Monumento ai Morti nei campi di sterminio

Memorial site created by the architecture study BBPR and located on the right of the Cimitero Monumentale. It is a copy of the one placed there in summer 1945.

Behind the entrance to the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano, on the right, you can see one of the first memorials dedicated to all the victims of extermination camps in Europe, designed and built in summer 1945 by Enrico Peressutti and Lodovico Barbiano dio Belgiojoso of the well-known architecture study BBPR founded in Milan in 1932, which takes its name from the initials of its four founders: Gian Luigi Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressuti, Ernesto Nathan Rogers. Banfi and Belgiojoso were deported to Mauthausen, where Banfi died in the subcamp of Gusen on 10th April 1945.
On 12th April 1945, after three days of celebration of the first anniversary of the massacre of Piazzale Loreto, a container, miski, filled with earth from Mauthausen was brought to the Cimitero Monumentale. Here, according to the press, the memorial was already present.

The structure, made of metal tubes painted in white, forms a tridimensional grid, and its shape is an intersection of a cube with a greek cross. At the center, wrapped in barbed wire, is the container full of earth from Mauthausen.

The geometry of the shape is in contrast with the asymmetry of the plates with the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s gospel, which constitutes the foundation of Christian ethics.

Today we can see the third version of the monument, a reconstruction of the original project.

The simplicity of the materials, the minimalism of its shape, the need for rationality represent here the most evident denial of the pompous fascist rhetoric. The presence of the earth from Mauthausen at the core of this linear structure represents our reason, capable of containing that seed, that destructive monster we all nurture inside ourselves; our reason which is still secretly nurturing this seed, refusing to kill it; the same reason which, at the first false step, will again fall victim of it.
Massimo Castoldi