Italian Jewish Culture in Denver

The culture of Italian Jewry is unlike any other Jewish culture in the world.  Their history goes back more than 2000 years to before the first exile from Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple.  As part of the American Association of Italian Studies conference, Jewish Studies, French and Italian, and the CU Art Museum are proud to be hosting a Weekend of 20th century Italian Jewish Culture.

Focusing on the fascist period and World War II, the weekend will feature a lecture on the history of the fascist regime’s concentration camps and a music program inspired by Leone and Natalia Ginzburg’s antifascist activity.

On Saturday at noon, historian Carlo Spartaco Capogreco,  leading expert on Mussolini’s concentration camps, will present a lecture on Ferramonti, the largest camp established in 1940 to intern political prisoners, enemy aliens and Jews from countries that practiced racial persecution.

Among Ferramonti’s internees were many artists, including the draftsman and bookplate maker Michel Fingesten, the feature of Davide Stimilli’s presentation. After his introduction to the life and work of Fingesten, Stimilli will take visitors on a tour of the small exhibition that he, along with Jewish Studies and Italian graduating senior Ari Browne, curated.

Saturday afternoon two panels will explore aspects of 19th century Italian Jewish culture. The day will close with The Ginzburg Geography, an evening of music by Jewlia Eisenberg and Charming Hostess. The concert is based on the life and work of Natalia and Leone Ginzburg.  Eisenberg created a sonic map of the places where the couple lived through the war years: Turin, Pizzoli, and Rome. The Ginzburg Geography refers to specifically physical locations, but also resonates with the actions and relationships associated with those places, allowing a sense-memory of places in time.  The concert features little known music  outside Italy that inspired postwar generations’ yearning for freedom.

Organized by the Department of French and Italian, the Program in Jewish Studies, and the CU Art Museum. Co-sponsored by the Centro Primo Levi of New York, Instituto Italiano di Cultura di Chicago, and the Ida Fund. Phillip Bohlman’s visit co-sponsored by the College of Music and the Program in Jewish Studies


RSVP to for location and pre-circulated reading

Saturday, March 28, 12:00 pm- 1:00 pm | UMC Gallery
Carlo Spartaco CapogrecoFrom Internment to Deportation: The fascist Concentration Camps and the Jews in Italy During the Second World War

Saturday, March 28,  1:00 pm– 1:30 pm
Davide StimilliBetter to Die on One’s Feet than Live on One’s Knees: Life and Times of Michel Fingesten – Tour of Michel Fingesten Exhibition

Saturday, March 28,  2:00 pm -3:15 pm  |  UMC, Aspen Room
Jewish Studies Caucus: Nazione ebrea e nuova Italia
Chair: L. Scott Lerner (Franklin & Marshall College)
Sergio di Benedetto (Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano): “Considerazioni attorno a un glossario beniveniano ebraico-latino”
Alessandro Grazi (Independent Scholar): “Jewish Secularization Modes and Nation-Building in Nineteenth-Century Italy as Reflected in the Life and Oeuvre of David Levi.”
Tatiana Zavodny (University of California, San Diego): “(Dis)Unity in the Risorgimento: Kidnapping Italo-Judaic Identity.”

Saturday, March 28,  3:30 pm -4:45pm  |  UMC 382
Organizer: L. Scott Lerner (Franklin & Marshall College)
Chair and Respondent: David Shneer (University of Colorado)
Scott Lerner (Franklin & Marshall College): “Massimo D’Azeglio on Jewish and Italian Regeneration: A Reconsideration.”
Gabriella Romani (Seton Hall University): “Speaking to a National Body of Readers: Italian Jewish Writers in Post-Unification Italy.”

Musical performance

Saturday, March 28, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm  |  Glenn Miller Ballroom (Middle Section)
Monday, March 30,  7:00 pm – 9:30 pm  |  Old Main Theater
The Ginzburg Geography: A Sonic Exploration of Italian Antifascism
Concert with Jewlia Eisenberg and Charming Hostess





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