The Bolzano Victory Monument is a monument in Bolzano which is in Northern Italy. It was created under orders from Marcello Piacentini. The creation of this monument also signified the destruction of the Austrian Kaiserjager monument. The Kaiserjager monument was torn down and the Bolzano Victory Monument replaced it. This prominent symbol and reminder of fascism remained a source of tension between Italian and German people in Bolzano and surrounding areas. The were even multiple attempts at destroying the monument through bombing. It was fenced off in the 1970s in attempts to prevent its destruction.
In 2014 the monument was reopened to the public in the form of an exhibition called “BZ ’18-’45: one monument, one city, two dictatorships.” The monument highlights important historical information as it discusses happenings within the 20 years of fascist rule as well as happenings from the period of Nazi occupation. It discusses both key national and international events that took place within each of the two time periods. The exhibit also discusses radical new urban reform plans for the area. The plan essentially endeavors to create an entirely new city of Bolzano which is set to include a new major industrial zone. The entire exhibit as well as the Bolzano revitalization projects seek to entice more Italians from other regions to visit the Bolzano area.
Most importantly the monument exhibition seeks to confront the difficulties both past and present between the German and Italian members of the Bolzano community. This is an extremely important discourse which has been a long time coming. This monument has been transformed from a symbol of fascism with an overarchingly negative connotation to an opportunity for deeper learning of understanding.
I think that the new exhibition BZ ’18-’45: one monument, one city, two dictatorships at the Bolzano Monument is a critical reminder to us all that the past is not something to be pushed under the rug, but rather something that we must shed light upon and attempt to learn from. This is a common theme seen in many monuments around the world. 9/11 memorials and monuments and exhibits are being constructed around the nation because we as a society understand the importance of not only remembering positive parts of our history but the negative parts as well. The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a superb example of this. For an extensive period, people attempted to push the Vietnam War out of our conscious memories, but this monument underscores the importance of not only recognizing the soldiers who fought in the war, but also the important losses, downfalls, and poor decisions of our nation. We must not only create monuments to remember great people and achievements, but to remember the criticized moments of our history as well. For example, eventually there will probably be more significant exhibits, memorials and monuments remembering the genocide that the United States waged against the indigenous people of our country, the Native Americans. Not only do people in the United States detach themselves from something so far in the past, but we are dispassionate about it and do not seem to endeavor to educate ourselves about the potential past wrongdoings of our nation. The Bolzano Monument shows the importance of not burying our past, but unearthing for all to see and learn from.