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The Holocaust in Italian Culture

Tom Rachman, Robert Gordon


Fascist Italy was the model for Nazi Germany, and Mussolini Hitler’s prime World War Two ally. Italy was a theatre of war and a victim of Nazi persecution after 1943 as resistance, collaboration and civil war raged. Many thousands were deported to concentration camps across Europe. But how did Italy deal with unresolved questions about the Holocaust?

After the war, Italian culture produced a vast array of stories, images, and debate through which it sought to come to terms with what had happened. Looking at examples from literature and film, from Primo Levi and Natalia Ginzburg to Francesco Rosi and Roberto Benigni and the capital city Rome itself, Robert Gordon explores how Italian culture has confronted, or failed to confront, the darkest moment of 20th century history.

Tom Rachman

Tom Rachman is an English/Canadian writer/correspondent. He has worked for The Associated Press in New York and the International Herald Tribune in Paris. His debut novel The Imperfectionists was set in a fictional international newspaper headquartered in Rome. He is working on a second novel.

Robert Gordon

Robert Gordon is Professor of Theatre and Director of the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London where in 2003 he introduced the first British MA in Musical Theatre for producers and writers. With David Peimer, he has been working on Decolonising Shakespeare, a practice research project, of which this piece forms a part.