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Creating a German-Italian culture of remembrance

In Rome, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi have been presented with the report by the German-Italian Commission of Historians dealing with the process of coming to terms with wartime history by working through it together. The report aims to contribute to the creation of a shared culture of remembrance and contains recommendations to that end.

In a joint declaration issued at the presentation of the report, the Ministers stated the following:

The creation of a shared culture of remembrance is a complex process, and the Commission’s work does not bring this task to completion. Nonetheless, the report we have received today is a significant achievement and can serve as the basis for introducing and developing other initiatives, for example to commemorate the victims of National Socialist crimes.

The Ministers said that they would pay great attention to the Commission’s recommendations and that they wanted to review possibilities to implement them. The Villa Vigoni, the German-Italian Centre for European Excellence, will play a special role in this.

Joint declaration by Foreign Ministers Westerwelle and Terzi at the presentation of the final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians, Rome, 19 December 2012 (in German) (PDF, 12 KB)

The final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians

The final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians
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The final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians

The final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians

The final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians

In his speech at the presentation of the report, Westerwelle said that the report made one thing clear: “Europe is the historical and political answer to the darkest chapter in Germany’s history. Europe is the peaceful answer to centuries of fraternal wars on our continent.”

Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the presentation of the final report of the German-Italian Commission of Historians in Rome, 19.12. 2012

Creating and cultivating a culture of remembrance

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Westerwelle said that he could easily imagine that Italy and Germany might together establish a memorial to Italian military internees. He added that research in both countries could continue to receive support. He also said that projects of groups and associations of victims in Italy should be supported and that their contacts to Germany should be promoted. Concerning relations between Germany and Italy since World War II, Westerwelle said: “In 2012 we can only be full of gratitude when we look back at the friendship we have been able to establish over the past decades.”

The German-Italian Commission of Historians was set up in November 2008 at the German-Italian summit in Trieste. Its purpose was to examine the process of coming to terms with the countries’ wartime history by working through it together. The result of the Commission’s three years of work can be found in the final report, which has now been presented to the two Foreign Ministers. The report, which looks especially at the fate of former Italian military internees, makes concrete recommendations on creating a shared culture of remembrance. In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Westerwelle said that the German Government wanted to see that proper recognition was given to the fate of Italian military internees.

The final report of the German–Italian Commission of Historians (in German) (PDF, 643 KB)

Website of the Villa Vigoni


Last updated 19.12.2012

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