World War I had a great effect on Trentino. The first general mobiization in July 1914 called all men age 20 – 42 for service in Galizia and Russia. Large losses in the war are remembered with monuments to the fallen in many of the villages of Trentino. For example, the village of Romeno, housing about 850 people sent 155 of its young men to fight in the war, 14 of which did not return.
The loss of the services of the young working men greatly impacted the village and its ability to provide for the remaining residents. Parts of Trentino were affected in different ways. Some areas remained untouched, while others suffered the effects of battles, evacuation, and deprivation.
After the May 1915 declaration of war by Italy against Austria, many villages were evacuated, and the residents sent to refugee camps within Austria (Katenzau, Landegg, Mittendorf). Often, boys and men were taken off the trains while enroute to the camps, and put to work building fortifications. Those who finally arrived at the camps were housed in wooden barracks under difficult living conditions. The political upheavals in the area resulted in the deportation and internment of many Trentini (including approx. 180 from Val di Non) to the same camps. Often, a person was interned for the slightest of reasons —
Enrico Borga (b. 1876 Tuenno) — for possessing a passport that was not his own.
Anna Giovannini (b. 1853 Flavon) — for declaring that she preferred her son dead rather than enlisting with the Austrian forces.
Giovanni Gentilini (b. 1850 Romallo) — for declaring that the Emperor is old and doesn’t know what he is doing.
Domenico Franch (b. 1854 Cloz) — a teacher who expressed his displeasure with the German school system.
Paolo Zadra (b. 1888 Tres) — a priest suspected of giving information to the Italian military forces. He was interned at Landegg 1915-1918, where he ministered to the spiritual needs of his fellow Trentini.
Many fortifications were built throughout Trentino and used extensively during the war. The Fortezze Imeratore site has published a .pdf pamphlet (page 1) (page 2) with information, discussions, and photos of these fortifications.
If you would like to learn more about World War I’s effect on Trentino, visit Trentino Grande Guerra .
Museo Storico (Trento History Museum) – The archives of this museum contain thousands of documents and photographs regarding Trentino history since the late 1800s. A large part of its holdings details events and scenes of World War I, including experiences of Trentino soldiers.
Listings of World War I casualties for various villages in Trentino (including Cagno, Castelfondo, Imer, Romallo, Segonzano, Vigolo, Tuenno and others ) can also be found at “Albo d’Oro“.
Italian War Museum at Rovereto – a resource for information about wars in or that affected Trentino from the 16th century to World War I. Coverage includes history, documents, photographs, and exhibits. The musuem was also instrumental in assembling a database of World War I casualties from Trentino.
Related posts: Men of Trentino killed in WW I and II