Michela Marzano, the fascist grandfather, the pain of memory: how to overcome trauma

Remember or forget? This is the dilemma posed this morning, together with about fifty people – mostly women – the philosopher Michela Marzano in the workshop of Repubblica delle Idee, in the Sala Tassinari. Remembering, says the philosopher, “because otherwise the past risks acting on us. Or forgetting to survive, especially with respect to a trauma? How do you say: what is your boss? Still talking about when you were ten? But how can we project ourselves into the future? if we don’t remember who we are? “.

Opening the proceedings is the director of Repubblica, Maurizio Molinari: “The dilemma of whether to remember and forget – he says – is part of our history of our families. I always remember a story from my grandmother, who for her honeymoon with my grandfather, in 1925 he went to Sanremo in a station wagon: an adventure that at times he remembered as beautiful, at times as very tiring “.


Then Marzano mentions his latest novel, “Stirpe e vergogna”, inspired by a family past that the writer herself was unaware of: the fascist past of her grandfather Arturo. “He had been an early fascist, but in mine, which has always been a left-wing family, it was never mentioned. My parents also gave my brother his same name, Arturo. And my grandfather probably now. he would repudiate him, since my brother is homosexual. But not only was there no mention of his fascist grandfather at home, my father had removed him too. But then I gradually realized that my family repressed coincided with a collective repressed: the Twenty years in Italy has been canceled. To the point that in 1946 Togliatti chooses Gaetano Azzariti, former president of the tribunal of the race, as his collaborator. Then he proclaims the amnesty, which has the same root as amnesia, with the Greek privative alpha. time was a necessity, Germany and France did it too. But then they went back and opened the drawers “.

RepIdee 2022, ‘To remember or forget?’, Michela Marzano: “My family has removed the story of my fascist grandfather, finding out was painful”

Then we split into two teams for seven minutes. Those who have orange tape on their chairs must defend the importance of forgetting. Those with the blue stripe the memory. At the end of the time, some raise their hand to tell the reflections made with the neighbors, divided into groups. Like Demeter: “We reflected on the value of remembering, also because we had an analyst in our group. Remembering is equivalent to working through our traumas: in our opinion we must do it both to live with ourselves and to live with others”.


On the other hand, Valeria asks: “But don’t we risk getting bogged down?”. She then quotes a phrase that she has just read, “which she made me think, was in Portuguese: she spoke of the need to kill nostalgia”. To talk about collective repression and the importance of newspapers, the deputy director, Stefania Aloia, cites a personal episode. “In the mid-1990s I was working for a weekly in the province of Turin, which on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war decided to investigate the massacre of Collegno, the scene of the massacre of 66 martyrs, in the Fascist era. then we discovered that in the houses of each Colegnese there was also another story: after that massacre a group of people went to an old factory where they were hospitalized republicans, they took 29 and killed them. But there was not a single historical document that proved it. It had never been talked about “.


Marzano also underlines the importance of remembrance: “Sometimes, when the symptom arrives it is late because it means that something has already solidified. In France at the moment the third generations of those who lived through the war in Algeria are doing the work that I I started doing it when I was 50. Here, on the other hand, we had to wait until 2018, for Mattarella to say: let’s stop saying Italians are good people. The racial laws were the result of a very precise racist thought “. Then the room empties as it was full (but with more questions in mind), to the tune of “Bella Ciao”.

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