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VIA RASELLA, 1944: MEMORY, TRUTH, AND HISTORY

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2001

JOHN FOOT
Affiliation:
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Abstract

L'ordine è già stato eseguito: Roma, le Fosse Ardeatine, la memoria. By Alessandro Portelli. Rome: Donzelli, 1999. Pp. vii+448. ISBN 88-7989-457-9. L.50.000.

The battle of Valle Giulia: oral history and the art of dialogue. By A. Portelli. Wisconsin: Wisconsin: University Press, 1997. Pp. xx+354. ISBN 0-299-15374-6. $21.95. [Inc. ‘The massacre at Civitella Val di Chiana (Tuscany, June 29, 1944): Myth and politics, mourning and common sense’, in The Battle of Valle Giulia, by A. Portelli, pp. 140–60.]

Operazione Via Rasella: verità e menzogna: i protagonisti raccontano. By Rosario Bentivegna (in collaboration with Cesare De Simone). Rome: Riuniti, 1996. Pp. 147. ISBN 88-359-4171-7. L.6.900.

La memoria divisa. By Giovanni Contini. Milan: Rizzoli, 1997. Pp. 275. ISBN 88-17-33027-2. L.30.000.

Anatomia di un massacro: controversia sopra una strage tedesca. By Paolo Pezzino. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1997. Pp. 243. ISBN 88-15-06054-5. L.26.000.

Processo Priebke: Le testimonianze, il memoriale. Edited by Cinzia Dal Maso. Rome: Il Mondo, 3 edn., 1996. Pp. 220. ISBN 88-8175-010-4. L.18.000.

Morte a Roma: il massacro delle Fosse Ardeatine. Nuova edizione aggiornata. By Robert Katz. Rome: Riuniti, 1996. Pp. xxiv+257. ISBN 88-359-4057-5. L.6.500.

Dossier Priebke. By Robert Katz. Milan: Rizzoli, 1996. Pp. 176. ISBN 88-17-84503-5. L.24.000.

Le radici e le ali: partigiani a Roma (and video). By Fabio Grimaldi et al. Rome: Manifestolibri, 1996. Pp. 160. ISBN 88-7285-098-3. L.29.900.

Via Rasella: leggenda e realtà della resistenza a Roma. By Aurelio Lepre. Bari: Laterza, 1996. Pp. 87. ISBN 88-420-5026-1. L.9.000.

Via Rasella, cinquant'anni di menzogne. By Pierangelo Maurizio. Rome: Maurizio edizioni, 1996. Pp. 123. L.20.000.

Storia e memoria di un massacro ordinario. Edited by Leonardo Paggi. Rome: Manifestolibri, 1996. Pp. 165. ISBN 88-7285-103-3. L.14.000.

Il linciaggio di Carretta: Roma 1944: violenza politica e ordinaria violenza. By Gabriele Ranzato. Milan: Il Saggiatore, 1997. Pp. 254. ISBN 88-428-0418-5. L.25.000.

I grandi processi. 2. Herbert Kappler. Edited by Wladimiro Settimelli. Rome: L'Unità, 1994. Pp. 191. Supplement with L'Unità.

‘Identity history is not enough’. By Eric Hobsbawm in idem, On history. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1997, pp. 266–77. ISBN 0-297-81915-1. £20.

The facts: what happened? On 23 March 1944, a column of 156 police troops from the Bolzen regiment attached to the German army were marching through the centre of occupied Rome. Between 15.45 and 15.50 a bomb exploded in the narrow street of Via Rasella killing thirty military policemen (three more were to die later) as well as at least two Italian civilians. The bomb had been placed by an official armed Gap partisan unit which had been active in Rome for some months. The German troops responded by firing indiscriminately into the houses on the street and rounding up the residents of Via Rasella. The next day, 335 people were taken to the Fosse Ardeatine Caves just outside the city and shot over a period of four and a half hours.The best account of the massacre remains that of Robert Katz, Death in Rome (London, 1967), Morte a Roma (Rome, 1996). The victims had been taken from various official and unofficial prisons, Via Rasella, and other areas. Only three had already been condemned to death (for partisan activity), 154 were under investigation by the Germany military police, and seventy-five were in custody purely because they were Jewish. Other victims were taken from Regina Coeli (Rome's prison) or selected from those picked up around Via Rasella. The next day (25 March) a German army poster appeared across Rome and in newspapers. It accused ‘criminal elements’ of planting the bomb and added that ‘The German Command … has ordered that for every German killed ten communist-Badoglian criminals will be shot. This order has already been carried out.’

Type
REVIEW ARTICLE
Copyright
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

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