From Red Spain to Fascist Prison: The Memoirs of Italo Orciani, 1937-1946


Marla Susan Stone and Brian J Griffith


In 1937, an Italian "communist" from north-eastern Italy boarded a passenger train headed for France. His final destination, however, would not be in Strasbourg, Marseilles, or Paris but, rather, Catalonia and the front line trenches of the Spanish Civil War. Having volunteered for the International Brigades in order to fight the spread of Fascism in interwar Europe, he was immediately arrested upon his return to Italy and, after a brief show trial, sentenced to "confino politico" (political exile) on a remote penal colony island in the Adriatic Sea. While there, he produced a number of writings—all desperately flattering towards Fascism and the Duce's dictatorship—in an attempt to curry favor with the regime and, in so doing, liberate himself from his unwanted Southern captivity. Having discovered this collection of still-unknown and -unpublished writings in Rome—which includes a 60-page political memoir, a screenplay for a feature-length film on the Spanish Civil War, and a short essay on the "Italian race," among other writings—I am currently translating and editing them with another scholar with the intention of publishing them, along with an editor's introduction, as an annotated sourcebook.



  • In progress

A co-edited volume featuring the unpublished papers by an Italian member of the International Brigades who subsequently served several years in Benito Mussolini's "confino politico" penal system.