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Benedetta Carnaghi

Junior Fellow (09/2018–02/2019)


Feeding the Concentrationary Universe. How Nazi Spies Contributed to Deportation in the Second World War


CARNAGHIBenedetta Carnaghi’s dissertation compares the activity of spies in the Italian Fascist secret police, called OVRA (Organizzazione per la Vigilanza e la Repressione dell'Antifascismo), and its Nazi counterpart, the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei), from 1927 (the genesis of the OVRA) to 1945.


Her plan is to shift the focus from institutional stories of the police to a detailed analysis of the police informers’ profiles and motives, while using history as a tool for actively engaging in current debates about surveillance. The specific goal of her stay at the VWI is to lay the groundwork for a chapter of her dissertation that will investigate the connection between spying and deportation.


She aims to look at the scale and chain of command of the Nazi terror system from the bottom up: The last wheels of this system were spies, who pretended to be allies of the antifascist resistance members, but constantly worked to feed their names to the Nazi regime. Who were these spies? What motivated them to orchestrate the arrest and deportation of resistance members, Allied soldiers, and Jews?


Benedetta Carnaghi is a PhD candidate in History at Cornell University. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, most recently from the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, the Chateaubriand Fellowship Program, the Lemmermann Foundation, and Trinity College’s Cesare Barbieri Endowment.
Her most recent article Three Layers of Ambiguity. Homosexual Spies and International Intrigue in Fascist Italy was published in the 2017 special issue of The Space Between. Literature and Culture 1914–1945.

June 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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