Tag Archives: war

Il plotone perduto: il 26 marzo 1944

Il 26 marzo del 1944, settantacinque anni fa, quindici soldati italoamericani furono trucidati dai nazisti ad Ameglia in Liguria dopo il fallimento di una missione di sabotaggio. Un episodio quasi trascurato dagli storici: e i quindici soldati sono ricordati solo da una lapide in un borgo remoto. Il 26 marzo, al Centro Studi Americani di Roma (via Caetani 32), si è tenuto un convegno con dibattito e approfondimento della storia del “plotone perduto” con interventi dello storico Massimo Teodori, il Procuratore generale della Corte militare d’appello, Marco De Paolis, il vicedirettore di Repubblica, Gianluca Di Feo, il vicedirettore di Rai Cultura, Giuseppe Giannotti, e il presidente della Oss Society, Charles Pinck. La Repubblica (Rep) ha raccontato il massacro, con una versione anche in inglese.

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Hidden Lives: Australia’s Italians 1939-45

A dark chapter in Australia’s wartime history has often been minimised or overlooked in mainstream accounts. Hidden Lives: War, Internment and Australia’s Italians (2018), edited by Mia Spizzica, contains scholarly essays and testimonials which offer  new insights into the experiences of Italian Australians during World War 2. It is the first such compilation by authors from northern, central, and southern Italian provinces and from five Australian States. Although each story is unique, the authors share language, history, values and a profound sense of Italianness, as well as a connection to their Australian selves. These essays and narratives consider the often-unintended negative consequences of war and show our commonalities through personal struggles and a fundamental human resilience.

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Iris Origo remembered

In the latest issue  (8 February 2018) of the London Review of Books there’s a long review of Iris Origo’s The Merchant of Prato. Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City, first published in English in 1957, translated into Italian with an introduction by Luigi Einaudi in 1958 and now republished in English as a Penguin Classic. Its republication accompanies the reappearance of several of Origo’s books in 2017 thanks to the Pushkin Press: her well-known War in Val d’Orcia (1947; translated into Italian in 1968 with a preface by Piero Calamandrei), the previously unpublished A Chill in the Air dealing with the years 1939-1940, and her autobiography Images and Shadows: Part of a Life (1970).  Those three books convey brilliantly not only her family ancestry in Ireland and the USA but also her life in Italy; she grew up in Fiesole and moved to La Foce in southern Tuscany when she married Antonio Origo in 1924. La Foce was an unpromising half-ruined estate in the Val d’Orcia, 3500 hectares cultivated by mezzadri in 57 poor farms, which she and her husband determined, successfully,  to revive. Her books on Bernardino da Siena, Byron and Leopardi may have slipped from sight; but the accounts she left of her wartime years in La Foce are a lasting testimony to survival and solidarity in conditions of capricious power, lawlessness and extreme danger.

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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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Al di là di Trieste: una letteratura di confine ancora poco nota

Gregoria Manzin   University of Melbourne

9781780885711La questione del confine orientale italiano pare ai più una disputa ormai conclusa e lontana nel tempo. In realtà la situazione di questi territori e delle genti istro-dalmate qui risiedenti rimase in sospeso fino al 1975, anno in cui vennero ratificati i confini tra l’Italia e la Iugoslavia con il Trattato di Osimo. Le discussioni sul confine tra le due nazioni si erano aperte alla conferenza di pace di Parigi del 1946. Al fine di risolvere le discrepanze tra la proposta americana e quella sovietica si optò per un compromesso territoriale. Rimaneva all’Italia la parte più occidentale della Venezia Giulia con le cittadine di Gorizia e Monfalcone, mentre per Trieste, città “perla” della regione, si propose la creazione del Territorio Libero di Trieste (TLT) sotto l’amministrazione delle Nazioni Unite.

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