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 has worked as an actor, director and playwright in the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Italy, USA and Czech Republic, and is author of Red Earth, a play about women under apartheid, and Waterloo Road. He is author of The Purpose of Playing: Modern Acting Theory in Perspective (2006), Harold Pinter’s Theatre of Power (2012) and British Musical Theatre Since 1950 (2016) with Olaf Jubin and Millie Taylor. He has also edited three collections on musical theatre for OUP. As Professor of Theatre and Director of the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, he introduced the first British MA in Musical Theatre. For the Pinter Centre, he devised and co-directed Pinter: In Other Rooms, which toured European cities. Shylock Speaks is part of a 10-year creative research project, Decolonising Shakespeare, which aims to confront present-day racism as the legacy of European anti-Semitism and colonialism.