Joachim Gatterer: In the Regional Subconscious: Fragments of Communist Memory in the Ethnically Divided Memory of South Tyrol


In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2014. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 47–62.

The Partito Comunista Italiano never played a significant role in the collective memory of South Tyrol. Instead two contrasting national formations of memory had already settled in the Austrian-Italian border region by the end of the 19th Century, which permanently superimposed themselves onto the experiences of the internationalist labour movement. On the basis of fragmentary archival sources, the author outlines the volume and consistency of communist regional memory and discusses reasons for its marginalization. In the first half of the 20th century fragile social networks as well as the intense political persecution of the socialist workers' movement by fascists and national socialist prevented a comprehensive production and preservation of collective communist memory. However, this article believes that the memory strategies practiced are responsible for the ongoing displacement of this part of regional history after 1945. While the nationwide exclusion of Italian Communists during the Cold War period was supported by Italy’s ties with the West, the communist attempt to register in the regional memory of the German-speaking South Tyrol also failed because of deeply rooted national resentments – against Italy, against property-less workers and against the secular-progressive tradition of the Enlightenment.

Über den Autor

Joachim Gatterer, Mag. phil., geb. 1980 in Bruneck/Italien, 2000–2007 Studium der Politikwissenschaft an den Universitäten Innsbruck und Bologna. 2007/2008 Unterrichtstätigkeit an der Fachoberschule für Soziales in Meran. Seit 2010 Forschungsstipendiat am Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften und Europäische Ethnologie an der Universität Innsbruck. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Hg.: Egon Erwin Kisch: Die drei Kühe. Eine Bauerngeschichte zwischen Tirol und Spanien, Bozen 2012; »rote milben im gefieder«. Sozialdemokratische, kommunistische und grün-alternative Parteipolitik in Südtirol, Innsbruck u. a. 2009.