Fiorello La Guardia

La Guardia in 1940, by Fred Palumbo; at New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, Library of Congress

Birth Name: Fiorello Enrico Raeffaelo Laguardia

Date of Birth: December 11, 1882

Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York, New York, United States

Date of Death: September 20, 1947

Place of Death: Riverdale, The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.

*Italian (father)
*Sephardi Jewish (mother)

Fiorello La Guardia was an American politician and attorney. He served as Mayor of New York City, from January 1, 1934 to December 31, 1945. He was also a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, from March 4, 1917 to December 31, 1919, and again, from March 4, 1923 to March 3, 1933; President of the New York City Board of Aldermen, from January 1, 1920 to December 31, 1921; and Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, from April 1, 1946 to December 31, 1946. He was a member of the Republican Party and, from 1924 to 1934, the Progressive Party, among a multitude of other political affiliations.

Fiorello was the son of Irene Luzzatto (Coen) and Achille Luigi Carlo La Guardia. His father was an Italian composer, from Cerignola, Provincia di Foggia, Apulia, and was a non-practicing Catholic. His mother was from Trieste in northeast Italy, and was of an Italian Jewish background. Fiorello’s parents married in Trieste. Fiorello was a polyglot, being able to speak seven languages, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, and Yiddish.

His sister was writer Gemma La Guardia Gluck. She was interned at the Ravensbrück concentration camp while in Europe, and her husband died in the Mauthausen camp.

Fiorello was raised an Episcopalian (Protestant) and practiced that religion.

He was married to secretary Marie Fisher, until his death. He had a daughter with his late wife Thea Almerigotti, to whom he was married until her death; and two children, who were adopted, with Marie.

Fiorello’s paternal grandfather was Raffaele La Guardia/LaGuardia (the son of Pietro La Guardia and Colomba Ziccardi). Colomba was the daughter of Giacomo Ziccardi and Rachele Apicella.

Fiorello’s paternal grandmother was named Rosa Di Maria/De Maria.

Fiorello’s maternal grandfather was named Abramo/Abram Isacco Coen (the son of Moisè Coen). Abramo was born in Split, Općina Split, Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

Fiorello’s maternal grandmother was named Fiorina Luzzatto. Fiorina was born in Trieste, and was a member of the prestigious Italian Jewish Luzzatto family of scholars, kabbalists, and poets. She had among her relatives the famous rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto. Fiorello was named after her.

Sources: Birth record of Fiorello La Guardia –

Genealogy of Fiorello H. La Guardia –

Obituaries of Fiorello and his parents –

Information about Fiorello’s father (in Italian) –

2 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    the tag “Croatian Jewish” does not make much sense to me. His mother, whose family was Sephardi Jewish, was born in Fiume, which was an Italian town under Austria-Hungary Empire. Fiume is now part of Croatia and it’s called Rijeka.

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