Literature, History, and Humanity: Reflecting on the Shoah in Italy through the words of Primo Levi and the Jewish Community of Rome.


Location: Rome ND Villa

April 11, 2018


Whatsapp Image 2018 03 23 At 16Plaque commemorating the Jewish School at the ND Rome Villa “Within these walls, Italian Jewish students and teachers expelled from public schools according to 1938 racial laws, found hospitality and created a school of exceptional cultural and human quality.” Rome November 24, 2008.

Videoconference – Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the Rome Global Gateway:

Time: Monday, April 11 2018, 5:30-7:00PM

Location: Villa, Via Celimontana 23


Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the Rome Global Gateway invite you to a reading and conversation that will bring together the Notre Dame community in Rome and on the main campus, through reflection on our connections with historical events and works of literature that significantly shaped Italian culture in the 20th century and an invitation to reflect together on how significant voices from the past can help us affirm humanity and work responsibly towards the future. 


Notre Dame students in Rome will read literary texts by Italian Jewish writers Giacomo Debenedetti and Giacoma Limentani concerning the history of the Jewish community of Rome, and in particular the events around 16th October 1943, when more than a thousand members of the community, including the elderly and children, were deported to Nazi concentration camps. The readings will also reflect the concrete connection between the Rome Global Gateway and the history of the Jewish community of Rome, represented by the Villa in which students studying at the Gateway live. In 1938-39, the same building housed a school for Jewish students after the racial laws of the Italian Fascist government had banned Jews from access to education. It thus stands as a reminder of the vital role education can play against violence and oppression. 


Another group of readings, presented on the main campus, will be from the works by Turin-born Jewish chemist and writer Primo Levi, one of the most important authors of the 20th century and best known for his book, If This Is A Man, an account of his time in Auschwitz.

The readings will also reflect the importance of Notre Dame as a centre for the study of Primo Levi’s life and work. The Primo Levi Collection in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of the Hesburgh Libraries is one of the most important collections of Primo Levi’s writings outside of Italy. As pointed out by Father Hesburgh at its inauguration, the Primo Levi Collection is a significant contribution to Notre Dame’s continued commitment to education as a vital force for civil rights, human rights, and social justice. 


Light refreshments will follow.

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