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What exactly is a concentration camp?



What exactly is a concentration camp?

Dramatic reading of Maria Eisenstein’s diary Internee n.6, (1944), one of the earliest testimonies of life in a fascist concentration camp. Excerpts for the reading are translated from the Italian original: Maria Eisenstein, L’internata numero 6, curated by Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2014 (first edition Rome 1944).

Introduction by and Q&A with Carlo Spartaco Capogreco (Università della Calabria).

Maria Eisenstein was a Viennese woman who moved to Italy in the early 1930s to study literature in Florence. On June 10th, 1940, Mussolini ordered the arrest of all Jews who did not have or had been stripped of Italian citizenship. While living in Sicily with a lover, she was immediately incarcerated, one of few Jews in the city of Catania. She spent the following three years in various among internment camps and confinement locations.

Maria’s authorship is elusive as well as ironic, worldly, and unapologetic. She wrote Italian beautifully to the point that her diary, first published after she crossed the Allied line and fled South, was for decades considered fiction. She contributed to this myth by stating, in the introduction, that the diary had been left in a hospital by a woman whose fate remained unknown. In fact, she fled to Puglia, worked for the Allies, and moved to the US. She never wrote other books. It took 30 years before the historian Carlo Spartaco Capogreco identified her and traced her story.

Maria Eisenstein’s diary was recently re-issued in an annotated edition, and Centro Primo Levi seeks to present it to international readers. It is an extraordinary document on the sudden incarceration of “foreign” Jewish civilians in fascist Italy and a subtle fresco of the cultural and psychological atmosphere in which well-meaning and diligent men and women performed the ideals of morality, strength, and valor that gave Fascism its societal foundation.

Reading by: Katarina Vizina. A native of Bratislava, Slovakia, Katarina holds an MA in Musical Theater from The Janacek Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Brno, Czech Republic and received the Fellowship for Outstanding Contribution to Theater from Brooklyn College where she graduated with an MFA in Acting. She has performed in plays, one woman shows, sketch comedy, radio shows, movies, cabarets and countless voiceover spots.


For the "Giorno della Memoria" calendar of events plese note, also:

Mussolini's Camps

Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Date: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Time: From 6:00 pm To 8:00 pm

Organized by : ICI

In collaboration with : Centro P. Levi

Entrance : Free

Event is now full


Italian Cultural Institute of New York