This paper examines the role and activities of women – wives and mothers – who tried to appeal to the authorities for the repatriation of their relatives who were interned as prisoners of war. Two cases will be discussed, namely (1) in the post-WWI period, when Slovene and Croatian women appealed for the repatriation of relatives who were prisoners of war in Russia and Italy and (2) in the post-WWII period, when Italian women appealed for the repatriation of relatives who were prisoners of war in Yugoslavia (with a special focus on those deported from the Julian March in May 1945). Based on letters and requests addressed by individuals or associations to the competent authorities, both cases will be presented and placed into a comparative perspective. Additionally, the background of women’s action and activism during these two different transition periods will be explained. The aim is to understand what influenced the way these requests were communicated, their content, and how they differed. We will try to understand whether and how women’s emancipation is manifested in these two transition periods, and if and how their activities were impacted by different cultural environments from which these women originated.


Urška Lampe is a Marie-Curie fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Department of Humanities, and a Researcher at the IRRIS Institute for Research, Development and Strategies of Society, Culture and Environment. Her research interests are currently focused on the social consequences of war, with a special emphasis on the Italo-Yugoslav conflict after the Second World War and Italian prisoners of war in Yugoslavia and their families. In addition to collecting and analysing archival sources from numerous archives across Europe, her recent research has been focused on autobiographical and oral sources. She is the author of numerous scientific articles, a forthcoming scientific monograph and an editor of two high-impact scientific journals Acta Histriae and Annales, Series Historia et Sociologia.