Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Italian Fascist Camps in the Memories of Slovenian Men and Women

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H250  Humanities  Contemporary history (since 1914) 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
Memory, Fascism, World War II, Camps, Oral history
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33083  PhD Kornelija Ajlec  Historiography  Researcher  2013 - 2014  363 
2.  08468  PhD Breda Čebulj-Sajko  Ethnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  264 
3.  30793  PhD Ivanka Huber  Sociology  Researcher  2013 - 2014  127 
4.  32618  Teja Komel    Technical associate  2011 - 2013 
5.  01008  PhD Oto Luthar  Historiography  Head  2011 - 2014  890 
6.  21446  PhD Mateja Ratej  Historiography  Researcher  2011  492 
7.  31316  PhD Monica Rebeschini  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2013  50 
8.  28440  PhD Urška Strle  Historiography  Researcher  2012 - 2014  208 
9.  14605  PhD Viljenka Škorjanec  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2012  82 
10.  28441  Katja Škrlj  Historiography  Junior researcher  2011 - 2012  36 
11.  13806  PhD Marta Verginella  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  910 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,857 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,024 
The project will deal with the memory of the camp experience of Slovenian men and women as a consequence of the Italian occupation of the Slovenian-inhabited territory in the first half of the 20th century. The idea for the project stems from the belief that Italian Fascism and especially the chapter on deportations in Fascist Italian camps are given too little attention in current (professional and everyday) European discussions on totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. The aim of the project is to collect oral and other autobiographic and archival sources shed light on the subject that is still largely unexplored by Slovenian historiography and has only recently begun to receive attention of Italian historiographers, and also remains obscure to many international scholars. By collecting the life stories of male and female internees of Italian camps who are presently reaching a very old age, we will save from oblivion the experiences and traumas that during World War II marked the lives of a significant part of Slovenian civilian population. At the same time we will endeavour to collect and obtain documentary materials scattered throughout Slovenian and Italian archives that testify to the beginning, functioning and ideology of the Italian camp system, which, in addition to the Slovenes, was also directed against the Croatian population. The research on the aforementioned subject will yield an original Slovenian contribution to studies of World War II in Europe, as well draw attention to the dynamics of memory and amnesia in post-war society, both in the context of the Socialist Yugoslav state and Italian Western democratisation.
Significance for science
The project results are important from both the theoretical/methodological and substantive points of view. With regard to the former, emphasis should be made on consistent consideration given to the methodological characteristics of the so-called narrative or open-ended interview, which has a minimum impact on informants’ narratives. Our work was based on the German tradition established by authors, such as A. Schuetz, Th. Luckmann, F. Schuetze, U. Oevermann, and established outside the German borders by Gabrielle Rosenthal and her work Erlebte und erzählte Lebensgeschichten – Gestalt und Struktur biographischer Selbstbeschreibung. The legacy of the so-called German school also helped us in our search for an appropriate theoretical framework. The other theoretical/methodological starting point is represented by the principles of the history of everyday life, which allowed us to present concrete circumstances and conditions of the life of a group or society under discussion. In this respect, mention should also be made of the explicitly interdisciplinary approach, as the life in Italian concentration camps was also thematized by anthropologists and sociologists. The project derives its substantive value from the archives of testimonies which will in the mid-2015 also become available to other researchers, the exhibition “Zadnji pričevalci” [“The Last Witnesses”], and the upcoming documentary which will demonstrate how it is possible to present complex research findings to broader public without falling into the traps of populist and ideological representations.
Significance for the country
The last sentence in the previous section provides the perfect point of departure to describe the importance of research results for the overall social development of Slovenia. At the time in which the project discusses the historical period of the Nazi and Fascist occupation, internment, resistance, and collaboration, professional historiography is drowned out by the politics of the past or the politics of history, scientific thematization of the most traumatic parts of the national past at places neutralizes ideological and political interpretations. The so-called “cultural struggle”, which has for years been paralyzing professional interpretation of the Second World War and the years immediately after the war in Slovenia, can also be overcome by means of an unbiased presentation of the causes and consequences of various forms of violence committed by the Italian occupation authorities, with a special emphasis on the conditions in Fascist Italian camps; even more so, if such interpretation also includes a description of the conditions of internment and all groups of internees, including children and the elderly. Also of exceptional value are studies of individual cases, especially if they involve biographies which, apart from the experience of concentration camps also present the experience of resistance and collaboration.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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