Women and Political Violence in the Northern Adriatic Region
The paper will address a topic that is still little explored in the field of historical research in the Northern Adriatic and in Croatia in general after World War II, namely that of violence and political repression against women that developed in the disputed territories between Italy and Yugoslavia after the end of the Second World War. The use of violence constituted a fundamental aspect of the politics of the new Yugoslav state and characterized all phases of the establishment of ‘popular power’, transforming itself seamlessly into state violence well beyond the post-war period. Within the policy of violence, adopted to hinder and eliminate the anti-communist and anti-Yugoslav elements that were active in the border area and that could be connected to Western countries first (to Italy) and then to the Soviet bloc, there is the repression of women ‘optants’ and Cominformists, real or presumed, during the period 1948–1951. Women who had familiar connections with the political enemies of Yugoslav Communism – the Cominformists; women who with their families opted for the Italian citizenship; they were all figures of women seen as “companions of the enemy” to be targeted, who experienced violence, humiliation and degradation, which was manifested through dismissals, evictions, forced labour, incarcerations up to the brutal experiences of women’s detention camp on the island of San Gregorio, in the proximity of that of Goli Otok-Isola Calva. The testimonies-memories of some victims of the Communist repression after the Second World War, taken from the publications of the Historical Research Center of Rovinj-Rovigno, recount individual destinies and personal tragedies of wives and daughters, which led them to experience traumas of different nature and entity, remained for decades in oblivion, where silence and the denial of pain had become the only survival strategies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Orietta Moscarda, PhD, is a researcher at the Rovinj Historical Research Center, research institute of the Italian community living in Croatia and Slovenia. She deals with the history of the Upper Adriatic in the 1900s, migratory movements in the Upper Adriatic area, popular powers in Istria and Rijeka, transitional justice, political violence, and issues related to the history of the Italian national community in Istria. She is an editor of the contemporary history review Quaderni of the Historical Research Center. She has collaborated in international research projects that have marked the historical studies in the border area of the Upper Adriatic. She has published essays and articles in international journals and in those of the Italian national group in Croatia and Slovenia. Among the publications: Il potere popolare in Istria 1945-1953, Centro di ricerche storiche, Rovigno–Trieste, 2016.