Italian Fascist Youth Group: Colonial Groups--Membership


Figure 1.--We do not have much information about the Italian youth groups in their colonies. The boys wear the uniform of the Arabic Youth of Littorio (Gioventý Araba del Littorio), from north Africa (Libya). (The Eastern African unifirm had adifferent fez.) The boys here seem to be both Africans and Italians. The Italian-looking boys are probably Arabs. The photograph, interestingly was published in a German book for Hitler Youth boys.

We are unsure about the membership of the Italian colonial youth groups. The Balilla was a mass organization with all Italian children required to participate. I don't think this was true in the Italian colonies, although Albania may have been different. We suspect that the members of the youth groups in the Italian African colonies may have been the children of families connected with the colonial regime. This would mean employess or members of the Italian security/military forces. Or perhaps children living in the principal cities. Our information here, however, is very limited. One question we have abould these colonial groups is if there were mixed membership of colonial and Italian boys. There were Italian colonists in the various Italian colonies, especially Libya. An Italian reader writes, "Perhaps there were mixed groups of Balillas, but I don't have information. After the vile racial law, issued by the Fascist regime in 1938, that could have been improbable." We are also not sure about the size of these colonial groups. Were there just a few units organized an uniformed or was their large-scale recruitment of boys in the colonies. We do not know at this time. Even in Italy, only about half the children joined the youth movement. We suspect in the colonies, the proprtion was much lower.

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Created: 3:12 AM 1/21/2007
Last updated: 8:11 PM 1/21/2007