Memories of a Massacre: A Dialogue with Alessandro Portelli on the 80th Anniversary of the Fosse Ardeatine in Rome

2:00 pm
Event Status
As Scheduled
In occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome, oral historian Alessandro Portelli will lead a discussion of his book, The Order Has Been Carried Out (2003), a seminal work that challenged long held assumptions about the event. On March 23, 1944, during the Nazi occupation of Rome, a partisan unit detonated a bomb in Via Rasella that killed thirty-three German police officials. In the span of a day, the Germans retaliated by killing 335 Italian civilians in an abandoned quarry outside of Rome known as the Fosse Ardeatine. Following the massacre, a false narrative emerged that the Germans had carried out the reprisal only after the partisans failed to turn themselves in. Portelli's book examines the struggle over the memory of this event, as well as key assumptions about Rome, the German occupation, and war using oral testimony from two hundred interviews. We are using this conversation as an occasion not only to remember the events of Fosse Ardeatine but also to discuss the production of knowledge about traumatic events, as well as the meanings and ellipses present in collective memory. By conducting a critical inquiry into the narratives surrounding the massacre with Portelli, we will explore how to identify and challenge our assumptions and biases about histories we think we know well. We will investigate the role of dialogue in oral testimony--the foundational importance of the relationship between and interviewer and their subject--and how Portelli shaped The Order around this dialogue. Moderated by Rachel Love, Department of French and Italian.
Hybrid event
Sennot Square Room 4127
Event Type
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