Seminar by top oral historian

04 April 2008 | Story by Helen Théron

Alessandro Portelli
Remembrances: Renowned oral historian Prof Alessandro Portelli.

Treat even the best archival information very carefully, renowned oral historian Professor Alessandro Portelli (Rome University) said at a seminar on Thursday.

Portelli's topic was the history, myth, ritual and symbol represented at the massacre of Fosse Ardeatine in Rome in 1944, on which he has written a book. The Fosse Ardeatine massacre was a mass execution by the Nazis following an attack carried out by partisans in Rome on 24 March, 1944 on German occupation troops.

Subsequently, the Cave Ardeatine (also known as Fosse Ardeatine) became a national monument and a Memorial Cemetery. Every year, on the anniversary of the slaughter, a State commemoration is held at the monument in honour of the fallen.

Portelli said that various accounts of the massacre had revealed "the resistance of myth" and false memory. He said that long after the event, deep-seated beliefs remained, which conflicted with the truth.

The seminar was hosted by the Centre for Popular memory, Department of Historical Studies, in partnership with the Robben Island Museum and the University of the Western Cape's history department.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.