Life stories which differed from one another, different professional contexts and areas of academic discipline, were all profoundly marked by similar experiences: emigration from a regime of persecution; settlement abroad in difficult conditions, as well as a possible return to Italy or to the country of origin after the end of the war - even if this did not bring about the end of suffering. The sources as well as any available testimonies and recollections are approached with precise questions in mind. Who were the intellectuals, both men and women, most likely to leave Italy? Where did they go and how did they select their destinations? How were they received abroad in comparison with their German colleagues and with poor, uneducated Italian migrants? On which networks of support did they count? In which sectors of Italian culture were foreign institutions most interested? What were the consequences of the emigration of intellectuals for their scholarly communities of origin and for those that hosted them? How many of those who left Italy were easily replaceable, and did their careers resume rapidly abroad? How long did it take for them to find a permanent position? How did cultural institutions, scholarly and professional communities in Italy react to the losses during the fascist period, and above all what did they do afterwards? After the fall of fascism, who returned? Who wanted to return, but did not succeed? And why? Who, on the other hand, preferred to remain abroad? What was done by central and local institutions to recover human resources that had been lost, and which, thanks to experience gained abroad, had been strengthened and could have provided useful contributions to post-war reconstruction? The protagonists of this brain drain represented what was then the future of Italian culture and scholarship. Today they represent the recent past on which we need to reflect.
Some of the information collected has been displayed in a more visually immediate and schematic way to portray both standard mobility and, above all, non-standard mobility as a result of persecution, and includes the migratory paths taken and the aid networks resorted to.