Armenians – Aryans. The “Blood Myth”, the Race Laws of 1938 and the Armenians in Italy


Series: Focus on Civilizations and Cultures
BISAC: HIS003000

Several laws “in defense of the race” were readily enacted in Germany (1935) and successively applied further in Italy (1938). The hypothetical existence of a primeval Indo-European language was assumed to be associated with a similar ancestral Aryan race. Its psycho-physical traits and characteristic vision of the world were typical of the warrior race; a sense of honor, penchant for risk, willingness to emerge and respect for hierarchy were highly valued. These were the traits that identified with the race’s primacy. While the Aryan race split up into various ethnic groups, its constituent characteristics continue to be visible in most European populations today. In the 1930s these somewhat frail bases, besides a number of pseudo-sciences, such as phrenology, physiognomy and other ill-conceived theories on race, contributed to establishing the criteria according to which peoples were considered Aryans or Semites. These doctrines formed the ideological background for the discrimination, segregation and persecution of entire populations and communities, like the Jews and the Roma people. The following study traces the complex framework within which the Armenian community developed in Italy and Europe, highlighting the various arguments that emerged in favor of or against the inclusion of the Armenian people in the Aryan family and the historical milieu in which the debate took place. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

To the Reader

Introduction – Framework of Reference and Research Method

Chapter 1. Ethnocentrism, Racism, Anti-Semitism

Chapter 2. Master and Slave Races

Chapter 3. The Aryan and the Semite

Chapter 4. Armenians in Italy in the Early 1900’s

Chapter 5. Armenians – Semites

Chapter 6. On the Presumed “Semite” Characteristics of the Armenians

Chapter 7. Armenians – Aryans

Final Remarks


The book is above all addressed to the scholars of racism, anti-Semitism and their cultural matrixes, to the scholars of fascism and Nazism, of Armenian history and culture, especially of the 20th century and to all those who have an interest on these topics although they may not have a specialized knowledge on such matters.

“In outlining the Armenian situation in Italy in the 1930s, the book closely examines the origins, shortcomings and contradictions of the so-called Aryan race and culture, which lay at the root of Nazi and fascist racism and its strategy of discrimination and human rights denial.” – Professor Francisco Javier Ansuátegui Roig, Head of Human Rights Institute Bartolomé de las Casas, Carlos III University of Madrid

“This splendid book investigates the ambivalent attitude in Italy towards Armenians in the 1930s and thereby makes an important contribution to the historical study of racism.” – David McLellan Emeritus Professor of Political Theory, University of Kent. Fellow of Goldsmiths College, University of London

“Armenians-Aryans is in many ways the litmus test with which Ferri brings to light and denounces the pseudo-rational and pseudo-sciences underlying all forms of racism, outlining at the same time the framework of fundamental and constitutive values of a world that is truly human.” – F. Grigoris Serenian of the Mechitarist Congregation of San Lazzaro in Venice

“Enrico Ferri’s book sheds light on a little-known aspect of the impact of the race laws that were passed in Europe between the two world wars: the classification of the Armenian communities among the Semite or Aryan races, reconsidering from an unusual angle the theme, which continues to be neglected, of ethnocentrism, of racism and, more in general, of the marginalisation of the other.” – Professor Marco Cossutta, University of Trieste

“By examining racism and the race laws that also involved Armenians in Italy and Europe, the author shows how a misrepresentation of man and history can have devastating consequences if sustained by mass fanaticism.” – <strong>Agop Manoukian, Honorary President, Union of Italian Armenians

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