Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fosse Ardeatine

Tom Mayes and I spent a good bit of time at one of the most important World War II sites in Italy, the Fosse Ardeatine.  When ten German solider were killed by the resistance, Hitler's generals ordered that ten men for every one German soldier be killed as retribution.  They gathered up 335 (the Nazis miscounted and had rounded up five extra, but decided to kill them as well) men and boys -- the youngest was 14 -- and murdered them in the caves south of the city on March 24, 1944. They then blew up the caves to hide the massacre.  The memorial (completed in 1952) includes the caves, a museum, and a moving crypt for the dead, designed by Mario Fiorentino.

My new friend, Adachiara Zevi, the daughter of architect Bruno Zevi, and a key figure in memorializing the Italian victims of World War II (Jewish and non), has just written a book about the Fosse Ardeatine and will be holding a seminar in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the massacre.

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