Saturday, July 12, 2003

Woman Terrorist – Italian Style

Deteriorating relations between Italy and Croatia won’t be helped by the article in La Liberta, Piacenza daily newspaper publish. Its latest editorial claims that “great Italian patriot” Maria Pasquinelli should have its own monument. Fact that Ms. Pasquinelli is still alive is not the only interesting thing about this story – the great patriotic act for which she should receive such honour is something that is currently being done to US servicemen in Iraq on daily basis.

On February 10th 1947 in Pula Ms. Pasquinelli has shot Robert D. De Winton, British General. At the time city of Pula was under Allied occupation pending the peace treaty that was supposed to establish new border between Italy and former Yugoslavia. A day earlier, Paris Peace Treaty has given Pula (Pola) to Tito’s state. Pasquinelli didn’t like the idea of “most sacred Italian lands” being handed over to foreigners, so she shot General as “representative of victorious powers”. She was caught and sentenced to death, only to have her sentence commuted to life imprisonment. She was released 17 years later.

General De Winton, however, is not the only person to die from Pasquinelli’s hand. During WW2 Pasquinelli, a devout Fascist, volunteered to serve in Balkans. Her attempts to pass as a man and serve as a soldier failed, so she had taken another task on the fringes of Mussolini’s New Roman Empire. The place was city of Split, annexed by Italy following the collapse of Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941. Pasquinelli was given the job of Italian teacher in local high school and there she mercilessly tried to remind the pupils of their Italian identity. One of her colleagues, Professor Ćiro Gamulin (Ciro Gamulin), didn’t show much enthusiasm for Italianisation of the pupils and made unfortunate decision to express his anti-Italian feelings in public. When Pasquinelli heard about that, she immediately informed her Black Shirt comrades and they had Professor Gamulin arrested and tortured to death.

(After the war Gamulin, although never a Communist, became a martyr for Tito’s authorities and had one of Split’s high schools named after him. In 1990 HDZ authorities considered Gamulin to be to Communist and had the school renamed, thus showing that they, just like their spiritual fathers in 1940s, considered Italian fascists as their natural allies.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see that someone cares to write down these lost but precious moments of history. Pozdrav.

2:06 AM  

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