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The Historical UncannyDisability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory$
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Susanne C. Knittel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262786

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262786.001.0001

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Black Holes and Revelations

Black Holes and Revelations

The Risiera, the Foibe, and the Making of an “Italian Tragedy”

(p.175) Chapter Five Black Holes and Revelations
The Historical Uncanny

Susanne C. Knittel

Fordham University Press

Chapter 5 focuses on two memorials in Trieste, the Risiera di San Sabba, a former Nazi-Fascist death camp, and the Foiba di Basovizza, which commemorates the killing of Italian civilians by Yugoslav partisans at the end of the Second World War. The chapter shows how the memory associated with the one is consistently pitched against the other, in an on-going “memory war” that serves ultimately to preserve the status quo and to prevent an engagement with the legacy of Fascism and with questions of Italian guilt and collaboration. Furthermore, these competing memories, embodied in two commemorative days—the Giorno della memoria (January 27), which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, and the Giorno del ricordo(February 10), which commemorates the victims of the foibe killings and the Istrian exodus—have become instruments in a political struggle to define Italy's national character and common memory. The political right, in particular has sought to promote the foibe killings as the “true” Italian tragedy of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Risiera di San Sabba, Foiba di Basovizza, Giorno della memoria, Giorno del ricordo, Foibe, Fascism

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