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RSI Police Order No. 5


Dec 16, 2021

The RSI Police Order No. 5 (Italian: Ordinanza di polizia RSI n.5) was an order issued on 30 November 1943 in the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italiana, the RSI) to the Italian police in German-occupied northern Italy to arrest all Jews except those born of mixed marriages, which were required to be monitored by the police.

1943 order for the Italian police to arrest Jews in German-occupied Italy

The order marked the final change of attitude of Fascist Italy towards the Jewish minority in the country, having gone from allowing active participation in the Fascist movement to the, official, start of discrimination with the Italian Racial Laws of 1938, to declaring them as of “enemy nationality” at the Congress of Verona in early November 1943 and, ultimately, to arrest and deportation to extermination camps with the Police Order No. 5 at the end of November.

The impact of the order can be judged by the fact that approximately half of the Jews arrested in Italy during the Holocaust were arrest by Italian police and the fact that Fascist Italy opened a number of concentration camps for arrested Jews immediately following the issue of the police order.

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Up to 1938, the approximately 40,000 Italian Jews suffered far less persecution in Fascist Italy than the Jews in Nazi Germany did in the lead up to World War II. In the territories occupied by the Italian Army in Greece, France and Yugoslavia after the outbreak of World War II Jews even found protection from persecution.[1]

This began to change with the Italian Racial Laws of 1938, when Jews lost their civil rights, including to property, education, and employment. Unlike Jews in other Axis-aligned countries, they were however not murdered or deported to extermination camps at this point.[2][3]

On 25 July 1943, with the fall of the Fascist Regime, the situation in Italy temporarily changed, with inmates in internment camps gradually released, including Jewish prisoners. This process was however not completed by the time German authorities took over the camps in September 1943, after the Italian surrender on 8 September.[4]

The attitude of the Italian Fascists towards Italian Jews drastically changed again in November 1943, after the Fascist authorities declared them to be of “enemy nationality” during the Congress of Verona and begun to actively participate in the prosecution and arrest of Jews.[5] Initially, after the Italian surrender, the Italian police had only assisted in the round up of Jews when requested to do so by the German authorities. With the Manifest of Verona, in which Jews were declared to be foreigners and, in times of war, enemies, this changed.[6][7]

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. . . RSI Police Order No. 5 . . .