Nappi, Paolino: "Between memory, didacticism and the Jewish revival. The Holocaust in Italian comic books." In: Journal of Modern Jewish studies 17.1 (2018), S. 51–63.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Nappi2018
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Keywords: Comic biography, Holocaust, Italy, Memoria
Collection: Journal of Modern Jewish studies
The aim of this article is to trace the development of the theme of the Holocaust in Italian comic books, attempting to frame it in the more general national memory culture. I look at both educational publications, aimed at adolescents, and those that speak to much wider social and political attempts at constructing a collective image of the Shoah. First, I explore three biographical comic books from the 1980s that focus on non-Italian historical figures, namely Maximilian Kolbe and Anne Frank, which are linked by the notion of sacrifice, in both a Catholic and universal sense. I then move on to works from the 1990s, which reveal more freedom in the way the topic is portrayed, not only at a thematic but also at an aesthetic level. Finally, I discuss several graphic novels that were published in the last few years which fit in well with the contemporary trend of rediscovering the past and constructing the collective memory around specific sites of memory, such as the concentration camp of Risiera di San Sabba in Trieste. As I show here, many of these narratives reiterate the common image of the Holocaust as a foreign (mostly German and Polish) event. This silences and underplays the Italian involvement in the atrocity. Nonetheless, more recent works demonstrate that the Shoah is slowly being adopted into the Italian historical consciousness as an important tragedy of the twentieth century.
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