This paper will discuss the episodes of violence that saw women as protagonists in the Julian March, in the transition between the end of WWI and the official annexation to the Kingdom of Italy (1918–1922). The collection of data and individual episodes is based on the daily reports of the Carabinieri and on the news reported by the local press.
Since before the conflict violence was a daily element in the life of a port city like Trieste, and for this reason we can see several elements of continuity, such as violent robberies, fights, domestic violence and violence against prostitutes other elements are instead a direct consequence of the war, the Italian occupation and the rise of “fascismo di confine”.
In the first post-war months domestic violence was marked by episodes involving veterans, who became violent as a result of the war or who did not accept the new relationships established by the women they had attended before the conflict.
The soldiers who were present in large numbers in the region were the protagonists of numerous acts of violence, especially in the first months of the Italian occupation. These episodes, in particular the rapes, deeply marked the perception of the new regime by the population; consequently, they were harshly punished by the Italian administration. In the same way an immediate attempt was made to suppress fights and violence in brothels involving members of the army. Among the episodes most followed by public opinion were suicides and infanticides, which involved mainly young girls who were abandoned by soldiers with whom they had a relationship.
Between 1921–22, when the Fascist squadrismo was on the rise, women were also among the victims of political violence, particularly teachers and wives of socialist militants, who were affected mainly in the areas with a Slovenian majority.
About the author
In April 2016 Matteo Perissinotto obtained the PhD in History at the University of Trieste, defending a dissertation entitled Italian Jews facing the Great War (1914–1919). From 2013 to 2016 he has been involved in the project Der Erste Weltkrieg und die Konflikte der europäischen Nachkriegsordnung (1914–1923) at the Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung (ZfA) in Berlin. He is the Managing Editor of the Review “Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. Journal of CDEC Foundation” and a scientific collaborator of the Jewish Community Museum in Trieste “Carlo e Vera Wagner” and “Fondazione Museo della Shoah” in Rome. He is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Exhibitions 1938. La Storia and 1938. La memoria curated by Sara Berger and Marcello Pezzetti.
He participated as a speaker in several international conferences pertaining to Italian Jews and World War I and philanthropy, associations and honours in the documents of Italian Consulate archive in Trieste (1861–1915).
He collaborates on the EIRENE project.