It is no coincidence that, only few days before the 1941 attacks, the famous German anti-Semitic movie "Süss the Jew" (1940) had been shown in Trieste at the Excelsior theater. This showing sparked the distribution of flyers accusing Jews of being hoarders, defeatists, loan sharks and “traitors” and calling for stricter enforcement of 1938 racial laws.
Poster for the film “Süss the Jew”, 1940
Violent anti-Semitic attacks were also published in the fortnightly paper “Decima Regio” (1941-1943), the official periodical of the University of Trieste Fascist students (Gruppo Universitario Fascista) named after Mario Granbassi (1907-1939), a journalist who had died in the Spanish war. Many anti-Semitic vignettes and illustrations, here shown in the gallery, were published between 1941 and 1942. There are only a small example of the widespread anti-Semitic propaganda circulating in those years.
A page appearing in the last issue from 1942 offers a resumé of the articles and images published in past issues, meant to represent the most significant of the anti-Semitic campaigns strenuously pursued by the Fascist students in Trieste.
"Anti-Judaic Front of Trieste. Conclusions or premises?"
Telling captions also characterize the other two images: a plaque and a vignette. The plaque, bearing the symbol of the Jewish community of Trieste, reads "vestige of a flourishing past, hope for a peaceful future" (vestigia di un fiorente passato, speranza di un tranquillo avvenire), thus presumably alluding to the wealth (and power) of Jewish people and their presumed indifference: “The Jews, who do not fear us because they know the limited extent of our possibilities, wait, without worry, for us to exhaust ourselves”. The plaque, dated 1931, was placed somewhere in Villa Opicina (possibly on the villa used to host Jewish summer camps), a suburb of Trieste on the edge of the Karst plateau where bourgeois families used to spend their summers. The vignette depicts the city of Trieste (personified by the bell tower of the cathedral, armed with a sword and the symbol of the city, the halberd) chasing a Jew away, thus foreshadowing the hoped-for victory: “this time will come at last”.