Alatri, Samuel

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ALATRI, SAMUEL (1805–1889), Italian politician and communal leader. Born in Rome, he joined the council of the Jewish community in 1828 and served on it throughout his life, eventually becoming president. On his many missions abroad he met leading Jews, especially in England and France, who encouraged him to conduct a struggle for the rights of his fellow Jews in Rome, in which he was to persevere for many decades. He took a keen interest in education, studying foreign institutions and applying the experience he gained for the benefit of Jewish institutions of learning in Rome. Alatri was chosen as spokesman of the annual deputation of the Rome community permitted to wait on Pope Gregory xvi. A gifted orator, he impressed the reactionary pope and gained enough influence with him to effect remedies in individual cases of distress. With the accession of Pius ix, who at first showed liberal tendencies, Alatri also entered general public life and was appointed a director of the papal bank. In 1849, when Rome was declared a republic and was besieged by French troops, Alatri was a member of the city's defense committee. In 1870, when King Victor Emmanuel put an end to the pope's temporal power and a plebiscite was held in Rome which advocated the incorporation of the city into the kingdom of Italy, Alatri was a member of the commission which handed the king the favorable results. The new status of the city also brought about the long-hoped-for change in the situation of the Jews there. Alatri was later elected to parliament and was appointed to regularize the state budget. Many of his speeches appeared in print, among them the outstanding address he delivered to mark the opening of the rabbinical seminary in Rome (1887).


A. Berliner, Geschichte der Juden in Rom, 2 (1893), 209–12; Vogelstein-Rieger, index; Vessillo Israelitico, 37 (1889), 180–5, 212–3, 260–1, 295–7, 367–70. add. bibliography: M. Alatri, Cenni biografici di Samuele Alatri scritti da suo figlio Marco: l'8 Gennaio 1890 (1929); A. Tagliacozzo, "Samuele Alatri; figura dominante nell'Ebraismo romano del secolo scorso," in: Rassegna Mensile di Israel 39 (1973), 278–96.