Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
May 1, 2019
4:30pm - 6:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
By September 1943, half a million Italian soldiers were taken prisoners by
the Allies and interned in prisoner of war (POW) camps in Africa. Most of them were not
repatriated to Italy until 1946–1947 and Italy chose to efface this part of
its history right at the end of WWII. In its reconstruction as a Western democracy, only the POWs returning from the Eastern Front could be
memorialized. No room was left for those imprisoned by the Allies,
particularly for those kept in East Africa.
investigates how Italian prisoners detained in British camps in East
Africa between 1940 and 1947 escaped the trauma of captivity through the
performing and visual arts, teaching and discussing authors like
Machiavelli and Dante, writing journals, building theaters, and staging
opera productions, musical theater, and plays.