The Italian Jewish community, particularly the Jews of Rome, is the oldest diaspora community. According to the author:
Nowhere in Jewish history, perhaps not even in the United States, have Jewish citizens displayed the type of military ardor evident in Italian Jewry. In no other country have so many Jews achieved martial prestige, become commanding generals, or served in the capacity of Minister of War or Chief of Naval Intelligence.
Jewish names mentioned in the article: ALMAGIA, ANAU, ARBIB, ARCHIVOLTI, ASCOLI, BACHI, DE BONFILI, CANTONI, CAPON, CARPI, CASTELLO, COEN, FINZI, FIORENTINO, FOA, FRANCHETTI, GUASTALLA, LEVI CHIERINO, MANIN, MASSENA, MARANI, MAUROGONATO, MODENA, MONDOLFO, MONTEFIORE, MORTARA, NUNES, OLIVETTI, OTTOLENGHI, PESARO, PINCHERLE, PUGLIESE, REVERE, ROSELLI, ROVIGHI, SEGRE, TODROS, USIGLIO and VENEZIANO.
"The Italian Jews of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were one of the most fervent nationalist groups in the nascent Italian State. As a result, they actively enlisted in the army of the Kingdom of Italy and its predecessor, the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. Indeed, their valorous and inspired service has prompted some authors to liken the Italian Jews of the nineteenth century to a type of military caste.
"Many Jews, such as Giuseppe Ottolenghi, Cesare Rovighi and Enrico Guastalla attained high levels of command in the Italian military and were even counted among the King's most trusted martial advisors. Unfortunately, the events of World War II and the attitude that modern scholars maintain towards the Jews of Italy has resulted in the achievements of these inspired individuals and communities being lost to posterity."
The article details the very high ranking posts and achievements of these men. Often, several family members are listed.
The enlightened Savoyard Kings of Sardinia-Piedmont and later Italy allowed Jewish Italians to achieve success in a dizzying number of fields, most notably government administration and the military.
Yet, for all their great achievements and dedication to the land of their birth, the history of the Italian Jews remains one of the least well documented in all of Europe, with perhaps only the Jews of the Balkan states receiving even less attention in the historical literature.
According to the author, Jews were influential in the revolutionary movement all over Italy, but nowhere was their military effort as concerted as it was in the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia:
235 Jews volunteered for service in the army as war loomed with Austria, among them Giuseppe Finzi and Enrico Guastalla, who would go on to enjoy an outstanding military career. The Chief Rabbi of Turin, Lelio Cantoni, actively recruited amongst the city's Jews and helped organize volunteers into three battalions of sharpshooters.
A fascinating read!!