South Tyrol

Bolzano/Bozen Province, situated less than sixty miles to the north; however, for the ethnic German speaking "minority" in the province, this border has never existed.Two thirds of the Italian citizens in the province speak German as their mother tongue. It had once been part of the Roman Empire. Then, in the Middle Ages, the province began to be Germanised; gradually, the Italian presence was reduced, but the Italian population was significant enough to ensure that significant ties to Italy waere maintained. Eventually the region became part of the Austrian Empire until it was defeated after the 1866 Austro Prussian War when the region was awarded to Italy. But by the end of the century, the Italian presence in Bolzano/Bozen had fallen to only nine percent of the population. The First World War "solution" to the imbalance between Italian and German citizenry following the terrible loss of life was to establish the border of Austria and Italy at the natural geographical divide, Brenner Pass, and conclusively to annex the region into Italy, which was confirmed in post-war treaties.    

Brixen  
 Mass protest against the forcible annexation of South Tyrol to Italy after the Great War in the square in front of Brixen cathedral.  At the conclusion of the First World War, Tyrol was still entirely in the hands of Austrian and Tyrolean defenders. The ceding of South Tyrol to Italy embittered many Tyroleans on both sides of the Brenner- Tyrol, a province that had been a part of Austria for over five hundred years and was almost totally German-speaking, was split in two with the southern part awarded to Italy as "spoils of war." The border drawn at the Brenner Pass cut South Tyrol off from an Austria then too weak to prevent the loss. What followed, in a first phase, was the systematic subjection by the Italian Fascists of what had been a regional majority in South Tyrol, but was now a minority within Italy. After the separation of South from North Tyrol had become a fait accompli, the citizens of the latter voted overwhelmingly (98.5 percent) in a plebiscite in April 1921 to join Tyrol to postwar Germany. Although the union of Tyrol to Germany did not occur in the 1920s, the outcome of the plebiscite presaged the widely popular acceptance of Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. It also illustrates again the precarious nature of the integration of Tyrol into the modern Austrian state. As the Habsburg monarchy collapsed and new political boundaries were drawn, regions such as Tyrol were not at all certain that they wanted to belong to the new "Austria." In a second phase, Italians from the south with a totally different mentality swamped the country in order to get an Italian majority.
 Fascist rally in front of Brixen's town hall in 1930 with the banner "Ubi Rex, ibi Lex - ubi Dux, ibi Lux" on the facade. During this period the town like others was the object of a process of forced Italianisation with the entire region.  With the advent of the Mussolini regime in 1922, most such places, in the northern provinces, were Italianised, by which village names were changed, people had to learn to speak Italian, and so forth. In 1928 the territories of the suppressed municipalities of Millan (Milland), Sarnes (Sarns), Albes (Albeins) and Monteponente (Pfeffersberg) are aggregated to the municipal territory, and the hamlet of Elvas, detached from the municipality of Naz.This caused the ethnic rivalry between Germans and Italians, which already existed, to flare up particularly when the Italians capitulated to the Allies in 1943 and Germany invaded Italy, once again giving dominance in the region to German speakers. Then, with the emergence of National Socialism in Germany, and eventually with the Hitler-Mussolini Agreement of 1939, there was a third phase: an experiment in "ethnic cleansing" called the "Option." This was an agreement between the Kingdom of Italy and Germany that obliged the South Tyrolean citizens to choose between Italian and German citizenship and between remaining in the province, accepting the definitive Italianisation, or moving beyond the border.
In 1941 the territories of the suppressed municipality of Sant'Andrea in Monte (St. Andrä) were aggregated. From 1943 to 1945 the city was part of the Pre-Alps Operation Zone. Possibly Nazi control of Tyrol eventually strengthened Tyrolean resolve to remain a part of Austria. After the enthusiastic reception of Nazism in most of Tyrol, the territory was given special protective status because many important weapons and munitions plants were moved there. But the Nazis' failure to reunite South and North Tyrol and their growing hostility toward Catholic clerics eventually soured, resulting in a discernible anti-Nazi movement. As a result, 86 percent of all South Tyroleans agreed to leave South Tyrol and become citizens of "Greater Germany." Approximately 75,000 did actually leave. The effects of this decision can be traced from the highest levels of government down to the tiniest villages, and have not been forgotten to this day.
The Elephant Hotel, site of the 1940 Wertfestsetzungkommission. Giles MacDonogh in his book After the Reich (83)has a reference to an incident that took place in this hotel immediately after the war:
 The general had few soldiers with him, but a ‘prisoner of honour’ Colonel Bogislaw von Bonin was able to put through a call to General Heinrich von Vietinghoff in Bolzano. When he informed the commander of the presence of the Prominenten, Vietinghoff despatched troops to protect them. They were not due before dawn, however, and Bader’s men were still eager for blood. The prisoners went to a hotel on the market square where Frau Heiss, manager of the Hotel Elefant in Brixen, regaled them with Kaiserschmarrn (An atomised sweet omelette filled with raisins and a favourite of the Emperor Franz Joseph – hence the name) – a great treat after the food they had eaten in their various concentration camps. Bader, however, had not given up: ‘Müller raus!’ (Come out, Müller!). Colonel von Bonin, however, had been allowed to go into captivity with his pistol. He drew it and aimed it at the SS man: ‘Ich zähle bis drei, bei zwei sind sie eine Leiche!’ (I’ll count to three. On two you are a dead man). Bader’s men took the hint.
 Drake Winston returning to the Domplatz to compare the site today with how it appeared at a commemoration to the Memory of the Fallen in the winter 1944 during the German annexation during the war. By this time as so often in her history Italy found herself first on one side and then on the other, with corresponding consequences for South Tyrol. A strategic focal point of the war, the region endured the Battle of the Brenner from 1944 to 1945, when the Western powers dropped over 10,000 tonnes of bombs to capture it. At the end of the Second World War the scramble was on throughout Austria to distance the country from its association with Nazism. The victorious powers rejected the return of South Tyrol to Austria and were steadfast in maintaining the Brenner border, although pressure from the British did result, in 1946, in an agreement between Italy and Austria on autonomy for South Tyrol. The postwar period found an Italy purporting to be democratic and a South Tyrol caught up quite early in the machinations of the Cold War. Germany no longer played a part in these years, so it was the Austrian Second Republic that would assume the role of "protector" of South Tyrol. Austria was then also occupied and weak, however, and would become actively involved only after the State Treaty of 1955, which finally restored to Austria its full independence. After this founding of the Austrian Second Republic, Tyrol returned to a familiar political configuration of conservative, communal-based politics. However, by the late 1950s, disappointed hopes had aggravated the discontent and led to demands for real autonomy and even self-determination. Austria took the issue to the United Nations in 1960. When negotiations failed, there were bombings and later even killings. In 1963, a new centre-left coalition government in Italy had more understanding for minorities and opened the way for constructive discussions. By 1969, negotiations had produced a plan for a new autonomy that came to be known as the "Package." It took two more decades to implement it. Finally, in 1992, Austria and Italy officially ended their dispute with an autonomy agreement for South Tyrol that could well serve as a model for approaching the problems that will accompany new nationalisms in the new century. Today, the marks of this history are readily apparent. About forty kilometres south of the Olympic city of Innsbruck lies the Brenner border, beyond which the villages have both German and Italian names.

Bolzano 
The railway station during the 1930s and today, pretty much unchanged. After the First World War, the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919) rewarded Italy with County of Tyrol's territory south of the Brenner Pass. As a result, Bozen-Gries station was transferred to the Italian railway network and came under the management of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS).  From 1927 to 1929 the station building was replaced by one in the style of Italy's fascist regime. It was designed by the architect Angiolo Mazzoni. The facade on the access road to the station was reworked into two half-columns and flanked by two statues, which were crafted by the Austrian artist Franz Ehrenhöfer, to represent electricity and steam. Ehrenhöfer also created masks on the cornices for the station complex, a fountain of St. Christopher and an allegory of River Adige (River Etsch) above the entrance to the clock tower.
Mussolini in front of the railway station during a visit to the town which played a part in a fascist-manufactured myth.
This was the so-called March on Bolzano, which took place between 1 and 2 October 1922 , was an event organised by the National Fascist Party, directed against the German majority in South Tyrol, whose success resulted in the dismissal of Julius Perathoner, the last German-speaking burgomaster German of Bolzano elected before the fascist period.   After the annexation of the South Tyrol, following the end of the First World War and the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye , the nationalist and fascist propaganda launched with increasing violence against the ethnic minorities, in particular Slavic and Germanic , considered the guilty of the so-called " mutilated victory ".  Among the major proponents of an intransigent policy towards the Germanic minority in the Tyrol annexed to the Kingdom of Italy stood out the Trentino Ettore Tolomei.  The first episode of violence against the then German majority of Bolzano was consummated on the blood Sunday in 1921, provoking dozens of injured and one dead, killed by fascist squads. According to the Fascists, the day had to take on an anti-Italian meaning, so they tried to prevent it and prepared a counter-demonstration, bringing the comrades of many provinces to Bolzano, under the command of Achille Starace. Julius Perathoner, mayor of Bolzano since 1895, was unprepared to fascists as a symbol of intransigent Germanisation and resistance against any form of Italianisation. Perathoner, who in his first speech as mayor in 1895 had still shown himself to be a supporter of a peaceful coexistence between the German and Italian Bolzanians, became one of the major spokesmen of the Tyrolean pangermanist sentiment and joined the Volksbund, which counted among its exponents the extremist Wilhelm Rohmeder.
On September 26, 1922, the Bolzano group of the National Fascist Party sent an ultimatum to the municipal administration, asking for the resignation of Mayor Perathoner and the making available to the school Elisabethschule for education in Italian. At the end of September, the start of the school year was scheduled.  Perathoner, who had been confirmed as mayor by Vittorio Emanuele III for a few months, refused, arguing that it would not be conceivable to remove a school of 500 German students to give it to 100 Italian students, offering to compromise.  The Fascists, refusing any negotiation, occupied the Elisabethschule school building at dawn of October 1, renaming it in "Regina Elena" (since then the school has remained Italian, with the name "Dante Alighieri elementary school"). The next day they attacked the Municipality of Bolzano, threatening to incinerate it if Perathoner had not been removed  The civil commissioner for the Venice Tridentine Luigi Credaro invited the Government Facta to cede to fascist pressures and on October 2 the Government declared Perathoner lapsed by the mayor's office, on the grounds that he had not been notified of the appointment confirmation. The appointment was however published at the beginning of June 1922. Luigi Credaro was also subsequently dismissed, through fascist pressure, on October 28, 1922. Throughout the affair, the Italian police and the Carabinieri weapon did not intervene to stop the fascist squads, thus showing the weakness of the Italian democratic government.  Just three weeks later the march on Rome began , bringing Benito Mussolini to power. The march on Bolzano was considered by Ettore Tolomei and by the Fascists, but also by some contemporary historians, as a "general test" for the taking of power by Mussolini.
Standing in front of Mussolini's Victory Monument and as it appeared in 1928 near its completion. The work of Marcello Piacentini, it includes decorative features by the most important Italian sculptors of the time.  Mussolini had wanted to dedicate the monument to Cesare Battisti but, after the opposition of Battisti’s widow, it was dedicated “to the victory of Italy”. The monument reflects and provides a link to local historical events during the twenty years of Fascism – il ventennio – and the Nazi occupation, within the context of national and international events in the years between the two World Wars. Eventually erected in 1928 to commemorate the Italian “martyrs” of the First World War, but widely seen as a celebration of Italy’s annexation of South Tyrol, the Victory Monument sits in one of Bolzano’s main squares. Mussolini himself sketched the initial design, and he chose Piacentini, one of his favourite architects, to construct it. At the time it was built, the imposing arch stood as a symbol of Fascist might and Italy’s dominion over the local German-speaking population. Designed as a provocation, the Victory Monument—a celebration in stone of nationalism and imperialism, war and fascism, and Mussolini himself— remains an affront to South Tyrol’s German-speaking citizens even today. The arch was one of Piacentini’s first projects in Bolzano. The architect thanked Mussolini for entrusting him with the project and promised to create a “truly Fascist monument” based on Mussolini’s original concept, which had won praise among Italian nationalists at home and abroad. Donations for the project flowed in, and the duce himself contributed a significant sum of his money. The Victory Monument was completed by 1928 at a carefully chosen site strategically situated between two parts of the rather small Austrian provincial town. More important perhaps, the arch was built over an unfinished Austrian memorial to the fallen soldier of the Kaiserjäger, an elite unit that had fought against the Italians in the First World War. In other words, Mussolini’s arch literally stood on the ruins of the Habsburg monarchy, symbolising Italy’s rule over South Tyrol and its claim on the new border in the Brenner Valley. The architectural design of the monument—a Roman triumphal arch—was intended to send a message. Widespread during the Roman Empire (almost 2,000 years ago), triumphal arches enjoyed a renaissance in Europe during the eighteenth century—Paris’s Arc de Triomphe and Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate are two examples from the period. During the Fascist era, however, they were uncommon in Italy, although there were a number of them in the country’s African colonies.
  At first, the Victory Monument could easily be mistaken for a genuine Roman arch erected by an emperor to mark the border of the Roman Empire at the Brenner Valley. The Bolzano arch measures 19 meters wide, 20.5 meters high, and 8 meters deep. The mighty main beam rests on fourteen columns that are in the form of fasces (fascio in Italian)—bundles of elm or birch rods with an axe emerging from them—the ancient Roman symbols of authority from which the Italian Fascist Party drew its name. Along the rectangular stone blocks that form the north- facing main façade is the sculpture “Vittoria Sagittaria,” a victory goddess firing an arrow northward toward the Italian–Austrian border—a symbolic warning to neighbours Austria and Germany not to interfere in Italy’s plans to Italianise South Tyrol. The Latin inscription at the top of the monument states: “Here at the border of the fatherland stands a marker. From this point on, we educated the others with language, law, and culture” (Hic Patriae Fine Siste Signa / Hinc Ceteros Excolumnus Lingua Legibus Artibus). The arrogant message was clear: The Fascists had brought civilization to the backward Alpine “barbarians” of South Tyrol, which had been part of the Roman Empire more than 1,500 years ago. The monument proclaims that the “fallen sons of the fatherland”—Italian war heroes like the “martyrs” Cesare Battisti, Damiano Chiesa and Fabio Filzi, immortalised in busts inside the arch—had sacrificed themselves to conquer these “borderlands”.
Members of the Wehrmacht and the Südtiroler Ordnungsdienst escorting Italian soldiers in front of the monument on their way to deportation to Germany on September 9, 1943. Between 1943 and 1944, the Südtiroler Ordnungsdienst was a police-like auxiliary force in South Tyrol during the time of the operation zone Alpine foothills. When in 1943 the invasion of German troops in northern Italy became apparent after the ceasefire of Cassibile, the group was formed in South Tyrol from circles of the Working Group of Optanten for Germany, the later SOD. Only three days after the German invasion, the SOD was officially recognised by General Erwin Rommel as a "self-protection" force. Its members were equipped with Italian bootlegged-supplies. They participated in the disarmament and capture of the remaining Italian troops shown here. Some of the SOD commandos were looking for scattered Italian soldiers, which also resulted in indiscriminate murders. Members of the SOD were also involved in the arrest of Jews remaining in Meran leading to more death. Tasks of the SOD involved building protective infrastructure, monitoring of blackouts, monitoring of the railway facilities, cleaning up after bomb attacks et cet..  The SOD was initially a civilian troop of volunteers and so from November 1943 it was possible for conscripts to serve in the SOD instead of the Wehrmacht or SS.  The number of its members increased from 6,000 at the end of September 1943 to roughly 17,000 by May 1944. The SOD was eventually transferred to the Landwacht on August 1, 1944.
Standing under the monument where the exhibition "bZ '18–'45: one monument, one city, two dictatorships",was first opened to the public in July 2014 after having remained closed to the public for decades. It stated purpose is to illustrate the history of the Monument to Victory, erected by the Fascist regime between 1926 and 1928.  The exhibition also covers the radical urban transformations for the construction of a new “Italian” city of Bolzano and the establishment of a major industrial zone, from the end of the 1920s. Both had the principal aim of attracting large numbers of people from other parts of Italy. Finally, the exhibition confronts the difficult relationship between the different language groups, caused by the over- bearing legacy of Fascism, within the evolving social and political framework of the second half of the twentieth century to the present day. I'm standing beside the remains of two eagles that had adorned the Drusus bridge linking fascist Bolzano with the historic centre. Work on the bridge began in March 1930 under the direction of chief engineer Eugenio Mozzi. On the occasion of the 9th anniversary of the march on Rome in October 1931, the Drusus Bridge was opened to traffic. The bridge not only aimed to connect the old Bolzano to the new and modern districts of the city, but at the same time to indicate a Roman, and therefore Italian, past, which did not exist in this form. To accommodate this "Italianness", Miozzi chose as supporting elements a monumental construction method, with large blocks of stone cut in porphyry and a continuous covering of the same material. Its two central supporting columns had been raised and, in their elongated shape, the foundations for monumental sculptures have been laid. Above the lictors' fasces stood these Roman eagles created by Vittorio Morelli that towered over a globe, standing ominously eight metres above the roadway. The sculptures were removed only in the 1970s.
In front of the former headquarters of the INA built in 1936 and now housing the Biblioteca Civica just before the bridge that was to lead to the "new Bolzano" on the other side of the river. Large semicircular buildings were also planned on both sides towards the historic centre, of which only the left-hand side was actually completed.
 
In front of the former headquarters of the fascist party (PNF), the so-called "Casa Littoria, built between 1939 and 1942 in the rationalist style—the second most important architectural style (after neoclassicism) of the Fascist era. Today it houses Bolzano’s Finance Department. Located not far from the victory arch, the Casa Littoria is dominated by an enormous travertine (limestone) bas-relief that spans 36 meters and stands 5.5 meters high. At the center is Benito Mussolini on horse- back, his arm raised forward in the Roman salute (commonly referred to as the “Hitler salute”). Emblazoned below the belly of his horse are the words “Credere, obbedire, combattere” (believe, obey, fight). The narrative on the frieze depicts the rise and triumph of fascism, glorifying the civil strife before the Fascists’ march on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini’s dictatorship, Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia (1935-41) and its aid to Francisco Franco’s Fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Yet, there is no panel or plaque explaining what the relief symbolises and why it is problematic. In fact, until just a few years ago, hardly anyone cared about Mussolini on his horse, in part because the artist was the prominent and well- respected South Tyrolean sculptor Hans Piffrader. South Tyroleans’ cooperation and collaboration with the Mussolini regime did not fit their narrative of victimhood at the hands of the Italians and thus was little discussed. According to Tyrolean anthropologist Franz Haller, “Hans Piffrader may well represent the wide spectrum of ‘political art’, which has always been marked by a dichotomy of complicity and selfishness."
In the centre Mussolini remains on horseback, flanked by the motto "believe, obey, fight" and by the acronyms of fascist organisations. The narration on stone starts at the bottom left with the representation of the victory of the First World War (cannon with laurel wreath and soldiers returning home) and the post-war agitations (burning torch and burning houses). The foundation of the Fasci di Combattimento and the March on Rome of October 1922 are illustrated in the upper section of the survey. To the right of Mussolini's effigy is the history of the fascist regime: in the upper range are the colonial politics in Libya, next to it the one in Ethiopia and finally the intervention in the Spanish civil war. In the lower band is a series of allegorical figures: Justice, Art and Science, followed by Sport, Agriculture and the Family.




 An equestrian 'il Duce', surrounded by inscriptions from the main Fascist organizations and four allegorical figures.  Mussolini on horseback dominates the scene, raising his right arm in the Roman salute. The key elements that surround him are: four allegorical figures, the symbols of the Fascist university groups, the National Fascist Party, the National Afterwork Organisation, the Italian Youth of the Littorio, and the Voluntary Militia for National Security. The date of completion is shown using the Fascist calendar ANNO XX EF (the twentieth year of the Fascist era = 1942). Finally, there is il Duce's command: Believe, Obey, Fight.





In chronological order, starting from the bottom left:


The End of the Great War and the Return of the Soldier 
A cannon bedecked with laurel leaves symbolises the Italian victory in the First World War, November 1918. The soldiers return to their homes and the first of these, an Alpine soldier, is met by his wife and two children.







The Revolutionary Fury of the Red Biennium (1919–1920) 
 Four aggressive-looking figures, immediately to the right, symbolize the violence perpetrated by subversives, in the years following the First World War. One of them holds a flaming torch, while buildings burn in the background.






The Fascist "Martyrs" of Bolshevik Violence This scene represents the victims of Bolshevik violence. To the left is the representation of someone who actually lived, mythologised by the regime and made into one of its first martyrs. This is the young Fascist Giovanni Berta, who was killed in Florence in February 1921 after being thrown in the River Arno and failing to cling to the bridge. On the right, are two imaginary figures of Fascists, who are bound and tormented with fire.

Second Section (above left):




23rd March, 1919: Mussolini establishes the Fasci di Combattimento 
The inscription “W MUSSOLINI” (long live Mussolini) introduces the scene of il Duce founding the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, in Milan on 23rd March 1919. This is the forerunner of the National Fascist Party (PNF). In the centre is Mussolini carrying the founding charter, flanked by three followers swearing allegiance.






Fascist Squads battling against Bolshevik enemies. 
The violence of the Fascist Squads is shown as sacrifice for the homeland. The wounded Fascist combatant in the centre recalls another work by Piffrader of the Deposition of Christ.








 28th October, 1922: The Fascist March on Rome 
The Fascist Youth with a drum marks time for the March on Rome: the prelude to Fascists taking power. In front of him, a formation of battle-hardened Fascists led by a standard bearer. In the background to the left are the Colosseum and the hills of Rome.





Third Section (top right):


The Roman Legionary and the Fascist Warrior 
A Roman Legionary, in a martial stance, holds a shield and the Roman standard with the acronym of the Roman Republic SPQR (Senatus Populus Que Romanus, the Senate and the Roman People). Assuming this inheritance, to the side of the legionary, is the Fascist warrior. He has on one side the law with the sword, whilst on the other Lictor's Fasces: the symbol of Fascism.




The Fascist Imperial Conquest: Libya and Ethiopia
Libya conquered by Fascism is depicted as the figure wearing a long tunic. It is next to a representation of the Fileni Arch, an architectural work along the Litoranea Libica, the Libian coast road inaugurated by Mussolini in 1937. There are two militiamen killing two roaring lions. The first animal is the Lion of Judah, embodying Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; the second is the British Lion, ludicrously depicted as impotently opposing the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. To close the scene there is an African figure, subjected to British colonial rule in the Mediterranean.



Italian Participation in the Spanish Civil War 
The bearded man wearing an ammunition belt represents an Italian volunteer rushing to Spain to fight for Fascism. He holds his arm raised, to symbolize the fierce defence of Toledo's Alcázar fortress, shown in the background. Between July and September 1936, the nationalist forces barricaded themselves in, managing to resist the long Republican siege. They were subsequently liberated by troops sent to their rescue by Franco. Alcázar immediately became one of the legends of the Franco regime about the Spanish civil war. At the volunteer’s side, the waving triangular flags contain numerous symbols, which include that of Franco’s Spanish Falangists. Following, a veiled woman symbolises oppressed Spain, while a Spanish man in typical attire carries a basket of gifts.

Fourth Section (bottom right):  




Arts, Science & Sports Education in Fascist Italy 
This part opens the last series of scenes, all dedicated to the Fascist idyll, or to the peace and prosperity attributed to the advent of the regime. The three figures here represent: the arts, which is the youth with classical theatre masks; science, holding a roll of parchment; and sports education, the young gymnast with two divers behind.









The Fascist-assured Agricultural Wealth 
 Three women laden with grapes, fruit and grain symbolise the country's abundance and food self-sufficiency under the symbol of Fascism.









 The Family and Reconstruction under the Sign of Pax Fascista 
The family in peaceful Italy is shown through the man hanging up his rifle, while his wife holds a child as it gives fruit to his father. A distance away, a worker builds a new home.







Il Duce as Builder, or possibly the Artist with his Project, under the Sign of il Duce 
To conclude the frieze there is a male figure. This may be Mussolini, as architect of the new Italy, although it is most likely the actual sculptor, Piffrader, with his project in hand. In the upper right is the inscription DVX and at the bottom, the signature of the artist: Giov. Piffrader, aged 52.




The Piazza del Tribunale was built by the fascists and originally named named Piazza Arnaldo Mussolini (1885-1931), the brother of the dictator. North of the square looking towards the Casa Littoria is the Palace of Justice, which today houses the Regional Court of Bolzano. Both buildings and the square together form a monumental ensemble, which is clearly marked by the rationalist architectural style of the fascist era.
The courthouse itself measures approximately 40 metres in width and about 12 metres high and today serves as the provincial court of Bolzano, the prosecutor and the Bar Association of Bolzano. In the middle of the façade a relief is set which depicts a sitting Justice. A special feature that betrays its fascist origins is that Justice does not wear a blindfold as a symbol of impartiality. To the left of Justitia stands a judge with the law book ("Lex") whilst to her right a soldier wields a large sword. At the very top of the roof in large chiselled letters, is "PRO ITALICO IMPERIO VIRTUTE IUSTITIA HIERARCHIA UNGUIBUS ET ROSTRIS" ("In bravery and justice for the rule in the Italian Empire with teeth and claws").
 
The eastern side of the square is bordered by today's Corso Italia (formerly Viale Giulio Cesare) on which the church of Cristo Re, designed by Guido Pellizzari and finished in 1939, overlooks. Its bell tower is from the post-war period, as is the adjoining Dominican convent. The whole completes the triad of ideological power within the fascist state, characterised by the functional and symbolic coexistence of political, judicial and ideological-religious powers. The architectural conglomeration of church, party and justice (subservient to power) formed a sort of ideal triad of the totalitarian state, still clearly legible in the urban fabric.
German Tiger tank in front of the IV army command on September 9, 1943 on today's Piazza 4 Novembre.  Divided into two divergent wings, one of which on via Cadorna and the other along Via Armando Diaz, this building served as the offices and houses of the military. Following the Nazi occupation in September 1943, the corps became the headquarters of the Gestapo. In this building two Italian Resistance partisans, Manlio Longon and Giannantonio Manci were killed- their memorial plaques are located at the entrance door. Longon originally came from Padua and was the administrative director of a large metal company in Bolzano whilst head of the CLN in Bolzano, representing the Action Party (a coalition of anti-fascist parties). In mid-December 1944 he was arrested at work and killed on the last day of 1944 here in the Gestapo headquarters in Bolzano. Count Giannantonio Manci was born on December 14, 1901 in Trento and was an early member of the anti-fascist movement "Italia Libera". In September 1943 he helped found the Trentino Resistance Committee (CLN) and was appointed its leader. The Gestapo managed to spy on the group. Manci was arrested with others in June 1944 and jumped to his death from one of this building's windows to escape torture on July 6, 1944.
In front of the INFPS Building (Istituto Nazionale Fascista della Previdenza Sociale or Fascist National Institute of Social Security), built in the years 1933-35 by the Roman architect Paolo Rossi de 'Paoli. Beside it is a residential and commercial building built in 1932-33 by the on behalf of the INA (National Insurance Institute).
Further down on via Dante 1 shown below is one of the INCIS residential complexes built by the "National Institute for the Houses of State Employees". This is one of the first lots realised, between 1926 and 1928, based on a project by the Roman architect Alberto Calza Bini. L'Istituto nazionale per le case degli impiegati statali was a public body set up to build houses and manage their assignment, at a reduced fee, to public employees. INCIS was established by decree on October 25, 1924 to construct,and purchase, buildings to be leased to civilian and military employees of the State, with priority to employees with lower salaries. To build such buildings, the Institute could avail itself of subsidised loans from the Deposits and Loans Fund.
 

In the 1930s, these large national institutes financed the construction of several buildings in Bolzano, which have similar stylistic features, such as cornices or natural stone cladding.
The supporting structure of the Fascist model of the ‘Social State’ was represented by various state social security and assistance institutions, such as the ONMI—Opera Nazionale per la Maternità e l’Infanzia (National Organization for Motherhood and Childhood) constituted in 1925; the INFPS—Istituto Nazionale Fascista della Previdenza Sociale (Fascist National Institute of Social Security) constituted in 1933; the INFAIL—Istituto Nazionale Fascista per l’Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro (Fascist National Institute for Insurance against Industrial Accidents) constituted in 1933; the INAM—Istituto Nazionale per l’Assicurazione contro le Malattie (Disease Support Workers National Institute) constituted in 1943.
Fonio and Agnoletto (80) Surveillance, Repression and the Welfare Article State: Aspects of Continuity and Discontinuity
In front of another highly symbolic site- the Bozen Museum. The Museum Society was founded in 1882 by a group of the city's prominent citizens, according to its charter, the museum was to engage in the cultivation of local arts and crafts and the display of German and Tyrolean traditions. The museum was financed by the city. In 1902, the City Council decided to construct a new museum in what is now Museumstrasse. Tolomei raised the first Italian flag here in 1918, and made the museum the headquarters of his Commission for the Language and Culture of the Oberetsch. He called for the Italianisation of the museum, which he regarded as one of the strongholds of Germanness. In his opinion, its purpose had been to give visitors from all over the world the impression that the area had been German since time immemorial and would always remain so. The objects exhibited were said to have been arranged accordingly. Over the following years, though, the museum did succeed in preserving a certain degree of autonomy. It was not until 1934 that the Podestà decided to tear down the museum tower in order to avoid spoiling the view of the Rosengarten massif, as the official  explanation put it. In fact, the actual objective had been to 'Italianise' the building's exterior and in so doing continue the mediæval custom of victorious families razing the towers of those they had vanquished.


On the night of June 4-5, 1933 persons unknown destroyed the Laurin Fountain in Bozen, a work by the sculptor Andrae Kompatscher dating from 1907 that depicts Dietrich of Bern's fight against the Dwarf King Laurin. The perpetrators were likely acting under the inspiration of the Italian Fascist government, destroyed the fountain as a symbol of German supremacy over Italy. When the fountain was finally rebuilt, conflict ignited over the fountain as a supposed symbol of the Germanic conquest of the original Ladin speaking inhabitants of the area. According to legend, Laurin held a princess prisoner in his rose garden. Dietrich destroys it, leading the dwarf Laurin to appear, demanding the left foot and right hand of whoever desecrated the site. Initially, Dietrich is losing, but eventually steals the dwarf's cloak of invisibility and strength-granting belt, wrestling him to the ground. Laurin, now defeated, pleads for mercy and the rose garden turned to stone, which explains the red colour that the massif of the same name assumes at sundown.

In the 1930s, more than ever, the legend expressed the intimate relationship of the people of Bolzano with their mountain landscape and became an allegory for their concept of their homeland. Laurin himself was endowed with a national meaning- Dietrich was said to stand for Germanness that vanquished the Italians.

The statue was eventually transferred to the City Museum in Bolzano and later to the War Museum Rovereto. It was not until 1993, after many years of efforts by the South Tyrolean Councellors of Agriculture Anton Zelger and Bruno Hosp, that it was returned to Bolzano and set up in 1996 in central Silvius Magnago Square in front of the South Tyrolean Parliament building and the Widmann Palace. After the redesign of the square in the summer of 2018, the Laurin fountain is now slightly offset in front of the entrance to the Palais Widmann.  Due to its violent removal, the work of art originally set up for tourism purposes became a topic of conflict for the South Tyrolean society. The Italian Right is trying to achieve an ethnic-nationalist interpretation of the group of figures, in which the "Germanic" hero Dietrich von Bern conquers the "Romance" King Laurin, disqualifying the fountain in its political symbolism as a public monument. Conversely, the German-speaking right defended the fountain as an identity-creating monument.

From September 1943 to the end of the war, Bolzano occupied an important political role, as it became the capital of the Zona di Operations in the Prealps / Operationszone Alpenvorland (OZAV) . This area was a territory consisting of the three provinces of Bolzano, Trento and Belluno, established by the Nazi government. A similar Operations Area was established in the eastern provinces, with Trieste as its capital. The OZAV was governed by the Supreme Commander / Gauleiter Franz Hofer. In Bolzano various police and security services headquarters were created with jurisdiction over the whole Zone: Sicherheitspolizei SIPO or Security Police; Sicherheitsdienst SD or Security Service; Geheime Staatspolizei GESTAPO or State Secret Police; Kriminalpolizei KRIPO or Criminal Police; Ordnungspolizei ORPO or Police of order, the Militärkommandantur 1010 or Army Command (Wehrmacht ), the Special Court for the Zone of Operations in the Prealps / Sondergericht für die OZAV , which also issued death sentences for civilian offenders for having harmed German interests.
A concentration camp / Pol was installed at the edge of the city, one of the  Durchgangslager for political, racial and hostage civilian deportees  found dotted all over central-northern Italy.
The first signs of the Italian defeat in the Second World War took place on September 2, 1943, when Bolzano was bombed for the first time together with Trento, at the same time as the Portela massacre.  During the bombing, the inhabitants sought shelter in their underground shelters and in the tunnels dug into the rock in the mountains near the town. By this time the civilians had long been stricken by hunger both from the narrowness of food rationing cards and from the increasingly intense bombings on the cities.
The day after Wednesday, September 8, 1943 when Italy abruptly changed sides to ally itself with the British and Americans, the German army now found itself both enemy and occupant resulting in confusion, armed clashes, and the inevitable deaths. On the night between 8 and 9 September, armoured troops of the Wehrmacht attacked the Carabinieri barracks, who could only defend themselves with automatic weapons. Six policemen were killed- Roberto Baldoni, Giuseppe Cerveri, Quinto Dri, Giovanni Falchi, Stefano Lela and Arturo Savoi. During the Second World War, Bolzano, together with the rest of Alto Adige and the neighboring provinces of Trento and Belluno, was included in the Operationszone Alpenvorland - Pre-Alps Operation Zone created by Adolf Hitler (therefore de facto annexed to the Third Reich albeit belonging to de jure to the Italian Social Republic) and became its capital, with the establishment of the Bolzano transit camp and the deportation of Jewish families.
During this period the German toponyms were restored in the city, although official bilingualism remained in place. It is during this phase that the various air-raid shelters were used, many of which are carved into the rock.  Today some of these have remained practically intact, and increasingly hidden, like the one in via Fago (refuge Hofer) which after the war hosted some displaced people from the Polesine area; in 1966 they became the property of the State. It was only in 2013 that one of these shelters, perhaps the largest in the province with an area of ​​about 4500 m², was reopened for public visits. Around the city was formed the Bolzano South barrier, part of the Vallo Alpino in Alto Adige, which was still under the nominal rule of the fascist regime . When Italy surrendered in September 1943, the whole of South Tyrol as well as Belluno were de facto administered by the Nazis as Operational Zone of the Alpine Foothills. After 1943, heavy fighting against Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers took place in the Dolomites. Meanwhile, Bolzano was the site of the Nazis' Bolzano Transit Camp, a concentration camp for persecuted Jews and political prisoners. From the beginning both the internment of thousands of Italian soldiers and the deportation of thousands of Italian civilians for racial and political reasons were implemented; the deportation of civilians lasted until the end of the war. This led them to begin their resistance to Nazi fascism and their repression in return. The deportees, coming from the entire area of Operations in the Prealps and in the regions of central-northern Italy, were marked with a serial number and a different coloured triangle depending on the category: red for deportees politicians, yellow for Jews, green for family hostages. The exact number of the deportees in the Bolzano Lager is not known; sources paper and testimonials indicate the number of 11,000 registrations. As from oral sources we know that not all the deportees who came into this Lager was registered there, it is very probable that the number of the deportees is greater. The commander of the Lager was Lieutenant Karl Friedrich Titho (1911-2001), the deputy commander Marshal SS Hans Haage (1905-1998).
After the War, independence movements gained popularity among the German-Tyrolean population in Bolzano and South Tyrol. In the 1960s a series of terrorist attacks and assassinations were carried out by the South Tyrolean Liberation Committee – a German secessionist movement – against Italian police and electric power structures (one notable incident being the Night of Fire on June 12, 1961), after which the United Nations intervened to enforce the start of bilateral negotiations between Italy and Austria. After eleven years of mediation and negotiation the two countries reached an agreement that would guarantee self-government to the newly created Autonomous Province of South Tyrol.According to this document, signed by the foreign ministers Mock (for Austria) and De Michelis (for Italy), the perpetual acceptance of the border between the two countries along the Brenner line was established by Vienna. It was made intentionally ambiguous, so as to favour the interpretation most pleasing to either side. It was finally in 1992 when Austria aspired to enter the European Community and was aware that the only impediment could come from Italy, (which had earlier exercised its right of veto to the Austrian request in 1967 over the South Tyrolean issue) that it decided it was not in its interest to point out its conflicting opinion on the proper meaning of the "receipt" but would kick the can down the road Theresa May-style. Nevertheless, today for the Italians, the South Tyroleans remain allogeni (foreigners) or valligiani dalle calze bianche (flatlanders in white knee-socks). 

The central square of Bozen, the capital of South Tyrol, is Walther Square, named after the great medieval German poet Walther von der Vogelweide. His statue, shown during the fascist-era and 2019 (with my Grade 7 students from the Bavarian International School on the right during our 2013 school trip) dominates the square.
The purpose of our trips- to visit Ötzi, an astonishingly well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived between 3400 and 3100 BCE. found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, hence the nickname, on the border between Austria and Italy. He is Europe's oldest known natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic Europeans. The location of his body aply illustrates the continuing tug-of-war over Tyrol as the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of 1919 established the border between North and South Tyrol as the watershed of the rivers Inn and Etsch. Near Tisenjoch the (now withdrawn) glacier complicated establishing the watershed at the time, and the border was established too far north. Although Ötzi's find site drains to the Austrian side, surveys in October 1991 showed that the body had been located 92.56 metres inside Italian territory as delineated in 1919.  The province of South Tyrol therefore claimed property rights, but agreed to let Innsbruck University finish its scientific examinations. Since 1998 his body and belongings are displayed in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano.
The body has been extensively examined, measured, x-rayed, and dated. Tissues and gut contents were examined microscopically, as was the pollen found on his gear. At the time of his death, Otzi was a 30-to-45-year old man, approximately 5'3" tall. Prior to his discovery, the only remnants we had of the apparel of those times were the relatively fragmentary remains found in the lake dwellings in the circum-alpine region; generally, these consisted of woven or knitted plant fibers. Animal-derived materials (furs, etc.) had been absent there. His clothing consists of a cap, a fur coat, a pair of trousers, a leather loin cloth, and a pair of lined shoes. His equipment included an unfinished bow stave, a quiver and arrow shafts, a copper hatchet, a dagger with a silex flint blade, a retoucheur, a birch bark container, a backpack, as well as various spare materials and bone tips. Many of the artefacts preserved in the ice are unique. In the absence of organic remains, it was not clear from previous finds how these objects were made and how they worked. The virtual body of the mummy can be opened up via a touch screen, and visitors can discover and study important medical curiosities. Microscopes are also on hand to examine Ötzi’s bone structure, which was used to determine his age. Research into Ötzi’s origins indicates that his ancestors migrated from the Middle East during the Neolithic period following the spread of farming and animal rearing. Forensic science has determined that Ötzi was clearly of Central European origin. His genome inherited from his mother’s side has died out, but is most similar to the Ladin population in the South Tyrolean Dolomites. On his father’s side, the Iceman belongs to a genetic group that was previously widespread in Europe but is now rare and only found in isolated communities such as on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. Another section is dedicated to ongoing research, particularly the decoding of Ötzi’s genomic DNA, which is being analysed by scientists at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at EURAC in Bolzano. The cause of death remained uncertain until a full decade after the discovery of the body. It was initially believed that Ötzi died from exposure during a winter storm or even the victim of a ritual sacrifice, perhaps for being a chieftain. Hoever in 2001 X-rays and a CT scan revealed that Ötzi had an arrowhead lodged in his left shoulder when he died and a matching small tear on his coat. The discovery of the arrowhead prompted researchers to theorise Ötzi died of blood loss from the wound, which would probably have been fatal even if modern medical techniques had been available. Further research found that the arrow's shaft had been removed before death, and close examination of the body found bruises and cuts to the hands, wrists and chest and cerebral trauma indicative of a blow to the head. One of the cuts was to the base of his thumb that reached down to the bone but had no time to heal before his death. Currently, it is believed that Ötzi bled to death after the arrow shattered the scapula and damaged nerves and blood vessels before lodging near the lung. In fact, DNA analyses claim they revealed traces of blood from at least four other people on his gear: one from his knife, two from a single arrowhead, and a fourth from his coat. Interpretations of these findings were that Ötzi killed two people with the same arrow and was able to retrieve it on both occasions, and the blood on his coat was from a wounded comrade he may have carried over his back. Ötzi's posture in death (frozen body, face down, left arm bent across the chest) could support a theory that before death occurred and rigor mortis set in, the Iceman was turned onto his stomach in the effort to remove the arrow shaft.
Other bodies from the past have been unearthed from the ice, demonstrating even more the interaction of history and geography on the region's legacy today. Dead bodies of two soldiers believed to have fallen in the Battle of Presena in 1918 had been found nearby at an altitude of 9,850 feet. The discovery of the entangled bodies, uniform fragments and military badges of the dead bodies was the second incident after the cache of over 200 rusted grenades from the Great War emerged from the Dolomites glacier in August, 2013. The Alps have been also revealing soldiers’ straw overshoes made by the Russians, diaries, a poem- ode to a louse- that says ‘my friend of long days’ and even an unsent love letter addressed to someone named Maria. Otzi was in good shape as he died at the edge of the glacier that froze his body but did not crush it whilst the two soldiers discovered this month had been fused together by the pressing force of the glacier. The soldiers were both around only 17 or 18 years old. One of them had a single bullet hole in his skull with a piece of bullet shrapnel inside. The other soldier had a personal belonging- a spoon tucked inside his leg wrappings.

Chiusa
During the 1930s and today, the view on the left marred by the new motorway.
Albrecht Dürer travelled through Italy in 1494 and sketched Klausen during the trip. This sketch was later incorporated in his engraving "Nemesis" (Das große Glück). Given that Nemesis is not the goddess of happiness, but of retribution, presumably Dürer was referring to a 1499 poem in Latin by Angelo Poliziano from 1499, in which Fortuna -the Roman goddess of victory or fortune, displayed as a winged figure on Roman coins- is equated with Nemesis. The implied movement of Nemesis' drapery and the clouds at her feet add to the charged energy of Dürer's depiction of the goddess balanced precariously on the sphere of uncertain fortune. She bears the cup of reward for the deserving and a bridle to restrain the headstrong. In her figure, Dürer sought to reconcile the classical rules for harmoniously balanced human proportions and the northern European Gothic preference for height, protruding abdomens and high waists.As Fortuna, the figure stands on a ball, as Nemesis she holds a trophy for good deeds and bridles for the unruly. Underneath, the town of Klausen in the Eisacktal spreads in mirror image. Striking is the fat body of the woman, with strong thighs, swelling belly and pronounced double chin. On the site where Dürer is to have sketched the town is the Dürerstone, inscribed with the date 1504 which is incorrect as he would have been at the location a decade earlier.