This is an exhibition about the impact of human rights violations inflicted seven decades ago and then forgotten. It captures the vulnerability of survivors, an intimate heritage of the internment in poorly known Italian fascist concentration camps for civilians.


The first opening happened in September 2013 at the National Museum of Contemporary History. In Slovenia, photos of few living witnesses were taken. Extended interviews were recorded. By doing so, we created a social context for the long time missing historic memory about Italy's concentration camps within the annals of WWII in Europe.
The exhibition is an invitation to be empathic, to step into survivor's shoes. 
Most of all the exhibition is an act of remembrance and a way to pay respect to the victims of italian fascist camps. It is an attempt to make known the politically induced loss of European historic memory. It is a venue to grieve.

We visited five locations of internment: Kampor / Island of Rab (Croatia), Gonars, Visco, Chiesanuova,   Visco (all Italy). They were and they still are outside the borders of the state we live in.
By doing so our intent was to pay respects to the victims as their relatives would do. 
Discovering how much of our co-nationals of all generations are impacted by the fascist occupation and the internment we honor exhibition venues as memorial spaces.

Photo: Andraž Gombač
Openings evoke strong feelings and amazement about the untold past, release of untold stories takes place. 
Regularly venues turned into a spontaneous open space where survivors, their relatives and people living in the affected regions of Slovenia shared information and their vulnerability. Those were moments of intense connection and healing. Some visitors brought objects from internment (like postcards, maps and diaries) their relatives left behind.

Photo: curtesy of visitors

Credits

Photo: Manca Juvan

Text: Saša Petejan and Urška Strle, PhD

Project Author: Saša Petejan

Project Partners: National Museum of Contemporary History of SloveniaResearch Center of the Slovenian Academy Of Sciences and ArtsInstitute APIS

Producer: Kaja Širok PhD on behalf of National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia

Co-Producers: Saša Petejan on behalf of Institute APIS and Oto Luthar PhD on behalf of Research Center of the Slovenian Academy Of Sciences and Arts

Photographic post-processing and printing by: ARTIKO d.o.o.

Design: Katja Gorup

Exhibition set-up: Saša Petejan on behalf of Institute APIS

Photo: curtesy of visitors
Our intent is to bring the exhibition to the European parliament in Brussels, to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Our vision is to exhibit in Italy and the USA too. 

Last Witnesses is a traveling exhibition

With the first opening at the National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia in September 2013 the photo documentary exhibition Last Witnesses, memories from the internment in fascist camps was hosted:

2013

November, December / Coastal Galleries Piran, Gallery Loža (Slovenia)

2014

January / Stari trg pri Ložu Library (Slovenia)

February / Parliament of the Republic of Slovenia

March, April / Research station Petanjci, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Slovenia)

June-September / Neuengamme Memorial Site (Hamburg, Germany)

October, November / Museum of the National Liberation Maribor (Slovenia)

2015

February / Italian cultural center, Hamburg


© Manca Juvan

TECHNICAL DETAILS

21 frames with images - ©Manca Juvan, size 70x50cm

7 info panels (locations, map) - size 126x65 cm

21 panels with captions aprox. 11x23 cm

10 captions for objects aprox. 3x10 cm

1 credits panel - size 70x50 cm

13 preserved objects from or about internment (a baby dress and a cap, conductors baton, cigarette holder, mess bowl, knitted cap, small notebooks from the camp, a daily portion of bread, a notebook with handwritten slovene songs, a whip used by a Rab concentration camp commander, notebooks of handwritten memories from fascist camps)

We will consider and welcome your invitation to host the exhibition worldwide. Need further information? For details you can contact us by phone +38641862654 or by mail: sasapetejan@gmail.com


2 Comments

  1. Words Fail Me. THANK YOU in the name of my father, Jakob Modic, and those in his family and community who suffered, specifically in Rab, but in all the camps. My grandfater, my father's father, was instrumental in negotiations with the Italian Camp of Rab to have my father and others in the camp freed. He only told parts of his story and I am ashamed to say I did not "press" him to tell me and my 6 siblings more. He died in 2006. milkaTheAppreciator

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  2. We are sorry for what happened to your relative and believe that it is necessary to preserve the historic memory on internment in fascist camps. Thanks for helping us in this. We invite you to explore an informative and educative website Guardians of the Spoon http://www.guardiansofthespoon.com/

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