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Rome Remembers a Jewish Mayor

Rome mayor Francesco Rutelli last week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ernesto Nathan, a London-born Jew who served as the mayor of Rome before World War I.

“He is a model who is extremely difficult to emulate, but an unforgettable and extremely great mayor,” Rutelli told an Oct. 5 news conference.

“His experience still has great meaning today: his extraordinary pragmatism and seriousness,” he said.

Rutelli announced that a conference on Nathan would be held in December to explore his identity as a Jew, a mason and, as a follower of Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzinni, a leading proponent of liberal, democratic reforms and a vocal advocate of the secular state.

Nathan was born in London of an Italian Jewish Family, but settled in Rome in 1871 as the director of Mazzini’s newspaper La Roma del Popolo.

He served as the mayor of Rome from 1907 to 1913.

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