‘La Grande Storia. Dalle leggi razziali alla Shoah’ (The Great History. From racial laws to the Shoah)
12 October 2008
(ID Teca: F394280) Broadcast on 12th October 2008 on Rai Tre, the episode from which these four excerpts are taken is entirely built on the testimonies of the Italian survivors of the anti-Semitic persecution. Such recent emphasis on the collection of memories of witnesses, to be interviewed "before it is too late", is justified listening to the words of Ferruccio D'Angeli and Cesare Finzi, who vividly restore the impact of what happened, as well as Liliana Segre (ten years before being appointed senator for life), which attributes a much greater responsibility to Italian society than the one previously widespread (as seen for example in the aforementioned collection of 1986 "The courage and piety").
12 October 2008
(Teca ID: F394280) Ferruccio D'Angeli
12 October 2008
(ID Teca: F394280) Cesare Finzi
La cultura fascista (The fascist culture)
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Il Mulino. The title of the Italian translation is misleading. The original (Fascist modernities) more faithfully reflects the author’s intention not to examine the entire spectrum of Italian culture under fascism, or even just the cultural fields in which the regime entered to support, control or finance, but to analyze the regime’s attempt to generate a new intellectual model and to coin a new form of collective identity through the channels of mass communication. Nevertheless, it is one of the most innovative contributions of the historiography on fascism of those years. Particularly interesting for the perspective on cinema, the volume of Ben-Ghiat has marked a watershed: in the following years the cultural dimension of the dictatorship will be massively rediscovered thanks to the renewed interest of historians, media historians and art historians.
Roma capitale del nazionalismo (1908-1923 - Rome capital of nationalism)
Adriano Roccucci, Archivio Guido Izzi. Since the seventies of the twentieth century, research on fascism on a local scale has been a successful, rich in ideas and often fundamental to understand the different forms of dictatorship, from its origins to the years of consensus, in the Peninsula. Roccucci’s volume is part of this tradition, but it offers a more complex and deeper look. The nationalist movement that is the protagonist was a precursor, then a competitor, then a subordinate supporter of the most aggressive and unscrupulous fascist movement, which took the charge of violence and radical break with the liberal order, and then ended up absorbing it.
Alleati di Hitler. Le Regie Forze Armate, il regime fascista e la guerra del 1940-43 (Allies of Hitler. The Royal Armed Forces, the fascist regime and the war of 1940-43)
MacGregor Knox, Garzanti. The armed forces and military policies have always represented a sort of stone banquet in the historiography of Italian fascism. A paradoxical emptiness, considered the symbolic weight of the imperial force and ambitions during the regime, yet lasting even among the most famous historians (De Felice, for example), with few exceptions. In this volume, MacGregor Knox examines the Italian unpreparedness in the face of modern war by critically deconstructing the defects due to a deep economic backwardness, but also calling into question the failure of the cultural mobilization of a regime that had made the warrior myth its characteristic figure.
La politica delle armi. Il ruolo dell’esercito nell’avvento del fascismo (The politics of arms. The role of the army in the advent of fascism)
Marco Mondini, Laterza. Since the establishment of the first Mussolini government in the autumn of 1922, many witnesses accused the army of having favoured (if not caused) the advent of dictatorship by betraying its duty to the legitimate state (Gaetano Salvemini spoke explicitly of a military conspiracy). Nevertheless, those who dealt with the origins of the regime were never concerned to clarify the responsibilities of the armed forces in the political struggle of those years, nor to ascertain the origins of this anomalous interference in public life (Italian officials were traditionally loyalists and monarchists). With the exception of a study by Giorgio Rochat in 1967, now obsolete, Mondini’s volume is the only research that addresses, both in terms of political and cultural history, the post-war military, their role in the genesis of the dictatorship and their adherence to the regime.
Camicie nere, camicie brune. Milizie fasciste in Italia e in Germania (Black shirts, brown shirts. Fascist militias in Italy and Germany)
Sven Reichardt, Il Mulino. Partial translation of the original German, taken from the author’s doctoral thesis, this volume, full-bodied and rich in archival data, is a stimulating comparative history of political (failed) violence post-war transition process in the Weimar Republic and liberal Italy. Although enriched later by other studies, both on the climate of undeclared civil war in Germany (the very recent 1923 by Mark Jones, dedicated to the attempted putsch of Hitler that year, for example) and on the Italian case, and although not immune from some simplification, the volume of Reichardt remains the best synthesis on the history of the fascist squadrismo until the march on Rome.
Culture and politics
The "Holocaust Remembrance Day" is instituted by law in memory of the Shoah, of the extermination and persecution of the Jewish people and of the Italian military and political deportees to Nazi camps. The Italian Parliament chooses the date of 27th of January, the day of the demolition of the Auschwitz gates in 1945. The proposal of the deputy Furio Colombo to celebrate the day on 16th of October in memory of the roundup of over 1000 people from the Rome ghetto (including newborns and elderly) which would have pointed the finger at the responsibilities of many Italians in the capture and extermination of Jews.
The President of the Republic Ciampi visits Kefalonia where he recalls the massacre of 5,000 officers and soldiers of the Acqui Division, shot by the German army for refusing to hand over the weapons, after the armistice of 8th September 1943. For the President, it is the "first act of the Italian Resistance". A resistance interpreted as a choral phenomenon, such as the union of the Italian people with the armed forces. In Ciampi’s vision, September 8 does not mark the "death of the homeland" but the moment of the redemption of the Italian people from the shame of fascism and the tragedy of the Second World War.
On 17th April, President Ciampi and the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau, meet in Marzabotto to remember the victims of the Nazi massacre (770 civilians, almost all women and children). The meeting marks an important step in the reconciliation between Italy and Germany, two countries which have fought each other, responsible for serious war crimes, and which reaffirm the need for brotherhood among the peoples of Europe.
During his trip to Israel, visiting the Yad Vashem, Gianfranco Fini (leader of the National Alliance and Deputy Prime Minister in the Berlusconi government) speaks of "fascism as an absolute evil". Recalling the 6 million Jews, looted of property, deprived of civil rights, persecuted, deported and sent to die in the concentration camps, Fini speaks of "infamous racial laws" and denounces the climate of "indifference, complicity and cowardice" of "many Italians who in 1938 did nothing to react".
A law of the Italian Parliament establishes the "Remembrance Day" in memory of the victims of foibe and Italians exiles from Istria and Dalmatia, to be celebrated every 10th February. The date is chosen in controversy with those Peace Treaties (signed in Paris on 10 February 1947) that had assigned Istria, the Carnaro, the city of Zadar with its province and most of Venezia Giulia (formerly part of Italy) to Yugoslavia.
The film "A voce alta", an adaptation of Bernhard Schlink’s bestseller Der Vorleser, which reopened the debate in Germany on the burden of blame and responsibility of the German people, is released in theaters, for the rise and acceptance of the criminal policies of Nazism. The film talks about the difficulties that generations of Germans had in the post-war period in dealing with the persecution and extermination of Jews.