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Accounting and the Banality of Evil: Expropriation of Jewish Property in Fascist Italy (1939-1945)

Antonelli, Valerio, D’Alessio, Raffaele, Rossi, Roberto, Funnell, Warwick N. (2018) Accounting and the Banality of Evil: Expropriation of Jewish Property in Fascist Italy (1939-1945). Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31 (8). pp. 2165-2191. ISSN 0951-3574. (doi:10.1108/AAAJ-11-2016-2783) (KAR id:66716)


Purpose – This study identifies the significant role of accounting in the expropriation of Jewish real estate after the enforcement of race laws under Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime in Italy.

Design/methodology/approach – Hannah Arendt’s understanding of government bureaucracy in 20th century totalitarian regimes informs the research which draws upon a wide range of primary sources.

Findings – Implementation of the program of expropriation was the responsibility of a government body, EGELI, which was created specifically for this purpose. The language of accounting provided the means to disguise the nature and brutality of the process and allow bureaucrats to be removed from the consequences of their actions. Accounting reports from EGELI to the Ministry of Finance confirmed each year that those who worked in EGELI were devoted to its mission as an agency of the Fascist State.

Research limitations/implications – The paper refers to the Jews expropriation from the Fascist institutions point of view while the Jews’ documents and their economic, social and human lives were not considered. It paved the way to further research about Jews discrimination and persecution in European countries other than Nazi Germany from an Accounting History viewpoint.

Originality/value – The paper is the first contribution coming from Italy about the role played by Accounting and Accountants in Jews persecution under the Fascism.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/AAAJ-11-2016-2783
Uncontrolled keywords: Jews, Race laws, Italian Fascism, accounting, expropriation of property, bureaucracy, EGELI
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: Warwick Funnell
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 11:41 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 21:33 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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