• it
  • en
Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana

Exhibition: A lesson in racism. Schools and books during the anti-Semitic persecution (1938-1943)

Bibliographic-documentary exhibition curated by: Pamela Giorgi, Giovanna Lambroni

With the collaboration of: Dora Liscia Bemporad, and Irene Zoppi

Promoters and organizers:

National Institute of Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research – INDIRE

Ambron Castiglioni Foundation

Marucelliana Library of Florence

With the collaboration of: Jewish Museum of Bologna

Graphics by: Curina Adv


During Fascism the themes of ethnicity and the cult of the race were conveyed in various ways, including rigorous school campaigns, publications for schools, youth literature, and a genre much loved by the younger generations: the comics. Many educators, writers, artists and illustrators contributed to spreading the seed of racism, translating racial politics into pedagogical language and captivating figures. The discriminatory campaign against Jews, which began right at school, confirms the strategic importance of the school system in the fascistization process of the country. It was the same Minister of National Education, Bottai, to declare its role as a vanguard in the action for the defence of the race, starting from primary schools, for the creation of a “climate suitable for a first embryonic racist consciousness”. To this end, one of the official circulars that inaugurated the racial campaign instructed the school authorities to arrange for the circulation of the magazine “The Defence of the Race” so that pupils and teachers understood the “ethical and biological value” of racial politics.


The exhibition highlights the dynamics of the fascistization process carried out over the years of the racial laws in the fascist school system, through the documentary heritage of the Indire Historical Archive and the Marucelliana Library of Florence: school materials. This is an excursus in which books, magazines, notebooks, didactic materials and photographs document the spreading of the myth of the race and of the pure Italic lineage. Among the documents, the testimony of little Leo, a pupil of the “Jewish section” of the Regina Elena school in Florence in 1941, the drawings of some Jewish children on the eve of the racial laws and the albums of the schoolchildren of those years.


The exhibition can be requested to be repeated by writing to p.giorgi@indire.it or archiviostorico@indire.it

Technical sheet and preview >>


A lezione di razzismo. Scuola e libri durante la persecuzione antisemita, P. Giorgi e G. Lambroni (a cura di), Bibliografia e informazione, 2014

Useful links:

Ambron and Castiglioni Foundation

Marucelliana Library of Florence

Related virtual exhibition: Eighty years after the racial laws of fascism (1938-2018). An educational path.


Info e contatti

INDIRE, via M. Buonarroti 10 - 50122 Firenze

Telefono: 055.2380301

Email: archiviostorico@indire.it

Visite su appuntamento: dal lunedì al venerdì ore 8.00-13.00 ; 14.00–17.00