Researching Testimonial Objects: The Postmemory of the Allied Occupation of Italy through the Imperial War Museum’s Collections

Fabio Simonetti


This article examines from different angles the memory and postmemory of the Allied liberation and consequent occupation of Italy in the years 1943-1947 by selecting and “reading” a series of objects among the Imperial War Museum holding. The relevance of the museum’s collection and display lies in its capacity to narrate history through highly significant objects, linking past and present, memory and postmemory, individual and collective remembrance. Taking my cue from Aleida Assmann’s parallel between remembering and forgetting, and the museum’s two faces of the display and the store, I intend to consider IWM’s role as a bridge between the generation who first retained, used and donated their own cherished testimonial objects, and the new generations who experienced the war only by interacting with those items.

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