Friday, October 20, 2017

Croatia is Manipulating the History of Dalmatia, Istria and the Quarnero

(Adapted and modified from the article ‘Now Your History Belongs to Us’ written by Edwin “Dino” Veggian, published on September 5, 2009.)

Croatia is erasing, distorting and misappropriating the past history of Dalmatia, Istria and the Quarnero region—and nobody says anything.

While visiting the Dalmatian coast in the Adriatic Sea, Western journalists usually admire her ancient towns. They notice almost everywhere that the regional architecture is “heavily influenced” by a Venetian or Italianate “accent” or “flavor”. It is immediately noticeable and undeniable. In the past, certain Western writers were almost convinced (and disgusted) that Croatians “imitated” Venetian and Italian Renaissance architecture in building the Dalmatian towns.

It never occurred to these observers that the reason the architecture seems so “heavily Italianate” is because the Dalmatian coast was closely linked to the Italian peninsula for several centuries – politically, culturally, linguistically, ethnically – and was home to a flourishing autochthonous Italian population (about 80,000 in the 1800’s). It never occurred to these observers that the Dalmatian towns which feel so “Italianate”, were inhabited by Italians and made by Italian builders.

Today, Croatian and international tourist guides are presenting the rich artistic patrimony of the Dalmatian coastal towns as “essentially Croatian” or “a reflection of Croatia’s history”. Years ago, a famous chef posing in front of a 16th century Dalmatian building for a documentary, even claimed that its architecture was “quintessentially Croatian”. They almost never mention the autochtonous Italians who lived there since Roman times and who built those architectural jewels before disappearing in modern times. Where did they go? Almost all of them became refugees. They were the victims of the first documented ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

The history of Dalmatia is compromised by strategic interests and political correctness. The current ignorance about the Eastern Adriatic coast is appalling and widespread. It is, in short, the consequence of a “damnatio memoriae” of political nature. On one side, today in the West nobody knows the real history of the region. On the other side, a phalanx of nationalistic Croatian historians, political leaders, journalists and tourist operators, profiting from this vacuum, are erasing, falsifying and misappropriating the real history on an international level by using books, newspapers, tourist propaganda and Internet sites.

The ethnic cleansing of the autochtonous Italian population of today’s Croatian coastline started in the second half of the 1800’s. Then, towns like Zadar, Split, Sibenik, Trogir and Dubrovnik had Italian names – Zara, Spalato, Sebenico, Traù, Ragusa – and the Italian community was in a dominant position in those cities. Everybody spoke Italian and Venetian dialect, the “lingua franca” of the time.

Aided by the Austrian government (at the time the whole Eastern Adriatic coastline was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Croats launched a political campaign against Italian Dalmatia with the goal of annexing the territory to Croatia. Since the middle of the 19th century this goal formed an integral part of the political-national aspirations of the Croats struggling to form their own state. It continued to be their goal during the turbulent formation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, when Croats arbitrarily accepted Serbian domination and at the same time continued their assault – violently, almost a civil war – against all the Dalmatian towns inhabited by ethnic Italians.

Following an exodus of ethnic Italians toward the end of the 1800’s, in 1905 a Dalmatian Italian Association was founded in Rome to help the refugees. Later, after World War I, there was a second exodus when tens of thousands of Dalmatian Italians abandoned their towns and villages in the 1920’s and 1930’s and settled in Italy. During World War II there was a third and final exodus: the victorious Yugoslav Communist movement embraced the Croatian irredentist cause towards Dalmatia and included it in its war strategy and political platform. The consequence was the violent expulsion of 350,000 autochtonous Italian-speaking inhabitants from the entire Eastern Adriatic coastline – from southern Dalmatia to the Istrian peninsula – and the consequential elimination of a very rich two-millennia-old civilization.

Ethnic cleansing had happened in many other parts of Europe in both ancient and modern times, so the demographic and cultural extirpation of the Italian presence in Dalmatia, Istria and the Quarnero was not really a new phenomena. But this slow, brutal (and in 1945 also military) operation had an unexpected development, something very peculiar: After erasing almost the whole Italian-speaking population in Dalmatia proper, without succeeding completely in the Quarnero and Istria, Croatia adapted a new form of genocide: that of stealing the “enemy’s” history in order to obliterate its memory and aggrandize their own country. Completely ignored in the West, this chicanery is a new “Balkan style” Pandora’s box.

Sack and Disinform

Croatia, a country of about 4 million inhabitants, has “nationalized” the history of the Adriatic coastline, a territory that had never been part of the Slavic world, neither historically, politically nor culturally. In order to totally “Croatianize“ the coastal territories, Croatia is manipulating their history and striving to “prove” to the world that Dalmatia, Istria and the Quarnero have “always” been Croatian. There is no current political contingency to justify this operation: Italian irredentism is essentially dead and relegated to the dustbin of history, since the government of Italy abandoned the irredentist cause nearly seventy years ago, and no other country – except Slovenia – has any pressing territorial ambitions toward Croatia.

Never methodically investigated, nobody knows how and when these historical misappropriations started, but they seem to have began in the 19th century. In 1858-60 Ivan Kukuljevic Sakcinski, who belonged to the Croatian nobility, published his “Slovnik umjetnikah jugoslavenskih”, an encyclopedic dictionary of Yugoslav artists. At the time, Croatia was under Hungarian domination and Yugoslavia was still a dream. In this book of Slavic artists you can find the Italian painter Vittore Carpaccio (born in Venice, c. 1465), merely because Carpaccio created religious paintings commissioned by the churches in the Istrian peninsula and Dalmatia. Sakcinski, a hot-headed nationalist, claimed without a shred of evidence that the artist’s last name – in his uneducated opinion – derived from a Croatian root: Krpaci, Skrpaci or Krpatici.

Take as another example the history of the Republic of Ragusa, officially known as Dubrovnik only since 1919. Ragusa was an independent republic governed since the Middle Ages by a Latin/Italian oligarchy. When it was abolished in 1808 by the Napoleonic army, the small but influential and immensely rich maritime republic left a gigantic archive in which all government documents were written first in Latin, then in “vulgar” Italian and finally in modern Italian. In the daily business of the government and in diplomacy (Ragusa had over 80 consulates in every major European and Middle Eastern city), the official language of the small republic was Italian. Furthermore, at one point the Slavic language – spoken by an ever increasing number of immigrants and refugees – was even officially banned by the Ragusan government.

The Republic of Ragusa is remembered as the “Fifth Maritime Republic of Italy” after Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi. For centuries, the well-to-do Ragusan families sent their children to study at Italian universities. Located just across the Adriatic sea, Ragusans had daily contacts with Italy. The celebrated libraries of Ragusa were full of Italian editions of every kind, but there were no books printed in the Serbo-Croatian language.

Today in most Croatian history books the real history of Ragusa disappears almost completely. Croatian historians maintain that Ragusa is an “important page of the history of Croatia”, even though Ragusa had only commercial liaisons with a Croatian territory that had not been a State for nine centuries. They obsessively repeat that the maritime republic was Croatian “almost since the beginning of its history” and that her merchant fleet was completely Croatian, even though Ragusa was founded by Romans of Latins origin who were fleeing from Slavic invaders – the same invaders whose modern descendants claim Ragusa as their own.

Every family of the city’s aristocracy – Basilio, Cerva, Ghetaldi, Gondola, Gozze, Luccari, Menze, etc. (all visibly Italian names) – is arbitrarily given a “Croatian equivalent” of their name, Croatian names which these families never used and which were invented in recent times by Croatian nationalists. All Ragusan State institutions are also receiving new Croatian appellations, and all monasteries in the town are presented as “Croatian”, even though the clergy was Italian.

All these same misappropriations can be found on Wikipedia “the free encyclopedia”, where the editors – all Croats – are demonstrating how grotesque their pretensions are when, at a certain point, they report the list of Ragusan senators who attended the last session of their Grand Council, the one in which it was announced that the glorious republic was dissolved (August 29, 1814): out of a little over forty incontestably Italian names of the senators, only one is of Croatian origin: Marino Domenico, count of Zlatarich. Despite this, all the original names are falsely translated into Croatian.

In 2006, with his book “Dubrovnik: A History”, published in England and sold in every English-speaking country, the British author Robin Harris did an unwarranted favor to the extremely voracious Croatian nationalistic historiography. Using only Croatian sources and materials, he wrote an essentially extremely nationalistic Croatian book in the English language. Explaining to his readers the mystery of toponyms, institutions and personal Italian names translated into Croatian, he wrote: “I have used the Slavic form throughout, simply because that is the one most commonly found in historiography” (obviously Croatian historiography; evidently he discounted the vast amount of original Ragusan sources). “No other significance” – he pointed out – “is implied”. And with this elegant explanation, the deontological ethics of the historian took a vacation.

A “Patriotic Mission”

Some Croatian historians and researchers are a legion of agitprops engaged in the “patriotic mission” of promoting the grandeur of their homeland. Their patriotism obeys a single categorical imperative: the country comes first, at any cost, even lying. They “Croatianize” everybody and everything. Literally hundreds of historical Dalmatian figures, artists, scientists and academics are today called “Croatian”. In the 19th century, Italian Dalmatia had 32 newspapers and periodicals, a rich history, an incredible artistic, academic and literary life, and glorious maritime traditions. Today it is all mentioned as “Croatian”.

In 1998, writing for “The Atlantic” magazine, Robert D. Kaplan (author of the influential “Balkan Ghosts”) seemed to be the first American essayist to reveal the truth about the suppression of the Italian past of Ragusa by Croatia (and by extension of Dalmatia): “A nasty, tribal principality” – he wrote – “which was attempting to transform, in the old Republic, its character subtly from that of a sensuous, cosmopolitan mélange into a sterile, nationalistic uniformity”. Of the original Italian-speaking population of Ragusa, only about 40 individuals survived the ethnic cleansing.

Unnoticed by academic authorities in the West, an implacable (first Pan-Slavist, then Pan-Croatian) “nationalization” of non-Croatian history continued for decades in a dramatic crescendo. In the last half century it reached epidemic proportions: Andrea Antico, born in Montona (today Motovun) in Istria, a composer and music publisher of the 1500’s (he is studied in every music school around the world), was renamed “Andrija Staric” or “Starcevic”; the Renaissance painter Lorenzo De Boninis, born in Ragusa (today Dubrovnik), is presented in Croatian history books and tourist guides as “Lovro Dobricevic”; Nicola Fiorentino, an Italian-born 16th century architect active for decades in Dalmatia, became the fake Croat “Nikola Firentinac”.

Gian Francesco Biondi, an Italian-language writer born in 1572 on the Dalmatian island of Lesina (today Hvar) is introduced to Western cybernauts as the preposterous “Ivan Franc Biundovic”, even though he was a diplomat in service of the Venetian Republic and even though he is considered the first modern Italian novelist. The “super-patriotic” Croatian historians completely ignore the Italian aspects of his biography, reducing his work to “an excellent history of the British civil wars while living in England”, naturally to be added to Croatian merits.

The case of Francesco Patrizi, a 16th century philosopher and scientist who was a teacher at Sapienza University in Rome, is almost incredible. He has been renamed “Franjo Petric” or “Petricevic”, and is now called “Croatian”, merely because he was born on the island of Cherso (today Cres) in the Quarnero Gulf, which today is in Croatia. Croatian academic and political circles are so proud of “Franjo Petric” that they hold an academic symposium dedicated to this magnificent Italian intellectual almost every year in Zagreb, the capital of the country, and on “Cres”.

Many years ago they published one of his books printed in Italy in 1500’s. They took the original, ornate volume, translated it into the modern Croatian language and published it, presenting the book as an anastatic edition of the original, in order to “demonstrate” the high level of “their” national civilization in the 1500’s (in a time when Zagreb was still a small village and the Croats were altogether still an agricultural-pastoral population with very little urban culture or intellectual activity). But they made a humorous mistake: they used Croatian diacritic signs (“accents” on certain consonants), which were invented only in the middle of the 1800’s.

Another example is that of Pier Paolo Vergerio, a Catholic bishop and a historical figure in the turbulent times of the Protestant Reformation. He lived in Capodistria, a small town on the Istrian peninsula. In a Croatian history book, written by a Croatian academic and published in the United States, the bishop is presented as “Petar Pavao Vergerije”, without pointing out that he was Italian, that the town of Capodistria never had anything to do with Croatia, that it never had any noticeable Slavic minority among her population, and that today it is part of Slovenia – not Croatia!

There is a Ragusan writer who involuntarily underwent a revisionist name-change quiet a few times between 1909 and the present day: “Benko” or “Beno Kotruljevic”, “Kotruljic”, “Kotrulic” or “Kotrulj”. Croatian historiographers do not care much in this regard. To them it is only important that he was “one of the first Croatian writers on scientific subjects”. They repeat a hundred times in their essays on this historical figure that he was “Croatian”. But that gentleman’s real name was Benedetto Cotrugli (or De Cotruglis). This is the way he signed his correspondence and also his famous book, “Della mercatura et del mercante perfetto”, one of the first manuals on merchandising and book-keeping, published in Venice in 1573.

Cotrugli’s book is known in every university and any college with an Economics Department. Cotrugli went to school and lived for all his adult life in Italy, serving as a diplomat for the Kingdom of Naples and as director of the Mint in L’Aquila. He never wrote anything in the Croatian language. Furthermore, his book was published in Croatia only in 1963, five centuries after it was written in Italian. But now he is considered “Croatian”.

This kind of uncontrolled appetite is also directed toward classical antiquity. An honest Croatian archaeologist, Josip Vlahovic, studied a bas-relief in the Spalato Baptistery, portraying a medieval king on a throne, with a crown on his head and holding a cross. At his side there is a figure, perhaps a court official, and in front of him there is another figure prostrated on the floor. Examining the clothing, hairstyle and other details, Vlahovic concluded, without bias, that the bas-relief was most probably created by a band of Longobards who settled in the Dalmatian interior in the 6th century before moving out of the territory and disappearing at an uncertain date. According to Daria Garbin, an archaeologist living in Spalato (Split), who wrote extensively about that barbarian band, the medieval king in question could be the Longobard King Alaric.

However, the elegant and rich book “Croatia in the Early Middle Ages: A Cultural Survey”, published by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, printed in London in 1999, and distributed in all English-speaking countries, is embellished by a magnificent, full-page picture of the same bas-relief. Beside the picture, there is the following explanation: “Marble carving of a Croatian king (maybe Zvonimir)”. Here the Longobards are not mentioned! The book deceives its readers by pretending that the bas-relief depicts a Croatian king, thereby implying it was made by “Croatian artists” .

One of the most common tricks in this propagandistic historical revisionism is to find a couple of insignificant Croatian figures and squeeze between them the Slavicized name of a local Italian figure in order to “prove” that a Dalmatian town was inhabited by “some” Italians, but that it was “predominantly Croatian”. Take for example Trogir, known for a millennium as the Italian Dalmatian town of Traù, incredibly rich in arts and architecture, and since 1997 protected by the UNESCO.

On a certain Croatian website you will notice that a humanist and writer from Trogir, a certain “Koriolan Cipiko” active in 1500’s, is sandwiched between two Croatian historical figures that had nothing to do with him nor Trogir. Here the intention is to completely “neutralize” that gentleman, whose real name was Coriolano Cippico, a member of an illustrious centuries-old Dalmatian family of Roman origin, a family of bishops, writers, philosophers, army and naval leaders. A later descendant of this family, Antonio Cippico (1877-1935), was an Italian senator who supported the unification of his native Dalmatia with Italy. But today he and his ancestors are called “Croats”!

Another Croatian website says that “during this period Italian citizens, until 1918 the ruling class and almost half part of the population, were forced to leave for Italy”. Forced by whom? The authors of the website cautiously don’t say it, because it would implicate the Croats. On another Croatian website we find that in the same period Trogir had 16,000 inhabitants, which means that at least 8,000 were Italians. Today the Italians living in Trogir are only a handful.

There are literally hundreds of episodes and cases like these in numerous Croatian history books and tourist guides published in English and distributed in the West, and now also on the Internet. Outright falsehoods, half truths, tendentious presentations, patriotic rhetoric and grotesque nationalistic grandiosity are very common in them. This part of the Croatian academic world knows no limits in its appetite for national glory, veneration of patriotic heritage and stealing of other people’s cultural icons to show off as if it were their own.

Nowadays in Croatia (and also through the Internet in the United States) they maintain that Marco Polo was born on Croatian island of Korcula, historically known as Curzola; up until the 1920’s the main town of the island was populated by an Italian majority. And furthermore, they claim that he was a Croat and not a Venetian, without any document or evidence to prove their revisionist claims.

They also appropriate Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Tuscan explorer who is considered the first European to discover the bay of New York in 1524, decades before Henry Hudson. For this achievement his name was given to the spectacular modern bridge that connects Brooklyn with Staten Island. But now Verrazzano is proclaimed a “Croat”. Why? Because while exploring the Eastern Atlantic coast going North, he gave some Dalmatian names to certain territories and islands he discovered during his voyage. Thus Verrazzano becomes “Ivan Vranjanin” or “Vrancic” among Croatian propagandists.

The same fate is reserved for Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). He has been proclaimed a “Croat” merely because he was born in an Austrian region – Burgenland – which, besides being home to a German majority, is also inhabited by a few thousand Croatian immigrants and refugees who had settled there between the 16th and 18th centuries. This far-fetched theory has no mainstream academic support, but remains a staple of Croatian pseudo-historiography.

Many Croatian nationalist historiographers are busy creating for their country the fake desolating image of a highly civilized and spiritual nation by usurping the heritage of a civilization (Latin and Italian civilization) which they themselves despised and eradicated in the first historically documented – but still widely ignored – Balkan ethnic cleansing.

Today no one notices or condemns this threatening phenomena. These charlatans with master's degrees are doing a tremendous disservice first of all to the reputation of their own country. They are also very dangerous. In a region with a tremendously violent past and with so many unsolved problems still today, this kind of cultural piracy is very ominous and should be stopped.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Luxardo Distillery: How the Croats Attempted to Usurp the Brand

(Written by Silvio Maranzana, taken from the newspaper “Il Piccolo”, June 8, 2013.)

First, part of the Luxardo family was exterminated; then their goods were confiscated. This is how the "Maraska Company of Zadar" was created.

The oldest recipe for rosolio maraschino dates back to the sixteenth century and is due to the pharmacists of a Dominican monastery in Zara. The first industrial production began in 1759 by Francesco Drioli. It was in the early 19th century that the Ligurian Girolamo Luxardo was named Consul of the Kingdom of Sardinia to Zara, the capital of Dalmatia under the Austrians. His wife Maria Canevari produced home-made liqueurs which attracted the attention of friends and admirers.

Girolamo took advantage of this family initiative by establishing a maraschino factory in 1821, and after eight years of study and improvements he obtained a privilege from the Emperor of Austria to exclusively produce this type of liqueur for 15 years. In 1913, thanks to the impulse of Michelangelo Luxardo, a new factory was built in the Barcagno section of Zara. It was the most modern factory of its day and one of the largest factories in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Upon the arrival of Tito's partisans in Zara in 1944, the Luxardo family was partially exterminated while all the survivors were forced to flee. Nicolò Luxardo and his wife Bianca were shot dead by a Yugoslav partisan leader on September 30, 1944, despite having been acquitted by a People's Tribunal. Piero Luxardo, who had refused to flee, was murdered by Tito's partisans on November 12, 1944 near the old Austrian barracks where he had been imprisoned along with other Italians. He was never heard from again and his body was never found.

In the second half of the twentieth century the 200-year-old Drioli company, owned by Vittorio Salghetti Drioli, was forced to close down. The Romano Vlahov Company, another distillery in Zara, sold their brand to the Casoni Company of Modena. The Luxardo factory was rebuilt in Zara after the bombings. All of Luxardo's properties were confiscated and the Croats created the “Maraska Company of Zadar”, the most important liqueur company in Yugoslavia.

“One of the most important pieces of property” – Piero Luxardo said recently – “was the client list, which the new [Croatian] owners tried to use between 1946 and 1947 by pretending they were the Luxardo family or their official heirs. For thirty years the new Maraska Company was the object of numerous lawsuits for usurpation of trademarks in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the United States: my father Giorgio and my cousin Nicolò won every case against them.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Plea From Fiume to Italy

(Written by Edoardo Susmel, taken from the journal “Italy Today: A Fortnightly Bulletin”, Volume 2, Issue 2, 1919.)

The sacred rights of Fiume are still being contested; but right and truth stand above contestation, beyond dispute. Fiume has always been Italian. Its Italian origins are lost in the history of Rome. The historical evolution of our city shows that it sprang from the Roman city of Tarsatica. Theodore Mommsen mentions it; the Roman arch proves it; the most recent excavations in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, which brought to light Roman houses, walls, stones, wells, vases, and coins are proof of it. The most important Roman element in our city is the duumviral system of government, which lasted throughout the middle ages, even after our city ceased to be a Roman municipality, down to the middle of the nineteenth century. The Italian city of Fiume therefore originated as the Roman city of Tarsatica.

Under the Lords of Duino our city awakened itself to a new municipal life, which was none other but the continuation of the tradition of the Romans; the people were ever conscious of the true rights of the city; under the ashes of feudalism glowed the embers of the ancient spirit of the municipality. And when the feudal rule began to relax, there arose a new Commune, based on the old Roman institutions not created, but evolved from the Roman traditions just as the Italian language in Fiume was evolved from the Latin of the Roman days.

The commune originated with the peace of 1183, and the good effects of the peace of Constance were felt even by those who did not take part in the league, for by seeing the other cities partly or totally independent, they too became imbued with the desire to emancipate themselves from feudalism and to establish a free municipal government. Fiume governed herself in accordance with her ancestral traditional rights, which through the munificence of the Lords of Duino, Walsee, and Hapsburg were continually increased by new privileges.

Fiume was placed on the map only in 1530. In this year Emperor Ferdinand I sanctioned the ancient statutes of Fiume. Our city had, even before then, its statutes and laws, but they had not been collected in orderly fashion and sanctioned by anyone. We know this to be the truth from the fact that our city, when it came under the banner of Saint Mark, sent orators to Venice to implore that its statutes and privileges be confirmed; and we also know that the Republic declared itself ready to respect, and wherever necessary, to increase the rights of Fiume.

The Statutes were a body of laws upon which the constitution of Fiume was based. Those laws gave our city a truly remarkable position. At that time Fiume was, although so small, a little State, not annexed to any province, but independent, governed by its own laws. In other words, our city when establishing its new municipal rules, tried to fashion itself along the lines of a republic with its own legislative and executive systems. It was on a level with other cities. To several Italian cities, notably Ancona, Messina, Manfredonia, Civitavecchia, Fiume sent its own consuls. The commune was therefore in direct contact with foreign states to which it sent ambassadors nominated by its own council.

During the fifteenth century Fiume was clearly of an Italian character. In every way this city of the Quarnaro was a daughter of the glorious queen of the Adriatic. Not only the language, but the dwellings, clothing, the ornaments, the names, holidays, dances, games, the nocturnal serenades, and the masquerades, gave to Fiume its Italian character.

Even then Fiume lived on the sea and from the sea. On the shores of the port the shipbuilders labored, constructing new boats or restoring and rebuilding old ones; and there was pride on the face of the master-builders as they surveyed the many types of ships under construction in the port.

Released from feudal servitude, Fiume, from behind her high walls smiles on the green fields and glaucous waves below; nestled about the foot of the castle, as devoutly as though it were a church, she lives in a whirl of work; the chimes of the palace ring gaily; she dictates her own laws; meets out justice and jealously guards her treasured liberties; she rules within the walls of her city, for her conception of Country did not go beyond them.

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are a preface to our community life ; a period in which the spirit of guarding zealously the ancient privileges of the Roman City was fostered. On the statutes of Ferdinand, Fiume based her autonomous position. The laws of 1807, 1848, 1868 tried to annex the free city of Fiume to the Hungarian Crown, but Fiume even to the present has maintained her character as a separate entity. Among the past documents which are proof of this is the Peace of Worms, where Fiume is considered as a state, and the Pragmatic Sanction of 1720, which was recognized and accepted separately by our city. For the present it is sufficient to cite the fundamental law of Hungary where it is stated that the three factors which constitute the crown of Saint Stephen are, Hungary, Fiume and its territory, and Croatia-Slavonia.

But history teaches still another great truth — that Fiume never belonged politically to Croatia. Fiume has always lived a life of its own, purely Italian. There was even a marked boundary line between Fiume and Croatia in ancient times, according to ancient historians. Not history alone but ethnology itself favors an Italian Fiume. The autonomous element of the city has always been Italian; the oldest writings, the books of the chancellors, the public documents, are in Italian; Venetian is its architecture, its dialect, its houses, its roads, its gardens, its clothing; Italian are its sentiments, its spirit, the names of its streets and squares, its schools, its societies, its institutions, its theatres, its newspapers; Italian is its city hall, that invincible rock of the ancient rights of Fiume.

Innumerable were the attempts made to break into our city government, to denationalize its schools, to attack the Italian character of our institutions, to stop the spread of our language. Especially in the past few years has Fiume lived through days of sorrow and of terror. Citizens, men and women, have been thrown into prison and exiled; natives have been carried afar off into strange lands, persecuted and killed by the hundreds. The autonomous association has been disbanded, the Literary Club, the Popular Library, "Alessandro Manzoni," and the Popular University have been dissolved; the press has been gagged, our poor women offended, ill-treated by the local police; our ways, our squares, schools, churches, theatres, the city hall have become Hungarian. Every Italian vestige has been violently removed by the newly imposed state police.

The past three years have been the most wicked in the history of our city; the tyrants, Wickenburg and Kesmarky, will be forever notorious for their infamy. But even in the hour of grief, even in the anguish of death, Fiume, strengthened by immutable faith in its destiny, watched and waited; worship for our ancient mother, love for Italy lived in our souls and kept alive in us the hope for a better future.

The sacrifice of our women was worthy of the greatness of Rome. The disaster of Caporetto threw our city into deep mourning. Our homes knew naught else but the cries and sobs of our souls; and while the government offices celebrated with Hungarian and Croatian flags the joy of victory, the hearts of the people of Fiume were bleeding. And with the disaster of Caporetto the martyrdom of our prisoners began; by the hundreds, by the thousands, soldiers of Italy, wounded, hungry and foot-sore, flocked to our city. They trembled from the cold and died of hunger.

Although facing the danger of exile, groups of women of Fiume eagerly sought to help these prisoners with hidden pieces of bread, bottles of milk stowed away in their pockets or muffs, with bits of cooked meat, woolen stockings hidden up their sleeves; but this was not enough. Hunger and cold claimed a heavy toll among them. Some of them, who succeeded in eluding the police, were hidden in our homes, fed and nursed by our women, and the dead buried by our own hands in the dead of the night. The women of Fiume did not consider what they did as sacrifices; it was a small thing for them to face the greatest dangers; it was an honor, and proudly they did it for love of Italy. One could see the graves of the Italian soldiers covered with red, white and green flowers, and one morning the tomb of the Sicilian aviator, who fell August 1, 1916, was found covered with white and red roses.

The Italian spirit of Fiume asserted itself at every occasion. The patriotism of its citizens is not a modern thing. We find that they have fought in the war of independence for Italy; we find them at the sides of our greatest leaders in all the battles of the Risorgimento; we find them today arming themselves for the glory of Italy, for the redemption of Trenton, Trieste and Fiume. As an example we cite the young Noferi, who came from America and fell as a hero for the just cause of Italy; we cite Ipparco Baccich, who died on the Carso with the cry on his lips, "Evviva l'ltalia!".

A select band of young men of Fiume became valiant soldiers of Italy. Fiume conducted herself in a manner worthy of a daughter of Italy. The city of the Quarnaro could not inhibit her longing for liberty. On the twenty-eighth of October, Fiume, first of all the Italian cities in the crumbling empire, raised the flag of Italy, and proclaimed herself united to Italy. The plebiscite of the citizens of Fiume, expressing their desire to be united to their mother country, excited great enthusiasm, profound commotion, a veritable delirium. The windows were adorned with the tricolor of Italy, the facades of the houses were decorated with flags; on the squares, from the housetops flew the standard of Savoy; the chimes of the tower of San Vito rang out for joy, and everywhere there were flowers, ribbons and banners. The arrival of the Italian fleet was greeted by an immense throng of citizens and a mass of flags; they sang patriotic songs, shouted and cheered, and in a powerful chorus sang the praises of Italy, her King, her Navy, Admiral Raineri, her Army.

Fiume had manifested her desire. The homage she paid to the victorious King of Italy, the greeting and promise of King Victor Emanuel III at the national Italian Council, the wonderful patriotic manifestation of the city for the triumph of the Italian arms, the resolution of the delegates from Fiume on the Capitoline hill, all these are incidents of decisive importance in these historic days for they demonstrate the firm, unshakable determination of the people of Fiume to become Italian citizens. No one can any longer contest this right of theirs. We long for liberty. We hurl our cry for liberty to our Mother, Italy, to the entire world. Let there be freedom for all peoples, and let there be freedom for us! We do not wish to change masters and be in the same servile status; our liberty can come from no other source but Italy, mother of Liberty and Justice. Italy alone can regive to us that liberty which we seek.

Therefore let Italy come! We implore her. Italy could not remain insensible to our cry of pain, which was a cry for liberty, and she sent to us her ships to safeguard the life of the citizens and protect the interests and rights of Italy. We salute the glorious Italian navy and victorious army which have redeemed us and our sister cities to fulfill the high destinies of Italy. Again and always we shall salute them, and we anxiously await the moment in which the Great Mother will again embrace her devoted daughter in a bond which will be eternal.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Why do Some Countries Steal History and Heritage from Other Nations?

This is an addendum to the previous article: German Saints Stolen by the Slovenes

The previous article exposed the problem of theft of historical figures by Slovenes, but did not address the question of ‘why’. Why do Slovenes steal celebrities from other nations? More specifically, why do they steal famous historical figures of German and Italian origin?

Revisionism in Slovenia

The Slovenes, having been mostly illiterate and confined to small peasant villages for so many centuries, with no independent country or civilization of their own, do not have much of a national history. Consequently, there is a lack of famous figures who can be upheld as national heroes or as representatives of the Slovene nation. Indeed, the concept of a Slovene nation did not emerge until the 19th century, and the country of Slovenia itself did not exist until 1991.

It comes as no surprise therefore that modern Slovenes have chosen to rewrite their own history and kidnap celebrities from other nations, in order to embellish their history and artificially enhance the prestige of their newly-formed country.

Other obvious motivations for these thefts includes a desire to suppress controversial events of the recent past, such as war crimes and ethnic cleansing, as well as a desperation to prove the “Sloveneness” of certain territories that today are part of Slovenia, but which historically were not Slovene. To do this they must ignore and erase the history of those who preceded them, or else adopt and usurp the history of those who preceded them.

Slovene Revisionism: The Italians of Istria and Julian Venetia

In the case of Istria and Julian Venetia, the people who preceded them are the Italians. Prominent Italian men, such as the theologian Pietro Paolo Vergerio and the physician Santorio Santorio, both natives of Capodistria (then part of the Republic of Venice, today Slovenia), are stolen away from Italy; their names are translated into Slavic and they are deceptively presented as “Slovenes”. The same Capodistria is called “the oldest Slovenian city”. In reality, the city did not become Slovene, neither politically nor ethnically, until the second half of the 20th century.

In this way, besides adding to their national prestige, the Slovenes are able to convince newer generations of Slovenes – and also attempt to convince others – that this territory has always been Slovenian, thereby rationalizing or even denying the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Italians at the end of the Second World War, and justifying their annexation and occupation of Italian territories which had no cultural or historical connection to Slovenia.

Slovene Revisionism: The Germans of Styria

In the case of Styria, both Slavic and Germanic tribes had invaded and settled this territory since the Early Middle Ages. This region therefore had a mixed population for many centuries, with Slavs predominantly living in the smaller towns and countryside villages of Lower Styria, and Germans primarily inhabiting Upper Styria and the larger cities of Lower Styria, such as Marburg.

The architecture, cuisine and overall culture of Styria clearly shows the predominating German influence over the region, and there is very little that can be considered ‘Slovenian’. For almost its entire post-Roman history, the language of administration and culture in Sytria was Latin and German, and all the cultural and urban centres were markedly German, while for most of their history the Slovenes in this region had neither art, nor architecture, nor literature.

Prior to World War I Styria's population was 68% German and 32% Slovene. In 1900 the city of Marburg, the capital of Lower Styria, had a population that was 82.3% German and 17.3% Slovene. After World War I, Lower Styria was annexed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. German cities such as Marburg were Slavicized and renamed. German schools, clubs and organizations were ordered closed by the new Yugoslav regime, and many ethnic Germans fled to Austria. By the end of World War II, Marburg (today Maribor, Slovenia) was almost completely destroyed and the surviving German population was expelled by the Yugoslav Communists in 1945.

Similar events were repeated in other regions of modern Slovenia which historically had a mixed German-Slovene population, such as Carinthia and Upper Carniola. By appropriating historical German figures, such as painters, nobles, ecclesiastics and saints, modern Slovenes have been able to construct a history and fabricate a myth in which these lands have always been purely and exclusively Slovene, entirely erasing German heritage and denying their historical presence.

Revisionism in Croatia

Unfortunately this problem is not limited to Slovenia. Many other young countries, especially in the Balkans, engage in this very same brand of revisionism. Croatian politicians and academics, for example, have usurped virtually all historical Italian figures of Istria and Dalmatia and have proclaimed these men to be “Croatian”, thereby denying the millennial Italian presence in those regions and the Latin civilization which flourished there until the 20th century.

Even though these men originally had Italian or Latin names, spoke Italian and Italic dialects, wrote in Italian or Latin, belonged to Italian culture and often descended from ancient Italian families, the names of all these historical figures have been Croatized by modern Croatian authors. They have even gone so far as to proclaim Marco Polo, King Arthur and Joseph Haydn as “Croats”.

Even the churches, bell towers, palaces and piazzas of Istria and Dalmatia – built by Italian architects in a distinctly Italian style – are now claimed to have been built by Croats. The Italian artworks of the Renaissance are likewise proclaimed to have been produced by artists of the “Croatian Renaissance”, a pseudo-historical time period which never occurred in real history, but which was invented by Croatian nationalist historiographers in the 20th century.

In this way, Croatian text books are able present a falsified version of history in which Istria and Dalmatia were exclusively Croatian since the 7th century, as if Latin and Italian people did not densely inhabit those regions and contribute to its culture and civilization for all those centuries past. The Croats have thus conducted a near-perfect ethnic cleansing, not only killing and expelling the Italian population itself, but also erasing all traces of their historical presence in these lands, while usurping Italian heritage and history for themselves.

Revisionism in Montenegro

Similarly, the Montenegrins have usurped all the historical Italian figures of the Bay of Cattaro, even those who bore Italian names and who wrote exclusively in Italian or Latin, falsely proclaiming them as “Montenegrin Slavs”. Italian Dalmatian authors who flourished under Venice, and who wrote in Italian, are now proclaimed the “founders of Montenegrin literature”, despite having never written a single line in the Slavic language and having no historical connection to modern Montenegro.

Merely because the land in which these men were born and lived is today part of the modern country of Montenegro, they are today presented as belonging to Montenegrin Slav culture and heritage. In fact, the Bay of Cattaro had no connection to Montenegro until after World War I, when the entire region was annexed to the new Kingdom of Yugoslavia and incorporated into the Zeta Oblast.

Montenegro is a very young country. It was first created as a soi-disant independent principality in 1852, although its independence was not internationally recognized until 1878. It became a kingdom in 1910, but quickly disappeared from world maps in 1918 before regaining independence in 2006.

It is not difficult to understand why Montenegro is desperate to forge a history for itself and usurp an older heritage which does not belong to them: they seek national prestige, but more importantly they seek to justify their status as an independent country. For this same reason, the Montenegrin government is currently in the process of artificially inventing a separate “Montenegrin language”, in order to distinguish themselves from their Serbian neighbors.

Revisionism in Serbia

The Serbs frequently and quite recklessly argue that Croats are merely “Catholic Serbs”, thereby denying the existence of Croatian nationhood. Not only do they proclaim all Croats to be Serbs, but they use this argument as a pretext to justify their desire for a Greater Serbia, in which all of Croatia and other nearby territories such as Bosnia would be annexed to an enlarged Serbia.

Revisionism in Albania

Albanians have fabricated an entire ethno-national myth based on Illyrianism, according to which all people from ancient Illyria – including Roman Emperors and the descendants of Italic colonists – were in fact “ancient Albanians”. They further utilize this myth to justify their territorial claims over disputed regions such as Kosovo and the Greek region of Epirus.

Revisionism in Romania

The Romanians have adopted this same type of national myth by proclaiming themselves the descendants of Dacians. According to the most extreme forms of Dacomania, ancient Romania is the cradle of civilization, ancient Romanians invented the wheel, founded Rome and built the Roman Empire. Such outlandish ideas are plainly a desperate attempt to bolster national glory. More practically, this ideology is often utilized to distinguish Romanians from their Slavic neighbours, but most especially to justify the annexation of Transylvania – which historically had never belonged to Romania – and to legitimize the persecution of the Hungarian minority.

Revisionism in Macedonia

The Macedonian Slavs pretend to be the descendants of the ancient Macedonians and Alexander the Great, and deny that the ancient Macedonians were Greek, thereby entirely usurping ancient Greek history for themselves. In reality, the Slavs arrived in Macedonia only in the 7th century, a millennium after Alexander. They utilize historical revisionism not only to justify the existence of an independent Slavic Macedonia, but also to advocate for the annexation of Greek Macedonia from Greece in order to form a United Macedonia ruled by Macedonian Slavs.

The anti-historical notion of a Slavic or non-Hellenic Macedonian ethnicity was a theory advanced by the Yugoslav Communists, who sought to maintain territorial claims against Greek Macedonia and to de-legitimize Bulgarian claims on Yugoslav Macedonia, whose population identified as Bulgarian. Today, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues the same State-sponsored rewriting of history, primarily to justify its existence and for the sake of territorial aggrandizement.

Revisionism in Bulgaria

The Bulgarians present themselves as Thracians and proclaim Spartacus an “ancient Bulgarian”. Moreover, posing as Thracians enables them to justify their argument that the entire historical region of Thrace rightfully belongs to Bulgaria.

Revisionism in Hungary

Many Hungarians claim to be descended from Huns, and sometimes claim Attila the Hun was a proto-Hungarian, but so far this myth has had no significant real life consequences.

Revisionism in Poland

Even the Poles have been known to participate in ethnic theft: Nicholas Copernicus, who was born in Prussia to a German family, is recognized by almost all Poles today as a “Polish astronomer”. The territory in which Copernicus was born had a long history of changing hands betweens Poles and Germans, and since the end of World War II the lands of Prussia have remained part of Poland. However, the fact remains that Copernicus belonged to a German family and was not Polish.

The theft of Copernicus represents, first of all, a desire by Poles to find an important historical figure who can represent Polish achievement in science, which is otherwise lacking, and second of all, an attempt to minimize the historical significance of ethnic Germans in Prussia in order to demonstrate the historical Polishness of that land, thereby justifying Poland’s annexation of ethnically mixed territories after the two world wars and the expulsion of ethnic Germans after World War II.

Revisionism in Russia

Russia is perhaps the most successful country in history to participate in a nationwide historical revisionism, having effectively usurped the history of Kievan Rus. Beginning with Ivan the Terrible, the Muscovites changed their collective identity, proclaiming themselves the heirs of Old Rus and changing their name from ‘Muscovites’ to ‘Russians’ in the 16th century. According to this narrative, Vladimir the Great and Olga of Kiev were Russians and therefore the rulers of modern Russia have a right to rule over all traditional Ruthenian lands, particularly modern Ukraine and Belarus.

Revisionism in Greece

Revisionism in Greece takes on a somewhat different form. Rather than claiming that specific historical figures were ethnically Greek – although such claims are made on occasion – many Greeks prefer to take credit for other nations’ achievements by proclaiming that Greeks directly or indirectly influenced other countries. One such example is the myth of Greek scholars fleeing to Italy and supposedly “sparking the Renaissance” after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453.

In reality, Greek refugees had very little impact on the development of the Renaissance in Italy. The early Renaissance was a purely Italian phenomenon, a natural outgrowth of the late medieval Italian city-states, and had already begun more than a century before the fall of Constantinople. The unprecedented flourishing of arts and technology in Italy, and the rise of Brunelleschi, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, can hardly be attributed to Byzantine scholars (who, moreover, never produced anything comparable to the Italian Renaissance in their own homeland).

For several centuries now the Greeks have remained in a state of cultural stagnancy and political irrelevancy. From the medieval to the modern age the Greeks have produced very few notable philosophers, scientists, authors, artists, architects, sculptors or engineers; in recent centuries they have made very few notable technological, scientific, medical, artistic or literary contributions. As a whole, they have had very little impact on Western civilization since the end of the classical age.

The position of modern Greece stands in clear contrast to its ancient counterpart. Such a reality must take its toll on the pride of a population which produced so much in the ancient past. It is not surprising therefore that many Greeks today feel a desperate need to create exaggerated myths and take credit for the achievements of the Italian Renaissance, since they themselves have been unable to achieve such heights since the days of Aristotle.

Revisionism in Western Europe: France

Instances of historical revisionism and national theft can also be found occasionally in Western Europe. For example, the French often claim Clovis and Charlemagne as Frenchmen, even though they were Franks who spoke a Germanic language. Perhaps more notoriously, the French claim Napoleon as a Frenchman, although most are aware that he was born in Corsica to an Italian family.

Revisionism in Western Europe: Spain

The Spaniards sometimes claim Christopher Columbus was a Spaniard, even though most of the world knows he was from Genoa. Spaniards also sometimes proclaim that ancient Roman emperors such as Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius were “Spanish”, or that illustrious Romans such as Lucan, Seneca the Younger and Seneca the Elder were “Spanish”, merely because they were born in the territory of what is now Spain. Moreover, those emperors were known to be descendants of Roman colonial families from Italy who maintained cultural and political ties to Italy through Rome, while Lucan and the two Seneca’s likewise were born into the same colonial family from Italy, namely the gens Annaea who were of Oscan origin.

Such men, born to Italic families who spoke the language of Rome, and who – as Roman colonists – maintained cultural and political ties to Italy, were clearly representatives of ancient Italic civilization, and had nothing to do with the country of Spain or modern Spaniards. Such historical revisionism is little more than an attempt to usurp illustrious Romans – who were not ethnically Spanish – in order to depict the modern Spanish nation as belonging to the ranks of ancient civilization, when in reality Spain was not yet existent and the people of the Iberian peninsula did not begin to develop a distinct civilization of their own until the medieval period, after the fall of Rome.

Revisionism in Western Europe: Germans and Anglo-Saxons

Pseudo-historical ideologies such as Nordicism – according to which all ancient civilizations were created by tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed superior peoples related to modern Scandinavians, Germans and Anglo-Saxons – used to be very prevalent in the United States and Western Europe, particularly in Great Britain and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, such ideas were entirely abandoned by all reputable historians and scholars many decades ago.

When they were in vogue, these ideas were utilized for several different motives, among which was a desire for the Germanic peoples to insert themselves into ancient history, as they were conscious of the fact that their ancestors had neither literacy nor arts nor urban centres in classical times, and did not develop any high level of civilization until well into the Middle Ages.

Moreover, their ancestors were often blamed for the collapse of the Roman Empire. By depicting themselves as the founders of Rome and many other ancient civilizations, the Anglo-Saxons and Germans were able to forge an imaginary history in which their own people were the ancient bearers of civilization, instead of illiterate and uncivilized barbarians, while also exonerating their ancestors from the charges that the destruction of Rome was attributable to them.

Concluding Remarks

While instances of historical revisionism and stolen heritage can be occasionally found in Western European countries, it is much less frequent today than in Eastern Europe, especially the Balkan countries where it still takes on a particularly aggressive and even genocidal form, as witnessed by the Yugoslav Wars of 1991-2001 and the ongoing territorial disputes over regions such as Kosovo.

One can argue the reasons why certain countries – often times younger, smaller and eastern – have a tendency to fabricate their histories and appropriate famous figures from other nations.

One can debate about whether or not this phenomenon is psychological and rooted in inferiority complexes, especially after having been subjected to foreign rule for so many centuries; or whether it can be perceived as a struggle for survival or cultural relevancy by smaller nations in the face of stronger or more advanced countries; or whether it is rooted in a desire to justify territorial conquest and persecution of ethnic minorities; or whether it is due to excessive envy and pride; or whether it is merely a result of poor education; or a combination of all these motivations.

The reasons for this phenomenon are certainly open to interpretation and debate. But no one can deny that this phenomenon exists, and that it can become very dangerous if not corrected.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

German Saints Stolen by the Slovenes

So many famous Italians from Istria and Dalmatia have been stolen by the ex-Yugoslavs in recent years: their names have been slavicized, and their Italian origin hidden and erased by the Croats and Slovenes who have occupied these lands since the end of World War II. Even indisputably Italian figures such as Marco Polo have officially been proclaimed “Slavs” by the Republic of Croatia, in what can only be described as a monumental fraud.

But Italians aren't the only victims of stolen heritage; many men and women of German origin have also been hijacked by Slovene revisionists in recent decades. The list of prominent Germans stolen by Slovene revisionists includes painters, nobles, ecclesiastics and others. In this article we will limit ourselves only to German saints whose identities have been stolen.

St. Albuin von Brixen

Albuin was born in the 10th century in Carinthia (modern Austria), the son of Margrave Albrecht of Carinthia and his wife Hildegard von Stein. His parents both belonged to the Aribonids, an aristocratic family of Bavarian origin.

Albuin was Bishop of Sabiona-Brixen from 975-1006. He was a loyal servant of Emperor Otto II and Emperor Henry II, and accompanied the latter into Italy in his war against the independent Italian king Arduin of Ivrea. In 1004 he was entrusted with ruling over Veldes (today Bled, Slovenia), although there is no evidence he ever visited the town. He died in Brixen (today Bressanone, Italy) in 1006. After his death he was regarded as a saint and today his primary cult is found in Alto Adige, Italy, especially in the city of Bressanone where he is one of the three patron saints.

How is it that Albuin, who was of German background, who spent most of his life in Italy (at that time part of the Holy Roman Empire), in a region populated by Italians and Germans, and never lived a day in the territory of modern Slovenia, is today considered a “Slovene saint” by modern Slovenes? It is because the Slovenes incorrectly claim that his mother Hildegard was a Slovene (see below).

St. Hemma von Gurk

Hemma von Gurk was born c. 995 in Peilenstein, Carinthia (today Pilstanj, Slovenia). She was the daughter of noble German parents: Engelbert and Tuta. Her parents were related to the Bavarian Luitpolding dynasty and were relatives of Emperor Henry II. Her ancestors also included King Zwentibold of Lotharingia, the illegitimate son of Arnulf of Carinthia, who was a member of the Carolingian dynasty.

Hemma inherited wealth through the death of her husband Wilhelm von der Sann, Count of Friesach, who was born into the German Carinthian nobility. Hemma used her wealth to help the poor. She also founded ten churches throughout Carinthia, the most important of which was Gurk Abbey (located in modern Austria). She died in Gurk Abbey on June 27, 1045. She was already venerated as a saint when she was alive. Today she is the patron saint of Carinthia, Austria.

Merely because Hemma von Gurk was born in the territory of what is now Slovenia, the Slovenes today claim that she was a “Slovene saint” and pretend that her parents were “Slovenian nobles”. The Slovene Wikipedia website even categorizes her exclusively as a “Slovene saint” without so much as listing any German category.

St. Hildegard von Stein

Hildegard von Stein was born c. 910 in the Duchy of Bavaria. Her father Aribo von Leoben belonged to the Aribonids, an aristocratic family of Bavarian origin. Her mother was one of the daughters of Chadaloh II, Count of Aargau and Augstgau, who was a member of the German Ahalolfing dynasty.

Her son Albuin was Bishop of Sabiona-Brixen. Hildegard lived in Burg Prosnitza (near Skarbin, Austria) with her husband. She died in the town of Stein im Jauntal (modern Austria) in c. 985.

For many centuries the Slovenes who lived in the nearby villages have venerated Hildegard as a saint, as have the Germans. However, today the Slovenes inexplicably claim that Hildegard is a “Slovene saint” and call her by the name Liharda Kamenska. In the 19th century, the Slovene nationalist bishop Anton Martin Slomšek declared Hildegard the “Mother of the Slovenes”. In this way, a once-pious religious devotion has been perversely transformed into a national theft.

See also: Why do Some Countries Steal History and Heritage from Other Nations?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Luxardo Maraschino vs. Croatian Maraska

Luxardo Maraschino — vs — Maraska Maraschino

Luxardo is an Italian brand of liqueur most famous for producing Maraschino liqueur. Since 1946 its primary competitor has been Maraska, a Croatian company founded in the former Yugoslavia, and today operating in Croatia. The choice between Luxardo and Maraska is a favourite topic of debate among many liqueur connoisseurs, but for the Luxardo family – the world's leading and oldest producer of Maraschino liqueur – the battle goes far beyond taste.

For Luxardo, the long-standing rivalry with Maraska is not about the taste of liqueur, nor market shares, but about the survival of a family tradition; the painful memories of an entire community wiped out by war and ethnic hatred; a centuries-old cultural heritage stolen and usurped by another people; and an untold story of theft, fraud, torture and murder under the tyranny of Communism: this is the hidden history of the Maraska company and its persecution of the Luxardo family.

The Origins of Maraschino

Maraschino was first invented in Zara, Dalmatia in 1730 by the Italian pharmacist Barolomeo Ferrari and an Italian cafe owner from Dalmatia named Giuseppe Carceniga (Calceniga). Their technique was later developed and perfected by the Istrian-Venetian merchant Francesco Drioli, who was the first to bottle and produce Maraschino on an industrial scale. He founded the Drioli Maraschino company in Zara in 1759, thereby establishing the modern Maraschino industry.

The History of the Luxardo Company

The Luxardo Distillery, built in 1913
Before its destruction in World War II
The Luxardo company was founded in Zara in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo. At this time Zara was still a city of Italian language, culture and ethnicity, and had recently passed from the Republic of Venice to the Austrian Empire.

Luxardo would go on to become one of the most popular and prestigious brands of Maraschino liqueur in the world. The prestige and acclaim of Luxardo can be measured by the fact that Luxardo Maraschino was served aboard the RMS Titanic during its fateful voyage in 1912.

In 1918, following World War I, the city of Zara was reunited with the Kingdom of Italy. By the 1930's Luxardo became the most important distillery in Italy.

The Destruction of Zara and the Murder of the Luxardo Family

During the course of World War II, Allied bombing destroyed approximately 80% of Zara's buildings. After indiscriminate and repeated Anglo-American bombings in 1943-1944, the Luxardo distillery was almost completely destroyed, as was nearly the entire city of Zara.

The war was very tragic and devastating for the Luxardo family: they lost their distillery, their home and several members of their family. They were but one of hundreds of ethnic Italian families – totaling many thousands of civilians – who were forcibly exiled from Dalmatia as a result of the war. In the end, nearly the entire Italian population of Zara was wiped out through Allied bombings, executions, deportation to concentration camps or exile. While most of the Luxardo family fled to mainland Italy between 1943-1944, some members of the family chose to remain in Zara.

Pietro Luxardo and Nicolò Luxardo II
Murdered by the Yugoslavs in 1944
Upon the arrival of Tito's Yugoslav Communist partisans in 1944, atrocities were committed against the remaining Italian population and the Luxardo family was partly exterminated. Nicolò Luxardo II and his wife Bianca Ronzoni were arrested and brutally tortured before being killed by Yugoslav partisans on September 30, 1944. Nicolò II was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, while Bianca was forced to watch. She was shot to death immediately afterward. Pietro Luxardo, who likewise had refused to leave Zara, was imprisoned by the Yugoslavs on October 30, 1944 and murdered on November 12, 1944. His remains were never found.

Giorgio Luxardo was the sole survivor of the fourth generation. Giorgio fled first to Friuli and then to the Veneto region of northeastern Italy and reconnected with a colleague who had saved the Luxardo recipe book. Perhaps even more fortunately, just prior to the war Prof. Alessandro Morettini of the University of Florence had carried maraschino cherry specimens from Dalmatia to Tuscany, where he founded a cherry tree nursery on university premises. Prof. Morettini graciously delivered these cherry saplings to Giorgio Luxardo after the war.

The Usurpation of Maraschino by Yugoslavia: The Foundation of Maraska

In 1944, before the close of World War II, the Yugoslavs illegally seized all of Luxardo's assets and nationalized them. Assets which were confiscated from all the historic liqueur factories of Zara (Luxardo, Drioli and Romano Vlahov), including all usable equipment and machinery, were unified into a single enterprise in 1946 by the new Yugoslav Communist occupational government.

Although Zara was still formally under Italian sovereignty until 1947, the Yugoslavs were already sequestering private property and goods. The old Luxardo distillery, reduced to almost total ruin by Allied bombs, was rebuilt in the same location and designed to look identical to the original building. By 1946 the Yugoslavs were producing and selling their own version of Maraschino liqueur.

The Luxardo family had suffered aerial bombardments, the loss of their home and business, the confiscation of their assets, and the death of multiple family members. Now, adding insult to injury, the Yugoslavs pretended to imitate Luxardo's Maraschino recipe and fraudulently re-bottled it under the same name, using the old bottles and original labels found in the ruins of Luxardo's warehouses.

Maraschino was a trademark owned by the Luxardo family, and they were determined to take legal action against this Yugoslav impersonation. In the end the Luxardo family was victorious, winning every court case in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the United States. After numerous legal battles, in 1949 the Yugoslav company was forced to change its name from Maraschino to Maraska, a Croatian moniker based on the original Italian name. Lawsuits against Maraska continued until the 1960's, and all decisions were won by Luxardo.

The Usurpation of Maraschino by Croatia: Maraska's Fraud and Dishonesty

The Maraska company, founded by the Communist regime in 1946, still operates today in modern Croatia. However, the company has never acknowledged its controversial origins, nor its Communist past, and has never offered any compensation to Luxardo.

Maraska falsely labels its
product as the “Original”
Today Maraska continues to appropriate the legacy of Maraschino by upholding themselves as the heirs of Italo-Dalmatian tradition and continues to falsely label their products with the name “Original Maraschino”. Despite having no legitimate connection to Zara's original Italian liqueur companies – other than confiscating its properties and imitating its products – the Croatian company insists on tracing its own history through Luxardo, Drioli, Vlahov and the Italian Dalmatian community, without acknowledging the seizure of assets, the trademark infringements, the false advertising, the marketing schemes, the ethnic cleansing of Italians and the massacre of the Luxardo family.

Maraska's official website merely states that several factories were destroyed and rebuilt after the war, and that the three main Maraschino liqueur distilleries were merged and reconstituted as the Maraska company in 1946. But this short and misleading version of events completely glosses over the traumatic events and criminal history upon which the Maraska company was built.

Maraska's official website also falsely asserts that the maraschino cherry tree grows only in the area around Zara, in Dalmatia, thereby implying that they are the only only ones capable of producing authentic Maraschino liqueur. In fact the same maraschino cherries are grown by the Luxardo family in the Euganean Hills in Italy, derived from the same cherry trees grown around Zara, thanks to the saplings that were saved by Prof. Morettini and brought to Italy prior to the Yugoslav occupation.

On several occasions – during the period of the Yugoslav regime and after Croatian independence – the Luxardo family requested the return of personal assets, including art collections and family real estate, among them the old distillery building and former Luxardo home in Zara, but all requests have been rejected or ignored.

The landmark Luxardo distillery – ruined and seized by the Yugoslav Communists, and subsequently transformed into the Maraska factory after the war – was recently purchased by a private Turkish bank, the Dogus Group, and will soon become a Hyatt Regency hotel. The Maraska company sold the property and moved to a different location in 2006. Compensation has still never been offered to Luxardo by Maraska, nor by the Dogus Group.

Luxardo Today

Luxardo continues to produce Maraschino according to Maria Canevari's original recipe, as it was written down in 1821. The current distillery is located in the small town of Torreglia in the Euganean Hills, near Padua, in the region of Veneto, Italy, where the Luxardo family exclusively cultivates over 30,000 maraschino cherry trees – derived from the original maraschino cherry trees of Dalmatia – in what is today the largest cherry tree orchard in the world.

To date Luxardo's internationally renown Maraschino has won more than 56 gold medals in liqueur contests around the world. In 2011 alone, seven of Luxardo's liqueurs were awarded twelve bronze, silver and gold medals in international competitions. Luxardo products are currently exported to every continent and to more than 78 countries around the world.

See also:
The History of the Luxardo Company
The History of Maraschino
The Luxardo Distillery: How the Croats Attempted to Usurp the Brand

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The History of the Luxardo Company

Founded by the Luxardo Family in Zara, 1821

Luxardo (officially Girolamo Luxardo S.p.A.) is an Italian brand of liqueur most famous for producing Maraschino, a liqueur made from the distillation of fermented maraschino cherries. Luxardo is one of the oldest liqueur producers in Europe and still remains a small family-owned business, owned and operated by the Luxardo family for nearly 200 years.

The First Generation

The Luxardo company was founded in Zara, a port city of Dalmatia, in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo. At this time Zara was a city of Italian language, culture and ethnic population, and had recently passed from the sovereignty of the Republic of Venice to the Austrian Empire.

Girolamo Luxardo was an entrepreneur and diplomat, born in Santa Margherita Ligure, located near Genoa, on September 29, 1784. Serving as a consular representative of the King of Sardinia to Dalmatia, he moved to Zara with his family in 1817.

Girolamo Luxardo
His wife Marchesa Maria Canevari was interested in perfecting a recipe for Maraschino, a unique type of cherry liqueur produced in Venetian Dalmatia since 1730 by Barolomeo Ferrari and Giuseppe Carceniga. Some allege it was produced as early as the 16th century by Catholic monks at the Dominican monastery of Zara, but this remains unproven. Maria personally produced her own Maraschino at home and it immediately attracted the attention of family, friends and connoisseurs.

In 1821 Luxardo founded a distillery in Zara to produce Maraschino liqueur. After eight years of research to perfect the product, in 1829 he obtained a special privilege from the Emperor of Austria, the “Privilegiata Fabbrica Maraschino Excelsior”. This was a valuable and cherished recognition of the superior quality of Luxardo liqueur, and moreover it granted the Luxardo company exclusive rights to produce Maraschino for the next fifteen years.

Luxardo would go on to become one of the most popular and prestigious brands of Maraschino liqueur, even rivaling the much older company of Drioli, founded in 1759 by the Istrian-Venetian merchant Francesco Drioli, who was the first to bottle and produce Maraschino on an industrial scale, thereby establishing the modern Maraschino industry of Zara. Already in 1864 Luxardo Maraschino was being exported and sold in the United States, and soon Luxardo would surpass Drioli in fame and popularity.

The Second Generation

Girolamo Luxardo died on September 8, 1865 at age 81, and his son Nicolò Luxardo I (1815-1882) took over the business. Taking the reins from his father Girolamo, Nicolò I played a vital role in the company by establishing relationships with prestigious markets all around the world. Luxardo's first advertisement posters were printed in 1874 and distributed throughout Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was not only a first for Luxardo, but also the first recorded advertising campaign for a liqueur in history.

The Third Generation
Luxardo Family Gathering, 1875
Demetrio I (first from left); Michelangelo
(second from left); Nicolò I (third from left)

Luxardo was inherited by Demetrio Luxardo I (1852-1906) and Michelangelo Luxardo (1857-1934). Demetrio I was the first master distiller. He invented new products and refined Luxardo's Maraschino recipe. Thanks to the third Luxardo generation, a new prosperous era began for the company.

Luxardo Maraschino won a gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, the first ever bestowed upon a European company. The prestige and acclaim of Luxardo during this time period can be measured by the fact that Luxardo Maraschino was served aboard the RMS Titanic during its fateful voyage in 1912.

In 1913, Michelangelo built the most modern and largest distillery in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, called Casa Luxardo. This building was an imposing structure on the harbour edge, which housed not only the new distillery, but also the offices and the private apartments of the Luxardo family. The building survived World War I, but was ultimately destroyed in World War II.

Some setbacks occurred for Luxardo during World War I. The loss of the Russian market, caused by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, led to a sharp decline in sales. In addition, the requisition of machinery and metal materials by the Austrian government in 1916-1918 significantly impoverished the Luxardo factory of its vital equipment.

The Patriotism of the Luxardo Family

The Luxardo's were known to be Italian patriots. Their signature design was inspired by the Italian tricolour: a green bottle with a red cap and a white label written in Italian. All of Michelangelo's sons were sent to study at universities in Italy. Nicolò Luxardo II (1886-1944), Michelangelo's eldest son and future heir, risked being executed for treason by joining the Italian Army in World War I, where he earned two Silver Medals of Military Valour as a cavalry officer. In this period, the Luxardo family proudly supported the unification of Dalmatia with the Kingdom of Italy.

Luxardo Poster, 1939
Sangue Morlacco (‘Morlach Blood’) became Luxardo's second specialty after Maraschino. Originally called Cherry Brandy, it was renamed by the Italian warrior-poet Gabriele D'Annunzio in 1919, during the Fiume Expedition, when a group of Italian legionaries occupied the city of Fiume and established the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro. One of these legionaries was Pietro Luxardo (1892-1944), Michelangelo's second son.

The Morlachs were a Latin people of the Dalmatian hinterland who defended the borders of the Republic of Venice against the Turks in the 17th and 18th centuries. Due to the liqueur's dark red colour, resembling the blood shed by the Morlachs under the banner of Venice, D'Annunzio nicknamed it Sangue Morlacco. The name was officially adopted by Luxardo and has continued to be used ever since.

The Fourth Generation

In 1922 the company was taken over by the fourth generation, Michelangelo's four sons: Nicolò II, Demetrio II, Pietro and Giorgio. Under the guidance of the fourth generation, Luxardo's position significantly improved. In 1940 Demetrio II died, leaving his three brothers as the heirs.

The city of Zara had been reunited with the Kingdom of Italy since 1918, and Luxardo once again began to flourish. By the 1930's Luxardo became the largest and most important distillery in Italy. In 1936 Luxardo was responsible for 66% of Zara's liqueur exports. The company reached its peak in this period, with more than 250 employees and an industrial area covering 12,000 square meters.

Casa Luxardo — The Luxardo Distillery, built in 1913
Before its tragic destruction in World War II
However, the beginning of World War II severely hampered industrial activity. During the course of the war, Allied bombing destroyed about 80% of Zara's buildings. After indiscriminate and repeated Anglo-American bombings in 1943-1944, the Luxardo distillery was almost completely destroyed, as was nearly the entire city of Zara. A four-day fire burned several buildings and resulted in the loss of many materials, including 230,000 kg of sugar, 48,000 liters of alcohol and over one million bottles.

The war was very tragic and devastating for the Luxardo family: they lost their distillery, their home and several members of their family. They were but one of hundreds of ethnic Italian families – totaling many thousands of civilians – who were forcibly exiled from Dalmatia as a result of the war. In the end, nearly the entire Italian population of Zara was wiped out through Allied bombings, executions, deportation to concentration camps or exile. While most of the Luxardo family fled to mainland Italy between 1943-1944, some members of the family chose to remain in Zara.

Upon the arrival of Tito's Yugoslav Communist partisans in 1944, atrocities were committed against the remaining Italian population and the Luxardo family was partly exterminated. Nicolò Luxardo II and his wife Bianca Ronzoni were arrested and brutally tortured before being killed by Yugoslav partisans on September 30, 1944. Nicolò II was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, while Bianca was forced to watch. She was shot to death immediately afterward. Pietro Luxardo, who likewise had refused to leave Zara, was imprisoned by the Yugoslavs on October 30, 1944 and murdered on November 12, 1944. His remains were never found.

Pietro Luxardo and Nicolò Luxardo II
Murdered by the Yugoslavs in 1944
Giorgio Luxardo was the sole survivor of the fourth generation. Giorgio fled first to Friuli and then to the Veneto region of northeastern Italy and reconnected with a colleague who had saved the Luxardo recipe book. Perhaps even more fortunately, just prior to the war Prof. Alessandro Morettini of the University of Florence had carried maraschino cherry specimens from Dalmatia to Tuscany, where he founded a cherry tree nursery on university premises. Prof. Morettini graciously delivered these cherry saplings to Giorgio Luxardo after the war.

Armed with the surviving tools and a desire to reestablish his family's legacy, Giorgio chose the small town of Torreglia to rebuild the distillery in 1946. At this new home, Luxardo restored its extensive product line of Italian liqueurs and continued to export the products to markets around the world.

The Usurpation of Maraschino by Yugoslavia

In 1944, before the end of World War II, the Yugoslavs illegally seized all of Luxardo's assets and nationalized them. Assets which were confiscated from all the historic liqueur factories of Zara (Luxardo, Drioli and Romano Vlahov), including all usable equipment and machinery, were unified into a single enterprise in 1946 by the new Yugoslav Communist occupational government.

Although Zara was still formally under Italian sovereignty until 1947, the Yugoslavs were already sequestering private property and goods. The old Luxardo distillery, reduced to almost total ruin by Allied bombs, was rebuilt in the same location and designed to look identical to the original building. By 1946 the Yugoslavs were producing and selling their own version of Maraschino, attempting to pass it off as the same one made by Luxardo.
The city of Zara, 1943-1944
Destroyed by Allied Bombings

The Luxardo family had suffered aerial bombardments, the loss of their home and business, the confiscation of their assets, and the death of multiple family members. Now, adding insult to injury, the Yugoslavs pretended to imitate Luxardo's Maraschino recipe and fraudulently re-bottled it under the same name, using the old bottles and original labels found in the ruins of Luxardo's warehouses.

Maraschino was a trademark owned by the Luxardo family, and they were determined to take legal action against this Yugoslav impersonation. After numerous legal battles, the Yugoslav company in 1949 was forced to change its name from Maraschino to Maraska, a Croatian moniker based on the original Italian name. Other lawsuits against Maraska continued until the 1960's. In the end the Luxardo family was victorious, winning every court case in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the United States; in each proceeding all decisions were won by Luxardo.

The Usurpation of Maraschino by Croatia

The Maraska company, founded by the Communist regime in 1946, still operates today in modern Croatia. However, the company has never acknowledged its controversial origins, nor its Communist past, and has never offered any compensation to Luxardo.

Today Maraska continues to appropriate the legacy of Maraschino by upholding themselves as the heirs of Italo-Dalmatian tradition and continues to falsely label their products with the name “Original Maraschino”. Despite having no legitimate connection to Zara's original Italian liqueur companies – other than confiscating its properties and imitating its products – the Croatian company insists on tracing its own history through Luxardo, Drioli, Vlahov and the Italian Dalmatian community, without acknowledging the seizure of assets, the trademark infringements, the false advertising, the marketing schemes, the ethnic cleansing of Italians and the massacre of the Luxardo family.

Maraska's official website merely states that several factories were destroyed and rebuilt after the war, and that the three main Maraschino liqueur distilleries were merged and reconstituted as the Maraska company in 1946. But this short and misleading version of events completely glosses over the traumatic events and criminal history upon which the Maraska company was built.

The Former Luxardo Distillery in Zara, Dalmatia
Illegally occupied by the Maraska Company from 1946-2006

Maraska's official website also falsely asserts that the maraschino cherry tree grows only in the area around Zara, in Dalmatia, thereby implying that they are the only only ones capable of producing authentic Maraschino liqueur. In fact the same maraschino cherries are grown by the Luxardo family in the Euganean Hills in Italy, derived from the same cherry trees grown around Zara, thanks to the saplings that were saved by Prof. Morettini and brought to Italy prior to the Yugoslav occupation.

On several occasions – during the period of the Yugoslav regime and after Croatian independence – the Luxardo family requested the return of personal assets, including art collections and family real estate, among them the old distillery building and former Luxardo home in Zara, but all requests have been rejected or ignored.

The landmark Luxardo distillery – ruined, seized and restored after the war by the Yugoslavs, and subsequently transformed into the Maraska factory – was recently purchased by a private Turkish bank, the Dogus Group, and will soon become a Hyatt Regency hotel. The Maraska company sold the property and moved to a different location in 2006. Compensation has still never been offered to Luxardo by Maraska, nor by the Dogus Group.

Today

Luxardo continues to produce Maraschino according to Maria Canevari's original recipe, as it was written down in 1821. The current distillery is located in the small town of Torreglia in the Euganean Hills, near Padua, in the region of Veneto, Italy, where the Luxardo family exclusively cultivates over 30,000 maraschino cherry trees – derived from the original maraschino cherry trees of Dalmatia – in what is today the largest cherry tree orchard in the world.

The Current Luxardo Distillery, built in 1946
In the small town of Torreglia, Italy

Until recently, Luxardo was operated by Franco Luxardo of the family's fifth generation, along with members of the sixth generation. Today, the company is headed by the sixth generation: Piero Luxardo Franchi, Guido Luxardo, Giorgio Luxardo II, Matteo Luxardo and Filippo Luxardo. The seventh generation is also just now starting and is represented by Nicolò Luxardo IV and Gaia Luxardo, the first female family member to join the company.

To date Luxardo's internationally renown Maraschino has won more than 56 gold medals in liqueur contests around the world. In 2011 alone, seven of Luxardo's liqueurs were awarded twelve bronze, silver and gold medals in international competitions. The company also produces a variety of other classic Italian liqueurs, including Sambuca, Amaretto, Grappa, Limoncello, Sangue Morlacco and Passione Nera. Besides its famous liqueurs, a second line of Luxardo products now includes a gourmet division with liqueur concentrates, fruit syrups, Maraschino cherries and jams.

Luxardo products are currently exported to every continent and to more than 78 countries around the world. The main export countries of Luxardo products are the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Japan and continental Europe.

See also:
The History of Maraschino
The Luxardo Distillery: How the Croats Attempted to Usurp the Brand
Luxardo Maraschino vs. Croatian Maraska