For four decades (1890s-1930s), Italian Jews strongly approved of their country’s colonizing enterprise. Throughout Italy’s expansion to Somalia, Eritrea, Libya, and Ethiopia, Italian Jews lent their support. But the act of colonizing challenged their comfortable dual identity, namely, their ability to be both Italian and Jewish. The empire pitted Italian colonizers and colonized African Jews against each other, and Italian Jews found themselves caught in the middle.

Shira Klein is an Assistant Professor of History at Chapman University. Klein is the author of Italy’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge, 2018). She has won awards from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the USC Shoah Foundation, the Yad Hanadiv Foundation, and the Barbieri Foundation.

Sponsored by the
UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
Cosponsored by the
UCLA Department of Italian
UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
UCLA Department of English