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Alessandro Da Fano, aged 87, the Chief Rabbi of Milan, Italy 1935

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Alessandro Da Fano, aged 87, Chief Rabbi
of the Jewish Community of Milan, Italy 1935.
He was the Hebrew Teacher of Pope Pius XI.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot))
ID Number:
138631
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)
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Milan

A city in Lombardy, north Italy

The presence of Jews in Milan in the Roman period is attested by three Jewish inscriptions, two of which refer to "father of the community." In 388, Ambrose, bishop of Milan, expressed regret for failing to lead his congregation in burning down the synagogue which instead had been destroyed "by act of God". It was soon rebuilt, but about 507 was sacked by the Christian mob, whose action was condemned by the Ostrogothic ruler Theodoric. The community presumably continued in existence, though there is little evidence in succeeding centuries except for vague references to Jewish merchants and farmers in the tenth century. With the spread of Jewish communities through northern Italy in the 13th century that of Milan was also revived, but in 1320 the Podesta issued a decree expelling the Jews. In 1387 duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti granted privileges to the Jews in the whole of Lombardy; these were confirmed by Francesco Sforza and his successors. When in 1452 pope Nicholas V approved the Jewish right of residence in the duchy, he specifically authorized the construction of a synagogue in Milan. Pope Pius II demanded a levy of one-fifth on the possessions of the Jews to subsidize a crusade (1459), but was opposed by duke Francesco Sforza. In 1489, under Ludovico il Moro, the Jews were expelled from the entire duchy. They were soon readmitted, except to Milan itself where a Jew could only stay for three days. Similar conditions continued under the last Sforza dukes and after 1535, when the duchy of Milan came under Spanish rule. In 1541 emperor Charles V confirmed that Jews were allowed to live in various towns of the territory, but not in Milan. Thus, when the Jews were finally expelled in 1597, there were none in Milan itself. In 1714, when Lombardy came under Austrian rule, Jews began to return to Milan, and by the middle of the 19th century they numbered approximately 500; a synagogue was built in 1840. In 1848 some were active in the rising against Austrian rule. In 1859 Milan became a part of the new Italian kingdom, and the Jews received full rights.

Because of the great commercial and industrial development around Milan which now followed, the city became a center of attraction for new immigrants. In 1900, 2,000 Jews resided there and in 1931, 6,490.

After Hitler assumed power many refugees arrived from central and eastern European countries; this flow continued illegally during the first years of war. About 800 Jews were deported from Milan during the war. Many were captured and killed by the Germans in the towns and villages where they had taken refuge. During the autumn of 1943, the Germans carried out an anti-Jewish raid, in the course of which the community synagogue was destroyed.

At the end of the war, 4,484 Jews were living in Milan and were joined temporarily by many refugees from camps in Lombardy. A number of Jewish immigrants came to Italy after 1949 from Egypt and, to a lesser degree, from other Arab countries; 4% came from Israel. The Jewish population of Milan in 1965 was 8,488 persons out of a total of 1,670,000 inhabitants, with the Sephardi and oriental element predominating. After the Six-Day War (1967), some 3,000 Jews, who fled persecution in Egypt, and above all in Libya, sought temporary refuge in Italy. Assimilation was widespread, especially among the Italian element, with the proportion of mixed marriages fluctuating around 50%. The general socioeconomic status of the community was middle class or upper-middle class, with the characteristic concentration in the wholesale and export-import business.
The community of Milan has a Hebrew school with about 1,000 students. Beside the central synagogue, which follows the Italian rite, there are seven other synagogues and houses of prayer of Italian, oriental, Persian, and Ashkenazi rites, as well as a rest home for elderly people. In 1967 there were 8,700 Jews in Milan, making the community the second in importance in Italy.

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Alessandro Da Fano, aged 87, the Chief Rabbi of Milan, Italy 1935
Alessandro Da Fano, aged 87, Chief Rabbi
of the Jewish Community of Milan, Italy 1935.
He was the Hebrew Teacher of Pope Pius XI.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot))
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)

Milan

Milan

A city in Lombardy, north Italy

The presence of Jews in Milan in the Roman period is attested by three Jewish inscriptions, two of which refer to "father of the community." In 388, Ambrose, bishop of Milan, expressed regret for failing to lead his congregation in burning down the synagogue which instead had been destroyed "by act of God". It was soon rebuilt, but about 507 was sacked by the Christian mob, whose action was condemned by the Ostrogothic ruler Theodoric. The community presumably continued in existence, though there is little evidence in succeeding centuries except for vague references to Jewish merchants and farmers in the tenth century. With the spread of Jewish communities through northern Italy in the 13th century that of Milan was also revived, but in 1320 the Podesta issued a decree expelling the Jews. In 1387 duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti granted privileges to the Jews in the whole of Lombardy; these were confirmed by Francesco Sforza and his successors. When in 1452 pope Nicholas V approved the Jewish right of residence in the duchy, he specifically authorized the construction of a synagogue in Milan. Pope Pius II demanded a levy of one-fifth on the possessions of the Jews to subsidize a crusade (1459), but was opposed by duke Francesco Sforza. In 1489, under Ludovico il Moro, the Jews were expelled from the entire duchy. They were soon readmitted, except to Milan itself where a Jew could only stay for three days. Similar conditions continued under the last Sforza dukes and after 1535, when the duchy of Milan came under Spanish rule. In 1541 emperor Charles V confirmed that Jews were allowed to live in various towns of the territory, but not in Milan. Thus, when the Jews were finally expelled in 1597, there were none in Milan itself. In 1714, when Lombardy came under Austrian rule, Jews began to return to Milan, and by the middle of the 19th century they numbered approximately 500; a synagogue was built in 1840. In 1848 some were active in the rising against Austrian rule. In 1859 Milan became a part of the new Italian kingdom, and the Jews received full rights.

Because of the great commercial and industrial development around Milan which now followed, the city became a center of attraction for new immigrants. In 1900, 2,000 Jews resided there and in 1931, 6,490.

After Hitler assumed power many refugees arrived from central and eastern European countries; this flow continued illegally during the first years of war. About 800 Jews were deported from Milan during the war. Many were captured and killed by the Germans in the towns and villages where they had taken refuge. During the autumn of 1943, the Germans carried out an anti-Jewish raid, in the course of which the community synagogue was destroyed.

At the end of the war, 4,484 Jews were living in Milan and were joined temporarily by many refugees from camps in Lombardy. A number of Jewish immigrants came to Italy after 1949 from Egypt and, to a lesser degree, from other Arab countries; 4% came from Israel. The Jewish population of Milan in 1965 was 8,488 persons out of a total of 1,670,000 inhabitants, with the Sephardi and oriental element predominating. After the Six-Day War (1967), some 3,000 Jews, who fled persecution in Egypt, and above all in Libya, sought temporary refuge in Italy. Assimilation was widespread, especially among the Italian element, with the proportion of mixed marriages fluctuating around 50%. The general socioeconomic status of the community was middle class or upper-middle class, with the characteristic concentration in the wholesale and export-import business.
The community of Milan has a Hebrew school with about 1,000 students. Beside the central synagogue, which follows the Italian rite, there are seven other synagogues and houses of prayer of Italian, oriental, Persian, and Ashkenazi rites, as well as a rest home for elderly people. In 1967 there were 8,700 Jews in Milan, making the community the second in importance in Italy.