Tag Archives: internment

Researching Italians in Australia: war and internment

123063Among the sources of funds which postgraduate researchers can apply for are scholarships offered by the National Archives of Australia/Australian Historical Association to cover the costs of copying records held in the Archives. A recent winner is Mia Spizzica, a PhD candidate at Monash University, whose research is concerned with the experience of Italians interned in Australia during the Second World War. The loss of the breadwinners –  some 5000 men were interned after Italy declared war on Britain and France in June 1940 – had a serious impact on their families so that the consequences of wartime security measures extended directly or indirectly to some 30,000 Italians. Continue reading

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Italian Jewish experiences under Fascism

310+Nuw6I-L._Mirna Cicioni’s recent talk on Primo Levi’s brief time in the Resistance is a reminder how important and controversial the examination of the period remains, particularly as far as the experience of Italian Jews under Fascism is concerned. Stuart Woolf’s substantial review (Passato e presente, 2013, XXXI, 90, 131-143) of the diary of a young lawyer from Ferrara, Nino Contini, between 1940 and 1943 offers a wealth of detail on life in the internment camps and al confino, especially on the relations established between the confinati and their involuntary but far from unwelcoming local hosts. It includes very useful bibliographic references and marks the appearance of a significant addition to the well-known accounts by Carlo Levi and Cesare Pavese of their experiences as confinati in southern Italy.

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The Internment Diaries of Mario Sardi

booksIlma Martinuzzi O’Brien will present her most recent book, The Internment Diaries of Mario Sardi, on Wednesday 7 May at 6.30pm at the Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053. The event will be introduced by Tony Pagliaro. It’s free and will conclude with a Q&A session and book signing. Please signal your intention to attend here or by phone (0393499021).

During the Second World War 4,855 Australian residents of Italian origin were interned under the National Security Act. This represented one-fifth of the total number of Australians of Italian origin. However, seventy years later the internment story is not well remembered except by those families whose loved ones were snatched unexpectedly and imprisoned during the war.

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