A few drops of water sprinkled on a child’s feverish forehead and the words of baptism secretly muttered by a servant girl unsure of the rite. What incident could be more meager? Yet the words were muttered and the forehead moistened in a Jewish household in Bologna, still a papal state in the 1850s. And so six-year-old Edgardo, who had easily recovered from his illness, was taken from his parents, Momolo and Marianna Mortara, when their...
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