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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Broken bonds and divided memories. War time massacres reconsidered in a comparative perspective

di Riki Van Boeschoten
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 21 (2006), p. 55

This paper discusses the emergence of “divided memories” in the aftermath of war time massacres in Greece and Italy. Based on ethnographic research in the Greek community of Drakeia, it focuses on an apparent “ethnographic enigma”: the formation of a strong anti-partisan memory in a community previously organized in the Resistance movement. Using comparative material from Italian communities, the paper describes the variety of responses to war time massacres and reflects on what seem to be important factors in shaping such memories: the political context, the process of transmission, social structure, local politics and cultural patterns. It will be argued that the divided memory is neither an exception nor a universal response to war time massacres: it appears rather as a socio-cultural mode of action, rooted in the community’s social life, but at the same time shaped through interaction between the local and the national level.