01 June 2008

Anti-Fascism Memorial

In our neighborhood, Testaccio, just in front of the metro station (Piramide) is a small park on a traffic island. Along the side of this park is a powerful memorial to those who died in the anti-fascism movement in World War II. The figures in the front have bulleyes on them, and their hands are chained together. Set about two feet in front of the backdrop, the cutout portion corresponding to each figure is filled in with a highly-reflective silver metal that mirrors observers in it. We are positioned to see ourselves in these roles, quite literally.

Below, the memorial, the hands, and a view of the backdrop.

I have also included the plaque explaining the memorial. The rough translation of the plaque reads, as follows:

In Italian:

A tutte le vittime della barbarie fascista dall’inizio del ventennio ad oggi. Da quelle delle camice nere a quelle delle camice nere sotto il doppio petto dalle persecuzioni razziali e politiche degli anni di Mussolini e Hitler alle bombe sui tieni e nelle piazze della strategia della tensione dalle homicidi dei militanti antifascisti compiuti negli anni 70 da squadristi in e senza fino agli assalti ai centi sociali ai campi nomadi e ai linciaggi degli immigrati a tutte le donne e gli hommi liberi trasformati in sagome da tiro al bersaglio. A tutti quelli che al fascismo si sono opposti e sopratutto a quelli che al fascismo palese o mascilerato sempre SI OPPORRANNO. 25 Aprile 1945-1995.

In English, (roughly translated via Google’s translation tools):

All victims of fascist barbarity of twenty years from today. From those of black shirts to those of black shirts under the double chest persecution and racial policies of the years of Mussolini and Hitler bombs on hold and squares of the strategy of tension by militant anti-fascist homicidi made over 70 years from squadristi in and without until the assaults to centi social fields nomads and lynchings of immigrants to all women and men free transformed into shapes from target shooting. To all those that have opposed fascism and especially to those that fascism overt or mascilerato always SI OPPORRANNO. April 25, 1945-1995.

It's powerful. In a city full of powerful monuments and memorials, it can be easy to overlook (as Pierre Nora warns us) these places of memory. This one deserves a moment of contemplation.

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Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.