Days of Memory includes stories told by Jewish Italians and others about their experience of living through Fascism and the Second World War in Italy.
As I learned their individual stories in the context of the bigger history, often meeting people in their homes – in Rome, Milan, Venice, Umbria – I also began to meet Italians of the next generation, those who are working to save and protect these elders’ memories – a historian, an archivist, an architect. I include one well-known historian’s story alongside the interviews with those who lived during that time.
And I began to understand something about memory itself, including the precariousness of memory keeping, especially in the digital age.
In this book, I connect their stories with a chronicle of my journey of discovery.
The project takes place from 2000 to 2018. Its heart is a period in 2007, when I lived in Milan under the auspices of a Fulbright grant, studying at the Center for the Documentation of Contemporary Jewish History (CDEC). The manuscript is now complete.
This photo is of Graziella Viterbi, a young Jewish woman who survived with her family in occupied Italy by obtaining false identity documents, in Assisi, Italy. Graziella was originally from Padua, stayed in Assisi during the occupation, and spent much of her life in Rome, always keeping this Assisi apartment, until 1997. She died in 2019.
Graziella Viterbi says, “About the photos… Those of the time of Padua were all lost during the persecution. Among the others, I chose the one I send you. It was taken just after the liberation of Assisi and I am in the room in the house where we were saved. I think that is meaningful!“