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From Partisan to Party Cadre: the education of Italian political emigrants to Czechoslovakia

Cooke, P.E. (2006) From Partisan to Party Cadre: the education of Italian political emigrants to Czechoslovakia. Italian Studies, 61 (1). pp. 64-84. ISSN 0075-1634

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In the late 1940s and early 1950s hundreds of former partisans fled Italy for Czechoslovakia in order to escape prosecution. The high levels of secrecy which surrounded them has meant that it has been virtually impossible to discover reliable information on this phenomenon. As a consequence, scholarship on the 'political emigrants' has been partial and, in the worst cases, highly tendentious. Significant archival documentation discovered in Prague, on which the present article is based, has now changed the situation as regards sources. This article presents a detailed microhistory of the party school frequented by the 'political emigrants'. It describes the curriculum, teaching and study methods, and the difficulties that the students encountered. The story of the school provides a valuable insight into the vicissitudes of the Resistance movement after the war was over and Italian Communist Party strategy during a key period in its history.