“He who comes in here honors me,
He who stays out gives me pleasure.”
Mussolini’s favorite motto during his editorial days on the “Populo d’Italia” also serves his biographer, Donna Margherita Sarfatti, who arrived here from Italy last week.
She conveyed that impression to the reporter who interviewed her in her suite at the Waldorf Astoria.
Although past forty, this staunch friend of Mussolini is still a dynamic person, spirited looking, volatile, with a low resonant voice, a firm mouth and large expressive eyes. Her exquisite gray satin dress contrasted charmingly with her well groomed titian hair. She is a strange combination of femininity, with the soft wiles of a woman and the hard diplomacy of a statesman.
First and last, though, she is a Fascist. “I want only to serve my country, Italy,” she emphasized. “That is why I am here.”
On Il’ Duce’s attitude toward the Jewish question raised by Hitler, the Donna maintained a firm silence although her influence is believed responsible for Mussolini’s friendship to the Jews. Donna Sarfatti is a member of a wealthy Jewish family.
As to the status of the Jew in Italy she declared dryly. “He is treated like any other citizen. If he is a good Fascist, that is all we demand from him. We cannot change his face.”
The friendship of Donna Margherita Sarfatti and Mussolini dates back to the period when both wrote for the Socialist paper, Avanti, in 1912. Later she served as an art critic on his journal, Populo d’Italia in 1914.
She was one of the original Fascists when Mussolini organized that body and proudly displays her campaign medal, which she won after the victorious march on Rome. She is the author of the first “Life of Benito Mussolini” and editor of his monthly journal, Gerarchia.
Her younger son, Roberto Sarfatti, was killed in the World War when he was seventeen. He won the gold medal for valor, the highest decoration in the Italian army.