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Vittorio Foa (1910)    

“We must always seek ideals within reality, tomorrow within today. The future must be sought and created in the present.” Courageous opposer of Mussolini’s regime, member of the Costituent Assembly, parliamentary socialist and union leader, writer and historian of the 1900s, during his lifetime and along the multiple roads traveled, Vittorio Foa has known how to keep the precious ability that makes him still a point of reference for today’s youth, to always think of the future. Born in 1910 in Turin to a family of Jewish origin, soon after receiving his degree in Law (1931) Foa became part of the Justice and Liberty movement. Thus was the beginning of an intense period of political undertakings against Fascism that would lead him to be arrested in ’35 and sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Special Fascist Court. Freed in September ’43, he therefore participated in the Resistance as leader of the Partito d’Azione, inspired by the Rosselli Brothers’ principles of liberal socialism. With his election to member of the Constituent in June 1946 began his political activity inside the institutions of the new-born Republic: the militancy in the Socialist Party, the important internal assignments of the CGIL up until the election of ’91, and, after a long absence from political activity, as senator of the PDS. In 1970 Foa decided to step down from his duties with the Union in order to dedicate himself to his historical studies: the new journey he embarked upon led him to teach Contemporary History at the Universities of Modena and Turin.
Among his many published works we note, Il cavallo e la torre (1991), where biography and history intertwine from Fascism to the 1980s; Le virtù della repubblica (1994), a conversation with Paul Ginsborg on Italy at the dawn of Mani Pulite; Questo Novecento (1995), a passionate story of Italian civil history; Lettere della giovinezza. Dal carcere 1935-43 (1998), the collection of letters of the young Foa during his years in jail; and finally Passaggi (2000), a diary of the 1990s that brings together reflections, memories, portraits and above all ideas and projects of one who has never stopped asking about the world and seeking the future.

(source: Giorgia Marino)

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