This paper will focus on women who worked for the administration of the Allied Military Government in Trieste from 1945–1954. As soon as they began settling in the city, from June 1945, the Americans and the English took control of the entire administrative system, taking it apart and restructuring it completely. In the new system women had a significant role, working predominantly as secretaries in the various offices and departments created by the AMG, receiving a salary and a series of social rights for which they would have to fight once Trieste returned to Italy in 1954. For these reasons the transition to the Italian Republic would not be easy, and for some women it would entail downsizing both in terms of the type of work available to them, and their salary. This paper will analyse the recruitment practices and associated requirements, seeking to grasp the quantitative impact of the female presence in various Departments, and also focusing, where possible, on the dealings between these women and the allies.


Tullia Catalan is Associate Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Trieste (Department of Humanities), and she lectures Contemporary History and Jewish Studies for bachelor, master degree and PhD courses. Her research interests include the history of the Jewish community of Trieste from 1789 to World War II; Italian Jews in the 1848 Revolution; anti-Semitism and Catholicism at the turn of the 20th century and in the 1930s; the narratives and representations of anti-Slavism in the Upper Adriatic area; the European Jewish philanthropic associations in the 19th and 20th century. She has been studying for two years also the question of seizures and confiscations carried on by the Austrians against the Irredentist Movement in the Adriatic Littoral, ruled by the Habsburg Empire until 1918 and has taken part in workshops and International seminars in Trieste, Paris and Milan about these themes. She is one of the editors of the journals Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, and Memoria e Ricerca and is the scientific supervisor of the Jewish Museum “Carlo and Vera Wagner” in Trieste.

Her most recent publications include T. Catalan, M. Dogo (eds.), The Jews and the Nation-States of Southeastern Europe from the 19th Century to the Great Depression. Combining Viewpoints on a Controversial Story, Cambridge 2016;“La Journéè de la Mémoire en Italie: le rôle des institutions entre centre et péripherie (2000–2013)”, in Revue d’Histoire de la Shoah, n. 206, 2017, pp. 85–105; “Under Observation: Italian Jewry and European Jewish Philanthropic Organizations in 1938–1939”, in Italian Jewish Networks from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century. Bridging Europe and the Mediterranean, edited by F. Bregoli, C. Ferrara degli Uberti, G. Schwarz, Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2018, pp. 127–149.