Presenters: Consulate General of Italy in New York, Italian Cultural Institute, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, Italian Academy at Columbia University, Calandra Italian American Institute at CUNY, Centro Primo
Presenters: Consulate General of Italy in New York, Italian Cultural Institute, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, Italian Academy at Columbia University, Calandra Italian American Institute at CUNY, Centro Primo Levi New York.
All programs are free and open to the public. No reservation is required. Thank you for your participation.
January 24 at 6:00 pm
IL RAGAZZO DI VIA SACCHI (2011) a film by Francesco Momberti
Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue, NYC
Post-screening discussion: Guri Schwarz (University of Pisa) and Tullio Levi (former president of the Jewish Community of Turin)
Emanuele Artom was a young anti-Fascist raised in Turin who joined the Resistance in the “Giustizia e Libertà“ brigades. He was deeply concerned with democratic culture and the Jewish tradition. In 1944 he was captured by the Italian SS and savagely murdered. After a hasty burial, his body was never found. For years historians have tried to understand why. This documentary attempts to reconstruct Artom’s intellectual and political journey within the ranks of clandestine resistance, through the voice of those who met him and through his diary. The narrating voice is Artom’s own journal, in which the ideas of the Italian anti-fascist opposition become a testament for a future society.
January 28 – 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Consulate General of Italy, 690 Park Av. bet 68th & 69th St.
Join the Consul General of Italy, Natalia Quintavalle, for the ceremony of the reading of the names of the Jews deported from Italy and the Italian territories.
January 31 at 6:30 pm
REHABILITATING WAR CRIMINALS. THE MONUMENT TO RODOLFO GRAZIANI
Calandra Italian American Institute at CUNY, 24 West 43rd Street, 17th fl.
Lidia Santarelli (Brown University), Yemane Demissie (New York University). Moderator: Andrea Fiano (journalist and former Chairman of CPL). Respondent Girma Abebe, Former Counselor, (Ethiopian Delegation to the UN). Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause
A political clash is growing in Italy after the dedication of a memorial to Fascist commander Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, a convicted war criminal. Graziani was honored with a mausoleum and a memorial park, all built at taxpayers’ expense, in a village south of Rome. He was notorious as Benito Mussolini’s military commander in the colonial wars in Ethiopia and Libya, where he carried out massacres and used chemical weapons against the local population.
[BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19267099].
Associations including ANED (Italian Association of Deportees), ANPI (Association of Resistance Partisans) and UCEI (Union of the Italian Jewish Communities) have made formal requests to remove the mausoleum. This roundtable will discuss Graziani’s role under fascism, rehabilitation attempts of Fascist war leaders in Italy and public opposition to this political trend.
Historian of Italian colonialism Lidia Santarelli will discuss Graziani’s role in Italian colonialist wars in Africa as well as his interventions in domestic politics. The panel will also address the failure of international sanctions and protests against the first use of poison gas against civilians. Ethiopian filmmaker Yemane Demissie will show and comment his documentary work on Ethiopian survivors of the 1937 massacre ordered by Graziani.
February 5 at 6:30 pm
Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12th Street, NYC
THE ITALIAN SHOAH: BEYOND NATIONAL MYTHOLOGY
Federico Finchelstein (The NEw School), Susan Zuccotti (author of The Italians and the Holocaust, contributor to the anthology), Franklin Hugh Adler (Macalester College).
“Se comprendere è impossibile, conoscere è necessario perché ciò che è accaduto può ritornare, le coscienze possono nuovamente essere sedotte ed oscurate: anche le nostre”. (Primo Levi)
The new two volume box set The History of the Shoah in Italy completes and updates the History of the Shoah in 5 volumes published by UTET in 2005 and aims at shedding new light on the Shoah in Italy, while the previous set explored this topic at the European level.
Only in recent years has historiography begun to identify more accurately the specific Italian responsibilities in the persecution of the Jews and the forms racial prejudice took in fascist Italy. It has also focused on how conflicts over supremacy between Italy and Germany played a role in their respective attitudes and policies towards race, religion and colonialism. This collection offers a broad overview of the most recent historiographical and documentary resources on fascist Italy, contextualizing it in the broader setting of the European experience.
February 7 at 5:30 pm
“THE UNFIT”: DISABILITY UNDER NAZISM AND FASCISM
Italian Academy at Columbia University, Amsterdam Avenue bet. 116 & 118 St.
Patricia Heberer (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), Giving a Face to Faceless Victims: Profiles of Disabled Victims of the Nazi “Euthanasia” Program; Susan Bachrach (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race; David Forgacs (New York University), Photographing Places of Social Exclusion
Forced sterilization in Germany was the forerunner of the systematic killing of the mentally ill and the handicapped. In October 1939, Hitler promulgated a decree, which empowered physicians to grant a “mercy death” to “patients considered incurable”. This proved a way for the Nazi regime to begin exterminating the mentally ill and the handicapped, thus “cleansing” the “Aryan” race of persons considered genetically defective and a financial burden to society.
The code name for the program was “Operation T4,” a reference to Tiergartenstrasse 4, the address of the Berlin Chancellery offices where the program was headquartered. Physicians, the most highly Nazified professional group in Germany, were key to the success of “T-4,” since they organized and carried out nearly, all aspects of the operation.
Those selected by the review commission of physicians and psychiatrists were bused to killing centers in Germany and Austria. These were walled-in fortresses, mostly former psychiatric hospitals, castles, and a former prison. In the beginning, patients were killed by lethal injection. But by 1940, Hitler, on the advice of Dr. Werner Heyde, suggested that carbon monoxide gas be used as the preferred method of killing. Experimental gas killings had first been carried out at Brandenburg Prison in 1939.
Between 1938 and 1945, European Nazi and Fascist regimes and their supporters annihilated millions of Jews, thousands of homosexuals, handicapped, mentally ill and gypsies, which they had labeled as “strangers,” “unwanted,” and “subhuman”. Prejudice and racial hatred cut short the lives of millions of individuals and devastated the societies in which this crime was perpetrated. On January 27, 1945 the Soviet Army entered and liberated the extermination camp of Auschwitz, starting the liberation process.
This date was chosen in the year 2000 to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to promote the fight against racism. Following the efforts of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, Research and the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, Italy, Germany, and France established it as a day of national observance. They were joined in this by all of the countries of the European Union and the United Nations.
Between 1938 and 1939 about 15,000 Italian Jews fled the country or converted. 9,000 foreign Jews who had settled in Italy, some in the 1920s, but most after 1933, were expelled. In 1940 the remaining 6,000 foreign Jews were interned in camps and remote locations. In 1943, approximately 8,600 Jews were deported to Nazi extermination camps, with the collaboration of the fascist police. Only 12% survived. The Church and many ordinary people, which previously had raised no opposition to racial persecution, offered countless examples of solidarity towards the Jews, at the risk of their lives. At the same time, the cooperation of local informants and the Italian authorities provided an indispensable aid that made it possible to conduct the arrests of thousands of Italian Jews.
Liliana Picciotto of the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan is still at work on her long term research on the victims of the Shoah in Italy. www.nomidellashoah.it
Main resources on Italian Fascism, anti-Jewish prejudice and the persecution and deportation of the Jews in Italy:
CDEC, Milano: www.cdec.it
YAD VASHEM, http://www.yadvashem.org/
The Italian Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Shoah Foundation and Judaica Europeana maintains two important educational portals:
The Italian national broadcasting company RAI provides the following resources in Italian that can be used by schools and universities worldwide: