Persevering with the research of our pre-Livorno history we now have the “O” index of the Livorno Jewish Community’s list of births registered from the for the period from 1720 with the birth to Menachem Emmanuel and Judica of Meir (named for his paternal grandfather) to 1810.
In the list are the births of David Ottolenghi, his siblings, his children and his siblings’ children
Revista de la Asociación Argentina de Ortopedia y Traumatología. Organo oficial de la AAOT. Año 73 • Número 3 • Septiembre de 2008 pp328-330
Escrito por Prof. Dr. Guillermo L. Vásquez Ferro
MAESTROS DE LA ORTOPEDIA ARGENTINA
Me resulta muy difícil volcar a través de estas líneas una correcta semblanza de una personalidad de la talla de Carlos E. Ottolenghi, pero puedo asegurar que estas palabras no sólo están inspiradas en la admiración al maestro, sino que brotan de un sentimiento profundo que hace que muchos de nosotros, como el que escribe, vean en él la imagen de un segundo padre. Ottolenghi nació el 1 de enero de 1904 y se recibió de médico en 1926. En el mismo año se incorporó al Servicio de Ortopedia y Traumatología del Hospital Italiano. En 1929 fue becado en el famoso Instituto Rizzoli, donde tuvo la oportunidad de conocer de cerca al afamado maestro Putti, primero durante un año bajo su tutela y luego, en varios viajes a Bologna o en visitas que el profesor realizó a nuestro país. La recia personalidad del insigne maestro italiano, su genio creador y su profunda preparación humanística deslumbraron al joven discípulo y dejaron en él huellas indelebles que influyeron en gran medida en su formación profesional, la definición de su carácter y su conducta en la vida. Siempre recordó con gratitud y cariño a su maestro y solía repetir algunas de sus máximas y frases memorables. En 1936, en ocasión de una visita al Hospital Italiano, Putti, refiriéndose a los logros alcanzados por sus discípulos en esta tierra, escribió una frase que luego se hizo grabar en mármol y que dice: “Una vez más humildad y silencio han dado buen fruto. Es fácil hacer un poco de bien, pidiendo poco, hablando menos, pero trabajando intensamente”. Dotado de un espíritu tesonero, Ottolenghi siempre siguió el ejemplo de su maestro; tenía temple de organizador y su contracción y amor al trabajo no lo abandonaron durante toda su existencia. Sus comienzos en el Hospital Italiano no fueron fáciles; el servicio disponía sólo de cinco camas distribuidas en dos habitaciones y la sala de rayos era una antigua, oscura y estrecha habitación, donde funcionaba un vetusto aparato de rayos con los cables al aire. En esa época no se descuidó la faz docente; se organizaron cursos y otras actividades académicas que, de a poco, fueron convirtiendo el Hospital en un centro orientador de la ortopedia y traumatología y lugar de formación de numerosos médicos que deseban iniciarse o perfeccionarse en la especialidad. El trabajo y la dedicación hicieron que se le asignaran al servicio una sala con 40 camas para hombres y otra con 30 camas para mujeres. Desde ese momento, Ottolenghi se hizo cargo prácticamente del servicio y en 1944 fue nombrado jefe del Servicio de Ortopedia y Traumatología del Hospital Italiano. Poseedor de un espíritu de lucha encomiable, no cejó en sus esfuerzos hasta lograr la creación de un pabellón independiente para la sede del servicio, el cual se inauguró en 1956. Las nuevas instalaciones constituían un monobloque de tres pisos con 180 camas, cuatro quirófanos propios, una moderna aula con capacidad para 80 personas, sala de rayos para uso exclusivo, dos salas de yeso, guardia de urgencias y varios consultorios con una gran sala de espera para los pacientes. Estas modificaciones le dieron un mayor impulso a la especialidad. Se organizaron así importantes cursos y seminarios con la participación de relevantes figuras de nuestro país y del exterior. Continuamente se recibían solicitudes de especialistas latinoamericanos que solicitaban becas de perfeccionamiento en el servicio. Fue también uno de los primeros centros del país donde se iniciaron las residencias médicas. En una época en que todavía pocos especialistas viajaban al exterior para perfeccionarse, la incesante inquietud de Ottolenghi en la búsqueda y creación de nuevos y más perfectos métodos de diagnóstico y tratamiento de las afecciones ortopédicas lo llevó a frecuentar los principales centros de la especialidad en el mundo y a relacionarse con los más destacados maestros de la ortopedia. Analizaba sus observaciones con gran sentido crítico, para luego adoptar aquellas que le parecían merecedoras de confianza o desecharlas por no haber demostrado su verdadero valor o porque consideraba que su aplicación era riesgosa. Como ejemplo de esto último, en el regreso de un viaje a Inglaterra quedó muy asombrado con los resultados que obtenía el maestro Charnley con la prótesis de cadera que había creado; de inmediato hizo los arreglos para enviar a dos de sus discípulos para trabajar con él. El resultado fue la realización en su servicio del primer reemplazo total de cadera en América. El servicio del Hospital Italiano fue el primero en contar con un intensificador de imágenes en el quirófano, por lo que impulsó a otros discípulos para que reunieran los elementos necesarios para efectuar enclavados intramedulares percutáneos en fracturas de los huesos largos a la manera de Kuntscher. También envió a varios discípulos a perfeccionarse en cirugía de mano y miembro superior, en ortopedia infantil, en neuroortopedia y en artroscopia. El campo de los tumores y de otras patologías óseas siempre le preocupó. Por ello, trabajó en estrecha colaboración con el Centro de Patología Ósea y sede del Registro Latinoamericano de Patología Ósea dirigido por el mundialmente conocido Fritz Shajowicz. Ya se realizaban trasplantes óseos parciales y totales. Su vocación por la ortopedia y traumatología y su visión para el desarrollo de ésta lo impulsaron a crear, en 1970, la Fundación Ottolenghi para el Progreso de la Ortopedia y la Traumatología. La fundación inspirada por él creó, junto con el CONICET y el Hospital Italiano, el Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Ortopédicos y Traumatológicos (CINEOT) para concretar esos objetivos. Su espíritu solidario lo hizo participar en diversas organizaciones de bien público, desempeñándose como presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Rehabilitación del Lisiado y presidente del Rotary Club de Buenos Aires. Este último lo honró con el Premio Rioplatense, en marzo de 1984. Su producción científica fue muy extensa; publicó más de 120 trabajos en revistas nacionales y extranjeras, además de varios libros, entre los que se destaca Técnica quirúrgica, que sirvió como texto de enseñanza para varias generaciones de estudiantes latinoamericanos. Recibió numerosas condecoraciones de gobiernos extranjeros, entre ellas la del Gobierno de Italia con la orden del mérito en el grado de Comendador, la del Gobierno de Chile por su actuación en el terremoto de Chillan, la del Gobierno de Venezuela con la orden de Francisco Miranda y la de Gran Oficial de la República Italiana. Fue honrado, además, con numerosos premios otorgados por su actividad científica, que sería muy largo enumerar. La inteligencia, los sentimientos y el carácter definen a una personalidad. Cuando se los pone al servicio de una causa, sin retaceos, con coraje, con profunda vocación, con sentido arraigado de la ética, con manifiesta e incorruptible honestidad, con disciplina, sin claudicaciones y acompañados por intenso y permanente trabajo, los resultados son maravillosos.Y así fueron de importantes los logros de Carlos Ottolenghi como médico y como ser humano excepcional. Si bien la Ortopedia y la Traumatología fueron la pasión de su existencia, ello no impidió que su personalidad, ampliamente receptiva, se enriqueciera en profundidad con todas las manifestaciones que caracterizan al hombre de hoy. Amante del arte en todas sus formas, lector apasionado, atesoró una cultura general envidiable, la cual, unida a su memoria privilegiada y a su afán de viajero impenitente, le permitió estar actualizado en numerosas actividades de orden profesional, social y cultural. Los problemas políticos, sociales y humanos lo preocupaban intensamente y los difíciles acontecimientos por los que atravesaba su querido país lo tuvieron siempre como actor y espectador interesado. Hizo de la amistad un culto. Sus familiares, colegas, colaboradores, pacientes y amigos conocieron su generosidad. Su palabra era rectora; jamás incitaba a la rebeldía, por el contrario, la palabra sensata y el consejo meduloso eran freno a los impulsos irreflexivos y la contención a tiempo de una actitud perjudicial. En el trato con los que sufren demostraba gran sensibilidad y comprensión frente al dolor. El privilegio de haber estado durante muchos años como colaborador directo en su práctica profesional de consultorio me permitió comprobar el efecto tranquilizador y beneficioso que su consejo brindaba a los pacientes en los momentos difíciles. Escuchaba a sus enfermos con atención y si observaba receptividad por parte de ellos, muchas veces los sometía a un interesante interrogatorio sobre aspectos técnicos de sus respectivas actividades. Este demostrado interés, aparte de producir agrado en su interlocutor, le permitía enriquecer sus conocimientos generales, que su pródiga memoria almacenaba, cual una moderna computadora. Su serenidad y aplomo transmitían gran confianza a sus pacientes, quienes siempre aceptaban sus sugerencias con enorme esperanza. En el transcurso de los años hemos visto acudir a numerosos de ellos para testimoniarle su afecto y agradecimiento con un emotivo abrazo. Observador agudo, veía las cosas en profundidad, aunque muchas veces diera la impresión de no mirar. En las reuniones sociales o académicas se destacaba su presencia; era capaz de mantener un diálogo ágil con cualquier personalidad política o científica, así como una amena charla sobre acontecimientos culturales o deportivos con algún joven entusiasta. En los seminarios clínicos y reuniones científicas que dirigía se ponía de manifiesto su originalidad y criterio. En los casos con problemas escuchaba las opiniones, muchas veces encontradas, de los asistentes y, cuando ya creían haber debatido lo suficiente, hacía un análisis objetivo y sereno del caso explicando su parecer, que siempre era claro y lógico, pues tenía la virtud de presentar en forma ordenada lo que parecía confuso. Los ateneos sin su presencia perdían gran parte del interés. Sentía un profundo afecto por toda la familia ortopédica y por nuestra Sociedad, de la cual fue miembro fundador y a la que siempre brindó su apoyo incondicional. Fue partícipe activo y asistente a casi todas las sesiones hasta el final. Luchó por la unidad de los ortopedistas argentinos y latinoamericanos; gran cantidad de ellos se formaron bajo su tutela y supieron de su entrega en la enseñanza y en el consejo. Decía que descansar era esperar la muerte y el 26 de julio de 1984, después de atender el consultorio en el hospital, se fue para concurrir a una sesión de la Academia Nacional de Medicina. Finalizada ésta, tomó el ascensor para retirarse y cayó en él, ya muerto. Es decir, murió de pie, tal como lo hubiera dispuesto de haberlo podido decidir. Poco después, sus discípulos del Hospital Italiano efectuaron gestiones ante las autoridades del hospital para que se pusiera su nombre al servicio. Durante el acto de homenaje en su memoria, al año de su fallecimiento, se descubrió una placa en el portal de entrada que decía: Instituto de Ortopedia y Traumatología Carlos E. Ottolenghi. Algunos años más tarde se inició otra gestión ante las autoridades de la Academia Nacional de Medicina, lugar donde había fallecido siendo académico, para que se creara el premio Carlos E. Ottolenghi bianual al mejor trabajo sobre Ortopedia y Traumatología, a lo cual la Academia accedió.
Carlos Enrique Ottolenghi was born in Argentina on 1st January 1904; his father Leon had immigrated from Acqui in Italy in the 1880’s and had married Carmen Maradona, who was born in the Argentine province of San Juan Carlos graduated in 1926 from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires with a Diploma of Honour at the age of 22. In 1929 he won a scholarship to specialize for one year at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna, Italy under Professor Vittorio Putti.
In 1936 he became a Full and Founding Member of the Argentine Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, where he was successively Secretary General, Vice President, President and Honorary Member.
He worked at the Rawson, Piñero, Pirovano, Sanidad Policial and Churruca Hospitals. From 1926 until his death he worked continuously at the Italian Hospital where between 1944 and 1975 he was Head of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. He said: “The only merit I have is having been a hospital doctor and a university teacher”
Between 1963 and 1970 he served as Full Professor and between 1970 and 1975 he was Consulting Professor. In 1976 Emeritus Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires. Between 1934 and until 1940 he also performed teaching work at the Faculty of Medicine of La Plata.
He received distinctions as: “Master Surgeon in Rioplatense Orthopaedics and Traumatology”; “Master of Argentine Medicine”; “Commander of the Order of Merit of the Government of Chile”; “Star of Solidarity” of the Government of Italy; “National Order of the Condor of the Andes” of the Government of Bolivia; “Order of Merit with the Degree of Commander” of the Government of Italy; “Order of Francisco Miranda” of the Government of Venezuela.
He was President of the Argentine Medical Association in the 1956-1958 biennium. During his tenure, teaching, ethics and medical education gained great importance. The contact between the Medical Association and the American Medical Association, which began under Romano’s presidency, intensified. During its first year, a regulation was approved for advanced courses for graduates. He was a Full Member of the National Academy of Medicine. His most widespread book is “Surgical Technique” in collaboration with Drs Christmann, Raffo and Von Grolman.
Dr. Ottolenghi joined the Orthopaedics and Traumatology Service of the Italian Hospital in 1926, where he worked for 58 years. While he was in charge of the service he lead it to become the leading unit in the specialty. He became an honorary member of all Orthopaedic societies worldwide. His scientific publications included more than 120 works, many of which were used as teaching material for several generations of Latin American students.
His devotion to the specialty and his vision led him to create in 1970 the “Ottolenghi Foundation for the Progress of Orthopaedics and Traumatology.” Following his legacy, the Center for Teaching and Development of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (CEDOT) was inaugurated, with the primary purpose of stimulating, supporting and promoting medical-scientific research in the field of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. The creation of CEDOT reaffirms the commitment of the members of the Orthopaedics and Traumatology Service of the Italian Hospital and the Ottolenghi Foundation in pursuit of the progress of Orthopaedics and Traumatology.
Prof. Dr. Carlos Enrique Ottolenghi died on 26th July 1984
The first record of the name Ottolenghi in the Livorno Community is the marriage of Menachem Emmanuel ben Meir Ottolenghi.
It is not known where Menachem was born, in or about 1698, or when he arrived in Livorno. It is possible that he came from one of the Ottolenghi families of Piedmont and migrated to Livorno, which was at that time the only city where Jews were not forced to live in ghettos, sometime before his marriage. He married Judith (Judica) daughter of Immanuel di Valletro in Livorno on 15th Tevet 5480 – 27th December, 1719. This is a certified copy their Jewish marriage certificate (ketubah)
The Novia’s (bride’s) name “di Valletro” probably derives from the town of Velletri in the Alban Hills, south west of Rome from where Jews were expelled by the Papal Bull of 1569. All that remains of the Jewish presence there is the ancient synagogue building in Via della Stamperia in the old Jewish quarter. The only clue to its Jewish past that I could see when I visited in 2001, is a window high in the east facing wall which is in the form of the Star of David.
MENACHEM EMMANUEL and JUDICA OTTOLENGHI had at least 11 children, all born in Livorno:-
MEIR born 1720 named for his paternal grandfather. His was the first Ottolenghi birth registered in Livorno. He apparently died before 1743 when the youngest sibling was born and also named Meir,
BATSEBA born 1721,
ELISEO born 1724, wife unknown had one daughter, Estrelha, born 1749, Livorno.
SIMKE born 1726,
ROSE born 1728,
NAHAN born 1731,
ELIEZER NAHAN, born 1733,
DAVID born 4th October 1734
ISMAH ISRAEL born 1737, wife unknown had 5 children 9.1 Menachem born 1771 in Livorno. 9.2 Abram born 1773 in Livorno – apparently died in infancy. 9.3 Abram BORN 1776 Livorno, wife unknown had 4 children:- 9.3.1 Mihail born 1800 Livorno, Italy. 9.3.2 Eliazer Menahem born 1803 Livorno. A handwritten copy from the archives at the Jewish Community in Livorno gives “Eliazer Menahem di Elisan” (Elisao) but a typed copy from Livorno State Archives gives “Eliazer Menahem di Abram”.Surname Ottolenghi. 9.3.3 Mordohai Menahem born 1804 Livorno. 9.3.4 David born 1809 Livorno.
9.4 Elisan born 1782 in Livorno. 9.5 Judica born 1784 in Livorno.
MOISE born 1740, married unknown and had two children 10.1 Menachem born 1774 Livorno. 10.2 Judica born 1777 in Livorno, Italy.
MEIR born 1743
Nothing is known yet about the ensuing generations in Livorno
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION Date of birth: 26th May 1872 Place of birth: Venice, Italy Date of death: Unknown – after 20th June1944 Widow of: General Vittorio Ottolenghi, Daughter of: Giuseppe Pugliese, and Marianna Colorni
Anna (Annetta) Pugliese, was the daughter of Giuseppe Pugliese and Marianna Colorni. She was born in Venice, Italy on 26th May 1872. She married General Vittorio Ottolenghi. She was arrested in Turin aged 72, on 5th May 1944 and detained in TURIN prison then sent to the FOSSOLI internment camp, from where she was deported on Transport #13 on 26th June 1944 to Auschwitz. The train arrived at Auschwitz on 30th June 1944 She died sometime after arrival at Auschwitz – exact date of her death is unknown According to her grandson, Franco Ottolenghi, during the occupation, Nonna Annetta had hidden in the village of Torre Pellice, at the home of the family of a faithful servant, until early May 1944 when she decided to visit Turin to see her marital home again. It was during that visit that she was arrested on 5th May and remanded in Turin Prison, then sent to the Fossoli internment camp to await deportation. She was deported to Auschwitz-in Transport No. 13 on 26th June 1944 which arrived at Auschwitz on 30th June 1944. The exact date of her death is unknown, but it is thought that she was murdered by the Nazis shortly after her arrival at the camp. Annetta Ottolenghi was one of the approximately 8,600 Jews deported from Italy by the Nazi occupiers between September 1943 and May 1945, and one of the 7,600 that never returned. Transport No. 13 which carried her to her fate, was the very last transport to leave the Fossoli camp.
SOURCES: Family memorabilia The Book of Memory-Italian Jewish Deportees, 1943-1945, edition 2002 by Liliana Picciotto; CDEC -Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea Centre of Documentation of Contemporary Jewish People Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Jerusalem.
No chapter on the Italian Ottolenghi families would be complete without mention of the Ottolenghi family that I have been closely associated with since the early 21st century.
Riccardo Ottolenghi was born in Acqui in 1885. During his military service he served under General Vittorio Ottolenghi (they were not related as far as we know). The general was a keen artist and carried a sketchbook with him everywhere later painted portraits of his parents and others.
The young Riccardo went out of his way to meet the general’s daughter Ada, at a regimental function and asked her to dance. She politely refused the young officer until he explained that his name was also Ottolenghi. He got her to dance and they eventually married. The family lived in Turin(Torino) where their first son Aldo Vittorio was born in 1918. Riccardo by this time was a successful timber merchant importing from Argentina and Brazil, but Aldo was not interested in the business and enrolled in the university of the Sorbonne in Paris where he studied history, literature and philosophy. With the enactment of Mussolini’s fascist racial laws in 1938, the family fled Italy for south America and settled in Argentina where Riccardo continued the timber business. Aldo was forced to leave his studies in Paris and joined his parents and two younger brothers, Piero and Franco in Buenos Aires.
After the war Riccardo returned to Italy followed by Piero and Franco who were still single.
Aldo who had married Rebecca Schatzky from the Jewish community of Entre Rios in the Argentinian interior, remained in Buenos Aires to manage the family business. But his passion was for ancient history, philosophy, the connection between the cultures of Israel and the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas about which he wrote many academic papers and books. He also wrote many novels and plays which were published in Buenos Aires. These are a few of his published works…..
Aldo and Rebecca had 3 children.
Jorge born 1947, suffered ill health all his life until he died in 1986.
Claudia, born 1952 attended the Cristoforo Colon Italian School and later studied and practiced criminal law. At the time of the rule of the Junta and the Generals, she left for Europe, where she specialized in international and human rights law. She worked for the European Council in Brussels and later for the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, was chief of the IOM mission in Nicaragua after the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, served as Senior Legal Adviser in Rome, and as Head of Mission in the Dominican Republic until she retired in 2006.
Claudia spent her later years living part of the year in Argentina and part in Florida, France, Switzerland and Italy before she died in Buenos Aires 2013.
Claudia’s younger brother, Riccardo Ugo (named for his paternal grandfather) left Buenos Aires and eventually settled in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Aldo died in 2000 and Rebecca died in 2006 after suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Franco who had settled in Milan became director of a large furniture making factory and later dealt in woodworking machinery, rising to an executive position in the professional association. Franco was responsible for the registration at Yad Vashem of his grandmother Annetta Pugliese who perished in the Holocaust. He also took to writing, publishing a book of aphorisms and this poem on reaching his 70th birthday:
Franco Ottolenghi – Settant’anni
Settant’anni, guardare avanti o indietro? dilemma manicheo; vale solo il presente che vive dentro di sé il passato e che vorrebbe fabbricare il futuro Come tanti fanciullo ero già vecchio, nutrito d’idee altrui rispettoso e devoto, ma invecchiando addio agli allineamenti,sono ringiovanito ed affranato So che non so, che ai perché si renuncia e servendo l’amore si risveglia la responsabilità, più nulla è certo ma intenso è il canto della vita Basta sostare, attoniti ascoltare e incantati proseguire il cammino sempre ringiovanendo fino alla gran chiamata e sparire giovanissimi.
Casale Manferato is a small town in the Piedmonte region. The town, like all Italian towns, has a very long and storied history involving Romans, Kings, Queens, Napoleon, and a few Jews who have somehow remained in this town for over five centuries. The Jews first arrived in Casal at the end of the 15th century after escaping the Grand Inquisition of Spain under the Catholic Monarchs. In 1848 at the time of the unification of Italy, the community numbered 850 people.
Casale Monferrato has a beautiful synagogue, the site of which was leased on 17th September 1595, but the resident community today numbers only 2 families. One of them is the Ottolenghi family who have played an important part, They are lateral descendants of the family of Joseph Solomon Ottolenghi who was born here in 1711. They have lived in the same house for more than 500 years.
After the publication of the fascist dictator Mussolini’s Racial Laws, Giorgio Salvatore Ottolenghi and his family managed to escape during the Second World War to Switzerland where he attended university. At the end of the war they returned to Casale Monferrato and were fortunate to be able to recover the family home. Giorgio went on to study medicine and graduated as a physician when he was already in his forties.
Giorgio met and eventually married Adrianna Tore. Adrianna’s family had owned land and vineyards in France before the war, but lost everything when the Nazis came to power. They survived the war hiding in a convent among other places, and so avoided deportation to Auschwitz, which had been the fate of so many of their contemporaries. After the war Adrianna and her sister Renee were sent by their parents to America to complete their education. They lived in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, eventually graduating from the state university. Adrianna returned to Italy to care for her grandmother – that’s where she met Giorgio and they stayed together ever since. The building, which once housed Giorgio’s entire extended family, was subdivided into apartments that they rent out. Their own apartment was filled with centuries old paintings and the family’s extensive collection of Judaica to which they continued to add special items.
Giorgio became president of the Jewish community and Adrianna, who managed the town cinema, took over as curator of the Jewish Museum in the ancient synagogue. The entrance to the synagogue is through a side door of a non-descript building down a very old brick lane, Vicolo Salomone Olper, because prior to the Jews being emancipated (in 1870, sometime after the unification of Italy) synagogues could not be built on a main street or face a church.
The interior of the synagogue is decorated in a baroque style and although it has been restored over the years, it suffered only minor damage during the Second World War and several silver Ner Tamid lamps near the Ark were stolen at that time. The Ark is at the end of the room and the Bimah from which the Torah is read is in the middle in western sephardic style. The pews have boxes (gavettas) for the worshippers to store their prayer books, prayer shawls and phylacteries and, of course there is a balcony for the women of the congregation, in which part of the museum is housed. Amongst the antique Judaica in the community’s collection, there is a document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte regarding emancipation of the Jews of Italy.
The basement of the Synagogue houses a large collection of Hanukah lamps produced in an annual competition of artists sponsored by the community.
In the basement there is also an ancient oven where matzot were baked for Passover, originally built in the courtyard early in 1606, and the remains of an ancient mikvah (ritual bath). There are only 8 Jewish people left in Casale Manferato, but the Synagogue and museum is visited daily by school groups, foreign Jewish tourists, and visitors on the annual day of Jewish Heritage that Europeans observe at the end of each September. Adrianna met and guided all these groups.
Back at the Ottolenghi family home there is another highly valued item kept in the garage, the former stable and coach house which has four enormous wooden doors that hint at its previous life. It was the home of Adrianna’s 1966 Fiat 500 motor car that had been meticulously cared for and kept in pristine condition since Giorgio bought it for her new. It’s another one of their museum pieces.
Giorgio was another of my Italian Ottolenghi correspondents, he was also a longtime friend of zio Franco Ottolenghi.
Adolfo Ottolenghi Chief Rabbi of Venicefrom 1919 to 1944
Adolfo Ottolenghi was born in 1885 in Livorno, the son of Abramo Avraham and Amalia Avraham, nee Ventura. He married Regina (Gina) Tedeschi.
He studied at the rabbinical college in Livorno and was ordained Maskil (משכיל) in 1907 and Chakham(חכם) in January 1911. He also studied law at the University of Pisa, graduating as procuratore legal (Attorney at Law) and intended to pursue a legal career.
At the end of 1911, the Municipality of Venice offered him a position as secretary of the Fraterna Generale di Culto e Beneficienza, which he accepted. Chief Rabbi was at that time Moisè Coen-Porto, president of the community was Giuseppe Musatti. Ottolenghi was a rabbi from 1911 to 1919. During this time, he took care of Jewish refugees of the First World War. Venice was affected by the war, especially since the front line was not far away. As Adolfo suffered from extreme myopia he was exempt from military service and because of the proximity to the front lines he took many of the local community to Livorno.
From May 18, 1919, when he was elected, until his deportation and death, he was Chief Rabbi of Venice. In addition to his pastoral work within the community he devoted himself to deciphering the gravestone inscriptions at the Jewish cemetery on the Lido of Venice, and to the history of the Jewish community there publishing many papers and articles in the Italian Jewish press. He was elected to the Societa di Ateneo Veneto in 1933 in view of his contribution to the history and culture of Venice.
As decreed by Mussolini’s racial laws of 1938, Jewish students were no longer allowed to study in public schools and the expansion of the Jewish school of Venice enabled the community to accommodate all the city’s Jewish students. Prior to the Nazi occupation, many Jews had fled to Venice, but when that community was increasingly persecuted, the president of the Jewish community, Giuseppe Jona, took his own life in 1943, and Adolfo Ottolenghi inherited that position.
Many of the community fled to Switzerland and on 30th November 1943 came the order to deport the remainder of the Jewish community and confiscate their property. The community was notified on 2nd December 1943. During the night between 5th & 6th December 1943, 150 Jews were arrested and sent to the prisons of Santa Maria and Giudecca. On 31st December 1943 raids took place in the ghetto. Regina Ottolenghi escaped in January 1944 and stayed in Treviso until 7th April in the house of the notary Elio Gallina, who gave her forged papers in the name of “Pennella” and she made her the way to her sister’s home in Piedmont. Her youngest son was brought to safety in Genoa. Gallina, who brought hundreds of other Jews to safety, also welcomed Adolfo’s son Carlo Ottolenghi and his wife Annamaria Levi Morenos, as well as their three-year-old son Alberto and his sister Elisabetta, Adolfo’s two grandchildren who, with counterfeit papers Gallina was able to bring to Switzerland, under the name “Vianello”.
Part of the community of Venice had been deported to Como, including the now almost blind Adolfo Ottolenghi, who spent a month in prison. On 19th December 1943, a group of about 40 Jews was deported to the Fossoli camp. Only those over the age of 70 were allowed to return to Venice in early 1944, where they were imprisoned in the Casa di Ricovero Israelitica (The Jewish Convalescent Home). During the night of 17th to 18th August 1944, Rabbi Adolfo Ottolenghi was finally arrested together with the remaining elderly residents home whom he had refused to abandon and they were all deported to Auschwitz, where he died sometime after 2nd September 1944, the exact date is unknown.
On 28th April 1945, Venice, which had driven the Nazis out, was occupied by Italian troops.
The world’s first ghetto was established in Venice in 1516
The Jewish School in the Ghetto and the memorial plaques
HERE LIVED ADOLFO OTTOLENGHI BORN 1885 ARRESTED 17.8.1944 DEPORTED TO AUSHWITZ DIED ON DATE UNKNOWN
SALVATORE (JOSHUA) OTTOLENGHI The world’s first CSI
SALVATORE (JOSHUA) OTTOLENGHI was born in Asti in 20th May 1861 to local businessman Raffaele Ottolenghi and Orsolina, nee Sacerdote (Sacerdote is the Italian word meaning “priest” and it is the Italianization of the name “Cohen”), who were members of the Jewish community of Asti. Salvatore graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1884, at the University of Turin, when only 23 years old, His major interest at that time was ophthalmology but he was soon convinced by Professor Cesare Lombroso to devote himself to anthropology and psychiatry, becoming in 1885 assistant professor.
As a pupil and later assistant of Cesare Lombroso the creator of the discipline of scientific criminology, who was also Jewish, Salvatore Ottolenghi developed scientific investigation techniques and in 1897 he founded the “Rivista di Polizia Scientifica” [The Journal of Scientific Policing] with Giuseppe Alongi.
Together with Lombroso until 1893, Salvatore Ottolenghi developed in-depth studies in physiognomy, in phrenology and in the degeneratist and alienist disciplines, based on texts by Giovanni Battista Della Porta, Johann Kaspar Lavater, Franz Joseph Gall, Johann Gaspar Spurzheim, Benedict Augustin Morel, James Cowles Prichard and Henry Maudsley. In 1888 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine. In 1893 he became Professor and Chief of the Medico-Forensic Department at the University of Sienna until 1903.
In 1895 Ottolenghi gave a series of lectures to police officials. These laid down the basis for the Scuola di Polizia Scientifica, [Scientific Police Academy] which he founded in Rome in 1902. In the same year he was made Professor of Legal Medicine at the University of Rome. His major works include: Anomalie del campo visivo nei Precopatici e nei Criminali (1891); (with U. Rossi) Duocento Criminali e prostitute(1894); La Sensibilità della Donna, (1896); (with Rossi) La Suggestione e le facoltà psichiche occulte (1899); Polizia scientifica (1907); and Trattato di polizia scientifica(2 vols., 1910 and 1931).
During one of my visits to Argentina, in Buenos Aires I met a young descendant of Salvatore, who is the proprietor of an English Language Academy, from whom I heard that she had visited Rome some years previously and had tried to visit the Scuola Superiore di Polizia Scientifica but had been stopped at the gate by security guards. She told them of her family connection to “Il Fondatore” and she was given a VIP tour of the premises culminating in a photograph with the bronze bust of her great grandfather
On 9th October 2018 Salvatore Ottolenghi’s life and work was commemorated by the Asti Municipality with the inauguration of a multimedia exhibit which included a tableau of Salvatore Ottolenghi in his office. The exhibited was opened by the local Chief of Police Franco Gabrielli .
Giuseppe Isaaco Ottolengi is probably the best known Ottolenghi of recent history is and this is his story.
In 2004 I was living in Rome and amongst other things I was researching the history of the Italian Ottolenghi, when as founder of Ottolenghi International and co-founder of its internet site ottolenghi.org I was contacted by Alberto Sarzi Madidini of the historical association of the Comune di Sabionetta to assist with the translation of his publication on the biography of General Ottolenghi.
The following is an abridged and adapted version of that publication.
GIUSEPPE ISAACO OTTOLENGHI Soldier, General, Senator of the Realm, Minister of War
GIUSEPPE ISAACO OTTOLENGHI Soldier, General, Senator of the Realm, Minister of War
Translated, adapted and abridged from the Italian original written by Alberto Sarzi Madidini On the Centenary of General Ottolenghi’s Death
On 2 November 1904 General Giuseppe Ottolenghi, who was born in Sabbioneta in the north of Italy, died in Turin. Only one year earlier he was the Minister of War in the second Zanardelli government appointed to that illustrious position directly by King Vittorio Emanuele III, following the General’s posting as Instructor of Military Science.
It was the last in a series of important positions held by the General in his illustrious and multi-decorated military and political career as a result of which he became very high-ranking figure in the Jewish history of Italy and Europe.
From his heroic debut as a volunteer in the “Risorgimento” campaigns to emancipate and reunify Italy, to the fight against the “Brigantaggio” the bandit gangs who were attacking landowners in the south of Italy, until the restructure of the army after the disasters of the wars in Africa, his contribution was of great importance for the unification and the consolidation of the new Italian State. An example of almost complete religious integration, the first Italian Jew to be made a general and eventually becoming a Senator of the Realm and later the Minister of War, his biography personifies those exceptional qualities of his life.
The Ottolenghi are one of the more important Italian Jewish families.
In the communities of Asti, Acqui, Casale, Mondovì and Moncalvo the Ottolenghi have always been numerous. It is, in fact, from Acqui (actually Acqui Terme, in the Piemonte province of Alessandria) that the father of Giuseppe, Aronne (Aaron) Ottolenghi came. In 1824, Aronne married the Sabbionetana, Gentila Forti, daughter of the important local Jewish family.
The first Jews had come to Sabbioneta in 1436 and their community has always made a remarkable contribution to the city. The Jewish printing house that operated in Sabbioneta in the second half of the 1500’s contributed in decisive way to the spread of Judaic literature in Europe. In the first decades of 19th the century the Jewish community of Sabbioneta was still fairly large (in 1848 it numbered nearly two hundred) so many that in 1824, the year of the marriage of Aronne and Gentila, Giuseppe’s parents, a new synagogue was built. In these very years it happened that apart from Giuseppe Ottolenghi, another great Jewish Sabbionetano was born, Professor Pio Foà, a doctor of famous reputation who would later become, like Ottolenghi, a Senator.
The Register of Weddings of the Jewish Community of Sabbioneta, which is still conserved in the municipal library, reveals the following information concerning the wedding of Giuseppe’s parents:
Date : 12 March 1824
Groom : Ottolenghi, Aronne, born 1 December 1797 in Acqui domiclied in the province of Piemonte, businessman, Jewish, single.
Bride : Forti, Gentila Ester, born 17 October 1805 in Sabbioneta, Jewish, single
Father of the Groom : Manuel Salomon Ottolenghi, of Acqui, businessman.
Mother of the Groom : Giuditta de’ Benedetti, of Casale, businesswoman (deceased)
Father of the Bride : Forti Abramo, of Sabbioneta, landowner.
Mother of the Bride : Cantoni Lea, of Bozzolo, landowner.
Witnesses : Pincherle Jacobe of Verona (landowner currently domiciled in Sabbioneta).
Foà Leon of Sabbioneta, landowner.
Signed : Aronne Ottolenghi, Groom – Gentile Ester Forti, Bride.
By permit of the ’Imperial Regia Delegazione Provinciale dated 4 February 1824.
Ceremony conducted by Sanson Levi, Rabbi of the Sabbioneta Jewish Community.
The Ottolenghi family, we learn from the same registers, lived in a house in the Giulia District No. 70, where Giuseppe and all the other children of Aronne and Gentile were born. From recent research of the archives and from the current owners of the property we know that today the house is number 54 Via Vespasiano Gonzaga which is situated a few metres from the Forti family’s palazzo. Since 1811 the large house had been the property of Abramo Forti, the maternal grandfather of Giuseppe. The same palazzo later housed the Nievo family for a while. In fact, Antonio Nievo, father of the writer Ippolito Nievo, was the magistrate of Sabbioneta. Ippolito Nievo, wrote the novel “L’Emanuele” in 1852; it remained unknown and was only published in 1991. The novel was dedicated to the author’s Sabbionetano friend, Emanuele Ottolenghi, brother of Giuseppe.
In the Jewish Register of Births of Sabbioneta (also preserved in the local library) the following details of Giuseppe’s birth are entered:
Born on 26 December 1838 at 4 am
Circumcised 2 January 1839 with the name of Giuseppe Isacco, legitimate son
Mother Forti Gentilla residing in Sabbioneta, Contrada Giulia 70
Father Ottolenghi Aronne residing in Sabbioneta, Contrada Giulia 70
Married on 12 March 1824 before the Rabbi of the Jewish Community
Michele Bonajuto Foà, residing in Sabbioneta, Contrada Belfiore number 145.
Aronne Ottolenghi and his wife, Gentila Forti had, in addition to Giuseppe, seven other children. Their names and the little we know of some of them are thanks to the information registered in the books of births and deaths of the Sabbioneta Jewish Community.
Giuditta Anna: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 29 May 1825; died 21 July 1825. The baby girl died in the house of Abramo Forti and was buried on the same day in the local Jewish cemetery; the cause of death is recorded as:“convulsione non senza indizi di putrefazione” – convulsions not without indications of gangrene.
Salvatore: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 11 July 1827. Godfather – Jacobbe Ottolenghi resident in Acqui Terme, Nuova District, no number. The newborn child died on 1 August 1827 in the house of Abramo Forti and was buried on the following day in the local Jewish cemetery; the cause of death is recorded as “febbre ardente” – a severe fever.
Abramo: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 4 November 1828.
Emanuele Salomon: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 2 October 1830.
Elena: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 20 May 1841; died in Sabbioneta 4 October 1841. The baby girl died in the house of the family Via Giulia 70, and was interred on the following day in the Sabbioneta Jewish cemetery; the cause of death is recorded as:“malattia di ventre cioè enterite” – a disease of the stomache i.e., enteritis
Giacobbe: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 30 September 1842.
Adele Elena: Born in Sabbioneta, Via Giulia 70, 24 January 1845.
After the birth of Adele Elena there are no further documentary references to the family’s presence in Sabbioneta. The Ottolenghi’s owned no property in Sabbioneta, the house in which they had lived remained the property of Abramo Forti until 5 March 1847, on which date it was sold to Salomone Foà.
We think that the Ottolenghi family left Sabbioneta for good in the period between 1845 and 1847 in order to return to Piemonte, the place from where Aronne Ottolenghi had come to Sabbioneta.
Nor are there any documents attesting to any consequent return of the General to Sabbioneta until in 1903, when the citizens decided to organise a celebration in honour of General Giuseppe Ottolenghi, and three other illustrious Sabbionetani.
An article in a newspaper of the period describing the celebratory event.
“The clear blue sky expressed its intention to join us to beautify today’s festival, to render the Tricolour even livelier as it profusely waves everywhere. Many houses are bedecked with garlands of greenery. Along the route of the procession can be seen multi-coloured placards honouring the illustrious citizens. The effect is most beautiful.
“Since the early hours of the morning with the first trams from Mantova and Viadana, hundreds of people arrived and nearing 10 o’clock, they all approached the railway station in order to await the arrival of the special train. The station, recently embellished with a roof, is decked out with flags. The band of the 37th Infantry in dress uniform plays the Royal March. All appear and from every part applause erupts. “His Excellency Ottolenghi appears first on the balcony of the saloon wagon and doffs his hat in greeting. Following him the university professors, di Giovanni, Foà, and Albertoni. The Minister and Professor di Giovanni appear moved more than the others. The Mayor of Sabbioneta, Doctor Filippi, and the members of the Festival Committe ascend to deliver the salute of Sabbioneta.
“With the same train, escorted personally by the director of the line Cav. Ing. Sacchett, arrives the prefect Comm. Vittorelli with some civlian dignitaries, the mayor of Commessaggio, Doctor Cessi, goes up to the station in formal dress to welcome His Excellency, with newspaper reporters outside. Also at Gazzuolo, the Minister was greeted by the Mayor, Cav. Viglioli, accompanied by other local dignitaries. In the station courtyard on hand are four magnificent official carriages placed at the disposal of the Committee. Also the well-known Count Cantoni Marca is there. The band of the 37th Infantry play the Royal March continuously, leading the procession that makes its way in time with the music and entering through XX September Gate in front of the Town Hall.”
“In the Council Chamber wait several members of the Committee and the splendid group of ladies who have organized the party which will begin later. As soon the guests of honour enter they are toasted with vermouth. The Mayor reads some telegrams of congratulation and the Order of the Day of the Committee that expresses the joy of the local population to host their illustrious fellow citizens, to see them re-united them in their home town, the pride of being able to call them fellow citizens, and to wish them long and prosperous life in which to honour and benefit the motherland and its peoples. They answer briefly and emotionally, the Minister, and then the three university professors between the most appreciative applause of all those present. At noon, escorted by the Mayor and the Committee, the Minister and the other guests of honour visit the local patriotic monuments. They take a unanimous decision to use their influence to devise some actions to end the neglect and decaying effects of time. There follow short visits to the local benefactory institutes and S.E is for a short time the guest of Cav. Emilio Forti, accepting the kind invitation to pay homage to his late mother who, as is well known, was also a Forti. In the Great Hall on the first floor of the Town hall, at 2 o’clock there is a banquet for 120 guests. At the top table sit the four honoured citizens together with the prefect Comm. Vittorelli, the Mayor, Lieutenant-Colonel Tezzoli, commandant of the 69th regiment in full ceremonial uniform, the judge Signor Casara, the secretary and other notables. The formal banquet proceeds. At the dessert, the Minister responds to the address of the Mayor and the judge Signor Casara, repeating his thanks and his belief that the concord that has reigned in preparing for this day, will ensure the well-being of the city and its people.
At the end of the banquet something very curious happened. All the banqueters armed with the commemorative postcards bearing the portraits of the four guests of honour, rushed to the top table to obtain everyone’s autographs: that is the proof that “collection mania” has invaded the world, even in its humblest recesses, the guests of honour remained patient and obliging. The Minister was informed, at 4.30 that the special train which was to take him to Ponte Maiocche was ready. The morning’s procession reformed lead by the band and accompanied by the huge crowd, His Excellency arrived at the station. Taking his leave of the Mayor and Professor Albertoni, he ascended the train with Comm. Vittorelli and the professors Di Giovanni and Foà, who were to accompany him to the next station, from where they then continued to Casalmaggiore. At the moment of departure, while an enthusiastic salute applauded him, His Excellency was visibly moved by emotion. In the afternoon the rest of the festival programme continued…”
Returning to the private life of the General, we know that he began to study at the University of Turin, but then in 1859, left to enter the Military Academy at Ivrea. There are no documents in support of any other academic achievements but on 19 August 1871 he was appointed Professor of Military Science and History at the School of Infantry and Cavalry (Military Academy of Modena).
During that period, he wrote the treatise “Tactical and Special Operations” as asserted by Agosto del Forte in “Illustrious Sabbionetians”
“[It] is a presentation of military argument, and it results from appropriate studies of the art of war, manifested through time and the various circumstances in which the military events took place, and the practical experience of Ottolenghi on the battlefields, together with meditation on the errors of the past, and those which he himself had witnessed, without having yet the authority to provide solutions”
He was to remain at the Military Academy of Modena only for a couple of years and after that brief interruption returned to his military career.
Giuseppe married on 25 February 1877 (as reported in the “Copy of Service Records), Elisa Segre, widow of De Benedetti; there is no record of the couple having had any children.
The General died in his rooms in Turin at 12.30 a.m. on 2 November 1904. The following morning the Prefect of Turin, Gasperini, conveyed the sad news by telegram to the President of the Senate. The funeral took place on Friday 4th November 1904 at 2.00 pm, the body of the deceased was carried from his rooms to the Cemetery at 2.40 pm as reads the invitational telegram to the President of the Senate from the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia.
This Memorial Speech commemorating General Giuseppe Ottolenghi, was made in to the Senate on 3rd December 1904 by the President, the Hon. Tancredi Canonico:
“At a yet young age and in the prime of his life, without warning on 2 November in Turin General Giuseppe Ottolenghi passed away. Born in Sabbioneta in the province of Mantova, 26 December 1838. A brilliant and courageous officer, highly talented, scrupulously precise in the implementation of his duties, ready always to assume all responsibilities, his life was one of uninterrupted and zealous service to King and Country. He began his studies at the University of Turin, left them in 1859 in order to enter the Military Academy of Ivrea; and in that same year, at the beginning of the campaign, was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Standard Bearer at the siege of Gaeta, he was hit by a musket ball in the right side and won the Silver Medal of Military Valour.
In 1863 he was already captain on the General Staff. He won another Silver Medal of Military Valour in 1864 fighting the Brigands. In an unexpected and serious conflict, he had assumed the command of some leaderless infantry and cavalry; his horse was killed, himself wounded in the arm and chest, but the action under his command was a complete success. In another action in 1866 another horse was killed under him and he was wounded again, when, in order to save General Brignone who was in danger at Monte Croce, had taken command of riflemen and the guides who followed him in charging the enemy. He was awarded the Cross of Knight of the Military Order of Savoia.
Promoted to Major, he taught the History of Military Science at the Military Academy of Modena. He re-entered the General Staff and was shortly promoted to the rank of Colonel, he rose through all the ranks until the supreme rank of Commander of the Army Corps. Appointed a Senator, and then Minister of War in 1902, he retired from the Ministry at the end of October of 1903. In 1869 he had been sent to assist in the great military manoeuvres of Châlons, that were then of no small importance: and in 1878-80 worked actively in the International Commission for the Demarcation of the Turco-Montenegran Border. Rigid in discipline, but full of heart, the soldiers revered and loved him; because under the outer severity, they always felt the justice and the goodness in him. The army has lost in him a skilled and learned officer; the Country has lost a zealous servant, the Senate a dear and much-appreciated member
Military Record and Political Career:
27 February 1859 Giuseppe Ottolenghi enlisted as a volunteer in the Piemontese army and began his career as a cadet with courses at the “Royal Academy of Ivrea”. Giuseppe’s voluntary enlistment should not come as a surprise as so many Jews had participated enthusiastically in the reunification movement following the emancipation campaign of 1848 that the then King, Carl Alberto afforded to the Piemontesi Jews equality of rights with all others in the south. In the ranks of the the Garibaldini (followers of Garibaldi) in 1848-1849 fought two hundred of them.
Giuseppe Ottolenghi joined the other famous Italians of Jewish origin who have left a profound mark in the culture, politics and the military of the country. The number of 235 Jewish volunteers who enlisted in the Sardinian army in 1848, had risen to 260 in the campaign of 1859. In 1860 28 Jewish Officer-cadets entered military colleges, increasing in successive years so that in 1895 the Royal Army yearbook numbered 700 Jewish officers, on permanent active duty or members of the army reserve corps, in the Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinian citizens, after 1860, Italians, of Jewish origin became completely integrated in the texture of contemporary society and many of them often entered into the ranks of the army, distinguishing themselves in their intelligence, patriotism and ability
11 April 1859 Ottolenghi became the first Italian Jew to being admitted to the Officer Cadet Course of the Army; commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the 17th Regiment of Infantry.
27 July 1859 Cultured, skillful and active, in the same year he was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Army of Infantry and Lieutenant the following year.
12 November 1860 Wounded in the right side by a musket ball during the siege of Gaeta that marked the end of the rule of the House of Bourbon in the south of Italy. On that occasion he was decorated with his first Silver Medal of Military Valour.
12 March 1863 Promoted to the rank of Captain and attached to the General Staff; the following year he was posted to Sicily.
30 May 1864 Wounded in the right arm and the chest from two of the large calibre bullets called “caprioli” during the campaigns against the bandit-brigands “Brigantaggio” at S. Ilario (Basilicata); He was awarded his second Silver Medal of Military Valour.
14 October 1864 Took the Oath of Allegiance in Avellino.
23 June 1866 Distinguished himself in the battle of Custoza (Verona) and on the next day at Monte Croce, also in the Province of Verona.
August 1869 Sent to advise and observe in the great manoeuvres of the French army at Châlons, near the border with Germany; at that time so important that they were carried out to the presence of Napoleon III.
9 November 1872 promoted to Major and posted to Sicily to the 62nd Infantry Regiment.
31 May 1877 appointed Chief of General Staff of the 2nd Army Corps at Alessandria.
8 April 1879 member of the international commission for the solution of the conflict and the demarcation of the Turco-Montenegro border. This international assignment of great importance entrusted to Ottolenghi by the Italian Government emphasized the importance of the Sabbionetano General in the army and his much appreciated abilities, military and also diplomatic.
20 May 1880 Ottolenghi returned to command of the General Staff Corps in Rome.
In November and December 1880 he was sent back on mission to Montenegro.
13 October 1882 the 4th Alpine Regiment and the Aosta Artillery Brigade are established in Turin;
1 November 1882 Ottolenghi was made the commandant.
8 April 1888 appointed Colonel, Commander of the King’s Brigade of Infantry in Rome.
14 April 1889 became the first Italian Jew to reach the rank of Major-General.
1889 to 1891 Instructor in military matters to the Crown Prince, the future King Vittorio Emanuele III. 13 January 1895 promoted to Lieutenant-General.
16 February 1895 was transferred to Turin as commander of the Territorial Army Corps.
8 July 1899 assumed the command of XII Army Corps in Palermo.
16 April 1902 Commander of the IV Army Corps.
14 May 1902 Lieutenent-General Giuseppe Ottolenghi appointed by Royal Decree, “Minister, Secretary of State for War” in the second Zanardelli Government in place of the dismissed Count Gustavo Ponza di San Martino. This appointment was particularly significant since at that time the choice of Ministers was the prerogative of the Crown. The young King Vittorio Emanuele III, had evidently, appreciated Ottolenghi’s tutorship and the general had not forgotten that the Crown Prince had been under his command, some years before, in Naples.
The following day, in the audience of 15 of June, His Majesty the King appointed Ottolenghi, Senator of the Realm.
From the Minutes of the Senate of 23 Maggio 1903 we learn of the official communication of the nomination from President Saracco.
In the same session, Ottolenghi took oath and immediately introduced a draft of the law concerning conscription.
He was a minister for only 18 months (in those years the Governments had only short life) during which he was unable to carry out an in-depth restructuring of the army. The international political situation at the time did not threaten war, and the government had other budgetary priorities.
As Minister for War, Ottolenghi tried to improve the criteria for conscription into the army, the most important military problem at the time. For years, in fact, the Italian General Staff had pressed the Ministry of War for the approval of a new recruiting law that would reduce the signing-on period to two years. That would have brought about an increase of the number of those young people who every year came to enlist, and to an increase of well-trained reservists. The idea was to abandon the national system of recruitment in favour of a regional one which would also speed up mobilization. The annual voluntary service was to be abolished as it had proved to be absolutely useless as source of recruiting officers.
Parliament however, did not approve Ottolenghi’s initiatives, privileging those of the wealthier ranks; Ottolenghi accepted the votes of the Chambers without controversies. Ottolenghi’s proposed but unapproved attempts to reform the army demonstrate his farsightedness and competence (the same proposals were to be approved some years later), as well as his deep respect for the decisions of the Parliament.
The Historical Archives of the Senate of Rome contain the speeches of Ottolenghi before the High Assembly between 12 June 1902 and 1 July 1903. Amongst others that should be noted, the “Dispositions for the Conscription of those born in 1882”, the “Budget of the Ministry of War”, the “Dispositions concerning Portraits of Officers”, the “Modifications to the Laws on the Order of the Royal Army”, the ”Institution of Military Pharmacists”, the “Commemoration of Senator Luigi Cremona”, the “Financial Statement of the Ministry of War”.
13 November 1902 Decree published in the Official Military Journal, ordered the incorporation of skiing for the alpine regiments. That decision contributed not a little to the promotion of skiing among the people.
In the period of his ministry were acquired, in 1903 from FIAT, the Army’s first internal-combustion engine motor cars. Also in 1903 an army mechanics corps was established.
29 October 1903 the Zanardelli government fell, and with it, Giuseppe Ottolenghi retired as Minister of War. In the successive Giolitti government the Minister would be Ettore Pedotti.
1 December 1903 General Ottolenghi re-entered the army on active service as Commandant of the Territorial Army Corps of Turin, in place of General Valles. This was a command of great prestige because at that time France was considered a potentially hostile nation and the Army had to bear the onerous tasks of operational planning and logistic organization. It is his last assignment, for a few short months later died of heart failure, whist still on duty in Turin.
The military career of Giuseppe Ottolenghi is studded with the decorations and most important honours of the Italian Crown
Commemorative Medal of the French Campaign of Italy of 1859. Silver Medal of Military Valour according to the citation of 1 June 1861 for his distinguished conduct during the siege of Gaeta 12 November 1860” Silver Medal of Military Valour according to the citation of 30 April 1865 for his distinguished conduct during the campaigns against the “Brigantaggio” bandit-brigands at S. Ilario (Basilicata) 30 May 1864”.
Medals for the Wars of Independence and the Unification of Italy, with the fascette of the 1859, 1860-61 & 1866 Campaigns.
Knight’s Cross of the Military Order of Savoia (today of Italy) “for his cool, timely and intelligent action under the fire to execute the orders of the General, charging Monte Croce, regrouped platoons of Riflemen and Guides assigned to the Headquarters. 24 June 1866” [Decree nr 120 bis of 6 December 1866] Cross of Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy 27 April 1870. Cross of Knight of the Order of Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro, 27 January 1878. Cross of Officer of the Order of Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro, of the Crown, 15 January 1880. Cross of Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy 31 January 1881. Medal of the “Unification of Italy 1848 – 1870” 26 April 1883. Cross of Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy 28 December 1893. Cross of Knight of the Order of Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro “for loyal and distinguished conduct” 21 January 1897. Cross of Gold with Royal Crown for seniority 15 December 1900. Knight of Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy 27 December 1900. Cross of Grand Officer of the Order of the Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro 31 May 1901.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Alberto Sarzi Madidini, Associazione Pro Loco Sabbioneta,
Comune di Sabbioneta,
Comunità Ebraica di Mantova Ufficio Archivio Storico del Senato della Repubblica, Roma Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell’Esercito, Roma Archivio Storico della Camera dei Deputati, Roma Sig. Umberto Maffezzoli, Sig. Vittorio Rossi, Sig.ra Benecc