Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Famous Italians From Istria

Some notable Istrian Italians (from left to right): Vittorio Carpaccio, Santorio Santorio,
Francesco Trevisani, Giuseppe Tartini, Giovanni Battista Piranesi & Nazario Sauro

(Full biographies: Italian Biographies: Istria)

Brief biographies of some famous Istrian Italians, an indigenous ethnic group from Istria. The Istrian Italians have an illustrious history and have made notable contributions to culture, religion, military, politics, literature, arts, sciences and civilization, which should not be forgotten.

Istria is a historical region of Italy, but is today divided between Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. Towards the end of World War II the Istrian Italians were subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Yugoslavs, who occupied the land and annexed it to Communist Yugoslavia in 1947. About 350,000 Italians from Dalmatia, Istria and the surrounding region of Julian Venetia were forced into exile after the war. Their homes and property were confiscated and their cities were occupied by the Yugoslavs. The Istrian Italians and their exiled descendants patiently await the return of their homeland to Italy.

  Silvano Abba - Italian pentathlete and soldier
  Andrea Amoroso - Italian patriot; founder of the Istrian Society of Archeology and History
  Andrea Antico da Montona - Italian music printer, editor, publisher, composer and priest
  Gianni Bartoli - Italian engineer and politician
  Matteo Giulio Bartoli - Italian linguist and philologist
  Felice Bennati - Italian politician and patriot
  Bernardo Benussi - Italian medieval historian
  Bartolomeo Biasoletto - Italian pharmacist, botanist and phycologist
  Francesco Bonifacio - Italian priest; killed in the Foibe Massacres
  Egidio Bullesi - Italian sailor and shipyard worker
  Gian Rinaldo Carli - Italian writer, economist, historian, politician and patriot
  Stefano Carli - Italian writer, poet and dramatist
  Benedetto Carpaccio - Italian painter
  Vittore Carpaccio - Italian painter
  Diego de Castro - Italian historian, teacher and statistician
  Giorgio Alberto Chiurco - Italian doctor, historian and politician
  Bartolomeo delle Cisterne - Italian architect and hydraulic engineer
  Carlo Combi - Italian teacher and patriot
  Norma Cossetto - Italian student; killed in the Foibe Massacres
  Luciano Delbianco - Italian politician, economist and electrical engineer
  Cesare Dell'Acqua - Italian painter
  Iolanda Dobrilla - Italian refugee and teenager; killed by Communist Partisans
  Aldo Fabbro - Italian footballer; died in the Allied Bombing of Pola
  Fabio Filzi - Italian soldier and patriot
  Carlo De Franceschi - Italian historian, writer, politician and patriot
  Girolamo de Franciscis - Italian bishop
  Fides Histriae Gambini - Italian exile; last descendant of the Gambini family of Capodistria
  Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini - Italian author, journalist, librarian and exile
  Pio Riego Gambini - Italian soldier, journalist, patriot and Mazzinian
  Girolamo Gravisi - Italian archaeologist, scholar and philologist
  Lucrezio Gravisi - Italian soldier; killed by the Turks in Dalmatia
  Nicolò Gravisi - Italian Marchese and captain of the guard
  Pietro Gravisi - Italian Marchese and commander; fought in the Battle of Lepanto
  Giovanni Grion - Italian soldier and patriot
  Carlotta Grisi - Italian ballerina
  Annibale Grisonio - Italian priest, inquisitor and canon lawyer
  Antonio Grossich - Italian physician and politician
  Antonio Ive - Italian linguist and ethnologist
  Domenico Lovisato - Italian geologist, academic and patriot
  Tomaso Luciani - Italian politician and patriot
  Antonio Madonizza - Italian lawyer, journalist and politician
  Giovanni Manzini - Italian lawyer and poet
  Bernardo Parentino - Italian painter
  Bonifacio di Parenzo - Italian bishop
  Giuseppe Picciola - Italian writer, teacher and patriot
  Francesco Piranesi - Italian engraver, etcher, architect and politician
  Laura Piranesi - Italian engraver and etcher
  Giovanni Battista Piranesi - Italian etcher, sculptor and architectural theorist
  Pietro Piranesi - Italian politician
  Luigi Pirano - Italian Franciscan and ecclesiastic
  Gennaro di Pola - Italian patriarch
  Pietro Polani - Italian crusader; Doge of Venice
  Giovanni Quarantotto - Italian poet, historian and patriot
  Donato Ragosa - Italian pharmacist and patriot
  Antonio Santin - Italian bishop
  Santorio Santorio - Italian physiologist, physician, professor and inventor
  Nazario Sauro - Italian sailor and patriot
  Cecilia Seghizzi - Italian composer, painter and teacher
  Augusto Cesare Seghizzi - Italian composer and choral conductor
  Bonifacio Sergi - Italian nobleman; founder of the House of Pola-Castropola
  Ernesto Sestan - Italian historian
  Antonio Smareglia - Italian composer
  Francesco Spongia - Italian composer, organist and priest
  Domenico del Tacco - Italian naval captain; commander in the Battle of Lepanto
  Antonio Tarsia - Italian baroque composer
  Giuseppe Tartini - Italian baroque composer and violinist
  Pietro Tradonico - Italian noble; Doge of Venice
  Angelo Trevisani - Italian painter and copperplate engraver
  Francesco Trevisani - Italian painter
  Umberto Urbani - Italian writer, translator, teacher and patriot
  Andrea da Valle - Italian architect
  Silvio Vardabasso - Italian geologist
  Pier Paolo Vergerio il Vecchio - Italian pedagogist, statesman and canon lawyer
  Licio Visintini - Italian naval lieutenant
  Mario Visintini - Italian pilot and fighter ace
  Biagio Zulian - Italian captain and war hero; killed by the Turks in Candia
  Vittorio Italico Zupelli - Italian general and politician

Friday, July 7, 2017

Famous Italians From Fiume and the Quarnaro

Some notable Fiuman and Quarnerine Italians (from left to right): Francesco Patrizi,
Giovanni Biagio Luppis, Giovanni de Ciotta, Maria Crocifissa Cosulich,
Giorgio Alessandro Conighi & Agostino Straulino

(Full biographies: Italian Biographies: The Quarnaro)

Brief biographies of some famous Italians from the Quarnaro, also known as the Quarnero or Carnaro. The Italians, the indigenous population of the region, have an illustrious history and have made notable contributions to culture, religion, military, politics, literature, arts, sciences and civilization, which should not be forgotten.

The Quarnaro is a historical Italian region and gulf in the northern Adriatic Sea, located between Istria and Dalmatia. It is composed of several small islands and the mainland city of Fiume. The main islands are Cherso, Lussino, Veglia and Arbe. The latter two islands technically belong to a strait known as the Quarnerolo (“Little Quarnaro”), but they are generally considered part of the larger Quarnaro geographical region with the city of Fiume at the head.

Today the region is entirely occupied by Croatia. Towards the end of World War II the Italians of the Quarnaro were subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Yugoslavs, who occupied the lands and annexed them to Communist Yugoslavia in 1947. About 350,000 Italians from Istria, Dalmatia, the Quarnaro and the surrounding region of Julian Venetia were forced into exile after the war. Their homes and cities were confiscated and occupied by the Yugoslavs. The Italians of the Quarnaro and their exiled descendants patiently await the return of their homeland to Italy.

  Antonio Adrario - Italian poet
  Nicolò Udina Algarotti - Italian philologist, musicologist and priest
  Icilio Bacci - Italian politician
  Ipparco Baccich - Italian soldier and patriot
  Mario Blasich - Italian physician and politician
  Lodovico Cicuta - Italian naval captain; died in the Battle of Lepanto
  Giovanni de Ciotta - Italian politician, engineer, philanthropist and soldier
  Giacoma Giorgia Colombis - Italian nun and abbess
  Carlo Colussi - Italian journalist and politician
  Carlo Alessandro Conighi - Italian engineer and politician
  Carlo Leopoldo Conighi - Italian architect and engineer
  Giorgio Alessandro Conighi - Italian engineer and fireman
  Maria Crocifissa Cosulich - Italian nun, teacher, polyglot and religious foundress
  Gasparo Craglietto - Italian sea captain and art collector
  Giovanni de Dominis - Italian naval captain; fought in the Battle of Lepanto
  Colane Drascio - Italian naval captain; fought in the Battle of Lepanto
  Oretta Fiume - Italian actress
  Enrico Fonda - Italian painter
  Riccardo Gigante - Italian journalist, entrepreneur and politician
  Giovanni Biagio Luppis - Italian inventor and naval officer; invented the torpedo
  Arturo de Maineri - Italian politician, mathematician and soldier
  Giovanni Moise - Italian linguist, grammarian, writer, priest and abbot
  Alfonso Maria Orlini - Italian Franciscan priest
  Francesco Patrizi - Italian philosopher and writer
  Stefano Petris - Italian professor, soldier and patriot
  Raffaele Mario Radossi - Italian Franciscan priest and bishop
  Nicolò Rode - Italian sailor and Olympic champion
  Francesco Salata - Italian politician, historian and patriot
  Giovanni Simonetti - Italian painter
  Gino Sirola - Italian lawyer, professor and politician
  Nevio Skull - Italian entrepreneur and politician
  Agostino Straulino - Italian sailor, admiral and Olympic champion
  Duilio Susmel - Italian journalist and historian
  Edoardo Susmel - Italian teacher, historian and politician
  Nivio Toich - Italian pharmacist, biochemist and political activist
  Antonio Udina - Italian barber and sacristan; last speaker of the Dalmatian language
  Giovanni Host-Venturi - Italian historian, politician and patriot
  Riccardo Zanella - Italian politician

Friday, June 2, 2017

Trieste, the Most Italian City

Trieste, Italy — “The Most Italian City”

Trieste is known as la città più italiana or la città italianissima – the Most Italian City. This nickname stems from the city's ardent patriotism and its history as the capital of Italian Irredentism.

The famed “cosmopolitanism” of Trieste only dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Its mythical reputation as a “cosmopolitan city” derives from foreign authors who witnessed Trieste's demographic and economic boom of the 1850's and 1860's, when Trieste rapidly rose from a modest city to a major commercial port. After this boom, there was a sudden influx of holiday tourism in Trieste, and the city attracted famous men such as Sigmund Freud and James Joyce, which led to the myth that Trieste was “cosmopolitan”.

This false characterization of Trieste neglects the fact that during this same time period, in the aftermath of Italian Unification (1848-1870), there arose in Trieste a movement of staunch Italian patriotism known as Irredentism (earning it the nickname ‘the Most Italian City’) and a political struggle between the Italians and the Habsburgs. In this period there was ethnic discrimination against Italians by the Austrian imperial government, an attempt at ethnic cleansing by the same government, a struggle for independence and even an assassination attempt against the Emperor. This struggle lasted until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Trieste in those years was anything but “cosmopolitan”.

Additionally, there is the similar myth of Trieste as a “melting pot” and as an archetype of “multiculturalism and diversity”. In reality, cities such as London (where Englishmen are a minority), Paris (with entire quarters inhabited by Africans) and Vienna (with its strong Jewish community) are far more diverse and multicultural than Trieste is or ever has been. Yet no one would deny that these cities are properly English, French and Austrian, not merely politically and geographically, but also because the dominant language, culture and ethnic composition of these cities has always been English, French and Austrian, respectively (at least from the Middle Ages until recent times).

However due to political controversies, especially those surrounding Fascism and the Second World War, Trieste is treated differently and is depicted as a “cultural crossroads” and as a “multi-ethnic city” supposedly divided equally between Italians, Germans and Slavs.

Such a mischaracterization is contradicted by the fact that Trieste has been an astonishingly homogeneous city (linguistically, culturally and ethnically) given its very long history: the city has been populated by Italians since its foundation more than a century before Christ, and has ever retained an Italian majority; in its millennial history it has known only two languages: Latin, and the Italian dialects which developed from Latin; and its culture has always been primarily influenced by Latin civilization, having never lost its connection to the Italian world throughout the centuries. In brief, the dominant language, culture and ethnic composition of Trieste is and always has been Latin-Italian. Up until the 19th century Trieste was inhabited exclusively by Italians, with only a negligible amount of German and Slavic minorities.

Unlike many other cities in Europe which were divided between peoples of different religions, languages, cultures and ethnic groups, the city of Trieste was never a bilingual city; it was never divided along religious lines; and it was never split along ethnic, cultural or linguistic grounds. Trieste has always been overwhelmingly dominated at any given time by only one religion, one language, one culture and populated predominantly by one ethnic group. In ancient times the city was characterized by the Roman religion, Latin language, Roman culture and Italian population. From the Middle Ages until today it has been characterized by the Roman Catholic religion, the Italian language, Latin culture and the same Italian population.

Trieste represents the exact antitheses of cities such as Brussels, Klagenfurt, Vilnius and Minsk, which for many centuries were hopelessly divided by competing languages, cultures, religions and ethnic groups. The city of Trieste, on the other hand, has always maintained its Italian homogeneity, despite the threats and attempts made by the Habsburg regime between 1866-1918.

Despite influxes of migrants, which every major city experiences, still to this day Trieste is noticeably Italian in every way: from the customs of the people to the language spoken in the piazzas, from the civic architecture to the Venetian-esque canal, from the charming cafés to the narrow streets, Trieste resembles a typical Italian city in all aspects. Its culture, its appearance and its atmosphere are distinctly Italian and would not fit in any other country except Italy. This is in stark contrast to cities like London and Paris, which are so steeped in diversity that they have become almost unrecognizable and in some areas barely even resemble a European city.

Not only is Trieste not a “melting pot” nor “multi-ethnic city”, but its millennial Italianity has often been underestimated and depreciated by outsiders, while the importance of the German and Slavic elements have been grossly distorted and exaggerated to absurd levels by foreign authors who know little about Trieste's history prior to its economic boom. At the same time, the historical tragedies suffered by the Italian population under Habsburg Imperialism and Yugoslav Communism, and the attempts to destroy Trieste's Italian character in the 19th and 20th centuries, have been almost wholly suppressed or ignored by most historians since the end of World War II.

Trieste is a proud Italian city. The anti-Italian policies of the Habsburgs and their failed attempt to forcibly Slavicize the city prior to World War I, together with the 42-day occupation of the Yugoslav Communists and the Foibe Massacres at the end of World War II (amounting to two attempts at ethnic cleansing in under a century), in addition to the decade-long military occupation by the Western Allies after the end of the war, has all only served to reinforce the Italian patriotism of Trieste. Today Trieste remains one of the most proud and patriotic cities in all of Italy and is home to a number of patriotic, nationalist and irredentist organizations devoted to defending Trieste and its millennial Italian civilization.

The idea of Trieste as a “cultural crossroads” and “multicultural melting pot” is a myth perpetuated for political reasons. This holds true not only for Trieste, but also for the former Italian territories that were annexed to Communist Yugoslavia after the Second World War, namely Istria and Dalmatia.

To read more about the history of Trieste, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, see the article: Making Trieste Slavic: Ethnic Cleansing and the Attempted Slavicization of Trieste

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Croatian Economy Reliant on Tourism

The Travel & Tourism Economy Map (2017)

An economic map published by on April 26, 2017, based on the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, shows that Croatia is one of the countries most dependent on tourism and travel in the entire world. In fact, Croatia ranks number two in the world, second only to Malta. This does not mean that Croatia is the most-visited country, but merely that its economy strongly relies on travel – more so than any other country besides Malta – due to a lack of industry and exports.

The Croatian economy is very small, so small that 15% of its GDP is dependent on tourism. Most of this tourism is to the historically Italian regions of Istria, Dalmatia and the Quarnaro. The old Italian city of Ragusa – formerly the Republic of Ragusa – is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia. Other former Italian cities such as Zara, Spalato, Sebenico, Traù, Pola, Parenzo, Rovigno, Curzola and Lesina are also popular with tourists.

These historical Italian regions are littered with ancient Roman villas and temples, Roman amiptheatres, Christian basilicas and cathedrals, and hundreds of Venetian squares, structures and Renaissance artworks: two thousand years of Italian heritage. It is not difficult to understand why these spots are so popular among tourists and so jealously coveted by Croatia.

Most of Croatia's tourist destinations outside Zagreb are located in Istria, Dalmatia and the Quarnaro. It comes as no surprise that six of Croatia's seven UNESCO World Heritage sites are also located in these territories, which are full of ancient Roman culture and Italian artistic heritage. Meanwhile, tourism in Slavonia (one of the historical regions of Croatia) is desperately poor and they are in the process of trying to develop a tourist industry to attract more visitors. However they will not be surpassing the Istrian and Dalmatian coasts any time soon.

Croatia is a poor country; it currently ranks as the 13th poorest country in Europe by GDP per capita according to Aneki World Rankings and Records, falling even farther behind than countries such as Greece, Portugal and Latvia, and ranking only slightly higher than Belarus and Turkey. Croatia's economy is being propped up by tourism to historical Italian regions. Without tourism, Croatia would have almost no notable economy to speak of; and without these historic Italian regions, Croatia's economy would partially if not completely collapse. In the very least it would face a grave economic crisis, as roughly one tenth of its economy would disappear.

This reliance upon travel and tourism helps explain why even the Croatian tourism industry participates in a disgraceful historical revisionism (independent of the extremist nationalism that still permeates the Balkan countries), and has been known to manipulate historical facts in their tourism brochures, travel guides and advertising campaigns.

Some of the most notorious cases of fraud include the claim that Marco Polo's birth house is located in Curzola, when in reality Marco Polo was born in Venice; the town of Postrana falsely claimed to possess the burial site of King Arthur; a tourist brochure in Spalato renamed the Venetian Lion of St. Mark, dubbing it a “post-Illyrian Lion”; in many brochures the cathedrals and artworks made by medieval Dalmatian and Italian Renaissance masters are referred to with falsified names; the original Latin and Italian names of these artists are depicted with new Croatanized names, and this has yet to be corrected. These are a few examples among many.

Istria is cleverly marketed as a ‘Little Venice’. The Croatian tourism industry persistently advertises Istria as being “like Venice, only cheaper” and as feeling “just like Italy, but more affordable”, while neglecting to inform their visitors that the reason it looks so Venetian is because it was Venetian for nearly one thousand years; and it feels just like Italy because it belonged to Italy and was inhabited by a proud and flourishing Italian population for more than two millennia, until being annexed to Communist Yugoslavia in 1947 (and subsequently annexed to Croatia in 1991).

The charming bell-towers that line the Istrian peninsula and Dalmatian coast do not merely look Venetian; they are Venetian; the architecture and atmosphere does not merely resemble Italy; it was Italy. The towns and squares on the eastern shore of the Adriatic were constructed and inhabited by the same people who built and still live on the western shore of Adriatic in Italy; for many centuries the two shores shared the same Latin culture and Italic civilization.

The Croatian advertisements also fail to mention that beyond its beautiful coastline, the interior of Istria and the surrounding zone of Julian Venetia is home to hundreds of sinkholes and mass graves filled with the massacred remains of thousands of Italian men, women and children – the ignored and forgotten victims of a gruesome genocide committed by the Yugoslavs at the end of World War II. Among the survivors were 350,000 Italian civilians who were forced to flee their homes, leaving the towns of Istria entirely deserted. Today these same towns are now tourist destinations.

The crimes and ethnic cleansing committed by the Yugoslavs in Istria and Dalmatia were ignored and suppressed for many decades, and Croatia today still prefers to deny and pretend they never happened. One of the reasons is because Croatia profits from these crimes; its economy is largely based or dependent on stolen treasures, artworks, marvelous cities and a rich cultural heritage built by other people – the same people who were terrorized, slaughtered and driven from their homeland so that Croatia could plant its flag on their soil and claim it as its own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25: The Feast of San Marco – Not Liberation

Feast of St. Mark (Festa di San Marco)

On April 25, while most of Italy is celebrating the Feast of the so-called “Liberation”, the Julian-Dalmatian exiles are celebrating another feast: that of St. Mark.

Official mainstream historiography, written by the victors of war, depicts April 25 as a day of joy and celebration, a day which represents the liberation of Italy from Fascism, the reintroduction of democracy and Italian freedom, and the end of the Second World War. Such an interpretation ignores the terrible crimes and atrocities committed by the Allied Powers in Italy, the brutal violence and massacres perpetrated by the bands of partisan terrorists, the many persecutions conducted by the Communists, the Allied restoration of the Mafia, and the silent war that carried on in many Italian regions even after the official cessation of hostilities.

Not to mention the de facto loss of Italian sovereignty that took place a result of the occupation of Italy by the Allies – an occupation which reduced Italy to political and economic slavery. It is a precarious and rarely spoken of political situation that continues today (there are now more than 100 U.S. military bases on Italian soil, an open demonstration of ongoing foreign occupation).

Was April 25th truly a liberation? Let’s recount a few historical facts:
  • Was it a “liberation” for the 1,000 Italian civilians killed in Bari on December 2, 1943 as a result of illegal poison gas secretly smuggled into Italy by the Allies?
  • Was it a “liberation” for the 3,000 men, women and children raped and sodomized near Monte Cassino by French Moroccan troops during the Marocchinate in May-June 1944?
  • Was it a “liberation” for the 614 school children and civilians of Milan, killed by American bombers in the Gorla Massacre on October 20, 1944?
  • Was it a “liberation” for the hundreds of Catholic priests and religious slaughtered by the Communist Partisans between 1943 and 1947?
  • Was it a “liberation” for the city of Trieste, whose population was terrorized by the Yugoslavs, and which remained under Allied occupation until October 26, 1954?
  • Was it a “liberation” for the 20,000-30,000 civilians slaughtered in the Foibe Massacres and the 350,000 Italians forced into exile between 1943 and 1954?
To celebrate April 25th as a national holiday – and to call it a “Day of Liberation” – is an insult to these victims and to all other Italian victims of the war. It is also shameful and disrespectful to all those courageous soldiers who fought under the Italian flag, shedding their blood and sacrificing their lives in battle against those same invaders who are hailed today as “liberators” of the country.

For the Italians of Istria and Dalmatia, April 25th represents genocide, deportation to concentration camps, the massacre of thousands of Italian civilians, the rape, torture, persecution and terror suffered at the hands of the Yugoslav Partisans, the occupation and annexation of Istria and Dalmatia by the Yugoslav Communists, and the expulsion of Italians from their native homeland.

Asking the Italians of Istria, Dalmatia and the Quarnaro to celebrate such events by observing April 25 as a “Day of Liberation” is the same as asking the Jews and Poles to observe September 1 in celebration of the Invasion and Occupation of Poland.

Therefore, Julian-Dalmatian Exiles look to another April 25th: the feast of St. Mark.

The Feast of St. Mark is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church, observed universally by the whole church on April 25. Although celebrated throughout the world, the feast is celebrated most energetically in the city of Venice. It almost carries the status of a national feast. St. Mark has always had a special place among the Venetians: he is the patron of the city, and the famous Lion of St. Mark – the ancient symbol of the Republic of Venice – is none other than a symbolic representation Venice's great patron saint.

Every place the Venetians went, they carried with them the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venetian civilization. In Istria and Dalmatia the palaces, churches and fortresses proudly displayed the Venetian Lion of San Marco. Despite the attempts of the Slavs to dismantle or chisel them away since occupying and partitioning that territory after the war, these lions are still present today, and bear witness to the Italic roots of the culture, history and language of that region.

St. Mark, with all he represents, thus hold a very dear place in the hearts of the Julian-Dalmatian Italians, most of whom are still living in exile in Italy. For them, their hearts and minds are now turned to him on April 25th; not to the disgraceful Day of “Liberation”, but to San Marco, the sacred patron and representative of the culture and civilization of their lost homeland, which today is at the mercy of Croatian and Slovenian occupiers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Making Trieste Slavic: An Overview

(Full article: Making Trieste Slavic: Ethnic Cleansing and the Attempted Slavicization of Trieste)

The city of Trieste – known as the ‘Most Italian City’ for its ardent patriotism – has a long history dating all the way back to 128 BC, when it was founded by the Romans. The city was an important colony, but was long overshadowed by neighboring Aquileia. Trieste continued to be overshadowed during the Middle Ages by its rival Venice. In the 19th century Trieste experienced a demographic and economic boom, quickly elevating it to the largest and most important port city in the Adriatic.

The millennial Italianity of Trieste has often been underestimated and depreciated by outsiders, while the importance of the German and Slavic elements have been grossly distorted and exaggerated to absurd levels. At the same time, the historical tragedies suffered by the Italian population under the Habsburgs and Yugoslavs, and the attempts to destroy Trieste's Italian character in the 19th and 20th centuries, have been almost wholly suppressed or ignored by historians since the end of World War II.

Although the anti-Italian policies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire used to be fairly well-known both inside and outside of Italy, and came to the forefront of world attention at the time of the First World War, today this history is all but forgotten – and intentionally so. Prior to the First World War, the Habsburg government enacted a policy of ethnic cleansing in Trieste and the surrounding Italian regions. At the end of the Second World War, the Yugoslav Communists led by dictator Josip Broz Tito made a second attempt to accomplish this ethnic cleansing against Italians.

In short, the Austrians and the Yugoslavs attempted to “make Trieste Slavic”. They failed in this mission in Trieste, but were more successful in Istria and Dalmatia. To read more about this, see the full article: Making Trieste Slavic: Ethnic Cleansing and the Attempted Slavicization of Trieste

Here is a condensed overview of the historical points covered in the article:

  • The earliest inhabitants of Trieste were settlers from Italy.
  • Trieste was politically part of Italy since the 1st century BC.
  • Trieste continued to be united to Italy and the successive Italian States in an unbroken historical line until 1382.
  • After 1382 Trieste was an autonomous city under the protection of the Habsburgs, but retained a local Italian government.
  • Trieste has been home to a predominantly Italian population for as long as historical records exist.
  • Slavs did not live anywhere near Trieste until the 13th century.
  • There was no sizable Slav population in Trieste until the 19th century.
  • The only official languages in Trieste's history were Latin and Italian.
  • After Latin, the spoken languages of Trieste have always been dialects of Italian.
  • Neither the German nor Slavic languages ever played a significant role in the life of Trieste, neither in administration, nor in culture, nor in the everyday life of the people.
  • Slavic high culture, such as literature, music and art, was non-existent in Trieste prior to the late 19th century.
  • In 1813 Trieste's autonomy was revoked by the Habsburgs.
  • From 1866 to 1918 the Habsburgs adopted an official policy of forced Germanization and Slavicization in Italian lands, specifically South Tyrol, Dalmatia and the Adriatic coast.
  • Methods of Slavicization included: closing Italian schools; removing Italians from political offices and courts; disbanding Italian cultural associations; banning and burning Italian newspapers; imposing the Slavic tongue; attempting to ban the Italian language.
  • The Austrian government also encouraged Slavs (especially Slovenes) to immigrate en masse to Trieste, in what amounted to an attempt at ethnic cleansing against Italians by means of demographic replacement.
  • In 1886 the local government of Trieste protested against Austria's attempts to Slavicize the city.
  • Slovene nationalists advocated the annexation of Trieste to an independent Slovenia; some endorsed the Slovenization of Trieste and the elimination of the Italian population.
  • In 1913 Prince Hohenlohe banned all Italian citizens from public office and civil service.
  • Italian policy towards the Slovenes and Germans in the interwar period (1919-1939) was a direct response to the systematic persecution of Italians by the Slavs and Germans during the Austro-Hungarian period (1866-1918).
  • Decades of anti-Italian policy influenced the rise and popularity of Fascism in Trieste.
  • The systematic persecution of Italians and attempted ethnic cleansing under the Habsburgs are often suppressed or ignored by post-war historians for political reasons.
  • From 1927 to 1941 Slovene terrorists (called TIGR) engaged in acts of domestic terrorism, including systematic assassinations and bombings against Italians and schoolchildren in Trieste and other regions.
  • During and after World War II, the Slovene minority in Trieste collaborated with Yugoslav Communists and participated in the rounding up of Italians. Many Italians were sent to concentration camps and killed in the Foibe Massacres.
  • The ‘Free’ Territory of Trieste was anything but free.
  • From 1947 to 1954 the Slovene minority in Trieste supported the local Communist Party and agitated for the annexation of Trieste to Communist Yugoslavia.
  • Today the Slovene minority in Trieste (which amounts to a mere 5.7% of the population; remnants of turn of the century immigrants) still strongly supports Communism and persistently provokes the Italian majority.
  • Trieste remains one of the most staunchly patriotic Italian cities in all of Italy.

Friday, February 10, 2017

National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe

February 10 — Day of Remembrance
In memory of the victims of the Foibe, of the Julian-
Dalmatian Exodus and the affairs of the eastern border.

On March 30, 2004 the Republic of Italy issued Law n. 92, instituting the National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe (Day of Remembrance) as a national holiday, to be celebrated annually on February 10. The date of February 10 was chosen because it was on February 10, 1947 that the Paris Peace Treaties were signed, taking Istria, Dalmatia, Fiume and Julian Venetia away from Italy and assigning it to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

According to Article 1 of the law, the purpose of this national solemnity is:
“ preserve and renew the memory of the tragedy of the Italians and all the victims of the Foibe, and the Exodus of the Istrians, Fiumans and Dalmatians after World War II, and the very complex affairs of the eastern border. ... These initiatives are also aimed at enhancing the cultural heritage, history, literature and art of the Italians of Istria, Fiume and the Dalmatian coast ... and also to preserve the traditions of the Istrian-Dalmatian communities residing in national territory and abroad.”

(“...di conservare e rinnovare la memoria della tragedia degli italiani e di tutte le vittime delle foibe, dell'esodo dalle loro terre degli istriani, fiumani e dalmati nel secondo dopoguerra e della più complessa vicenda del confine orientale. ... Tali iniziative sono, inoltre, volte a valorizzare il patrimonio culturale, storico, letterario e artistico degli italiani dell'Istria, di Fiume e delle coste dalmate ... ed altresì a preservare le tradizioni delle comunità istriano-dalmate residenti nel territorio nazionale e all'estero.”)
The Foibe Massacres were a series of murders committed by the Yugoslavs between 1943 and 1945 as part of an ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide against the Italian population of Julian Venetia (Venezia Giulia) and Dalmatia. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Italians were killed and their bodies thrown into deep underground pits, called sinkholes (foibe). The Foibe Massacres are justly called an ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide – and not merely political reprisals or acts of war – because Italians were targeted and systematically murdered as a group, regardless of civilian or military status, and regardless of political ideology or affiliation, with the intention of exterminating ethnic Italians from these regions. The victims included not only men, but also women and children, as well as priests. The crimes committed by the Yugoslavs against innocent Italian civilians also included imprisonment, kidnapping, torture, rape, burning of homes, deportation to concentration camps and other brutal acts of violence – all of which was ignored by the Allied Commissions.

After the Foibe Massacres there was the Julian-Dalmatian Exodus or Istrian Exodus. Between 1943 and 1954 the native Italian population of Julian Venetia and Dalmatia was forced to abandon their land, homes, property, and leave the land in which they were born and which their ancestors had built. Mass diasporas occurred in 1943, 1945, 1947 and 1954. Overall, 350,000 Italians were forcibly expelled from Julian Venetia and Dalmatia. The largest and most dramatic exodus was from Istria: approximately 90% of all Istrian Italians – about half of the total Istrian population – were forced into exile. Most of the exiles (esuli) moved to Italy where they lived in refugee camps for many years; others emigrated to the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and other countries.

On this Day of Remembrance we wish to keep alive the memory of these events, which for many years was denied and ignored by both the Italian and Yugoslav governments in the post-war period. We also seek justice for the Exiles and their descendants, whose suffering deserves not only recognition, but also proper restitution. As such, we wish to see the return of Julian Venetia and Dalmatia to Italy, and the return of all property taken by the Yugoslavs during and after the Second World War. The Istrian, Dalmatian and Julian Italians still living in exile deserve to return to their homeland, which belongs neither to Slovenia nor to Croatia nor to Yugoslavia, but to Italy and to the indigenous Italian population expelled from these lands just a few decades ago.

Young Italian girl from Julian Venetia
Forced into exile, ca. 1945-1947
Yugoslav Occupation of Julian Venetia (Red)
Annexed by Yugoslavia in 1947