From the Fosse Ardeatine to Cinecittà, from the Nazi uniform worn to kill to the Nazi uniform worn to make movies. Borante Domizlaff and Karl Hass, two SS officers who, on March 23, 1944, shot at the orders of Herbert Kappler, reappear, with other former German officers, in the production of some of the most famous Italian films of the post-war period. The first, who was acquitted in 1948, remained loyal to Kappler over the years, helping him escape from Italy in 1977. The second, who escaped the first trial by enlisting in the American and Italian secret services, will be brought to justice only fifty years later and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the meantime, between the Fifties and the Sixties, both of them made ends meet by playing ‘themselves’, in roles as German soldiers, in films such as Una vita difficile by Dino Risi, La ciociara by Vittorio De Sica, Tutti a casa by Luigi Comencini, La caduta degli dei by Luchino Visconti. And more.
Nazis in Cinecittà is the result of a chance discovery that triggered a long search among secret service papers, film archives, private archives and interviews with family members. A story that, at times, is tinged with detective stories, a window on a paradoxically ‘normal’ reality in post-war Italy: the ‘Nazi next door’ came in handy to narrate Nazism.
The Author has long been involved in digital and multimedia journalism within the Espresso group. A trained contemporanean historian, he is the author of essays on Saul Steinberg’s Italian years and on the relations between fascism and the Arab world.
Pub date: 14 April 2022