Français | English

Laboratoire italien. Politique et société, n°24/2020

Écritures de la déportation

Edited by Enrico Mattioda

Laboratoire italien

Deportation literature

Beyond Primo Levi's well-known contributions on the topic, a significant number of other men and women have provided a literary testimony from Italy on the experience of the Holocaust and the Deportation. Beginning in 1945, a number of these testimonies were narrated by women from other countries who chose Italian as the language to recount the experience of the Lager. These women insisted on treating topics like the deformation of the body, food, their relationships with their mothers and the refusal of motherhood. We also have narratives from individuals who, as children, were secretly hidden in order to save their lives. Unique stories, like that of Luce d’Eramo, who purposely chose to experience the horrors of life in an extermination camp, or Helga Schneider, who discovered she was the daughter of a Nazi war criminal, can also be found amongst these narratives. Beyond autobiography, different literary genres, including fiction, were used by political deportees to shed light on their experiences, while the reportages from the Warsaw ghetto and the novels on the round-up in the Rome ghetto also contributed to introduce the Holocaust into the Italian cultural memory. It seems important to come back to these topics in this day and age when historical truth is being questioned by racism and post-truth rhetoric.