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Ginetta Ortona, Portrait from Memory by Jasper Rose

Ginetta Ortona lived with the Rose family 1938-39


The Italian writer and dramatist Ginetta Ortona (1910-2001) lived at the Rose family home in London from 1938 to 1939.  She had graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the University of Turin in 1938.  Her thesis was on Kierkegaard.  Starting in the summer of 1938, Mussoliniís Fascist Italian government ordered the dismissal of Jews from professorships in all universities, and banned Jews from the civil service and military as well as the banking and insurance industries.  Britain and Germany went to war in September 1939, at which point Jasper was evacuated to rural England.  Ginetta made a risky decision to return to Italy.


The perils of the Second World War


Between 1943 and 1945 the Fascist Italian government was under the direct supervision of Nazi German overseers, and Italian Jews were in danger of being sent to Nazi death camps. Of the 45,000 Jews counted in Mussoliniís census of 1938, about 8,000 Italian Jews died in Nazi camps. About 7,000 managed to flee. About 30,000 lived in hiding until liberated by Allied troops. Ginetta survived the war in hiding, but her sister Delfina was arrested and died at Auschwitz. 


After the war


After the war, Ginetta stayed in Italy, and worked as a professor, and wrote plays.  Some of her plays were broadcast on Italian radio and television, and one of them won a national award.  She also wrote a very noteworthy biography of American journalist, editor, critic, and women's rights advocate Margaret S. Fuller (1810-1850) called Una donna nel XIX secolo.  Margaret S. Fuller (A woman in the nineteenth century: Margaret S. Fuller).  Fuller lived in Europe for four years as a reporter for the New York Tribune newspaper. Fuller lived in Italy for most of that time, and was active in the Italian independence movement.




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