Lattes, Dante

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LATTES, DANTE (1876–1965), writer, journalist, and educator who devoted his life to the diffusion of Jewish culture and religion among Italian Jews. He studied at the school of Elia Benamozegh and from 1897 began to work for the newspaper Corriere Israelitico in Trieste, becoming the director with Riccardo Curiel in 1903. Under his direction the Corriere Israelitico focused on the Zionist movement and contributed to promoting the Jewish culture of Italian Jews in a European and American context through debates and research on history and philosophy. Works of Aḥad Ha-Am and Joseph Klausner, literary output of Israel Zangwill and Edmond Fleg and Yiddish writers such as Shalom Aleichem, David Pinsky, and J.L. Peretz were published. He and Alfonso Pacifici founded the weekly Israel in Florence in 1916, and in 1925 La Rassegna Mensile di Israel. Among the first to champion the cause of Zionism in Italy and most of all the promoter of the idea of Jewish education based on the fusion between humanistic Italian culture and Jewish thought and knowledge, he translated into Italian the thinkers and writers of the Jewish national revival movement, such as Aḥad Ha-Am, Hess, Pinsker, Bialik, and Buber. He taught Hebrew language and literature at the Institute for Oriental Languages in Rome. From 1933 Lattes served on the board of Unione delle Comunità israelitiche italiane, and in 1936 he was one of the founders of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva. In 1939 he immigrated to Palestine with his family. He came back to Italy in 1948, where he again edited and directed the Rassegna Mensile di Israel, which had been suppressed in 1938, until he died. From 1952 to 1956 he was the vice president of Unione delle Comunità israelitiche italiane. His works include l'Apologia dell' Ebraismo (1923), Il Sionismo (1928), and commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Through his writings, Lattes became a teacher and guide to three generations of Jews in Italy, but his role was barely recognized by the Italian Jewish establishment.


Roth, Italy, 508; Milano, Italia, index. add. bibliography: A. Segre, "Alcune note biografiche," in: rmi, 42:9–10 (1976), 15–21; D. Bidussa, A. Luzzatto, and G. Luzzatto Voghera, Oltre il ghetto. Momenti e figure della cultura ebraica in Italia tra l'Unità e il fascismo (1992).

[Federica Francesconi (2nd ed.)]