Cleansing on the border

by Roberto Spazzali

The fight against fascism in Venezia Giulia had a completely different development compared to the rest of Italy. Given that the region was divided into two occupation zones - one under anglo-American influence, the other under Yugoslav influence - a double “cleansing” operation was carried out between 1945 and 1948. In the A Zone (Trieste, Gorizia and Pula) it aimed at restoring democracy and national reconciliation. In the B Zone the goal was the transformation of the social and political roles in preparation for the future annexation to Yugoslavia. In Venezia Giulia the civil and military authorities decided to act independently and followed their own evaluation methods of the possible criminal acts. Fascism, persecutions of Slavic populations, racial laws, the war of aggression, Istrian massacres in the autumn of 1943, nazi deportations during the twenty-month-occupation, massacres by the Yugoslav forces in May and June of 1945, all this had to be analyzed along with another painful chapter dealing with the behaviour patterns of an entire society belonging to a border region, where national, political and social tension in the post-war period could not be undervalued or simplified. And yet everything was simplified and presented as an inevitable phase in the transition to a post war period. The priorities in the A zone were the necessity to restore the rule of law and to erase rapidly any trace of fascism. In fact, only few sanctions were passed, because the main focus was not on the regime itself, but rather on its political actions, like racial laws or the civil war. In the B Zone the “Poteri Popolari” (People’s Powers) movement seized the opportunity presented by the “cleansing operations” to justify the massacres of May 1945 and to remove the Italian ruling class in Istria from their posts, thus conditioning the future leadership of the region - although each area set their own criteria. Furthermore, the Communist party of the Julian region started thinking of a radical action against the fascist legacy, provided that the Free Territory of Trieste would become a reality. However, the working class of Trieste did not support the plan, which therefore did not go ahead. In this research, based on unpublished documentation - available for the first time for consultation - the Julian society of this crucial period of the 20th century reveals an unexpected perspective. See the appendix of this book or consult our website to get the lists of the outcasts from the A and B Zones.

Taken from:
Epurazione di Frontiera 1945-48. Le ambigue sanzioni contro il fascismo nella Venezia Giulia.
I.R.C.I. - LEG, Gorizia, 2000
pages 408 ( 14 x 21 cm)