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Tel Aviv: the Shoah in Italian comics

Tel Aviv, la Shoah nel fumetto italiano
Tel Aviv, la Shoah nel fumetto italiano

To mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, in partnership with Mama Comics, presents “Illustrated Memory. The Shoah in Italian Comics”. It is a digital event – running from 17 January to 2 February – that every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will offer the possibility to discover how Italian cartoonists related the terrible fate of the Jewish people during Fascism and Nazism on the Italian Cultural Institute’s Facebook and Instagram channels .

Over the years, numerous forms of art have contributed to elaborating and passing down the memory of the Holocaust and a key role was played by comics: the most well-known example is Maus by Art Spiegelman, that, through its narrative of the Shoah, was also the first comic to win the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. Several are the Italian comics that have delved into the theme of remembrance, of the horror of racial laws and of concentration camps, as well as the feats of the Righteous Among the Nations. We start off in Trieste, where Walter Chendi set La Porta di Sion, his graphic novel dedicated to the passing of racial laws and the journeys to the Promised Land; then the story of the Righteous Among the Nations Giorgio Perlasca, told in the comic by Matteo Mastragostino and Armando Miron Polacco (Perlasca) and in the cartoon by Marco Sonseri and Ennio Bufi (“Giorgio Perlasca. Un uomo commune”); the list continues with the deeds of the Righteous Aristides de Sousa Mendes, celebrated in the comic strips by journalist and writer Cinzia Leone.

Together with authors Marco Rizzo and Lelio Bonaccorso, we retrace the adventurous journey through the occupied Europe by Jan Kozielewski, better known as Jan Karski, the man who unveiled the Holocaust and attempted to reveal the reality of concentration camps to the Western world. Then, the very young Nella Attias, an Auschwitz deportee, is the main character of the comic drawn by Marta De Vicenzi and Maddalena Stellato and published in the ANPI Section of Chiavari. Lastly, the “Illustrated Memory” comes to the difficult narrative of survivors and, in particular, of the story of Primo Levi, told in the comic by Matteo Mastragostino and Alessandro Ranghiasci (“Primo Levi”) and in “Una Stella Tranquilla” by Pietro Scarnera.

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