Journal Article

Stories and Bodies: A Personal Reflection on Alessandro Portelli's <i>The Order Has Been Carried Out</i>

Edward T. Linenthal

in The Oral History Review

Published on behalf of Oral History Association

Volume 32, issue 1, pages 19-26
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0094-0798
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1533-8592 | DOI:
Stories and Bodies: A Personal Reflection on Alessandro Portelli's The Order Has Been Carried Out

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Alessandro Portelli describes the murder of 335 Roman civilians by the Nazis as an “open wound” in the city's memory. Linenthal uses this image to “dig into” the wound, and comment on contested narratives and rituals connected with the bodies of those murdered. Shortly after the massacre, stories began to blame the partisans for the attack and such accusations have become a staple of neo-Fascist Italian thought. Portelli restores integrity to historical narrative by his compelling oral histories of the event and his careful reading of the enduring cultural aftermath of the massacre. Narrative is grounded in ritual, and the exhumation and burial of bodies the Germans hoped to consign to oblivion restored these bodies as public deaths to be mourned and recalled, unlike other violent deaths that register either as private deaths, or public deaths that do not count.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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