Free Trieste



At the end of World War II, one of the first actions of the occupying Allied Military Government (A.M.G. V.G.) based in Trieste was to repeal the shameful racial laws force by Italy in 1938 against the Jews. It was a much needed act to bring back civilization and justice after the barbaric occupations of the Fascists and of the Nazis had raped for a very long quarter century the well-run, civil and tolerant Trieste of Mitteleuropa and of the Habsburg, downgrading it to symbol of the cruel Italian unity, and core of the ideal and political union of the two bloodthirsty totalitarian regimes.

It was right from Trieste that, on 18 September 1938, Mussolini proclaimed Italian racial laws to get in line with his German ally. From that moment, even in Trieste the Jews became outcast, regarded as sub-humans, marginalized from the society before the “final solution”. A final solution was nothing but genocide: evil made human, which contaminated also the ancient Imperial city.

Trains from Trieste were used to deport the Jews, in what would be the last voyage for many of them, off to the horror of concentration camps and death camps. In Trieste there was also a Nazi Lager, the antechamber to mass extermination camps, where many political opponents and Jews were brutally murdered: the Risiera di San Sabba.

Order No. 3 of the A.M.G. V.G. with which Fascist anti-Jewish laws were repelled, was signed on July 3rd, 1945 by U.S. Colonel Nelson W. Monfort, and it represented the liberation from the dark and evil in which Trieste was drowning, and its return to light and life. Then for Trieste, martyr-city of the ferocious Fascist and Nazi regimes, came redemption with the establishment of the Free Territory of Trieste, under the Treaty of Peace of Paris of 10 February 1947.

The administration of the new State was provisionally entrusted to the A.M.G. F.T.T. (Allied Military Government Free Territory of Trieste, 1947 – 1954) no longer an occupation Government, but its first Government of State, which continued to repeal all repressive fascist laws that had remained into force in the Free Territory of Trieste.

In 1954, Washington and London sub-entrust the exercise of this provisional administration to the Italian Government with the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Free Territory of Trieste.

With the Italian administration, Trieste’s rebirth, which had started thanks to the Allies, to the point its Free Port had quickly returned to the levels of its glorious past as first port of Austria Hungary, was slowly stop. Trieste would no longer be treated as independent State to be developed, but as a colony to squeeze. And its Free Port would inexorably be isolated and marginalized by diverting its traffics to competing Italian ports.

Mass emigrations of Triestines started, especially to Australia. The rigorous Allied administrations was quickly substituted by the huge and inefficient bureaucracy of the Italian State, with its many levels of corruption.

And so, as part of a well-planned operation, also the amendment and the repealing of Italian laws incompatible with the Free Territory of Trieste, started by the Allied Military Governments, was ignored by using the same laws without declaring it. Including the shameful racial laws.

As late as on 8 September 1960, the Ufficio Affari Riservati (Office for Classified Affairs) of the Italian Ministry of the Interior had to warn all Italian Prefects about not using the data of the data about Jews and people of Jewish ancestry filed in compliance with the racial laws for purposes other opening new dossiers to grant them the reparations envisioned by the new laws of the Italian State in favor of victims of political or racial discrimination.

Among the recipients of the classified note (which sure raises many questions since the Italian State had repealed racial laws as well) even the General-Commissioner for the Free Territory of Trieste (since there cannot be an Italian prefect in Trieste), who represents the provisional, administering Government for the Free Territory of Trieste.

An important evidence of the existence of the Free Territory of Trieste as State administered by the Italian Government under the Memorandum of Understanding of London. But, unfortunately, also an evidence of the failure to comply with the decision of the Allies who, as for Trieste, had already repelled Italian racial laws in Trieste as early as on July 3rd, 1945.

Translated from blog “Ambiente e Legalità” – “Environment and Legality” by Roberto Giurastante