Journal of Romance Studies

Whose condemned men? Witnessing, suffering and forgetting in post-Cold War Turin

Journal of Romance Studies (2009), 9, (3), 36–47.

Abstract

In recent years increased academic attention has been paid to the Catholic Church and its complicated role in relation to Fascism and the Holocaust in Italy. At the same time the end of the Cold War and the rise of the Right in Italian politics have challenged traditional readings of the Resistance. Within the context of these debates, this article considers a case study from Turin in which a priest’s very public witnessing of partisan events has subtly contributed to the creation of a new and heroic myth concerning the Church’s role in the Resistance at a time in which Resistance celebration was under threat. The article aims to shed light on the power of public witnessing in consolidating and constructing discourses of heroism and redemption and it focuses particularly on the mechanisms by which these public confessions and commemorations trigger elaborate forms of collective forgetting.

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Anon. (2000) Torino 1938/45: una guida per la memoria (Turin: Istituto Piemontese per la Storia della Resistenza e della Società Contemporanea). Torino 1938/45: una guida per la memoria Google Scholar

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Bertone, Enrico (2004) Quegli anni del novecento: storie di partigiani, soldati, contrabbandieri e frati (Turin: Blu). Quegli anni del novecento: storie di partigiani, soldati, contrabbandieri e frati Google Scholar

Caruth, Cathy (ed.) (1995) Trauma: Explorations in Memory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press). Trauma: Explorations in Memory Google Scholar

Cipolla, Ruggero (2008) [1951] I ‘miei’ condannati a morte (Turin: Il Punto). I ‘miei’ condannati a morte Google Scholar

Clifford, Rebecca (2008) ‘The limits of national memory: anti-fascism, the Holocaust and the Fosse Ardeatine in 1990s Italy’, Forum for Modern Languages Studies 44.2, 128–39. The limits of national memory: anti-fascism, the Holocaust and the Fosse Ardeatine in 1990s Italy Forum for Modern Languages Studies 44.2 128 39 Google Scholar

Cornwell, John (2000) Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (London: Penguin). Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Crane, Susan (2000) Museums and Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press). Museums and Memory Google Scholar

Ercole, Secondo (2004) Padre Ruggero, vocazione religiosa e carcere (Turin: Comitato nessun uomo è un’isola). Padre Ruggero, vocazione religiosa e carcere Google Scholar

Fogu, Claudio (2006) ‘Italiani brava gente: the legacy of fascist historical culture on Italian politics of memory’, in The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe, ed. Richard Ned Lebow, Wulf Kansteiner and Claudio Fogu (Durham NC: Duke University Press), 147–76. Italiani brava gente: the legacy of fascist historical culture on Italian politics of memory The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe 147 76 Google Scholar

Gordon, Robert (2006) ‘The Holocaust in Italian collective memory: Il Giorno della Memoria 27 January 2001’, Modern Italy 11.2, 167–88. The Holocaust in Italian collective memory: Il Giorno della Memoria 27 January 2001 Il Giorno della Memoria 11.2 167 88 Google Scholar

Gundle, Stephen (2000) ‘The “civic religion” of the Resistance in post-war Italy’, Modern Italy 5.2, 113–32. The “civic religion” of the Resistance in post-war Italy Modern Italy 5.2 113 32 Google Scholar

Huyssen, Andreas (2000) ‘Present pasts: media, politics, amnesia’, Public Culture 12.1, 21–38. Present pasts: media, politics, amnesia Public Culture 12.1 21 38 Google Scholar

Kertzer, David (2001) The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism (New York: Alfred Knopf ). The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism Google Scholar

Klein, Emma (2001) The Battle for Auschwitz: Catholic-Jewish Relations Under Strain (London: Valentine Mitchell). The Battle for Auschwitz: Catholic-Jewish Relations Under Strain Google Scholar

LaCapra, Dominick (1999) ‘Trauma, absence, loss’, Critical Inquiry 25, 696–727. Trauma, absence, loss Critical Inquiry 25 696 727 Google Scholar

Marcus,Millicent (2008) ‘Pina’s pregnancy, traumatic realism, and the after-life of Open City’, The Free Library (22 December), http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Pina’s pregnancy, traumatic realism, and the after-life of Open City.-a0201210005 [accessed 10 July 2009]. Google Scholar

Modras, Ronald (1991) ‘Jews and Poles: remembering at a cemetery’, in Memory Offended – The Auschwitz Convent Controversy, ed. Carol Rittner and John Roth (Westport CT: Praeger), 53–62. Jews and Poles: remembering at a cemetery Memory Offended 53 62 Google Scholar

Pavone, Claudio (1991) Una guerra civile: saggio storico sulla moralità della resistenza (Turin: Bollati e Boringhieri). Una guerra civile: saggio storico sulla moralità della resistenza Google Scholar

Phayer, Michael (2000) The Catholic Church and the Holocaust 1930-1965 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). The Catholic Church and the Holocaust 1930-1965 Google Scholar

Portelli, Alessandro (2001) L’ordine è giá stato eseguito: Roma, Fosse Ardeatine, la memoria (Rome: Donzelli). L’ordine è giá stato eseguito: Roma, Fosse Ardeatine, la memoria Google Scholar

Rentschler, Carrie (2004) ‘Witnessing: US citizenship and the vicarious experience of suffering’, Media Culture Society 26.2, 296–304. Witnessing: US citizenship and the vicarious experience of suffering Media Culture Society 26.2 296 304 Google Scholar

Ventresca, Robert (2006a) Debating the Meaning of Fascism in Contemporary Italy (London: Routledge). Debating the Meaning of Fascism in Contemporary Italy Google Scholar

Ventresca, Robert (2006b) ‘Mussolini’s ghost: Italy’s Duce in history and memory’, History and Memory 18.1, 86–119. Mussolini’s ghost: Italy’s Duce in history and memory History and Memory 18.1 86 119 Google Scholar

Verdery, Katherine (1999) The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change (New York: Columbia University Press). The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change Google Scholar

Zuccotti, Susan (2000) Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy (New Haven: Yale University Press). Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy Google Scholar

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Author details

Chiari, Eleanor