Almansi Named Head of Italian Jewish Communities; Faces Conversion Problem

The structure of organized Jewry in Italy has been revamped with Dr. Dante Almansi, former high official in the Finance Ministry, as president of the Union of Jewish Communities, succeeding ex-Naval Commander Federigo Jarach, who resigned. Vice-President Aldo Ascoli has been acting president pending Dr. Almansi’s induction, scheduled for next week.

Dr. Almansi is not only highly thought of among Italian Jews, but is popular at Fascist headquarters. He is a friend of Marshal Emilio de Bono, whom he aided while Assistant Director of Public Security when de Bono was tried for the murder of Matteoti, Italian Socialist leader.

As president of the Jewish union Dr. Almansi directs Jewish activities not only in Italy proper but throughout the Empire, including Libya, Rhodes, Albania and Ethiopia. The union is composed of 18 members of whom 15 are elected every four years by delegates of Italian Jewish communities and three by a vote of the Italian rabbinate. Officers are selected by these 18.

Probably the most important task facing Dr. Almansi is the greatest movement of Jewish proselytism since the days of the Spanish Inquisition. In the 14 months of official anti-Semitism in Italy more than 5,000 Jews, nearly 10 per cent of the Jewish population, have turned to Catholocism in the hope that the Pope would be able to afford them economic protection.

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