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Giorno della Memoria 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017 inspires reflections on the crisis of the European Union and the plight of refuges   

New York, NY, January 13, 2017 –  The 2017 commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, coordinated by Centro Primo Levi with the Consulate General of Italy, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Germany and the Consulate General of France, the Italian Cultural Institute, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, the Columbia University Alliance, the Italian Academy at Columbia University, CUNY’s John Calandra Italian American Institute, invite scholars to reflect on how shared and diverging memories of Nazi-Fascism, the anti-Jewish persecution and World War II challenge the idea of history and provide a lens to consider the crisis of the idea of Europe and ponder the current plight of refugees from surrounding countries.

Jan. 24: Under Glass: Museums and the Display of History

5:00-8:00 pm. NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12th Street. Free and open to the public.

The symposium will explore a specific aspect of the efforts to shape a shared European historical landscape: museums of memory and history. Speakers will discuss various museums, analyzing the circumstances in which each was either planned, completed, derailed, abandoned or kept in limbo. Is there a common thread in the impulse to portray history as museum display? What connects the debates that have engulfed the creation of many new museums of memory?

Guri Schwarz, University of Pisa, Aline Sierp (University of Maastricht), Jan Grabowski (University of Ottawa), Laure Neumayer, (University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne), Gabor Sonkoly, (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest), Anna Di Lellio, (The New School), Daniel Levy (Stony Brook University), Mark Weitzman (Simon Wiesenthal Center, IHRA).

Jan. 26: Paper Lives. The Little Known Story of Foreign Jews Interned in Italy.

5:30 pm 8:30 pm Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue. Free and open to the public.

Presentation by Anna Pizzuti

Decades ago, Anna Pizzuti, a schoolteacher, began compiling stories of the foreign Jews interned by the Fascist Regime in Italy. Starting from her own town, she created over time a comprehensive national online database, which has spurred historiographical interest worldwide in this chapter of the Shoah.

Between 1940-45 roughly 10,000 foreign Jews were interned in Italian concentration camps and confinement locations, 2,400 of which were deported to death camps. After the war the survivors emigrated mostly to the US, and in smaller numbers to Palestine. What remains of their lives are thousands of letters, petitions, and requests buried in the police archive and censorship agencies. From these records of oppression, Pizzuti conjures with a patient, compassionate, critical eye, fragments of lives, personalities, beliefs and hopes of people trapped in a limbo of abuse.

Screening of the experimental film E42 by Cynthia Madansky.

The film is centered on the story of Katja Tenenbaum, who was born in a town South of Rome where her parents were interned as foreign Jews. Casting Tenenbaum’s reflection against those of Hannah Arendt, — whose work is Tenenbaum’s focus as a scholar— the film poses questions on displacement, memory and oblivion.

Cynthia Madansky’s films integrate hybrid forms including autobiography, experimental tropes, cinema verité, dance and literature, engaging with cultural and political themes. Her recent works include 1+8, a video on the borders of Turkey co-directed with Angelika Brudniak.

Jan. 27 Ceremony of the Reading of the Names.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, in front of the Consulate General Of Italy 690 Park Avenue

Annual public reading of all the names of the Jews deported from Italy and Italian territories. Together with the attack on citizens’ rights and the progressive dispossession of Italians of Jewish religion, Italy also persecuted Jews who had arrived in Italy as migrants, expatriate and refugees. In 1938 many of them became stateless. Archival remnants of their journeys through the years of persecution and war will be read during the ceremony.


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