The story of Italy’s interned soldiers to be told in Rome
Life in Nazi prison camps will be recreated through interactive displays
By Ermanno Rivetti. Web only
Published online: 07 June 2014
A museum dedicated to the 650,000 Italian soldiers that were held in German prison camps during the Second World War—40,000 of which never came home—is due to open near the end of 2015 in Rome’s via Labicana, in a space provided by the ministry of defence. The project is estimated to cost around €1.5m, with €150,000 provided by Italy's National Association of Prison Camp Survivors and the rest funded by "private German and Italian sponsors", according to a spokesman.
The museum, a collaboration between Italy’s National Association of Prison Camp Survivors, the Institute of Applied Technology and Cultural Heritage and Rome’s Sapienza University, will function both as a memorial and as an interactive multi-media educational display. The exhibition aims to recreate the intimate details of life in the prison camps and the soldiers’ difficult journey getting there, through videos, photographs, interviews and documents. Visitors will be able to browse the prisoners by name and, where possible, learn about their individual experiences.
Soon after the dictator Benito Mussolini was removed from power, the Kingdom of Italy signed an armistice with the Allied armies on 3 September 1943, which was made public on 8 September, effectively pitching the country into civil war. During this time, German authorities interned any Italian soldiers that refused to fight on the side of the Axis powers.
The project has benefited from the input of a historical committee that includes both Italian and German experts, as well as the Italian Institute for the History of the Liberation Movement, Rome’s Institute of German History, Museum of the Liberation and Shoah Museum (the latter still in construction), Milan’s Foundation for the Memory of the Deportations, Padua’s Museum of the Internate and Berlin’s Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre.
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