Screenshot of the website homepage

Topografia per la storia is an association of historians specializing in the history of forced labour in Italy and abroad during the Second World War. The president is Costantino Di Sante and the other members are Andrea Giuseppini, Amedeo Osti Guerrazzi, Antonella Tiburzi and Isabella Insolvibile.

 

 

The association is currently engaged in a project on forced labour in Italy during the Second World War, funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future.

The association has created a website called “Places Associated with Forced Labour and Deportation from Italy during WWII.”

Genoa 1944. A fascist party official giving a speech to a group of workers inside a factory (source: Archivio di Stato, Roma; from the website http://lavoroforzato.topografiaperlastoria.org)

The website has been conceived to keep alive the memory of the forced labour in Italy, organized not only by the Germans but also by the fascist Italian regime, and it is constructed to be used by researchers and academics, as well as high school teachers.

The history of forced labour is narrated through personal stories and places.

 

Group of Prisoners of War with shaved heads stand stand in line, holding their caps, waiting to go through a gate marked with the words “Arbeit Adelt” [Work Ennobles]. A camp guard stands behind them

“Bill” was a Jewish prisoner at Blechhammer camp. Known only as “Bill” from the signature on the cartoons, his fate remains unknown to us. In 1944 Blechhammer, originally founded as a forced labour camp for Jews, became part of the Auschwitz complex. The camp provided labourers for a number of industries in Upper Silesia. Slave labourers included Jews, Russian prisoners of war and inmates of an Arbeitserziehungslager (labour education camp). French and British POWs, accommodated separately from the labourers, also worked in the complex but lived under far better conditions. In addition to several thousand male prisoners, some 200 Jewish women were held at Blechhammer. The series of 13 cartoons made by “Bill” was gifted to the Imperial War Museum by the family of a British soldier who was captured by the Germans in North Africa. He was then moved through Italy and Poland, ending up in Blechhammer camp in 1944, where he acquired the set of drawings from the Jewish artist in exchange for some cigarettes.

 

Genoa 1944. A fascist party official giving a speech to a group of workers inside a factory (source: Archivio di Stato, Roma; from the website http://lavoroforzato.topografiaperlastoria.org)

 

August Pirjevec A Slovene intellectual victim of fascist and Nazi concentration camps (from the website http://lavoroforzato.topografiaperlastoria.org)

“A Slovene librarian, lexicographer, political and literary historian, Avgust Pirjevec was a respected multicultural and multilingual intellectual when his career and activities were violently terminated in 1943. On Sunday 9 May, during his visit to Dr. Munc’s home in Ljubljana, he was arrested by members of the Italian occupying forces. As an activist of Liberation Front (OF), the main anti-fascist Slovene civil resistance and political organization, he was first taken to the Coroneo Prison in Trieste.

Later he was transferred to the fascist concentration camp for civilians at Cairo Montenotte in Italy, and then to the Nazi concentration camp at Mauthausen.

He died in Gusen concentration camp in December 1943″

Organizations that will appear on the exhibition: Topografia per la storia