a vast scale seems, today, more than pertinent. It could demonstrate which physical characteristics present with major frequency in the Italian race, measuring the deviation from the average and normal type, the variability and the extremes (field of variation) and determine the differential characteristics of the small Italian race compared to others that make up the great Indo-European family.49

24A few months later, Giuseppe Lucidi proposed a “census of blood” through blood typing, with the aim of achieving two objectives, the first “scientificracial,” and the second “practical”:

  1. For a scientific-racial end, an exact study of blood groups, beyond giving documental substance to our racism, would determine the biological characteristics of our race, placing our science at the avant-garde of all relevant research, considering that abroad they are actively working while here almost nothing is being done, nor is likely to be done, to develop a solid basis for a racial science. […]
  2. For a practical end, for an optimization beyond defense of our race, such research would permit us to know the precise blood group of any individual, which in times of war, more so than peace, could save thousands and thousands of lives, or simply make the practice of blood transfusions more practical.50

25In March 1941, Giulio Silvestri favored the creation of “national race archives, rich in all the genealogical branches”:

  • 51 Giulio Silvestri, “Per un archivio genealogico nazionale,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 9 (5 March (...)

We could reconstruct a genealogical tree of single families, or better, single individuals. It would be utterly interesting for observing various characteristics in the light of statistics. It would deal with […] a work of extreme size that only the State could undertake, but which would give the exact measurements of the racial composition of the nation and, for every individual, the key to many apparently inexplicable inclinations that can be conveniently observed in daily life. It would also make the concept of race clear to the public, since everyone would clearly discover their own position within the thick network of relations and blood relations, which form the nation and the homeland.51

26Besides national anthropological mapping, La Difesa della razza eugenicists proposed two radical practical measures against racial degeneration: the prohibition of race-crossing and the elimination of defectives.

  • 52 Guido Landra, “I bastardi,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 1 (5 August 1938): 16–17.
  • 53 Leone Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” La Difesa dell (...)
  • 54 Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” 33.

27As regards the first aspect, undoubtedly mixophobia and the denunciation of hybrids was a recurring theme in the pages of the biweekly. From the first issue, Guido Landra drew on Eugen Fischer’s data regarding the so-called “bastards of Rehoboth” and the “Rhineland bastards” to demonstrate the degenerative effects of race-crossing52. Leone Franzì believed that the “lack of constitutional affinity between the maternal and paternal germ plasm,” at the base of hybridism, produced racial damage that were both quantitative (increases in miscarriages and sterility) and qualitative (the “biological disharmony” that determined a greater frequency of pathologies and mental diseases).53 As most eugenic literature—and Franzì cited Davenport, Lundborg and Mjoen—demonstrated the negatives of hybridism, political intervention was desired in order to “avoid any type of racial crossing that might provoke the very efficaciously named ‘racial chaos,’ laying a dangerous trap for both the moral and physical hygiene of the population.”54 Franzì continued:

  • 55 Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” 33.

This becomes much more evident and legitimate because there are already existing norms, not only secular but also religious, which prevent interbred unions and have purely eugenic aims. Racial crossings are dangerous and damage is certainly not a minor risk, but rather a major risk of interbred unions.55

  • 56 Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” 33.

28There was therefore a need to impede not only marriages between “bloodrelatives,” but also “bastardisation,” extending the ban to unions between “disparate racial elements, especially if inferior.”56

29In the article Il meticciato, morte degli imperi [Race-crossing: the death of empires], signed by the physician Giuseppe Lucidi, hybridism was synonymous with sterility, on one hand, and “physical and spiritual disharmony,” on the other:

  • 57 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Il meticciato, morte degli imperi,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 13 (5 May 1939) (...)

Almost all of the major scholars: Davenport, Lundborg, Myoln [sic], Tillighart, agree that bastards have impaired physical qualities, due to alteration of the endocrinal equilibrium. Arassaz has particularly studied Brazilian hybrids, finding people without physical or moral energy.
The physical disharmony in fact strikes again in the spiritual camp, as science continues to reveal how intimate and profound the relationships between the material and the spiritual are in the human body. This is even more valid for the Italo-Abyssinian crosses, who seem in a particular way inferior to the two progenitor races both spiritually and biologically.57

  • 58 Raffaele D’Anna Botta, “Meticciato,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 12 (20 April 1942): 22.

30The physician Raffaele D’Anna Botta was of the same view, believing “racial crossings to be disastrous, especially for the superior races that immediately lose their exceptional psycho-physical qualities and intellectual dowry.”58

  • 59 Guido Landra, “Studi italiani sul meticciato,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 8.
  • 60 Landra, “Studi italiani sul meticciato,” 8.
  • 61 Eugen Fischer, “I bastardi di Reoboth,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 12–17.
  • 62 Charles Davenport and Morris Steggerda, “Mulatti di Giamaica,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 (...)
  • 63 Wolfgang Abel, “Meticci di Renania,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 26–30.
  • 64 Yun Kuei Tao, “Incroci fra cinesi ed europee,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 33 (...)
  • 65 Johann Schaeuble, “Il meticciato nell’America del Sud,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March (...)
  • 66 Rita Hauschild, “Gli incroci negro-cinesi,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 52–53 (...)
  • 67 Lorenzo Rocchi, “Razzismo nel Nord-America,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 8 (20 February 1940): 30 (...)
  • 68 Giuseppe Pensabene, “Il meticciato delitto contro Dio,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 8 (20 Februar (...)
  • 69 Giuseppe Pensabene, “Le due cause maggiori del meticciato nel mondo,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. (...)
  • 70 Guido Landra, “Il problema dei meticci in Europa,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 1 (5 November 1940 (...)
  • 71 Landra, “Il problema dei meticci in Europa,” 15.
  • 72 Felice Graziani, “I meticci nella storia,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 15 (5 June 1942): 16–17.
  • 73 On France, see: Nicola Marchitto, “Il meticciato e la Francia,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 10 (2 (...)

31An entire special issue of La Difesa della razza—that of 20 March 1940—was dedicated to the problem of mixed blood, “with the aim—asserted Landra—of increasingly disseminating such studies among the Italians, contributing to the formation of racial pride.”59 The articles, signed by “specialists on matters of unquestioned authority and scientific seriousness,”60 included a significant repertoire of “classics” from the international eugenic movement: Eugen Fischer on the “bastards of Rehoboth,”61 Charles Davenport and Morris Steggerda on “mulattoes of Jamaica,”62 Wolfgang Abel on “hybrids of Renania,”63 Yun Kuei Tao on European–Chinese crossings,64 Johann Schaeuble on hybrids in South America,65 and Rita Hauschild on “Negro–Chinese crosses.”66 Moreover, a number of passages drew attention to American eugenics and their fear of “racial suicide” caused by the diffusion of miscegenation. The theories of Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard were cited as confirmation of a biological danger so real it could not be negated, even by the “tolerant and liberal Americans.”67 Also for Giuseppe Pensabene, responsible from 20 February 1941 for a special column on race-crossing, “mixing” was “a crime against God” and those who did not possess this “natural religious sentiment” should be judged and condemned as “abnormal.”68 Against the “upsetting” number of hybrids in the world, calculated by Pensabene to be in the order of 67 million—“an eighth of the Aryan population”—a rigid control of migratory flows was needed, together with a high level of guardedness, to combat those “moral” hybrids making up the antechamber of biological hybrids.69 According to Guido Landra, aggravating this problem during the war was the presence of “troops of colored people that democracy has unwittingly brought to fight on our continent.”70 From here the necessity—particularly supported by Landra—was to “in time identify hybrids and take the necessary preventive measures so that the blood of old Europe is not irremediably poisoned.”71 Embedded in the eugenic problem of hybrids, therefore, were the conflicting views of democratic egalitarianism and fascist racism: toward the “humanity of bastards” favored by the former, the latter advocated a “program of defense and optimization.”72 If liberalism and democracy opened the door to hybridism and biological confusion, creating—as the cases of France and Latin America demonstrated—this racial chaos which had its origins in social and political crises,73 then Fascism was held up as a return to the natural (and divine) order of racial separation, source of biological health, not to mention social and political stability and security.

32Regarding the problem of elimination of defectives through compulsory premarital certification and sterilization, the model was clearly German and American negative eugenics. In August 1938, a proposal for collaboration with La Difesa della razza was put forward by Germana Maulini—director, before the Spanish civil war, of the Meomenista Institute in Barcelona and then head of the Borgomanero Physiotherapy and Physical Re-education Studio—and her secretary, the physician Carlo Cosimo Borromeo, cultivator of “anthropo-biological aesthetics.” Landra rejected the proposal with these words:

  • 74 Guido Landra to Carlo Cosimo Borromeo, n.d. (August 1938), in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolar (...)

The aim of racism is not to bring abnormal individuals to a normal level or to correct physical imperfections, but to increasingly defend and optimise the best elements of race. It seems to me therefore that the operations of Professor Maulini—though worthy from a humanitarian point of view—cannot find a place in the pages of “Difesa della razza,” which has other precise objectives.74

  • 75 Lidio Cipriani, “Unità spirituale degli italiani,” Corriere della Sera (5 August 1938).
  • 76 Cipriani, “Unità spirituale degli italiani.”
  • 77 Guido Landra to Lidio Cipriani, 24 August 1938, in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolare, Gabinett (...)
  • 78 Lidio Cipriani, “La razza e la vita delle Nazioni,” Corriere della Sera (3 December 1938).
  • 79 Cipriani, “La razza e la vita delle Nazioni.”
  • 80 Lidio Cipriani to the Ministry of Popular Culture, 15 July 1938, in ACS, Ministero della Cultura P (...)

33Among the collaborators of La Difesa della razza, Lidio Cipriani was one of the most active advocates of the Nazi eugenic model. Although he underlined that the “Italian spiritual unity” was grounded on a specific “biological base,”75 nevertheless Cipriani claimed, in any case, that the race-nation originated from a “melting-pot” of different human types and that, at the center, the elite represented the expression of “the most well-endowed ethnic element.”76 An article dedicated to this theme, titled Miscugli di razza [Mixture of race], was unsurprisingly censored by the Ministry of Popular Culture, because—as Landra wrote to Cipriani in August 1938—“for our politicians there exists in Italy only one race.”77 The theoretical basis of differential fertility was that “fecundity is in inverse ratio to the eminence of the physical and mental endowments, not to mention economic conditions.”78 Therefore, according to Cipriani, it was the fundamental work of fascist racism to “stimulate […] the reproduction of the best through the publication of eugenic principles, with economic provisions and an appropriate exaltation of patriotic sentiments.”79 At last, to protect and favor “the diffusion of the best endowed,” in the context of the national body, the Florentine anthropologist sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Popular Culture dated 15 July 1938, in which he proposed a proper project of “surveillance” of migration within the peninsula, with the aim of impeding to the utmost the “darkening” of Italian “racial groups.”80 Specifically, Cipriani advised “caution as regards secret policies of movement of ethnic groups onto Italian soil,” hypothesizing an optimization of the most biologically favorable, accompanied by the “elimination of those ethnic groups judged undesirable.” The reference to Germany and to the sterilization of the “Rhineland bastards” was implicit:

  • 81 Cipriani to the Ministry of Popular Culture, 15 July 1938, in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolar (...)

The solution to an analogous problem, directly regarding the intention to eliminate certain ethnic groups judged undesirable, is being sought in secret in Germany, where it could be useful to inform ourselves about the exact methods adopted. From the other point of view, however, favoring the mixing of certain of our ethnic groups could signify the creation of new energies in the development of the country; but there exists a need to see clearly, in order to control the phenomenon in the most efficient way.81

  • 82 Lidio Cipriani, “Le scienze antropologiche nella Germania hitleriana,” Gerarchia (December 1939): (...)

34With this point of view, it is not surprising that Cipriani considered Nazi eugenic legislation as a model to imitate. In an article published in Gerarchia in December 1939, and again in La Difesa della razza in January 1942, was an exaltation of the German Rassenhygiene, as much on a theoretical and scientific level as on a practical and political one.82

  • 83 Marcello Ricci, “Eugenica e razzismo,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 6 (20 January 1939): 22–23.
  • 84 Guido Landra, “Il certificato prematrimoniale,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 16 (20 June 1941): 24 (...)
  • 85 Aldo Modica, “Il certificato prematrimoniale,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 4 (20 December 1941): (...)

35Cipriani’s admiration for these negative eugenic methods was shared within the editorial board of La Difesa della razza by Marcello Ricci and Guido Landra. The former, in January 1939, dedicated a long review to the problem of premarital certificates, in which he analyzed the legislative situations in the United States, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Russia, Mexico, Argentina and Turkey.83 The latter, in June 1941, after having also detailed the eugenic legislations of Europe and America, hoped that Fascism would also confront the “problem of race” in its “eminently qualitative aspect.”84 At the end of 1941, the Sicilian doctor Aldo Modica repeated that eugenic premarital controls were the foundation of the “proven transmittability” of “hereditary illnesses” and “degenerative psychical characteristics,” of “damages ascertained as present in parents of those with serious constitutional illnesses,” of “lesions that the sickness of one spouse could carry to the other, or to their generative capacity,” of “dominance that has the characteristics of racial deterioration or inferiority as respects the characteristics of the race in which psycho-physical evolution has reached a superior refinement.”85

  • 86 Guido Landra, “Fondamenti biologici del razzismo,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 10 (20 March 1942) (...)

36In March 1942 it was again Landra who attacked the “purely quantitative population policy” of the fascist regime, calling in a loud voice for a political intervention aiming at “genetically improving the Italian population, impeding the increase of the worst, and instead favoring that of the best.”86

37As in other situations, however, it was the readers’ column Questionario, the home of the campaign stirred up by La Difesa della razza, which supported a “negative” eugenics based on sterilization and obligatory premarital certificates. It was inaugurated by the opposing views of two “camerati,” readers not well identified, named Vassetti and Falanga. For Vassetti, sterilization, in order to be effective, had to be obligatory; while for Falanga, the combination of voluntary sterilization and obligatory premarital certificates could be seen as a point of compromise between the fascist state and the Catholic Church:

  • 87 “Questionario – Pro e contro la sterilizzazione,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 1 (5 November 1941) (...)

On the problem of instituting an obligatory premarital certificate, which involves the socially vast problem of love, the intervention of the State would certainly displease the individual; and the Church could not allow illegitimate unions to take place under its eyes, evading the civil laws and keeping individuals in a state of sin. From its side, the State, and here I refer to the Italian one, can not indefinitely remain a spectator in things of such vital importance for the health of the race.87

  • 88 “Questionario – Pro e contro la sterilizzazione,” 31.
  • 89 “Questionario – Pro e contro la sterilizzazione,” 30–31.

38The invitation from the editorial board for contributions from readers discussing sterilization and premarital certificates, without “ignoring” or “undervaluing” the question,88 was immediately taken up. While Aldo Modica and Lidio Cipriani dedicated long articles to premarital controls and sterilization respectively, citing Nazi legislation as a model to imitate, the Questionario was flooded with the views of its readers. Eleonora Villani underlined the “human side of sterilization,” citing the pitiable case of two parents and their son affected by a “terrible defect”; Giambattista Volta proposed the “coupling of individuals with defects of antithetical character, in which case we might hope that in the product the defect of one might compensate for the opposite defect of the other”; Aurelio Migotto maintained that man “must be made innocuous” through sterilization, but repeated the eugenic importance of social policies to promote the birth rate and combat the development of large cities, which were “foci of infections that corrode the moral endowments of the race.” Finally, Lorenzo Falanga called for a major spirit of collaboration on the part of the Catholic Church.89

39The first critical note came in December 1941 from Claudio Del Bo: the weak debate in Italy on sterilization was not due to the lack of preparation of Italian scientists, but “to ‘Italian’ aspects that the problem assumes in our homeland, arising from the Mediterranean-Latin character of our people, who have always been well-balanced and rich in religious sentiments that directly or indirectly represent the Roman church.” Pathological heredity remained a problem defined and clear from a scientific point of view. The Catholic Church had already expressed its total refusal in the encyclical Casti Connubii: the introduction of premarital certificates would favor illegitimate unions, threatening the “moral custom of the family […] at the base of the social organism.” Moreover, it was important not to forget the influence of the “environmental factor” and the effectiveness of a “quantitative” policy, more than a “qualitative”:

  • 90 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 4 (20 December 1941): 30.

Therefore we must persevere in the means already taken by Fascism, intensifying the fight against social illnesses; encouraging the procreation of healthy and strong people; promoting, especially among the young, a healthy and sporting life; creating, in sum, a eugenic environment that is such as to eliminate, or at least limit, defects believed to be hereditary.90

40This was an “environmentalist” position, provoking an immediate admonishment from the hereditarian Telesio Interlandi, editor of La Difesa della razza:

  • 91 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 4 (20 December 1941): 30.

We wish to advise camerata Del Bo to study the problems of heredity with greater attention. Since he wishes to give these factors a relative importance, and in every case not a categorical one, he must realize that—should heredity fall—one of the pillars of racism falls with it: of true scientific racism, and not that which feeds on spiritualistic aims.91

  • 92 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 6 (20 January 1942): 30.
  • 93 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 9 (5 March 1942): 23.

41In January 1942, Vassetti intervened again to dismantle Del Bo’s argument: sterilization could not have “Italian” aspects, because biological defects did not change according to different races. Pathological heredity followed Mendelian mechanisms of transmission of characteristics, as the “Nazi laws on hereditary and degenerative defects” demonstrated, fruit not of “political or racial fanaticism,” but of scientifically “controlled elements.” The environment was a “concomitant and not determinate factor” in the development of the “hereditary germ.”92 Del Bo responded that if the transmission of characteristics was proven it was not however demonstrated that it respected fixed laws: “heredity exists but it is not provable case by case,” in which case, what sense would it have to sterilize the carrier of an illness such as syphilis, transmittable not only through the sexual act? Would it not be better to isolate him? “Belief in a scientific program,” Del Bo concluded, “is not a pure act of faith, but a duty to the evolution of the individual and civilization.” With the practice of sterilization we would come to lack “that tenacity in the fight against illness that transforms a doctor into an apostle.”93

42Beyond the usual nature/nurture diatribe, the debate finished locked around a critical argument advanced by Raffaele D’Anna Botta in February 1942. The rejection of sterilization was justified on the grounds of anti-Semitic ideology:

  • 94 Questionario, La Difesa della razza 5, no. 8 (20 February 1942): 31.

“Sterilization”—insidious weapon of scientific decadence—is nothing less than a practice that… every day practices, in the guise of science, pedantic and professional Judaism. The proof is the daily damage of Jewish and “Jewified” gynecologists, who, with the excuse of intervening to eradicate an ill… hypothetically serious, give hysterectomies to all the women who fall into their hands, without distinction, making them more ill than before, as well as rendering them sterile and infertile for all their lives.
They could not be serving Israel better! In other terms, applying “sterilization” will promote the great destructive plan of Jewish Messianism which consists of the extinction of all the Nazarenes.94

  • 95 In 1935, Giovanni Preziosi and Roberto Farinacci conducted a campaign of support for the neo-Hippo (...)
  • 96 Questionario, La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 8 (20 February 1942): 31.

43Instead of sterilization, seen as a homicidal instrument in the hands of the international Jewish conspiracy, D’Anna Botta offered “desaprophytisation” (desaprofitizzazione), that is, the elimination of hereditary pathological pollution, invented by the “very Italian” doctor Pier Nicola Gregoraci.”95 According to D’Anna Botta, this practice had been introduced at the end of the first decade of the 1900s, when it had been unsurprisingly “attacked” by the “cabal of silence of the Jewish-Masonic sector.”96

44In the editorial board of La Difesa della razza, the campaign advocating the constitutional “Gregoraci doctrine” against “Jewish” sterilization did not find, however, a favorable hold. What was this “desaprophytisation,” exclaimed Carlo Vassetti, in March 1942, refuting the theory of the “Jewishness” of sterilization:

  • 97 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza 5, no. 10 (20 March 1942): 23

Certainly the accusation of Jewishness directed against the predominant medical science is one that will be particularly seductive to the observers of this debate […]. Stating first that luminaries and scientists of undoubted Italianness as well as adamantine scientific faith belong and have always belonged to this predominant medical science, against which our contradictor strongly fights. I offer my opinion that a better polemic garb should at least be adopted in launching such fiery, intransigent censure, which is as generic as it is categorical. I object, if for no other reason, because the poisonous, symptomatological, localist, hyperscientific denunciations made by Professor D’Anna cannot touch the clear fame of scholars and scientists, who have been asked for many decades of fatigue and faith, and were anything but obstinate, amphibious, or Jewish men.97

45And for once Falanga was in agreement, in this case, with Vassetti. Declaring his sincere ignorance of the nature and etymology of “desaprophytisation,” he explicitly maintained the neutrality of medical methodology in respect to the racial membership of the person applying it:

  • 98 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 11 (5 April 1942): 22.

The fact that Jewish doctors claim to exterminate the race of the goyim, or that a Jew invites the destruction of the German people, need not induce the gentiles to repudiate those methods to reach higher aims.98

  • 99 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 14 (20 May 1942): 22.
  • 100 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 16 (20 June 1942): 22.
  • 101 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 6, no. 6 (20 January 1943): 22.
  • 102 “Questionario – Sterilizzazione,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 20 (20 August 1942): 22.

46With the exception of writings by Giuseppe Chiesa,99 Gino Valisfanio100 and “camerata” Giviani,101 who all intended to demonstrate the denigrating campaign conducted by “Jewified” medicine against Gregoraci, the absence of a reply on the part of D’Anna Botta about the effective “worth of desaprophytising methods”102 led the debate in La Difesa della razza to a dead end. An attempt to re-launch the argument was made, in August 1942, by the camerata Falanga. After a brief synthesis of the phases of the discussion and conclusions reached, Falanga repeated the importance of sterilization and premarital certificates in the political, moral, religious and scientific arenas:

  • 103 “Questionario – Sterilizzazione,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 20 (20 August 1942): 22.

For politics, we are dealing with the necessity of defending the health of the race […].
For morality, it is a question of not offending that sense of human dignity that is in everyone: the drive to know they will continue through their children, beyond fleeting parentheses of individual lives.
For religion it is a question of safeguarding the right to have offspring, avoiding a conflict between the conscience as citizen and the conscience as believer. For science, in the end, it is necessary to cure them through the most effective means, rather than prevent the propagation of hereditary ills, in order to guarantee healthy offspring.103

  • 104 Questionario, La Difesa della razza 6, no. 11 (5 April 1943): 22.

47Unexpectedly in April 1943, a letter appeared from Giovanni De Santis, a country medical practitioner from Rapagnano (Ascoli). Notwithstanding his reservations regarding the editorial staff of La Difesa della razza, De Santis supported the “Italianness” of “desaprophytisation” and the “Jewishness” of compulsory sterilization.104

  • 105 Genetica, La Difesa della razza 5, no. 21 (5 September 1942): 21.

48The debate surrounding transmission of undesirable hereditary characteristics seemed, however, to find a new home in Genetica [Genetics], a column of La Difesa della razza, headed by Aldo Modica (under the pseudonym Mod) between August 1942 and June 1943. The tone of these “lessons” was maintained, for the most part, on a pseudoscientific theoretical level, but the rigid Mendelian-Weissmanian formulation, adopted to describe the “immortality” of the “germline,”105 implicitly justified the foundation of negative eugenic methods. Neither prayers, nor the power of future post-natal prophylactic techniques—stated Modica in February 1943—could counteract these immovable, deterministic genetic theories:

  • 106 Genetica, La Difesa della razza 6, no. 8 (20 February 1943): 21.

Neither the case under discussion, nor destiny and the imponderable divine are useful in this hard-and-fast genetic determinism. It is not possible, with a candle, no matter how big, or with a cycle of prayers to the sainted protector, to impede the genes of an illness or a specific abnormality, which might affect an entire line of descendants, when it does not emerge immediately in the direct descendent in a fatal way. It is not possible—not with medical solutions, postnatal prophylactics, or immense spending—to neutralize that gene or group of genes transmitted in associated or isolated forms, which “must” determine those pathological factors or malformations in the son, the daughter, or the near and removed descendents.106

49If biology was destiny, then the only solution possible was a eugenic system that eliminated defective hereditary traits.

2. Environmentalist Eugenics: Psychological and Anthropo-geographical Racism

50La Difesa della razza interpreted racial eugenics in terms of discontinuity regarding previous social, health and demographic fascist policies. In contrast, Razza e civiltà [Race and civilization], a monthly journal of the General Council and General Directorship of Demography and Race (Consiglio Superiore e Direzione Generale per la Demografia e la Razza), provided a continuist interpretation.

  • 107 Carlo Bergamaschi, “L’Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia per la difesa sociale,” Razza e civilta (...)
  • 108 Bergamaschi, “L’Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia per la difesa sociale,” 97.
  • 109 Alfredo Sacchetti, “Sport ed evoluzione dei popoli,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 2 (April 1940): 238.

51This was evident from the first issue of the journal, in Carlo Bergamaschi’s celebration of the virtues of the National Organization for the protection of Motherhood and Infancy, known as ONMI (Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia): “The first time that the Duce decided on the terms of a concrete defense of the race was when, in his Ascension Day speech [26 May 1927], he mentioned the creation and the demise of ONMI.”107 In the “sector of racial defense”108 represented by ONMI, it was not a matter of innovation or transformation, but simply of “intensifying work that has already been well begun, with new energy, and with criteria better adopted to the scope of the project,” and to “accentuate the action in the pre-natal and post-natal sectors” in such a way as to obtain “an active reclamation of the race.” The ethnologist Alfredo Sacchetti underlined the connection between sport and race. He identified a scientific relationship between the development of competitive activity and the “ascendant and culminating” phases of the evolutionary cycle of the history of nations as theorized by Gini. Sacchetti endorsed, on this basis, “a new program that should above all interest the new positive eugenicists and with advantages not only for current society […], but also directly for the species, and therefore future society.”109 Praise for the demographic campaign as an instrument for quantitative and qualitative racial betterment was repeated and constant. In particular, the physician Giuseppe Tallarico reiterated, in all of his works, a precise link of continuity between fascist pronatalism and racism. In May–June 1940, he listed, for example, a long series of proofs of “experimental demography” in the agricultural and husbandry sectors, that demonstrated how in every natural context, whether vegetal or animal, an enhancement in “quantity” always led to an improvement of “quality.” From here, he immediately criticized Anglo-Saxon eugenics as unacceptable from a fascist pronatalist point of view:

  • 110 Giuseppe Tallarico, “Il numero è anche la qualità,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 3–4 (May–June 1940): 28 (...)

And yet, does eugenics suggest that the firstborn or the first births will be the best and the most successful? Nothing confirms this implicit presumption… indeed, the biographies of grand men demonstrate the opposite, and Kattel [sic] has highlighted that often there is the need for a long line of children before the possible combinations of hereditary factors of genius and mental superiority are achieved and brought together in such a way, in a happy combination and in perfect harmony, to lead to men of genius and superior person. Only large families can improve the race, because only in the golden secret of their “number” can we find the most effective means of improvement, discovering in the hand of chance or destiny the greater number of hereditary combinations, the meeting and melding of chromosomes, the various affirmative and selective possibilities.110

  • 111 Giuseppe Tallarico, “I pregi biologici della fecondità,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 5–6–7 (July–Septem (...)

52In the following issue, Tallarico again wrote at length about the merits of fertility, referring both to the biological and psychological capabilities of the mother, and to the “birth-rate of a nation,” in which “hypergenesis” and “eugenesis” coincided: “from numbers and mass come individuals of quality, while from lower numbers and limited fertility come modest physiologies and low constructive yields.”111 In March 1941, he investigated the relationship between human prolificacy and nutrition:

  • 112 Giuseppe Tallarico, “L’alimento e la prolificità umana,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 1 (23 March 1941): (...)

The factors that influence human prolificacy and the birth-rate of the population are multiple, have higher or lesser importance, and are racial, environmental, social, psychical, moral and religious and also nutritional, because nutrition and man’s birth-rate are linked more intimately than is commonly known.112

53Together with this continuist interpretation of racism, a second element that distinguished the eugenic ideology of Razza e civiltà was undoubtedly the adoption of the environmentalist paradigm as a cornerstone of the mechanism of transmission of biological characteristics of the human species.

54In October 1940, for example, the influence of hereditary predisposition as regards to alcoholism was particularly emphasized by Arnaldo Fioretti, head of the Doctors’ and Nurses’ Union. Alcoholism was essentially a “family and social” illness, and, as such, did not necessarily produce genetic degeneration and addiction:

  • 113 Arnaldo Fioretti, “Lieo bifronte,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 8 (October 1940): 587.

Until today, heredity, intuited by Bianchi, has been nothing but pure hypothesis. If this were the truth, we would despair of finding a cure for this illness, since heredity is something fatal, difficult to modify: chromosomes, and genes within chromosomes, resist strong force to alter their structure or modify their orientation, and we could hardly hope to effect a cure, when alcoholism could, in this way, be inherited by the entire population.113

55This did not signify, however, that an anti-alcoholic policy should not be reasonably included in “a serious, prolonged, and wise attempt at racial reclamation”:

  • 114 Fioretti, “Lieo bifronte,” 591.

This means: curing the white race of those exogenic and endogenic factors that conspire actively against it. It is useless to defend it from contact or contagion from the inferior races if we must abandon it without defense to the vices that threaten its resistance and that compromise descendants.114

56The Physician Luigi Cesari, in an article entitled A question of racial reclamation: for the children of neuropsychotic defectives, expressed many reservations on the possibility of a rigid application of Mendel’s laws to the problem of hereditary transmission of human characteristics:

  • 115 Luigi Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza: per i figli dei tarati neuropsichici,” Razza (...)

With his laws, Mendel opened a horizon of some interest, but his concepts cannot find in man the scientific control for an exact evaluation of the transmissibility of hereditary characteristics. This is fundamental for genetics, which, with an increase in abundant scientific observations in recent years, has seen the addition of new laws to Mendel’s classic ones.115

57Cesari kept a clear distance from the practical applications of the eugenic hereditarianism, represented by the Nazi laws of sterilization:

  • 116 Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza,” 76.

Gutt, Rüdin, and Ruttke have largely studied heredity in a series of illnesses and their deductions have resulted in Germany’s laws of sterilization—the most complete, certainly, but also debatable because the hereditary prognosis, which should be absolutely certain, and not leave room for scientific scruples, or those of conscience […], is based on the simple determination of facts derived from experience, on calculations of percentages of sickness in the descendants of the infirm, etc.; in other words, on empiricism.116

  • 117 Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza,” 80.

58Cesari proposed an alternative to Nazi sterilization to resolve the problem of the inheritance of nervous and mental diseases, based on a “sure diagnosis” and “reconstruction of the genealogical tree.” Even though he recognized the importance of the statistical frequency of mental disease and its degenerative impact on the “white race,” Cesari believed the question could not simply be resolved through surgery, but must be confronted through the enhancement of “preventive and curative assistance for sick children.”117

  • 118 Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza,” 81.

Let us remember that progressive nations have, by now, adopted precautions to ensure childhood mental health services, both preventive and corrective. Let us remember that the mass of abnormal, different people has no precise limits, but is made up of diverse types not well classified. Let us remember that the problem is arduous and complex.118

59Again in Razza e civiltà, Giuseppe Tallarico offered an analogous condemnation for the practice of sterilization in the name of “environmentalism”:

  • 119 Giuseppe Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” Razza e civilta 3, no. 1 (January–March 1943): 47 (...)

In expectation of the ideal remedy of pure eugenics committed to eradicating the bad from the germ plasm, the environmental remedy has again gained power and consistency: that is, the utilization of external factors; above all nutritional, functional, hygienic, economic, social, and educational, which have much value in the making of a man […]. External factors with not only an indisputable individual action, but also a racial one, able, it seems, to change, through intense and constant action, the constitution of the genus.119

  • 120 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 496.
  • 121 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 481.
  • 122 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 476.

60It was undoubtedly important to Tallarico to impede “crossings between defectives so that they would not harm the race,” but it was above all necessary to “favor marriages between families who should be members of the race’s ‘golden book’ by means of prizes and propaganda.” In the same way, it was important to evaluate every single race crossing: if, in general, marriages with the “negro race,” marked by the mental and physical stigmata of infantilism,120 were to be prohibited by law, as the main cause of social and moral biological disaster for the white race,121 “family telecrossing,” that is, the “mesogamic crossing between the different stocks of the same race and between the ethnic families of the same people,”122 had to be enhanced. It was toward such objectives that the Internal Migration Commissariat (Commissariato della Migrazione Interna) had to direct its political action:

  • 123 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 476.

Internal migration encourages unions between individuals from different regions, favoring mesogamic crossings between stocks of the same race, and between ethnic families of the same people […], so diluting the blood relations of the race. This will demonstrate to ourselves and the world that the best agent of happier chromosomal coupling to improve the Italian race and produce new universal genius will come from the renewal of the ancient Italian genetic material without the need to go outside borders.123

61Even when deterministic hereditarianism was reaffirmed, it did not imply negative eugenics, but rather the exaltation of a policy of protection of the fascist woman-mother as a factor of “conservation of the race.” This view was supported, for example, by Cesare Serono, director of the National Medical-pharmacological Institute, by recycling the eugenic and statistical model of the “average man” in a racist and sexist interpretation:

  • 124 Cesare Serono, “L’importanza del fattore femminile nella conservazione della razza,” Razza e civil (...)

Man, the energetic and directive element of reproductive function, is the average man, healthy and balanced; and if the woman who is his mate is an intelligent being, even in a latent state, this will result in offspring with superior qualities to the norm. In this way, therefore, as Carrel has said, we must clearly separate the tasks of the two sexes, forbidding to women excessive education, jobs and pastimes reserved for men, if we do not wish to create hybrids that are ill-adapted to social life.124

  • 125 In particular, see Giovanni Marro, “Il primato della razza italiana,” La Stampa (30 July 1938); Gi (...)
  • 126 Not surprisingly, the volume was dedicated to the memory of his father, Antonio Marro, “pioneer of (...)

62Beyond the rejection of the Mendelian–Weismannian model, environmentalist racial eugenics was also distinguished, in some of its expressions, by the development of a racial concept based not on references to genotypes as much as the evaluation of “ecological” dimensions of the habitat. This was the case, for example, of the “anthropo-geography” of Giovanni Marro, professor of anthropology at the University of Turin and senator since 1939, and Edoardo Zavattari, director of the Institute of Zoology at the University of Rome: both assiduous collaborators of Razza e civiltà, but also of La Difesa della razza. The early eugenicist Giovanni Marro, the son of anthropologist and psychiatrist Antonio Marro, wrote a series of articles between 1938 and 1943, published in La Stampa,125 Preziosi’s La Vita Italiana [Italian life], Razza e civiltà and La Difesa della razza, and summarized in the synthesis Primato della razza italiana [Supremacy of the Italian race].126 In these contributions, Marro interpreted the racial and anti-Semitic fascist campaign as the ideal political fulfillment of his previous scientific research in two different fields: prehistoric archaeology, as founder and director of the Turin University Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography; and Egyptology, as a member of Senator Schiaparelli’s Italian Archeology Mission (Missione Archeologica Italiana), and curator of Bernardino Drovetti’s vast collection of Egyptian antiquities.

  • 127 For Marro’s polemic against Genna and Sergi, see Giovanni Marro, “Un allarme per il razzismo itali (...)

63The “new racial science”—which Marro proposed to re-baptize the “history of the human race”—implied abandoning traditional “zoological” and “morphological” physical anthropology. In polemical discussion with the approach of anthropologists Giuseppe Genna and Sergio Sergi,127 Marro refused every “materialistic” interpretation of race:

  • 128 Giovanni Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” La Vita Italiana, 29, no. 341 (August (...)

Many current anthropologists—under the influence of the positive or materialistic School (which also has great merits for its contribution to scientific progress) that is today in strong decline due to the press of different beliefs more suited to modern knowledge and aspirations—continue still to consider themselves simply as the zoologists of Man. […] Exactly for the excessive restrictions that they themselves establish for their object of study, anthropologists often preclude the possibility of studying in depth, with appropriate guidelines and sure criteria, many questions and many problems that currently occur in the racial sciences.128

  • 129 See Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 49–61; Giovanni. Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali del (...)

64The most recent scientific classifications of the races—on which Marro often discoursed at length129—confirmed, in reality, the widespread tendency to enlarge the spectrum of taxonomic criteria from the exclusive consideration of “biological” factors toward the more “spiritual.” It was therefore neither craniology nor anthropometry, but rather the synergy of man and environment that constituted the axis of Marro’s racism.

  • 130 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 141–42.
  • 131 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 142. See also, Marro, Caratteri fisici e spiri (...)
  • 132 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 142. See also Marro, Primato della razza itali (...)
  • 133 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 142. See also Marro, Primato della razza itali (...)
  • 134 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 62–63.

65In man, according to Marro, two elements could be recognized: one physical-somatic, the other spiritual. The first, common to all animal species, was “fatally subject to the modeling influences of the environment.”130 The capacity to oppose the environmental influence came, on the other hand, from “spiritual” elements, and varied according to the level of progress achieved and by the “particular characteristics of each ethnic group.”131 Therefore, while “primitive” man appeared strictly linked to the habitat in which he lived, “civilized” man was able to modify the natural environment that surrounded him. Consequently, it was this same human progress, according to Marro, that made a purely “zoological” conception inadequate in considering race. In fact, “from a somatic point of view, human progress carries out—even indirectly—a leveling action on the human species, tending in reality to attenuate physical racial divergences, determined for the most part by the diversity of natural environments.”132 Secondly, in “superior races,” somatic elements included the “exteriorisation” of the psychical, a sort of tool used by the psyche “not only for escaping the coercion of the environment, but also for dominating it, according with the grand design for human beings.”133 In the end, the esogenic environmental variation, as much as the frequency of racial crossings, contributed inevitably over the centuries to modifying the “purity” of the original races.134 The same idea of man’s adaptability to the surrounding habitat therefore opposed the notion of a race that remained morphologically and psychically pure through the ages.

66In the face of such criticism against biological racism, it is not surprising that the definition of race proposed by Marro favored the “psychical” factor as a component of the environmentalist raciological paradigm:

  • 135 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 70–71. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della ra (...)

By “race,” we intend a human grouping with a harmonious complex of endowments and spiritual tendencies constituting a specific mental entity; a grouping that has a historical basis as a formative substrate, represented as an uninterrupted patrimony transmitted from generation to generation […]. The race can, therefore, also have more or less characteristic somatic elements, some of which are subject to a variation of place and time, and are generally directed to increasing efficiency and affirmation of the singularities of psychical personality. The race becomes better characterized, insofar as the mental complex is organic, harmonious and unmistakable.135

67On the issue of the relationship between race and environment, Marro suggested a sort of philosophy of history, principally characterized by two aspects: on one side, the “anthropo-geographical” distinction between Mediterranean and Semitic civilizations; on the other, the description of a Mediterranean “historical destiny,” articulated in three successive stages—Egypt, Greece and Rome—similar in the “climatic” and “anthropical” importance of their marine systems, but differentiated by their respective relationships between ethnic components and natural environment.

68Regarding the first aspect, it was the lack of attachment to the soil—from which “real and proper sentiments of homeland” come—that, according to Marro, distinguished the basic racial structure of Semitism:

  • 136 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 247.

The Semitic does not know how to establish an interdependent balanced relationship with the soil: he either remains foreign or he submits. Remaining foreign, as most often happens, he harbors mistrust, if not aversion, toward the ethnic group he lives among, effectively acknowledging him as master of the territory, and so constantly assuming […] a cautious and defensive behavior. Instead, when, for whatever reason, the Semitic and “Semiticised” develop tight links with the natural environment, so as to be moved to no longer abandon it, they submit, continuing to be subjugated to the environment also in relatively advanced stages of their evolution.136

  • 137 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 250.
  • 138 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 252.
  • 139 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 249.
  • 140 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 253.
  • 141 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 255.

69Even though they were well known in history as a dominating population of the Mediterranean, Marro declared that the Phoenicians had developed an “overly unilateral and egoistic activity,” limiting themselves to the role of merchants of metals without scruples, ruled only by “primordial sentiments of aggression and abuse of power,”137 and insensible to the “superior spiritual forms.”138 For all that they had in common (lacking links with the soil and desire for money), Marro believed that the Jews represented a further degeneration of Semitism as compared to the Phoenicians: while the latter had contributed to human progress through the development of mining, the Jews had instead used their money as the “most powerful factor in the fight against others.”139 Marro’s anti-Semitism merged the usual stereotypes of the Jew as heimatlos and moneylender into a conspiratorial imagery that interpreted the traditional religious myth of the “Chosen People” as a disguise for “reverse racism” with the aim of dominating and exploiting other peoples. At the base of what he defined as the “degenerative mental constitution of the Jew,” Marro identified a “proud egoism, nurturing an exaggerated sense of self, together with a low estimation of others; always posing as victims of others’ domineering ways.”140 The “bias of superiority”141 clearly translated—according to a common motif of anti-Semitic literature—into Jewish duplicity: nationalism disguised universalism and the thirst for dominance; integration masked contagious infiltration. In the biological metaphor that Marro borrowed from Cesare Lombroso—also here adopting the usual anti-Semitic strategy of “letting the Jews talk against the Jews”—the Jewish race was comparable to an octopus:

  • 142 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 255.

Not only because it mimetically takes on the most varied colorization and, disturbing the water around it through a black secretion from the glands, is able to render itself unidentifiable, but particularly because, slimy creature, it is almost symbolic of evasiveness, but it itself grasps everything, and everything sticks to the tentacles and suckers around its formidable masticatory apparatus.142

  • 143 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 260–61.
  • 144 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 264.

70For Marro, only the category of “degeneration” could express the danger Jews posed. The “imprint of deformation” was manifest as much on a morpho-biological level—the consequence of racial crossing between Jews and “Negroes” or frequent interbreeding143—as on a moral and spiritual level. Through an explicit reference to Otto Weininger, Marro interpreted Judaism as a “specific form of moral deviation, ready to implant itself in any psychical structure where, for particular reasons, there is a lack of that reactive energy inherent in the personality, which normally acts to repel and preclude the entrance and settlement [of such a moral deviation].” In the face of a similar threat, “contacts of whatever nature with the Jewish race, particularly those which involve sentimental factors, could favor their infiltration into ours.”144

71In order to support an antithetical dichotomy between “Latins” and Jews, Marro elaborated a sort of tripartite “historical system” (Egypt–Greece–Rome) in which the results of his preceding anthropological and archaeological research converged. Not only Marro’s definition of race, but also his philosophy of history arose from the eugenic problem of the relationship between human characteristics and habitat. Egypt—the first stage in the process of “civilization” as delineated by Marro—appeared in fact to be characterized by total subordination of the race to the natural environment:

  • 145 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 293–94.

The Egyptian civilization sprouted, grew, matured and fell […] in a flat and monotone natural environment, every part of which presented the same simple constitutive elements of relation. The natural environment offered complex conditions singularly favorable for the development of human life, common to all the regions of the district; above all, the sweetness of the climate and the fertile excellence of the soil. Because of this enclosure within such an alluring vessel, their civilization carried the perennial stamp of being stationary, keeping separate from the fascination of the Mediterranean, unable, as it were, to acquire that space to breathe and achieve the force of expansion that constitutes a reason for life and for advanced levels of progress. And after a cycle, although it lasted millennia, the wave of civilization broke upon them.145

  • 146 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 267.
  • 147 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 198. See also Giovanni Marro, “La razza e l’ambiente nella ci (...)
  • 148 On the Greeks, see Giovanni Marro, “La razza e l’ambiente nella civilta. II,” Razza e civilta 2, n (...)
  • 149 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 267.

72The greatness of the Egyptian civilization—its artistic monuments, hieroglyphics, cosmology, solar myths, the power of the pharaohs—was soaked in the influence of the surrounding natural environment, and could not help but reveal the negative impact the habitat exercised on the “psychical state” of the race, manifested by their “egocentrism,” “cultural, religious and social” isolation, “inadaptability”146 and a “naive and childish psyche.”147 Similarly, when regarding the ancient Greeks, Marro believed environmental influence was the vital starting point. The particular geographic conditions of Hellas sharpened the “conquering, inventive and speculative spirit,” while on the other hand impeding “profound and intimate contact between the people,”148 which might have allowed them to overcome local separatism in the name of unity for nation and state. Egypt and Greece therefore, “in their respective evolutions and declines,” represented “two stages of a fatal historical system subordinate to natural laws.”149 In this anthropo-geographical philosophy of history, the third stage—the power of Rome—signaled therefore a “real and proper apogee” in which the “endogenic energy” of the race overcame the conditions of the habitat:

  • 150 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 268.

As the ethnic element is able to tame the natural environment and develop itself, above all in the fight against adverse natural elements, this complex of endogenic energy allowed them to achieve an early civilized maturity and ensured the potential for a continued renewal.150

  • 151 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 268–69.
  • 152 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 291.
  • 153 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 269.

73Italy’s position at the center of the Mediterranean, and Rome’s in the center of the peninsula,151 together with the influences of the Alpine arc “on the physical, anthropic and economic conditions,”152 were presented in Marro’s works as a kind of geographical “predestination” to be “the hearth of the greatest and most enduring Mediterranean civilization.”153 The variables of the natural environment corresponded with regional differentiations of the Italian race’s morphological characteristics. These had remained unchanged through the centuries, notwithstanding frequent foreign invasions, as demonstrated by the analysis of anthropological types immortalized in artistic iconography and archaeological investigations of sites such as Monticello d’Alba and the Susa Valley. It was the environment, Marro claimed, that exercised a selective action capable of maintaining the “native types” of the Italian race:

  • 154 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 47. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza (...)

This, in reality, seems to be a characteristic of our country: it exercises a selective action, promoting the disappearance of inferior morphological characteristics and determining the persistence, the assimilation and even the improvement of those of a superior order. This explains how, notwithstanding the influx of many ethnic elements […], the native types have always overcome, albeit with some not so important variations that do not disturb the overall balance.154

  • 155 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 44.
  • 156 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 303.
  • 157 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 278.
  • 158 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 302–03.
  • 159 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 325.

74As a last point, it was a “spiritual unity” that connected and melded the various “regional somatic types” into a “distinctly qualifiable ethnic group” from ancient Rome to fascism.155 The Italian and Roman mindset156 could be expressed, according to Marro, in its “dynamism,” “pragmatic sense,” tendency to “universalism,”157 and adaptability.158 The faces of the Italian “spiritual personality” were multiple. In the language, above all, “one of the characteristic elements of a superior race”159 could be recognized:

  • 160 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 325. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razz (...)

Among the languages of the Latin branch, Italian essentially conforms not only to the laws of “minimum force” in Ribot’s sense […] but also to the satisfaction caused by the synchronization and therefore graceful play of musicality in the phonetics. For this reason, Italian language is also to be considered as subordinate to the fulfillment of the aesthetic sentiment already well developed in the Italian race.160

  • 161 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 345. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razz (...)
  • 162 Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 46–47.
  • 163 Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 48–51.

75Another characteristic of the Italian race—the “endogenic tendency to movement”—showed, through the course of the centuries, in multiple forms, ranging from the celebrated Roman aqueducts and the railway lines of the era of Italian political unity to the fascist roads in Libya and Albania; from the great names of Italian navigators to, more recently, the invention of the radio.161 Marro believed that the “juridical and political thoughts of the Italian race” represented an age-old supremacy, which from the Roman Law stretched to the new fascist code,162 while the “adaptability,” the “spirit of universality” and the “adherence to reality” of the Italian race was mirrored in emigration, the resistance to sanctions, the colonization of Africa, and religious missions.163 Marro did not hesitate to identify, in Drovetti’s epistolary archives,

  • 164 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 367. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razz (...)

a high and realistic demonstration that the Italian race has continued to produce greatly, at home and abroad, with fervor and versatility. The Italian race mostly finds harmonious agreement in the excellent elements in every job, and in the desire - more, the greed - to learn, to prove itself, to produce, to be useful to any community, due not only to its comprehensive mental endowments, with particular accentuation on dynamism.164

  • 165 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 375. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razz (...)

76The final component of the “Italian psychical orientation” was the “perpetuation of the love of agriculture and arms.” Here, under the perspective of a single, undivided “racial heritage,” Marro’s discourse included Saint Benedict and Cincinnatus, Cavour, and the rock engravings of Valcamonica. The final paragraph was dedicated, in an excess of rhetoric, to the “Dux” and the “grandiose historical cycle of an ethnic group—firmly homogenous and compact, rich in endogenic energy, completely identifiable from ancient times—returned to the natural grandiose civil and social mission.”165

77Like Marro, Edoardo Zavattari, director of the University of Rome’s Zoological Institute, also saw the relationship between humans and their habitat as the key to interpreting historical and social phenomena. Zavattari spoke, in that regard, of the “fauna element”:

  • 166 Edoardo Zavattari, “Fauna e fenomeni sociale. II,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 3 (May–July 1941): 463.

If the fauna factor […] is one of the major elements to have characterized, dominated, and modeled the most ancient human cultural phases; if the fauna factor has imprinted the activity of Paleolithic man and the most primitive populations to live until now, as paleontology and ethnology demonstrate, this same factor has not exhausted its capital function, but has continued to develop in the successive millennia, and continues still today, determining a complex of very important human and social phenomena.
The great migrations of populations, the settlement of ethnic groups in determinate regions, the abandonment of certain districts previously densely populated, and the adoption of customs that have assumed the value of true racial characteristics, have often been caused by this factor of essential importance.166

78Racial hierarchy depended on unbreakable and necessary bonds between the environment and organisms:

  • 167 Edoardo Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 8 (20 Fe (...)

There exists an authoritative and unbreakable necessity that ties the environment and its organisms; a fate dominating the world, implicit in the nature of the living being, that imposes a categorical and axiomatic relationship on beings and natural factors: creating a condition, an expression of that life’s essence, that fixes in an unequivocal and absolute manner the relationship of subordinate dependence, tightly conjoining the organisms to each other and to the innumerable environmental components.167

79From Zavattari’s racial interpretation of the concept of habitat, the scientific legitimization of fascist expansionism proceeded:

  • 168 Edoardo Zavattari, “La dottrina degli spazi vitali dal punto di vista biologico,” Scientia 71, no. (...)

The problem of living spaces, interpreted from a strictly biological point of view, pivots on these essential principles: the necessity that every species, both vegetal and animal, possesses an area in which they find all that is needed for the life and perpetuation of the species and in which their struggle for existence with other species is not such that they feel any lack, but on the contrary permits them a full expansion.168

  • 169 Zavattari, “La dottrina degli spazi vitali dal punto di vista biologico,” 178.

80Beyond reasons of political or economic character, the doctrine of living space was founded on a “general principle of biology,” or rather, on the “authoritative, categorical, and absolute necessity that every organism has at its disposition a space in which to live, to develop and to reproduce.”169

81As well as the biological justification of Lebensraum, a second consequence of Zavattari’s rigid racial differentialism was the biological threat of racial crossing. The legislator and the colonist must not, in fact, ignore that the environmental “plasticity” of the colored man was by far inferior to that of the whites. The degree of “plasticity” that distinguished the link between genotype and habitat was here seen as a criterion of racial hierarchy, and therefore, of discrimination:

  • 170 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali,” 10.

The white race, and our Italian race in a much more obvious way, has become highly pliable over the course of several thousand years of civilization, making it capable of transfer to highly different environments without being strongly affected. […] The colored populations are much less plastic and much less adaptable; the more we descend toward primitive races, the more this plasticity is reduced; the inferior races are destined to subservience; others do not have this sad destiny, but must not be pushed beyond their extreme limits. A nomadic population will never be transformed into a sedentary one; a population of the forest will never become inhabitants of the savannah; a seafaring people will not become shepherds; none of these can ever assume that social form that the whites often delude themselves into believing these inferior races can achieve.170

82If environmental “plasticity” produced an “overwhelming chasm” between the races, for Zavattari hybrids could not appear other than a sort of biological error, their natural maladjustment quickly revealing them as a social and political menace:

  • 171 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali,” 11.

Out of their environment they either cannot live, or they live at a disadvantage, live as strangers, as intruders, like an encrustation that is clinging, but has no roots, like an encrustation from which that primordial origin will always surface, that legacy of inferior quality that makes the blacks sensitive to tuberculosis and alcohol, that leads the blacks to burst out in attacks, rebellion, in violent acts against the race, in the midst of which they conduct their lives, estranged and far from the soil on which they were born, and to which they should be returned.171

83It was from this ecological-racist axiom that, in Zavattari’s writings, the justification of anti-Semitic discrimination originated. The Jews always carried with them, in every place and every time, the stigma of their “desert and nomadic” environmental origins. The Jew was eternal, beyond any form of integration or assimilation, because his “racial patrimony” was irremediably shaped by habitat. So environmental eugenics, at a hereditary level, seemed to carry with it a form of particularly radical anti-Semitism that identified in the Jew the definition of the “anti-race,” the absolute difference, the totally inassimilable Other:

  • 172 Edoardo Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali (continuazione),” La Difesa della razza (...)

The Jews always remain the same. Just as they cannot strip away their cerebral character, they cannot strip away their structural characteristics, nor amalgamate them, nor melt them, because they will always be that people who were born and lived on the other side of the sea, between the scree of Transjordan and the depths of the Dead Sea; because they are the people that had their laws dictated on the top of a mountain between lightning and storms, by a severe God without pity or love; because they are the people that have the immutable aridity and a contempt for other peoples printed on their souls; because they are the people who have always attempted to conquer the promised land, but have never conquered it, and can never conquer it because they can never stop, but will always have to go in search of a new mirage, just as they are still awaiting the coming of a new Messiah; because the desert that is at the bottom of their souls will drive them to be enemies, will drive them to rebel, will drive them to be nomads.172

84Based on this premise, Zavattari’s agreement with the measures introduced by Fascism to eliminate the Jewish “pollution” was prompt:

  • 173 Edoardo Zavattari, “Politica ed etica razziale,” Vita Universitaria (5 October 1938): 3.

Naturally, from the problem of our race’s relationship with other extra-European races comes logically and inescapably our position as regards the Jewish problem. The Jews are Asiatic, transplanted for centuries in other continents and therefore also in Italy; coming from a race that, simply through the course of events, has conserved their original characteristics, has conserved their ethnic uniqueness, their profoundly different spiritual uniqueness, which in several aspects is naturally antithetical to ours. In a process of renewal of the position of our race, the Jewish problem is necessarily comprised; otherwise this position would not be completely clear. The purity of the race presupposes the elimination of every pollutant, whatever the nature and provenance; it must be totally achieved, without concessions and without hesitation. The laws of heredity that underpin the major processes of life have the job, through a complex but categorical procedure, to eliminate all those elements that have polluted it.173

85However, while the environmental influence had inevitably produced a negative genetic impact on the blacks, hybrids and Jews, the lot of the “Italian race” had been otherwise miraculously molded by the beauty of the Mediterranean:

  • 174 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali (continuazione),” 51.

This is exactly the Italian, firm and fast as the mountains, strong-minded and daring like the peaks that stretch skywards, fearless and brave in seeking new paths like the courses of his rivers and the horizons of his sea, plastic in his intellectual and proactive capacities, as required by the natural aspects so mutable and different, pliable as called for by the necessities of his hard life, which must now be lived on the mountains, now on the plains, now in the snow and now by the sea.174

86Beyond the somatic aspect, the harmony of light, sound and the actual form of the Italian landscape had forged in the Italian “the most perfect, most complete cerebral capacity”:

  • 175 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali (continuazione),” 51.

The cult of beauty, the joy of life, the search for harmony in form and acts, the profound devotion to nature, as the exaltation of the self, the profound sense of solidarity of the Italian finds its origin in this constitution of the natural environment.175

87Therefore, environmental and anthropo-geographical eugenics, despite running against the hereditarian current, came to nourish the same racist discourse, based on anti-Semitism, condemnation of racial crossing and affirmation of the superiority of the Italian race.

3. Esoteric-traditionalist Racism and Eugenics: Julius Evola

88Esoteric-traditionalist racism—particularly represented by its principal exponent, the philosopher Julius Evola—developed a hereditarian discourse in the field of eugenics, showing singular convergence with the position of biological racism.

  • 176 Julius Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza (Milan: Hoepli, 1941), 21. On the theory of heredity (...)
  • 177 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 22.

89Evola’s “totalitarian” racism devoted a specific place to the “dynamic theory of heredity,” as opposed to the “static” and “deterministic” theories of biological racism. Against the “fatalism of heredity” derived from a “scientific assumption of the laws of heredity” and from an “excessively unilateral and materialistic” interpretation,176 Evola declared: “Race and heredity must not only be understood in terms of naturalistic determinism, but, essentially, like forces, like creative energies from within and, to a certain extent, even from above.”177

90According to Evola, the determinism of Mendel’s laws was lessened the moment they were applied to human beings. A complete explanation of human hereditarianism necessitated the presupposition of a “spiritual” element. The esoteric-traditionalist point of view hypothesized, in particular, the existence of a metaphysical natural “force,” which organized the hereditary transmission of the several spiritual and physical elements constituting the racial types:

  • 178 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 93.

How is it that in certain “pure” types we find exactly that quality of body, of character, of spirit, if you like, that exact group of genes, united and stable? It is evident that here we need to think of a force, of a unifying and organizing force […]. It is at the heart of race, constituting […] the ultimate essence. Now, nothing prevents us from thinking that such a force, linked to the specific bundle of qualities or genes of every type, is transmitted in an ethnic mixture, reacting with it, choosing, coordinating, and producing a type similar to greater or lesser degrees.178

91In race-crossing, this “profound force” that synthesized the human genotype, could be “dominant” or “recessive”:

  • 179 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 93.

When one of the parents is a carrier of “dominant” qualities—that is, we would say, when his “type” wholly conserves the energy, as the giver of “form”—the qualities of the parent of a (relatively, not absolutely) different race can also be present in the product of the crossing, but stifled and latent. If we were to continuously unite these descendants with new races of superior origins we would have practically cancelled out the dishybridisation, that is, the recurrence of characteristics of the parent of the “recessive” race.179

  • 180 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 94.

92Racial types were maintained as long as “internal lesions, cessation of that tension which creates the type’s dominant value,” could be verified: “only then can dishybridisation take over, that is, the disassociation and the reemergence of the subjugated recessive elements.”180

  • 181 Julius Evola, “Razza e nascita, ovvero: gli isterici trascendentali,” Il Regime Fascista, 14 (15 M (...)

93Spirit, therefore, preceded genes; and consequently, hereditary transmission followed not only Mendel’s laws, but also the doctrine of karma: earthly birth, biological history, was nothing less than “the consequence of transcendental affinity,” the “point of intersection” between a horizontal heredity (earth: race, blood, caste) and a vertical heredity (transcendence).181

  • 182 Julius Evola, Indirizzi per una educazione razziale (Naples: Conte, 1941), 48ff.
  • 183 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 80.
  • 184 Evola, “Razza e nascita,” 3.

94Evola therefore identified the more or less “dominant” characteristics of a race from its degree of “spiritual tension.” Even the evaluation of the effects of racial crossing was based on this esoteric-traditionalist view. First of all, masculine heredity was always “dominant,” while the feminine could not be other than “recessive”: consequently, the descendants of a racial crossing between the man of an inferior race with a woman of a superior race would result in the stifling and contamination of the latter’s genes. In the opposite case, the woman of inferior race would, on the other hand, be “rectified and practically neutralized.”182 Secondly, the deleterious characteristics of the racial crossing did not consist so much in the “deformation of unnatural or deformed human types in respect to their original racial body” as much as in the creation of a hybrid, understood to be a “lacerated being,” “semi-hysterical,” in whom the “internal” (soul and spirit) and the “external” (body) no longer corresponded.183 Beyond this, the hybrid, in Evola’s view, was also a “transcendental hysterical,” devastated by the interior disagreement between the “central will of the incarnation,” which was realized in the body, and the “minor wills,” which were realized in the character.184 In the same way, a race’s decadence was due, in the first place, to “internal extinction” of the spirit, while the mixing of blood was a secondary cause.

  • 185 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 82.

95Spiritual decadence was essentially the entrance hall of genetic mutation. It was only at this point, when race had lost almost all contact with metaphysical forces, that Mendel’s laws had value, because “then race, lowered to the plane of natural forces, submits—and cannot help but submit—to the laws and contingencies of that level.” Given this premise, a “defense of the race” of a “totalitarian” type must put forward two objectives: to preserve biological heredity from one side, and from the other “preserve the spiritual tension, the superior fires, the internal formative soul, which originally elevated that material to that determinate form.”185

  • 186 Julius Evola, “Problemi della razza. Lo spirito e gli epilettici,” Il Corriere Padano 18 (27 Decem (...)
  • 187 Evola, “Problemi della razza,” 387.

96The criticism of deterministic hereditarianism did not, however, prevent Evola from underlining the validity of Mendel’s laws in cases of “pathological heredity.” In an article in December 1940, published in the newspaper Corriere Padano, the combination of genius and mental disorder, a bulwark of moderate Italian eugenicists, was strongly refuted. As well as being a theoretical product tendentiously coined by the “Jew” Lombroso, such a relationship could not be employed to confirm the objections against the “racist prophylaxis of inherited defects.” Critics of negative eugenics exaggerated the disadvantages, Evola argued, obscuring healthy benefits derived from the elimination of defectives. From the traditionalist point of view, the cases in which “something truly spiritual” manifested “through disintegration, illness and psychical-physical disequilibrium” could be considered “exceptional and sporadic.”186 Secondly, the resultant loss from the “elimination of a defective and physically inferior descendent” could be “compensated for, because, bit by bit, the path would be rediscovered, along which the internal action of the spirit on the spirit” would favor the return of the model of “traditional ancient humanity.”187 Obviously, in Evola’s view, the practice of “prophylactic” eugenics had an essentially “negative” value, namely “removal of obstacles”:

  • 188 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 99.

He who claims to realize the superior aims of racism and recall to life, in a certain sense, the superior pure racial type by means of purely biological and prophylactic procedures, would repeat attempts to create a homunculus, an artificial man: a vain and absurd undertaking. Prophylactic means already alluded to could serve only to remove obstacles, in such a way that faculties previously blocked, whose origins are super-biological, could manifest themselves again: but it is not possible to create, nor, by itself, to reawaken these faculties, because nothing comes from nothing. Prophylactic racial means of heredity and selection of heredity must therefore be considered as part of an action much vaster and more complex, and put into practice without ever losing sight of the whole picture.188

  • 189 See Guido Landra, “L’eredità dei caratteri razziali,” La Vita Italiana 28, no. 322 (January 1940): (...)
  • 190 Arthos [ J. Evola], “Sui limiti del razzismo: il problema dell’eredità,” La Vita Italiana, 28, no. (...)
  • 191 Guido Landra, “L’eredità delle qualità psicologiche,” 290.
  • 192 Landra, “L’eredità delle qualità psicologiche,” 290.
  • 193 Guido Landra, «Ereditarietà e ambiente,” La Vita Italiana 28, no. 327 (June 1940): 651.

97In essence, what was a point of arrival for biological racism was only a starting point for esoteric-traditionalist racism, a basis for successive and deeper selection of psychological and spiritual characteristics. Notwithstanding the diversity of the two orientations, the space of convergence was represented by a common adherence to negative eugenic solutions. This was clearly demonstrated in the debate that occurred, between January and June 1940, on the pages of Giovanni Preziosi’s La Vita Italiana, between Guido Landra, advocate of biological racism, and Julius Evola. The strongly hereditarian position of Landra, rich with references to the German and American eugenic literature,189 stirred up criticism from Evola who repeated the need to consider the “spiritual” dimension of human heredity. This did not signify, however, that he rejected the validity of Mendelian laws. On the contrary, they remained a reference point for negative eugenics, the importance of which was clearly declared.190 Landra’s response to this was conciliatory, sharing “the opinion of Arthos [Evola’s pseudonym] of the need for a clear stand and to avoid the unilateralism and materialism which some environmental scientists fall into.”191 He even agreed that, at the extremes, a “hereditary doctrine” could lead to a “biological determinism that absolutely disgusts our mentality.” On the other hand—Landra continued—the risk at the door was that of falling once more into environmentalism, which was dear “to the defunct demo-liberal mentality.” In the nature/nurture debate, the truth was perhaps “in the middle,” since “the hereditary factors must be considered as much as the environmental ones.” The problem was basically that of “establishing the reciprocal limits of influence of the two factors with exactness.”192 Not surprisingly, in the next article published in La Vita Italiana, Landra once more held out his hand to esoteric-traditionalist racism, hypothesizing the existence of a “general law of variability,” on the basis of which “psychological and physical hereditary characteristics” could mutate, depending on environmental influences or the force of will. For biological racism, race remained “an objective reality of Nature,” but this did not exclude that “we, with our will, could influence race, optimizing those things that can be changed.”193

4. Assortative Mating and Racism

98In the different directions of eugenic research, fed by the constitutionalist medical school, statistical studies on matrimonial attraction flowed particularly well into the racist ideology of fascism.

  • 194 Roberto Bachi, “Gli indici della attrazione matrimoniale,” Il Giornale degli Economisti 69 (Novemb (...)
  • 195 Alfredo Niceforo, Antropologia delle classi povere (Milan: Vallardi, 1910), 94.
  • 196 Federico Chessa, La trasmissione ereditaria delle professioni (Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1912), 92.
  • 197 Franco Savorgnan, La scelta matrimoniale. Studi statistici (Ferrara: Casa Editrice Taddei, 1924).

99After 1897, the statistician Rodolfo Benini began a series of studies dedicated to the modality of choice and selection of conjugal couples, inventing a new method of measurement (the index of attraction) and coming up with an analysis of the laws of matrimonial attraction between similar individuals: “Whatever character is at the base of a group, whatever city, whatever state the spouses come from, a clear empathy between the individuals with identical characteristics is always visible.”194 Alfredo Niceforo’s work on the rigid matrimonial segregation between social classes,195 Federico Chessa on the “hereditary transmission of profession”196 and Franco Savorgnan on the matrimonial choices between groups of different nationalities,197 all followed from this innovative frontier of research.

  • 198 Francis Galton, Natural Inheritance (London: Macmillan, 1889).
  • 199 Karl Pearson and Alice Lee, “On the Laws of Inheritance in Man: Inheritance of Physical Characters (...)
  • 200 James A. Harris and Albert Govaerts, “Note on Assortative Mating in Man with Respect to Head Size (...)
  • 201 Bolesław Rosiński, “Charakterystyka antropologiczna ludności pow. Pułtuskiego,” Kosmos, 48 (1923); (...)
  • 202 Léon Nicolaeff, “Les corrélations entre les caractères morphologiques des époux,” L’Anthropologie (...)

100Eugenics was grafted onto such statistical studies in the moment in which the object of analysis changed from the study of social conditioning to that of physical and psychical characteristics. Francis Galton, with his family records, had been the first to attract his attention on the combination of marriage according to stature, the color of the eyes and artistic tendencies.198 Further contributions were then made by Karl Pearson, who broadened the range of considered characteristics, identifying a selective mechanism, parallel to Darwinian preferential mating,199 in assortative mating. In the 1920s, the Galton-Pearson line of research was further developed by the analysis of Harris and Govaerts (1922),200 Rosiński (1923),201 Kretschmer (1926) and Nicolaeff (1929).202 Meanwhile in Italy, it was above all Franco Savorgnan, in line with Ludwig Gumplowicz’s concept of “syngenism,” who identified in “racial sameness” one of the factors of cohesion between individuals:

  • 203 Savorgnan, La scelta matrimoniale, 63–64; italics added.

The white man chooses by preference a white bride, the Italian man an Italian woman and so on in this way, because the women of one’s own race and nationality respond synergistically, awakening one’s empathy and offering a certain guarantee of conjugal happiness. […] In judging the global indices, the syngenistic factor of racial communality have a much more intense influence than nationality upon homogamy, and therefore the fusion of heterogeneous races appears generally more difficult than that of nationalities.203

  • 204 Savorgnan, La scelta matrimoniale, 63–64.
  • 205 Giuseppe Genna, “Correlazione fra i caratteri morfologici degli sposi,” in Corrado Gini, ed., Atti (...)

101For Savorgnan therefore, the “hatred of race” had a precise biological origin, recognizable in the “visual sensation produced by the color” of the skin: racism was “continuously kept aroused by visual sensations, produced by inalterable somatic characteristics.”204 In Italian social sciences, however, the study of eugenic assortative mating only established itself at the start of the 1930s, in close connection with statistical-biometric material furnished by already cited studies on large families commissioned by CISP, under the direction of Corrado Gini. At the 1931 International Congress for Studies on Population, Giuseppe Genna expounded, in fact, the results of his inquiry on nearly three hundred couples from the city of Trapani—an “ethnic group determined to be homogenous”205—and analyzed the correlations between the “morphological characteristics of the spouses,” in particular those “most expressive from an anthropological point of view,” including stature, and cephalic, facial and nasal indices. Genna’s conclusions seemed to confirm the hypothesis that matrimonial attraction was determined by purely anthropological causes:

  • 206 Giuseppe Genna, “Correlazione fra i caratteri morfologici degli sposi,” 803.

Summarizing the results, we can confirm that the stature and cephalic, facial and nasal indices of around 270 Trapani couples with seven children or more showed a positive correlation between each spouse, a stronger correlation in stature, and much less for the various indices of the head, which could explain not only aesthetic, and in certain cases, social (this last indirectly) causes, but also perhaps a purely anthropological cause, able to influence human sexual choices.206

  • 207 Carlo Jucci and T. Amendola, “L’indice facciale come elemento di attrazione matrimoniale,” in Luci (...)

102Drawing always from the pool of large family studies, one year later, the biologist Carlo Jucci and his assistant T. Amendola, during the course of the 21st Congress of SIPS in Rome (9–15 October, 1932), confirmed Genna’s view, expounding the results of their anthropometric measurements and identifying the facial index as an “element of matrimonial attraction.”207

103In 1934, Albino Uggé, a student of Boldrini at the Laboratory of Statistics of the Catholic University in Milan, reanalyzed Franz Boas’ reports on emigrant families to New York, determining the level of resemblance between spouses from seven different groups based on coefficients of correlation: Sicilian, Central Italian, Bohemian, Hungarian and Slavic, Polish, Scottish, and Jewish. The resemblance was relative to stature, cephalic index, bizygomatic diameter, the relationship between the largeness of the face and the largeness of the head, and the color of the hair and eyes. According to Uggé, sexual choice was determined not only by the correlation between elements of somatic character (such as stature), but also “constitutional type,” that is, the links between temperament (or neuropsychical constitution) and morphological aspects, theorized from the constitutional medical school:

  • 208 Albino Uggé, “Sulla rassomiglianza fra coniugi per alcuni caratteri somatici,” in Contributi del L (...)

Next to direct selection operating by several physical traces that are striking and easily appreciable, is the influence of indirect selection, dependant on assortative mating according to constitutional type, which provides a reason for several results otherwise unexplainable.208

104With the launch of the state racial campaign, the welding of statistical investigations of assortative mating to fascist racism was almost immediate. The studies on conjugal selection quickly developed the role of scientific legitimization of discriminatory policies. In the reassuring light of figures and percentages, the racist legislation could more easily be presented not as an expression of a radical and violent political measure, but as the confirmation of natural data, demonstrated by the homogamic tendencies inherent in matrimonial selection. Fascism, to put it shortly, had not invented anything: it was the citizens, with their matrimonial choices, who behaved as naturally racist. Giuseppe Genna again, in an article published in Razza e civiltà [Race and civilization], elaborated Rosiński’s data into a racist framework:

  • 209 Giuseppe Genna, “Razza e sangue,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 5–6–7 (July–September 1940): 461.

The homogamic racial tendency, operating against racial crossings, tends to maintain the racial composition of the population unaltered, generation after generation, with all its physical and psychical attributes. And, as things stand, we can say that the racial policies of the Regime, with the prevention of marriages between Italians and people of other racial descent, even if from within the same national area, is inspired by a biological inclination generally inherent in the masses. The conservation of racial purity appears to be a spontaneous natural tendency, before being a codified will of the state.209

  • 210 Genna, “Razza e sangue,” 462.

105If then, Genna concluded, the research demonstrated a connection between “racial homogamy” and “fertility,” the fascist measures against racial crossing would be doubly valid, as they would “not only tend to maintain the racial structure of the population unaltered, but also augment its consistency; in a word, optimizing the race not only in quality but also in quantity.”210

106Similarly, the statistical and eugenic studies on matrimonial attraction were used in the journal La Difesa della razza as justification for the racial discrimination and mixophobia of fascism. Restating Genna’s arguments, Vincenzo De Agazio formulated a precise link between “matrimonial attraction and physical characteristics” and racial laws:

  • 211 Vincenzo De Agazio, “Attrazione matrimoniale,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 20 (20 August 1939): 1 (...)

The racial policies of the Regime, by preventing marriages of Italians to people of other racial descent are in accordance with this natural biological tendency inherent in the masses, and so, while racially different individuals are repelled, those racially similar attract, in this way perpetuating original racial types through the generations.211

107The “purity of our race”—exulted De Agazio—clearly corresponds to a “spontaneous aspiration of the masses.” The Regime had done well, therefore, by using the law to forbid marriages between “individuals of the Italian race and the Semitic race” who “altered the biological tendency,” threatening to “pollute the purity of the race.”

5. Toward a National Genetic Center

108Between 1936 and 1943, the dream of fascist eugenics to achieve a “national genetic program” seemed to be one step from realization.

  • 212 The reports, collected in Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale, 1936, were the (...)
  • 213 Born in Iglesias in 1902, student of Carlo Ceni at the Cagliari Neurological Clinic, Pintus, from (...)
  • 214 See “V Assemblea Generale della Lega Italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale,” Atti della Lega ita (...)

109In May 1936, at the Clinic for Nervous and Mental Diseases of the University of Florence, directed by Mario Zalla, the First Genealogical Day (Giornata Genealogica), was organized by the LIPIM. Around the theme of the day—Does a similar and dominant heredity really exist in the manic-depressive phrenosis?—twelve reports were presented.212 This confirmed the growing interest in the heredity of nervous pathologies, but was also evidence of the uncertainty still diffused around “heredity measuring techniques.” From this contradictory situation, through LIPIM, the project to construct a “genealogical archive of mental illnesses” grew, based on the model offered by German psychiatry. In the discussion that accompanied the First Genealogical Day, Giuseppe Pintus,213 the young assistant of Lionello De Lisi, director of the Clinic of Nervous and Mental Illnesses (Clinica delle Malattie Nervose e Mentali) of the University of Genoa, was charged by the League with the task of deepening the issue of “the methods of genealogical research,” through apposite sojourns at specialized German psychiatry centers in Munich, headed by Rüdin, and Berlin, headed by Richard B. Goldschmidt. In 1937, during the 5th General Meeting of LIPIM, De Lisi stressed the importance of creating a national “genealogical archive” of mental illnesses, following the example of “these kinds of institutes, such as that of Goldschmidt and that in Berlin [sic].”214

  • 215 Luisa Gianferrari, “Importanza, urgenza di ricerche genetiche in popolazioni endogame,” Atti e mem (...)
  • 216 Gianferrari, “Importanza, urgenza di ricerche genetiche,” 581.
  • 217 Gianferrari, “Importanza, urgenza di ricerche genetiche,” 584.

110In the same year, on 18 June, the Lombard Society of Medicine (Società Lombarda di Medicina) approved zoologist Luisa Gianferrari’s proposal regarding the constitution of a national genetic center particularly intended for research on the endogamic populations in the Central Alps of the Italian peninsula. The latter, in fact, for Gianferrari, represented the “spring from which common undesirable hereditary factors descend, which once introduced are then dispersed, their origins unrecognizable, in the chaotic sea of the city.”215 The investigation of endogamic nuclei could therefore be a starting point to deepen the knowledge of the hereditary transmission of characteristics, “especially recessive.” Gianferrari included among these the “socially important” hereditary illnesses—schizophrenia, deaf-muteness, and epilepsy—and the “identification of defective branches” necessary for “intimately penetrating into the genetic constitution of the population, identifying the distribution of pathological factors.” Only in this way, Gianferrari continued, could an “unassailable base of effective prophylactic eugenics” be founded. The demographic, racial and eugenic framework of the project was explicit: the “reclamation of the alpine and rural populations” was presented as “the most solid fundamental of a population policy aimed at the increase and improvement of the stock.”216 Concretely, Gianferrari outlined the necessity of a “Center for the collection of material and of consultancy for human genetic research,” constructed on the model of the London Bureau of Human Heredity. This center would aim, on one hand, to favor the diffusion of genetics in the hospitals and university classrooms and, on the other, to reinforce the links between geneticists, clinicians and hygienists, so that “profitable deductions” could occur “for prophylactics and hygienic reclamation” even in the field of hereditary illnesses. Beyond the approval of Luigi Zoja, president of the Lombard Society of Medicine, the proposal gathered, in the course of the session, the support of Eugenio Medea, president of LIPIM, ready in that role to guarantee the “enthusiastic compliance of the Italian Society of Mental Hygiene and Prophylaxis.”217

  • 218 “II Giornata Genealogica (Genova, 21 maggio 1938),” Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilass (...)

111A year later, LIPIM’s psychiatric project and the Lombard Society of Medicine’s biological project came together at the 2nd Genealogical Day, held in Genoa in May 1938 at De Lisi’s neuropsychiatric clinic. Returned from study trips to the genetic institutes of Munich and Berlin, Giuseppe Pintus was the only speaker, on the theme of Methodology of genetic research in psychiatry. The conference’s objective was to develop the proposal for a national neuropsychiatric genetic center to present to the authority of the fascist regime. De Lisi’s general introduction to the sessions left no doubts regarding this: “The League will expound its opinions and proposals, which will then be assessed and made achievable, naturally, by the organs of the Regime interested in such questions of high racial importance, or, in terms more adapted to the thoughts and political practices of Fascism, of high national importance.”218 It is not surprising, therefore, that the long, indepth examination of Pintus on the statistical and genealogical methods of research in psychiatric genetics, rich in references to German eugenic literature (Lenz, Rüdin, Kallmann, etc.), culminated in a pronunciation of the “indispensable norms for the functioning of a center for the study of genetics applied to mental illnesses.” The genealogical archive, according to Pintus, had to count, above all, on the collaboration of the Statistical Center for Mental Diseases (Centro Statistico per le Malattie Mentali), directed by Gustavo Modena in Rome. On the other hand, the construction of a genealogical tree required the genetic center to adopt a precise methodology:

  • 219 Giuseppe Pintus, “Metodologia delle ricerche di Genetica in Psichiatria,” Atti della Lega italiana (...)

For every mentally ill person, we must collect his exact name, surname, sex, paternity, maternity, place of birth; number, sex and health condition of different members of his family, particularly those of possible deceased family members, premature births and miscarriages.
This data will be noted on the clinic card of the patient, and a copy of this card will be sent to the Genetic Center. The card will be used to note, in addition to the anamnestic information (starting period of the illness!), examination objective, etc., etc., also some diary notes. The diagnosis will therefore be well documented from the notes on the card.219

112The genetic center did not need to contain all the data of all the mentally ill, but only “those of most stabilized and pathogenic forms and of sure diagnosis”:

  • 220 Pintus, “Metodologia delle ricerche di Genetica in Psichiatria,” 100.

More than a vast number of genealogical trees, the archive needs trees gathered with care and diagnostic precision. It will not be necessary for all institutes, even private ones, to send cards to the center. It is enough that all the provincial psychiatric hospitals do so, and that every province uses a special system for handling these practices (copies of the cards, etc.)220

  • 221 Pintus, “Metodologia delle ricerche di Genetica in Psichiatria,” 101.

113Finally, the staff had to be composed of geneticists and psychiatrists: “the first must concern themselves with the genetic interpretation of the material received, and the second with the assessment of the clinical cards.” In conclusion, Pintus particularly insisted on the necessity of sorting the most recent genealogical data, going back at the most to the limit of two generations, in this way enabling correct diagnosis: “in matters of mental illness it is damaging and hazardous to make retrospective diagnoses on the basis of indications offered by relatives. It is far better not to consider those distant sick people, listed with dubious, and often, incorrect, diagnoses.”221 This point came under particular scrutiny in the debate that followed. Luisa Gianferrari proposed that the future genetic center should utilize the information kept in the archives of the mental hospitals, which went back many centuries, while the psychiatrists Francesco Bonfiglio (Rome) and Giuseppe Corberi (Milan) strongly opposed this approach, together with De Lisi:

  • 222 Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1938), 109.

I believe it would be difficult enough to accept a psychiatric diagnosis of only 30–40 years ago or to value the descriptions of mental illness from a psychiatrist from that era, given the imperfections and incompetence of the diverse standards of past semeiotic psychiatry.222

  • 223 Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1938), 106 and 108.

114However, the scientific refusal of the German method of sterilization appeared unanimous, energetically restated on this occasion by Arturo Donaggio and Giuseppe Corberi.223

115The same critical stance against Nazi policies was repeated, again in 1938, at the annual congress of SIPS. At this event, Lionello De Lisi, who was an attentive critic of German sterilization laws, proposed a synthesis of the positions of Italian neuropsychiatrists, centered partly on the condemnation—essentially scientific, not moral—of negative eugenics, and partly on the deepening of genetic studies, aimed at “preventing dangerous unions” and favoring “natural processes of elimination of abnormalities and defectives”:

In the face of the prophylaxis of hereditary illnesses of the nervous system, particularly mental ones, the program of Italian neuropsychiatrists is the following:

  1. Optimize the therapy of the hereditary illnesses, offering hope of curing practices and the predictability of their attenuation.
  2. Develop all the forms of prevention that come under the heading of constitutional and social medicine […].
  3. Develop studies on heredity, that today are not nearly complete or brought to definite conclusions; dissect the many aspects of neuropathological and psychopathological heredity with the method and technical coordination that will make a center of genetic neuropsychiatry possible.
  4. Study and enforce with the maximum care, those means already existent, or possible (individual advice, forms of propaganda and assistance, proposals for laws), which being based on genetic studies are those most adapted to preventing dangerous unions for the mental health of the stock and of favoring the natural processes of the elimination of abnormals and defectives.
    Particular attention should be given to the prevention of dangerous bloodrelated marriages and to those spontaneous processes of mixing of the populations coming from different regions of the same nation. In single populations, this could avoid the accumulation of recessive heterozygotes, carriers of diseased genes, produced by blood-related marriages.224

116Not sterilization, therefore, but the monitoring of statistical and genealogical data of mental illnesses on a national scale would be set up, at the end of the 1930s, as the principal objective of Italian psychiatric eugenics.

117The project developed at the 1938 conference in Genoa was nevertheless rejected two years later, meeting with the complete refusal of the Department of Public Health (Direzione Generale della Sanità). The problem was placed in the order of the day at the meeting of the directive board of LIPIM, held on 28 January 1940: the aim was to decide upon the foundation in Rome of a center for psychiatric genetics, hosted by the Statistical Center for Mental Diseases that operated in Rome psychiatric hospital. The president Medea quickly took a distant stance from the racial line of Gianferrari’s proposal, so enthusiastically welcomed in 1937:

  • 225 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo e dei Delegati regionali,” Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e (...)

As I have indicated not long ago, the proposal to institute an Italian center of psychiatric genetics was formed after Pintus’s presentation at the meeting in Genoa of our League. A similar project was advanced in Milan, by Professor Gianferrari, and was discussed widely in a conference called by the Chancellor of the Milan University. I was invited to this conference in my role as president of LIPIM, but did not see it as opportune for the League to become part of the Institute project given that the direction of this initiative was prevailingly biological and racial rather than psychiatric.225

118The intention of the League, continued Medea, was “purely scientific, and strictly psychiatric”:

  • 226 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 120.

It is that of instituting a center that would coordinate and regulate the research on heredity in mental illnesses with rigorous methods, similar to those used for statistical data by the office in Ancona, now involving the psychiatric hospital in Rome.226

119Ugo Cerletti intervened in the debate, quickly posing the question of financing and suggesting the adoption of the Nazi model of a genetic center closely dependent on the state, as recorded in the minutes:

  • 227 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 120.

Prof. Cerletti: Apprised us that the first question to resolve was that of financing because conducting research of this type requires numerous personnel, frequent travel, archives, etc. needing a lot of money. Who could give it to them? In Germany, the research is conducted by the State, which did not begrudge means, given its particular aims.227

120Germany was also the point of reference for Lionello De Lisi, who, confronting this economic problem, repeated the opportunity to identify competent professional figures, particularly psychiatrists with statistical and genetic skills:

  • 228 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 120–21.

Prof. De Lisi: Certainly an economic question exists, but the most important and difficult thing seems to be the personnel suited to manage such a center. It would need one psychiatrist with statistical and genetic skills. It is a complex function for which not only medical competence, but also mathematical skill is needed. This illustrates what is being done in Germany.228

121While Cerletti and De Lisi looked with favor at the Nazi psychiatric model, the director of the Department of Public Health, Giovanni Petragnani, lined up on the opposite side:

  • 229 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121; italics added. On Petragnani’s nearing to the position of (...)

Excellency Petragnani: Keep in mind that in this field we cannot take models that come from other countries, given that the means adopted there might have been suggested by political and racist reasons rather than strictly scientific and health ones. The research that they [the Germans] are doing is executed by force of law, and can not be officially allowed in Italy, where such laws have no currency. In this way the planned center would lack that richness and precision of data, without which its actions would be nothing. […]
The modest economic help that the Province of Rome could give would be unequal to the task and nothing could be demanded from the State for the reasons already mentioned. Without these means, the anamnestic research would be limited to information provided by the relatives that accompany the sick people to hospital, information of little value. Having completed its purely scientific work, this center could not carry out its prophylactic scope without imposing a repressive order on the reproduction of the hereditarily mentally ill. This would, for us, be absolutely inadmissible.229

122In the face of Petragnani’s immediate and opposing reaction, Eugenio Medea attempted a difficult mediation that focused exclusively on the center’s “scientific” character:

  • 230 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121.

Prof. Medea: Wished to assure his Excellency Petragnani that the desire to imitate or copy just any foreign initiative aimed at forced prevention of hereditary mental illnesses was far from his or his colleagues’ ideas. […] The scope of the center should be, as mentioned previously, solely scientific. This, in the intentions of the proponents, would function as a collection in Rome of all the research, statistical data, etc. in the psychiatric institutes of the kingdom, a point of reference and consultation for all the problems regarding hereditary psychopathology. The center, rigorously organized, would unite all the studies on the subject.230

123De Lisi also pinpointed his orientation, declaring his opposition to the adoption of forms of negative eugenics:

  • 231 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121; italics added.

Prof. De Lisi: Wished to better clarify his point of view that Italian science could not accept, without controls, the results of research conducted in other nations. The center would have the exact task of systematically and rigorously controlling methods, data and conclusions, still susceptible to criticism. All this would occur independently from those eugenic applications to which Italian psychiatrists have always been openly contrary.231

124But the debate was completely closed by the response of Petragnani, confirming, should need arise, the unavailability of the state in terms of any legislative and financial support for the Center:

  • 232 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121.

Excellency Petragnani: Continued to state that the works of a Center would be ineffective if it was not supported by laws that authorized the research of the families of the mentally ill. Such laws do not exist in Italy. No one would forbid the free research of scholars, but the State could not recognize the legitimacy and authority of a Center of such a kind. Scholars could continue for their part the methods adopted in other countries consulting the works of those scientists.232

125For Medea there was nothing left to do, therefore, but register the political veto, and postpone the discussion to 1942.

  • 233 “Centro di studi di genetica umana,” Gli Annali della Università d’Italia, 2, no. 4 (28 April 1941 (...)
  • 234 Luisa Gianferrari and Giuseppe Cantoni, Manuale di Genetica con particolare riguardo all’Eredità n (...)

126However, while the psychiatric project of LIPIM was put aside in January 1940, December of the same year saw the inauguration of a Study Center in Human Genetics (Centro Studi di Genetica Umana), in Milan at the Institute of Biology and Zoology of the Faculty of Medicine, as hoped by Gianferrari in 1937. Supported by the majority of the local political and academic authorities, the Center was financed by both private and public entities, including the provincial administration of the Savings Bank (Cassa di Risparmio) of Lombardy Province, Edison, Italviscosa, Montecatini, Pirelli, Marelli and Olivetti. The Council Presidency consisted of the president Luigi Zoja, and advisors Antonio Cazzaniga, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Milan; Pietro Rondoni, director of the Institute of General Pathology; Marcello Boldrini and Luisa Gianferrari. Gianferrari was also director of the Center, while his assistant, Giuseppe Cantoni, was vice-director.233 In the same year—and with a second edition in 1942—Gianferrari and Cantoni published a genetics handbook, with a preface by Luigi Zoja. In a brief concluding chapter entitled L’eugenetica od eugenica [Eugenetics or eugenics], a significant passage appeared that described the German eugenic legislation, first Weimarian and then Nazi, in laudatory terms: “Germany, with the two laws of 8 October 1925 (laws of matrimonial restriction) and 14 July 1933 (sterilization law), is—among all the nations—the one which has confronted the problem of eugenic reclamation with the most thoroughness and energy.”234

  • 235 Luigi Zoja and Luisa Gianferrari to Giuseppe Montalenti, October 30, 1948, Montalenti papers (here (...)
  • 236 Luisa Gianferrari, “Il contributo dell’Università al Centro di studi di genetica umana,” Gli Annal (...)

127The aim of the Study Center, according to article 1 of the regulations of the Institute, was to “collect data on the physiological and pathological characteristics of man, with the aim of carrying out genetic studies, also with a focus on health and demographic problems.”235 From an organizational point of view, the Study Center was established as a link in a chain of collaboration between the University of Milan, public administrations and health structures.236

  • 237 Luisa Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica uma (...)

128The first relevant initiative of the Milan Study Center was the elaboration of a sort of national genetic index of the transmission of hereditary characteristics. The index drew on the archives of the hospitals, surgeries, special schools, mental hospitals and many other institutes. The collection of information was entrusted to volunteers, recruited from the students of the Faculty of Biology and Surgery, “who have passed the Genetics and Biology of Races exams,” especially prepared with an exam on human genetics. Each volunteer was provided with a form by the Center. Luisa Gianferrari mentioned 510 “student field-researchers”:237

  • 238 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 1 (...)

They collect the data from clinic cards and surgery registers kept in institute archives, supported by the advice of medical personnel. Some of them, admitted to the surgeries, collect directly from the live voices of the ill or their families. As a guide, they use an apposite report card that the management of the Center has edited after examining and discussing the systems used for the collection of data in the major institutions of human genetics in other countries, and a list of the diseased forms of deformity in which the study of heredity is particularly interested.238

129Already in 1944, by sifting through a number of relevant clinics, hospitals and institutes in Milan and, more generally, Lombardy, the Study Center had gathered a good one hundred thousand index cards. Of these, over one thousand regarded twins—“object of an inquiry about their concordance and discordance for diverse hereditary forms”—and about a thousand documented genealogical pedigrees.

130Zoja and Gianferrari’s ambition however was to transform the Milan Study Center into a broader National Center for Human Genetic Studies (Centro Nazionale per Studi di Genetica Umana), based on the coordination of a network of regional seats spread across the national territory:

  • 239 Gianferrari, “Il contributo dell’Università al Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 28–29.

The results we could achieve would be much broader and of more national interest if our organization, limited to Lombardy, was extended to other regions. If a center for the genetic study of the population under its sphere of influence was created, with a unity of direction, in every university, and every regional center sent and requested the genetic index cards from the other centers, for those who changed residency, moving to regions far from their origins, an uninterrupted network of genetic investigation would be spread across our country and could, in such a way, lead us to a genetic census of the Italian population.239

131This would mean the construction in every region of “center sections,” based on the Milanese model, which would use “the same index cards, the same categorization and organization.” Every section would send “a copy of their collected index cards” to Milan “in such a way that they could be inserted in the general index”:

The advantages that a national center could offer to the sections are as follows:

  1. the possibility to use, for scientific research, the material already gathered in the general index;
  2. the possibility to collaborate with other sections on studies that regard materials collected in respective regions;
  3. the possibility to use the specialized library and eventually the collaboration of the national center personnel;
  4. the possibility to avail themselves of the “Rh” section of the Milan center, which arranges the hemodiagnostic serums necessary for the determination of the type and subtype of systems ABo, MN, Pp and Rh.240
  • 241 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 1 (...)
  • 242 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 1 (...)

132The general index, which identified “the branches that could be useful to study from the point of view of the hereditary transmission of several traits,”241 formed the basis for the principal studies of the Milan Study Center during the war. A first field of research regarded the identification and localization of “defective branches.” In different zones of Lombardy the field-researchers discovered “original foci of various pathological hereditary forms.”242 Numerous studies were also carried out on hereditary pathologies:

  • 243 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 1 (...)

Several studies have also been carried out on the heredity of dental deformities (students Pazardjklian and Gilioli); fistula auris, cerebral ptosis, atresia ani, and plicated tongue (prof. Luisa Gianferrari); tumours (prof. L. Gianferrari and prof. G. Cantoni); schizophrenia and manic-depressiveness, considering the population of an entire village dating back to the beginning of the 1600s to identify probable local variants (Gianferrari L. and Cantoni G.); and Laurence-Moon-Bardet-Biedl syndrome (Dr. R. Oldrini, center assistant).243

133As well as the heredity of pathological traits, another line of eugenic research was undertaken by Luisa Gianferrari and his collaborators, regarding the hereditary transmission of talents, starting with “pictorial”:

  • 244 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 1 (...)

Many studies have already been carried out in Val Vigezzo, well-known for the great frequency of talented painters, designers, and sculptors, many of whom have achieved well-deserved fame; particularly gifted branches have been identified, going back many generations. The study of material gathered in Val Vigezzo would make a notable contribution to the knowledge of hereditary transmission of talented painters.244

134Gianferrari’s project of a national genetic index collapsed with the fascist regime, leaving only the slim heritage of the research activities of the Milan Study Center in Human Genetics, at least in the first half of the 1940s. Yet Gianferrari’s institute did not completely disappear with the demise of the fascist regime, but underwent a second birth from 1948, in the name of a new eugenics, that renounced the project of demographic and racial improvement of the stock and instead turned its attention to “eugenic” counseling for couples.

Notes

1 Mauro Raspanti, “I razzismi del fascismo,” in Centro Studi F. Jesi, ed., La menzogna della razza. Documenti e immagini del razzismo e dell’antisemitismo fascista (Bologna: Grafis, 1994), 73–89.

2 See Aaron Gillette, “The Origins of the ‘Manifesto of the Racial Scientists,’” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 6, no. 3 (2001): 305–23.

3 On Telesio Interlandi, see Francesco Cassata, “La Difesa della razza.” Politica, ideologia e immagine del razzismo fascista (Turin: Einaudi, 2008); Meir Michaelis, “Mussolini’s Unofficial Mouthpiece: Telesio Interlandi, Il Tevere and the Evolution of Mussolini’s anti-Semitism,” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 3, no. 3 (1998): 217–40.

4 The High Council of Demography and Race included: Giacomo Acerbo; Filippo Bottazzi, professor of human physiology, University of Naples; Alessandro Ghigi, professor of zoology, University of Bologna; Raffaele Corso, professor of ethnology, University of Firenze; Vito De Blasi, lecturer of obstetrics and gynaecology, University of Genoa; Cornelio Di Marzio, journalist; Cesare Frugoni, professor of general clinical medicine, University of Rome; Livio Livi, professor of statistics, University of Florence; Biagio Pace, professor of topography of ancient Italy, University of Rome; Antonio Pagliaro, professor of glottology, University of Rome; Umberto Pieramonti, assistant professor of racial biology, University of Naples; Ugo Rellini, professor of palaeontology, University of Rome; Giunio Salvi, professor of human anatomy, University of Naples; Sergio Sergi, professor of anthropology, University of Rome; Francesco Valagussa, lecturer of Clinical Paediatrics, University of Rome.

5 On Giovanni Preziosi, see Renzo De Felice, Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo (Turin: Einaudi, 1961); Michele Sarfatti, ed., La Repubblica sociale italiana a Desenzano: Giovanni Preziosi e l’Ispettorato generale per la razza (Milano: Giuntina, 2008). On Roberto Farinacci, see Matteo Di Figlia, Farinacci: il radicalismo fascista al potere (Donzelli: Roma, 2007).

6 For a complete biography of Julius Evola, see Francesco Cassata, A destra del fascismo. Profilo politico di Julius Evola (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2003).

7 On these two projects, see Cassata, “La Difesa della razza.” Politica, ideologia e immagine del razzismo fascista, 79–82.

8 On this topic, see Cassata, “La Difesa della razza.” Politica, ideologia e immagine del razzismo fascista, 6–55.

9 Guido Landra, “L’ambiente non snatura la razza,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 3 (5 December 1938): 17.

10 Willi Nix, “Eredità e destino,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 13 (5 May 1940): 14.

11 L. S. [Silvio Landra], “Ambiente razza e attitudini professionali,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 5 (5 January 1941): 13–14.

12 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Il sangue. Individualità biologica di razza,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 5 (5 October 1938): 37–38.

13 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Rapporti fra gruppi sanguigni e caratteri antropologici,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 7 (5 February 1939): 8.

14 Lino Businco, “Individuazione e difesa dei caratteri razziali,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 10 (20 March 1939): 15–17.

15 Luigi Castaldi, “Nonni, figli e nipoti. Eredità dell’indice cefalico,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 2 (20 November 1938): 12.

16 Elio Gasteiner, “Un pericolo per la razza. La decadenza dei ceti superiori,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 2 (20 August 1938): 26.

17 Giuseppe Pensabene, “L’evoluzione e la razza. Cinquant’anni di polemiche ne ‘La Civilta Cattolica,’” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 2 (20 August 1938): 31–33.

18 Lino Businco, “Salute della famiglia, forza della razza,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 4 (20 December 1938) 37–39.

19 Marcello Ricci, “Le leggi di Mendel,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 2 (20 August 1938): 16–17.

20 Marcello Ricci, “Il mendelismo nell’uomo,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 3 (5 September, 1938): 19.

21 Ricci, “Il mendelismo nell’uomo,” 19.

22 Marcello Ricci, «Ereditarietà ed eugenica,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 5 (5 October 1938): 31.

23 Guido Landra, “La razza italiana nella teoria dell’ologenesi,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 11 (5 April 1939): 11. See also Guido Landra, “L’ologenesi del Rosa,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 10 (20 March 1939): 11–14.

24 On Montandon’s hologenesis, see Georges Montandon, “La formazione delle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 22 (20 September 1941): 9–12.

25 Fortunato Matarrese, “Demografia ed eugenica di Tommaso Campanella,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 15 (5 June 1940): 40–41; Paolo Nullo, “Il razzismo nella ‘Città del Sole’ di Tommaso Campanella,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 14 (20 May 1941): 13–15.

26 Fortunato Matarrese, “Léon Battista Alberti, studioso di problemi razziali,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 9 (5 March 1940): 37–41.

27 Guido Landra, “Poligenismo e monogenismo,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 21 (5 September 1941): 27–29.

28 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Costituzione e natalità,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 9 (5 March 1939); Guido Landra, “Le razze europee e il problema delle aristocrazie,” La Difesa della razza, 4, no. 13 (5 May 1941): 12–15.

29 Georges Montandon, “Vita e opere di Vacher de Lapouge,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 12 (20 April 1941): 24–26.

30 Luigi Castaldi, “Eredità delle attitudini psichiche,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 3 (5 December 1939): 26–31.

31 See Guido. Landra, “I metodi per lo studio delle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 20 (20 August 1940): 29–35; Guido Landra, “Antropologia – Forme esterne del corpo umano, variazioni nel sesso e nell’età,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 12 (20 April 1941): 18–20; Guido Landra, “Antropologia – Ricerche e dottrine craniologiche,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 14 (20 May 1941): 26–29; Guido Landra, “Lo scheletro facciale nelle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 15 (5 June 1941): 24–26; Guido Landra, “Antropologia – Ricerche craniologiche,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 3 (5 December 1941): 24–26; Guido Landra, “Antropologia – Studi razziali sulle differenze razziali della faccia,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 5 (5 January 1942): 22–23; Guido Landra, “Antropologia – Morfologia facciale,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 6 (20 January 1942): 28–29.

32 A review of “racial studies” was curated by Landra between June 1939 and June 1940. See Guido Landra, “Gli studi razziali nell’Europa balcanica,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 16 (20 June 1939): 32–34; Guido Landra, “Gli studi razziali in Polonia e in Russia,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 18 (20 July 1939): 14–17; Guido Landra, “Studiosi americani di problemi razziali,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 20 (20 August 1939): 13–16; Guido Landra, “Razza e nazionalità in Romania,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 21 (5 September 1939): 10–13; Guido Landra, “Studi razziali in continenti extraeuropei,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 23 (5 October 1939): 34– 37; Guido Landra, “Gli studi razziali in Ungheria e in Bulgaria,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 3 (5 December 1939): 32–33; Guido Landra, “Studi razziali in Transilvania,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 14 (20 May 1940): 16–19; Guido Landra, “Studi sulle mescolanze etniche della popolazione,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 15 (5 June 1940): 12–13. On anthropological taxonomy, see Guido Landra, “Sistematica antica e moderna delle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 19 (5 August 1940): 23–28; Guido Landra, “La classificazione delle razze umane secondo von Eickstedt,La Difesa della razza 4, no. 6 (20 January 1941): 12–15; Guido Landra, “Antropologia – Problemi di metodo per la definizione dei tipi razziali,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 10 (20 March 1941): 22–25; Guido Landra, “Le razze dell’Asia meridionale e orientale,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 11 (5 April 1941): 18–20;

33 Guido Landra, “Studio razziale delle impronte digitali,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 12 (20 April 1940): 40–41; Landra, “Studio razziale delle impronte palmari,” 36–37.

34 Guido Landra, “La forma del viso nelle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 21–22 (5–20 September 1940): 51–54; Guido Landra, “Caratteri fisionomici identità razziale,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 9 (5 March 1941): 18–20.

35 Guido Landra, “Le variazioni del sistema tegumentario nelle razze umane,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 23 (5 October 1940): 11–16.

36 Guido Landra, “Ricerche moderne sui gruppi sanguigni,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 2 (20 November 1940): 34–37.

37 Guido Landra, “Gli studi di patologia ereditaria in Germania,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 17 (5 July 1940): 18–22.

38 Guido Landra, “I fattori ereditari dell’accrescimento,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 19 (5 August 1940): 36–39; Guido Landra, “Studi sull’aumento della statura in Scandinavia,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 5 (5 January 1941): 10–12.

39 Guido Landra, “Gli studi di patologia ereditaria in Germania,” 18–22.

40 Guido Landra, “Il metodo dei gemelli,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 18 (20 July 1940): 28–31.

41 Guido Landra, “I fattori ereditari dell’accrescimento,” 36–39.

42 Eugen Fischer, “La realtà della razza,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 1 (5 November 1939): 11–17.

43 Silvestro Baglioni, “Continuità della razza,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 4 (20 December 1939): 6–12.

44 Giovanni Marchiori, “Propaganda eugenica o misure coercitive?, ” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 18 (20 July 1940): 21.

45 Marchiori, “Propaganda eugenica o misure coercitive?,” 21.

46 Marchiori, “Propaganda eugenica o misure coercitive?,” 21.

47 Renato Semizzi, “La medicina della masse,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 9 (5 March 1941): 13–15; see also Renato Semizzi, “La medicina sociale attraverso i tempi e le idee,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 11 (5 April 1941): 21–26; Renato Semizzi, “Eugenica e terapia razziale,” Critica medico-sociale no. 7–8–9 (July–September 1940): 34–39.

48 Renato Semizzi, “L’influenza della civilta sui popoli,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 14 (20 May 1941): 10–12.

49 Franco Savorgnan, “I problemi della razza e l’opportunità di un’inchiesta antropometrica sulla popolazione italiana,” La Difesa della razza, 1, no. 1 (5 August 1938): 18.

50 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Gruppi sanguigni e nuclei razziali. Necessità di un censimento del sangue,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 5 (5 January 1939): 15.

51 Giulio Silvestri, “Per un archivio genealogico nazionale,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 9 (5 March 1941): 24–27.

52 Guido Landra, “I bastardi,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 1 (5 August 1938): 16–17.

53 Leone Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” La Difesa della razza 1, no. 4 (20 September 1938): 29–30. See also Ada De Blasio, “Frenastenie e meticciato,” La Difesa della razza 6, no. 1 (5 November 1942): 17.

54 Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” 33.

55 Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” 33.

56 Franzi, “Il meticciato. Insidia contro la salute morale e fisica dei popoli,” 33.

57 Giuseppe Lucidi, “Il meticciato, morte degli imperi,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 13 (5 May 1939): 18.

58 Raffaele D’Anna Botta, “Meticciato,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 12 (20 April 1942): 22.

59 Guido Landra, “Studi italiani sul meticciato,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 8.

60 Landra, “Studi italiani sul meticciato,” 8.

61 Eugen Fischer, “I bastardi di Reoboth,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 12–17.

62 Charles Davenport and Morris Steggerda, “Mulatti di Giamaica,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 18–24.

63 Wolfgang Abel, “Meticci di Renania,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 26–30.

64 Yun Kuei Tao, “Incroci fra cinesi ed europee,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 33–38.

65 Johann Schaeuble, “Il meticciato nell’America del Sud,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 46–49.

66 Rita Hauschild, “Gli incroci negro-cinesi,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 10 (20 March 1940): 52–53. On Hauschild’s researches, see also Guido Landra, “Il problema degli incroci a Trinidad e nel Venezuela,” La Difesa della razza 6, no. 2 (20 November 1942): 14–16.

67 Lorenzo Rocchi, “Razzismo nel Nord-America,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 8 (20 February 1940): 30. See also A. L, “Il razzismo nord-americano,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 1 (5 November 1938): 22–23; Giuseppe Ficai, “S.O.S. degli antirazzisti,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 11 (5 April 1939): 38–39.

68 Giuseppe Pensabene, “Il meticciato delitto contro Dio,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 8 (20 February 1941): 26–27.

69 Giuseppe Pensabene, “Le due cause maggiori del meticciato nel mondo,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 10 (20 March 1941):10–12.

70 Guido Landra, “Il problema dei meticci in Europa,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 1 (5 November 1940): 15.

71 Landra, “Il problema dei meticci in Europa,” 15.

72 Felice Graziani, “I meticci nella storia,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 15 (5 June 1942): 16–17.

73 On France, see: Nicola Marchitto, “Il meticciato e la Francia,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 10 (20 March 1939): 38–40. See also Giorgio Almirante, “Una razza alla conquista di un continente,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 1 (5 November 1938): 20–21; Roberto Raineri, “Il problema razziale brasiliano,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 7 (5 February 1940): 39–42; Ettore De Zuani, “Problemi razziali nell’America Latina,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 18 (20 July 1939): 11–13.

74 Guido Landra to Carlo Cosimo Borromeo, n.d. (August 1938), in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolare, Gabinetto, b. 151, f. “Collaboratori Ufficio Razza,” sf. “Borromeo Carlo Cosimo.”

75 Lidio Cipriani, “Unità spirituale degli italiani,” Corriere della Sera (5 August 1938).

76 Cipriani, “Unità spirituale degli italiani.”

77 Guido Landra to Lidio Cipriani, 24 August 1938, in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolare, Gabinetto, b. 151. The text of the censored article is conserved in ACS.

78 Lidio Cipriani, “La razza e la vita delle Nazioni,” Corriere della Sera (3 December 1938).

79 Cipriani, “La razza e la vita delle Nazioni.”

80 Lidio Cipriani to the Ministry of Popular Culture, 15 July 1938, in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolare, Gabinetto, b. 151.

81 Cipriani to the Ministry of Popular Culture, 15 July 1938, in ACS, Ministero della Cultura Popolare, Gabinetto, b. 151.

82 Lidio Cipriani, “Le scienze antropologiche nella Germania hitleriana,” Gerarchia (December 1939): 787–791.

83 Marcello Ricci, “Eugenica e razzismo,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 6 (20 January 1939): 22–23.

84 Guido Landra, “Il certificato prematrimoniale,” La Difesa della razza 4, no. 16 (20 June 1941): 24–25.

85 Aldo Modica, “Il certificato prematrimoniale,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 4 (20 December 1941): 30.

86 Guido Landra, “Fondamenti biologici del razzismo,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 10 (20 March 1942): 7.

87 “Questionario – Pro e contro la sterilizzazione,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 1 (5 November 1941): 31.

88 “Questionario – Pro e contro la sterilizzazione,” 31.

89 “Questionario – Pro e contro la sterilizzazione,” 30–31.

90 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 4 (20 December 1941): 30.

91 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 4 (20 December 1941): 30.

92 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 6 (20 January 1942): 30.

93 “Questionario,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 9 (5 March 1942): 23.

94 Questionario, La Difesa della razza 5, no. 8 (20 February 1942): 31.

95 In 1935, Giovanni Preziosi and Roberto Farinacci conducted a campaign of support for the neo-Hippocratic methods of Pier Nicola Gregoraci, against the growing political and scientific influence of Nicola Pende and against the “massonic conspiracy” of bacteriological medicine. See Giovanni Preziosi, “Parlo di pier Nicola Gregoraci,” La Vita Italiana 23, no. 263 (February 1935):147–48; Pier Nicola Gregoraci, “La mia nuova Dottrina,” La Vita Italiana 23, no. 263 (February 1935): 149–55; Giovanni Preziosi, “Fatti e commenti. Il caso Gregoraci,” La Vita Italiana 23, no. 265 (April 1935): 515–18; Giovanni Preziosi, “Il caso Gregoraci,” (with letters from Davide Giordano, Giacinto Viola and Benedetto Schiassi), La Vita Italiana 23, no. 267 (June 1935):788–92; Giovanni Preziosi, “Fatti e commenti. Scienza nuova?!...,” La Vita Italiana 23, no. 268 (July 1935):99–100; Giovanni Preziosi, “Fatti e commenti. Probità scientifica,” La Vita Italiana 23, no. 268 (July 1935): 100–01. On D’Anna Botta’s positions, see also: Raffaelle D’Anna Botta, “La pseudo-scienza ebraicomassonica contro il genio italiano,” Il Tevere (30–31 March 1939): 3.

96 Questionario, La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 8 (20 February 1942): 31.

97 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza 5, no. 10 (20 March 1942): 23

98 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 11 (5 April 1942): 22.

99 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 14 (20 May 1942): 22.

100 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 5, no. 16 (20 June 1942): 22.

101 Questionario, in La Difesa della razza, 6, no. 6 (20 January 1943): 22.

102 “Questionario – Sterilizzazione,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 20 (20 August 1942): 22.

103 “Questionario – Sterilizzazione,” La Difesa della razza 5, no. 20 (20 August 1942): 22.

104 Questionario, La Difesa della razza 6, no. 11 (5 April 1943): 22.

105 Genetica, La Difesa della razza 5, no. 21 (5 September 1942): 21.

106 Genetica, La Difesa della razza 6, no. 8 (20 February 1943): 21.

107 Carlo Bergamaschi, “L’Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia per la difesa sociale,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 1 (23 March 1940): 91; Bergamaschi was a Commissioner of OMNI. On the racist ideology expressed by Razza e civilta, see M. Masutti, “La rivista ‘Razza e civilta’: un aspetto del razzismo fascista,” Sociologia I (2002): 83–100.

108 Bergamaschi, “L’Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia per la difesa sociale,” 97.

109 Alfredo Sacchetti, “Sport ed evoluzione dei popoli,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 2 (April 1940): 238.

110 Giuseppe Tallarico, “Il numero è anche la qualità,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 3–4 (May–June 1940): 288–89.

111 Giuseppe Tallarico, “I pregi biologici della fecondità,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 5–6–7 (July–September 1940): 81.

112 Giuseppe Tallarico, “L’alimento e la prolificità umana,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 1 (23 March 1941): 81.

113 Arnaldo Fioretti, “Lieo bifronte,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 8 (October 1940): 587.

114 Fioretti, “Lieo bifronte,” 591.

115 Luigi Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza: per i figli dei tarati neuropsichici,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 1 (23 March 1940): 75.

116 Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza,” 76.

117 Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza,” 80.

118 Cesari, “Una questione di bonifica della razza,” 81.

119 Giuseppe Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” Razza e civilta 3, no. 1 (January–March 1943): 479.

120 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 496.

121 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 481.

122 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 476.

123 Tallarico, “Il problema degli incroci,” 476.

124 Cesare Serono, “L’importanza del fattore femminile nella conservazione della razza,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 8–12 (October 1941–February 1942): 681.

125 In particular, see Giovanni Marro, “Il primato della razza italiana,” La Stampa (30 July 1938); Giovanni Marro, “La razza italiana e l’ambiente,” La Stampa (5 August 1938); Giovanni Marro, “Il problema delle origini della razza italiana studiato attraverso il materiale raccolto nel Museo di Antropologia,” La Stampa (12 August 1938); Giovanni Marro, “La razza italiana e il suo linguaggio,” La Stampa (24 August 1938); Giovanni Marro, “Egiziani, Fenici, Ebrei nella civilta mediterranea,” La Stampa (17 August 1939) (30 August 1939) and (22 October 1939); Giovanni Marro, “La razza italiana e il suo ambiente naturale,” La Stampa (23 February 1940).

126 Not surprisingly, the volume was dedicated to the memory of his father, Antonio Marro, “pioneer of racial eugenics”; see Giovanni Marro, Primato della razza italiana: Confronti di morfologia, biologia, antropologia e di civilta (Milan–Messina: Giuseppe Principato, 1940), 2.

127 For Marro’s polemic against Genna and Sergi, see Giovanni Marro, “Un allarme per il razzismo italiano,” La Vita Italiana, 29, no. 336 (March 1941): 237–51. On Genna and Sergi, and the events of physical anthropology in Italy, see Pogliano, L’ossessione della razza, 369–440.

128 Giovanni Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” La Vita Italiana, 29, no. 341 (August 1941): 139.

129 See Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 49–61; Giovanni. Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana (Rome: Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista, 1939), 25–30.

130 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 141–42.

131 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 142. See also, Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 8.

132 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 142. See also Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 62–63.

133 Marro, “Nuovi orientamenti nella scienza razziale,” 142. See also Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 64.

134 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 62–63.

135 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 70–71. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 31.

136 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 247.

137 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 250.

138 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 252.

139 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 249.

140 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 253.

141 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 255.

142 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 255.

143 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 260–61.

144 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 264.

145 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 293–94.

146 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 267.

147 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 198. See also Giovanni Marro, “La razza e l’ambiente nella civilta. I,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 2 (April 1941): 224–26.

148 On the Greeks, see Giovanni Marro, “La razza e l’ambiente nella civilta. II,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 3 (May–July 1941): 438–41.

149 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 267.

150 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 268.

151 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 268–69.

152 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 291.

153 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 269.

154 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 47. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 23–24, and on this same theme, Giovanni Marro, “Dell’armonia fra razza ed ambiente naturale in Italia,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 2 (April 1940): 165–82.

155 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 44.

156 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 303.

157 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 278.

158 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 302–03.

159 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 325.

160 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 325. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 35–37.

161 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 345. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 38–46.

162 Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 46–47.

163 Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 48–51.

164 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 367. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 52–54.

165 Marro, Primato della razza italiana, 375. See also Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza italiana, 58–62.

166 Edoardo Zavattari, “Fauna e fenomeni sociale. II,” Razza e civilta 2, no. 3 (May–July 1941): 463.

167 Edoardo Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali,” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 8 (20 February 1940): 7.

168 Edoardo Zavattari, “La dottrina degli spazi vitali dal punto di vista biologico,” Scientia 71, no. 361–62 (May–June 1942): 175. See also Edoardo Zavattari, “Leggi biolgiche e spazi vitali,” Il Giornale d’Italia (13 May 1943): 3; Edoardo Zavattari, “Le basi biologiche di fascismo,” Critica medico-sociale, no. 6 (June 1937): 21–28.

169 Zavattari, “La dottrina degli spazi vitali dal punto di vista biologico,” 178.

170 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali,” 10.

171 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali,” 11.

172 Edoardo Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali (continuazione),” La Difesa della razza 3, no. 9 (5 March 1940): 49.

173 Edoardo Zavattari, “Politica ed etica razziale,” Vita Universitaria (5 October 1938): 3.

174 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali (continuazione),” 51.

175 Zavattari, “Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali (continuazione),” 51.

176 Julius Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza (Milan: Hoepli, 1941), 21. On the theory of heredity, see also Julius Evola, Il mito del sangue (1937; repr., Milan: Hoepli, 1942), 91–116.

177 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 22.

178 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 93.

179 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 93.

180 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 94.

181 Julius Evola, “Razza e nascita, ovvero: gli isterici trascendentali,” Il Regime Fascista, 14 (15 March 1939): 3. See also Julius Evola, “La razza, l’ideale classico e gli ‘spostati spirituali,’” Roma Fascista 19, no. 9 (22 January 1942): 3.

182 Julius Evola, Indirizzi per una educazione razziale (Naples: Conte, 1941), 48ff.

183 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 80.

184 Evola, “Razza e nascita,” 3.

185 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 82.

186 Julius Evola, “Problemi della razza. Lo spirito e gli epilettici,” Il Corriere Padano 18 (27 December 1940), now in Julius Evola, I testi del ‘Corriere Padano’ (Padua: Edizioni di Ar, 2002), 386–87.

187 Evola, “Problemi della razza,” 387.

188 Evola, Sintesi di dottrina della razza, 99.

189 See Guido Landra, “L’eredità dei caratteri razziali,” La Vita Italiana 28, no. 322 (January 1940): 29–31; Guido Landra, “L’eredità delle qualità psicologiche,” La Vita Italiana 28, no. 324 (March 1940): 286–90.

190 Arthos [ J. Evola], “Sui limiti del razzismo: il problema dell’eredità,” La Vita Italiana, 28, no. 323 (February 1940): 178–79.

191 Guido Landra, “L’eredità delle qualità psicologiche,” 290.

192 Landra, “L’eredità delle qualità psicologiche,” 290.

193 Guido Landra, «Ereditarietà e ambiente,” La Vita Italiana 28, no. 327 (June 1940): 651.

194 Roberto Bachi, “Gli indici della attrazione matrimoniale,” Il Giornale degli Economisti 69 (November 1929): 895. Benini’s studies on the topic are: “Probabilità statistica e probabilita matematica (prolusione al corso di statistica letta nella R. Università di Pavia il 1° dicembre 1897),” partially published in Rivista italiana di sociologia 2, no. 2 (March 1898):152–71, under the title “Le combinazioni simpatiche in demografia”; Principii di demografia (Florence: Barbera, 1901), 129–58; “Sulla rappresentazione in diagramma cartesiano di fenomeni classificati secondo caratteri qualitativi,” Rendiconti della R. Accademia dei Lincei—Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche. Serie V, 24, no. 12 (December 1915): 21; “Gruppi chiusi e gruppi aperti in alcuni fatti collettivi di combinazioni,” Bulletin de l’Institut International de Statistique (Le Caire: Imprimerie Nationale, 1928): 362–83.

195 Alfredo Niceforo, Antropologia delle classi povere (Milan: Vallardi, 1910), 94.

196 Federico Chessa, La trasmissione ereditaria delle professioni (Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1912), 92.

197 Franco Savorgnan, La scelta matrimoniale. Studi statistici (Ferrara: Casa Editrice Taddei, 1924).

198 Francis Galton, Natural Inheritance (London: Macmillan, 1889).

199 Karl Pearson and Alice Lee, “On the Laws of Inheritance in Man: Inheritance of Physical Characters,” Biometrika 2, no. 3 (1903): 357–462; Karl Pearson and Alice Lee, “Assortative Mating in Man: A Cooperative Study,” Biometrika, 2, no. 4 (1903): 481–98.

200 James A. Harris and Albert Govaerts, “Note on Assortative Mating in Man with Respect to Head Size and Head Form,” American Naturalist 56, no. 645 (July 1922): 381–83.

201 Bolesław Rosiński, “Charakterystyka antropologiczna ludności pow. Pułtuskiego,” Kosmos, 48 (1923); Bolesław Rosiński, “Antropogenetische Auslese,” Antropologischer Anzeiger 6, no. 1 (1929): 49–64.

202 Léon Nicolaeff, “Les corrélations entre les caractères morphologiques des époux,” L’Anthropologie 41, no. 1–2 (1931): 75–93.

203 Savorgnan, La scelta matrimoniale, 63–64; italics added.

204 Savorgnan, La scelta matrimoniale, 63–64.

205 Giuseppe Genna, “Correlazione fra i caratteri morfologici degli sposi,” in Corrado Gini, ed., Atti del Congresso internazionale per gli Studi sulla Popolazione (Roma, 7–10 settembre 1931) (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, 1934), vol. 4, 796.

206 Giuseppe Genna, “Correlazione fra i caratteri morfologici degli sposi,” 803.

207 Carlo Jucci and T. Amendola, “L’indice facciale come elemento di attrazione matrimoniale,” in Lucio Silla, ed., Atti della SIPS. XXI riunione (Roma, 9–15 Ottobre 1932) (Rome: SIPS, 1933), vol. 3, 318–19.

208 Albino Uggé, “Sulla rassomiglianza fra coniugi per alcuni caratteri somatici,” in Contributi del Laboratorio di Statistica. Serie III (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1934), 168.

209 Giuseppe Genna, “Razza e sangue,” Razza e civilta 1, no. 5–6–7 (July–September 1940): 461.

210 Genna, “Razza e sangue,” 462.

211 Vincenzo De Agazio, “Attrazione matrimoniale,” La Difesa della razza 2, no. 20 (20 August 1939): 10.

212 The reports, collected in Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale, 1936, were the following: C. E. Roberti, “Il concetto nosografico e clinico di frenosi maniaco-depressiva in rapporto al problema dell’ereditarieta,” 23–26; Luisa Gianferrari and Giuseppe Cantoni, “Ricerche in una popolazione endogama circa l’epoca d’origine di idiovariazioni,” 27–32; Giovanni Fattovich and N. Nicolai, Considerazioni sull’ereditarieta in alcuni casi di psicosi maniaco-depressiva,” 33–39; Emilio Rizzatti and Vittorio Martinengo, “L’ereditarieta nella psicosi maniaco-depressiva,” 40–47; Antonio D’Ormea, “Considerazioni clinico-genealogiche sulla frenosi maniaco-depressiva,” 48–51; Gino Volpi-Ghirardini, “Su l’ereditarieta nella psicosi maniaco-depressiva,” 52–58; Annibale Puca, “Ricerche eredo-biologiche nei psicoastenici e nei maniaco-depressivi,” 59–63; Alberto Rostan, “Sulla ereditarieta delle psicosi maniaco-depressive,” 64–78; Gino Calzavara, “Qualche rilievo statistico sulla ereditarieta generica nelle psicosi circolari,” 79–82; A. Coen, “L’eredità delle malattie mentali studiata in un gruppo etnico poco inquinato (Ebrei di Mantova),” 83–85; Giuseppe Pellacani, “Considerazioni sulla ereditarieta nella psicosi maniaco-depressiva,” 86–108; Giuseppe Antonini, “Contributo statistico sulla ereditarieta nella psicosi maniaco-depressiva,” 109–13.

213 Born in Iglesias in 1902, student of Carlo Ceni at the Cagliari Neurological Clinic, Pintus, from his very first period as assistant in Sardegna directed his scientific orientation toward genetic psychiatry, producing studies on the hereditary transmission of essential tremor (1932), progressive muscular atrophy, such as Charcot- Marie (1934) and Unverricht’s myoclonic epilepsy (1937).

214 See “V Assemblea Generale della Lega Italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale,” Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1937): 114.

215 Luisa Gianferrari, “Importanza, urgenza di ricerche genetiche in popolazioni endogame,” Atti e memorie della Società Lombarda di Medicina 5, no. 8 (1937): 582.

216 Gianferrari, “Importanza, urgenza di ricerche genetiche,” 581.

217 Gianferrari, “Importanza, urgenza di ricerche genetiche,” 584.

218 “II Giornata Genealogica (Genova, 21 maggio 1938),” Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1938): 50.

219 Giuseppe Pintus, “Metodologia delle ricerche di Genetica in Psichiatria,” Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1938): 100.

220 Pintus, “Metodologia delle ricerche di Genetica in Psichiatria,” 100.

221 Pintus, “Metodologia delle ricerche di Genetica in Psichiatria,” 101.

222 Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1938), 109.

223 Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale (1938), 106 and 108.

224 Lionello De Lisi, “Profilassi delle malattie ereditarie in Psichiatria,” in Lucio Silla, ed., Atti della SIPS. XXVII riunione (Bologna, 4–11 Settembre 1938) (Rome: SIPS, 1939), vol. 6, 138.

225 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo e dei Delegati regionali,” Atti della Lega italiana di igiene e profilassi mentale, (1940), 120; italics added.

226 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 120.

227 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 120.

228 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 120–21.

229 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121; italics added. On Petragnani’s nearing to the position of Pende’s constitutionalism, see Maiocchi, Scienza italiana e razzismo fascista, 240.

230 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121.

231 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121; italics added.

232 “Riunione del Consiglio Direttivo,” 121.

233 “Centro di studi di genetica umana,” Gli Annali della Università d’Italia, 2, no. 4 (28 April 1941): 374.

234 Luisa Gianferrari and Giuseppe Cantoni, Manuale di Genetica con particolare riguardo all’Eredità nell’Uomo (Milan: Vallardi, 1942), 451.

235 Luigi Zoja and Luisa Gianferrari to Giuseppe Montalenti, October 30, 1948, Montalenti papers (hereafter AM), b. 24.

236 Luisa Gianferrari, “Il contributo dell’Università al Centro di studi di genetica umana,” Gli Annali della Università d’Italia 3, no. 1 (29 October 1941): 25.

237 Luisa Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana nel primo quadriennio dalla sua fondazione,” Natura 35 (1944): 114.

238 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 113.

239 Gianferrari, “Il contributo dell’Università al Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 28–29.

240 Zoja and Gianferrari to Montalenti, 30 October 1948, AM, b. 24.

241 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 113.

242 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 115.

243 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 116.

244 Gianferrari, “Sull’organizzazione e sull’attività svolta dal Centro di studi di genetica umana,” 116.

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