Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
‘Refugee Schooling Experience during World War I among Slovenes from Both Sides of the Isonzo/Soča Front’
Branko Šuštar

Última modificación: 2017-08-14


“Regardless of many difficulties and disadvantages [...] our refugee teachers honorably pursued theircalling among the people. I could thus not come to terms with the notion that the sacrifice, efforts andsuccess of our generation of teachers would be forgotten and unacknowledged (Šavli, 1973)”. AndrejŠavli’s thoughts from 1972 on the subject of refugee schooling during World War I have been going handin hand with different discussions of the issue of refugee schooling in the Ljubljana Slovenian SchoolMuseum since the 1970s. The article focuses on refugee schooling brought about by the Isonzo/SočaFront, when after Italy’s attack of Austria-Hungary between May 1915 and October 1917 armed conflictstook place in the Slovene-populated territory on both banks of the river Soča/Isonzo. 12,000 inhabitantswere made into refugees by the Italian occupation authorities, while the Austrian authorities orderedthat some 80,000 people were to be turned into refugees.Based on literature, newspaper sources, and archival materials, the article compares the refugeeexperience and the formation of refugee schooling for Slovenes in Italy under the Entente to that of theSlovene population from the Primorska/Littoral region under the Central Powers in other Austro-Hungarian lands. The Italian occupation brought about the change of the then Austrian school systemand introduced Italian teaching content as a preparation for the realization of goals set in the Treaty ofLondon (April 1915) and the subsequent integration of an even larger area into Italy. Special attention ispaid to conditions in schools in individual refugee camps in nowadays Austria and Slovenia (Wagna nearLeibnitz south of Graz, Steinklamm near Sankt Pölten, Gmünd near Czech border, Bruck a. d. Leitha andSternthal/Strnišče near Ptuj). A school’s success or that of the so-called employment course was oftencontingent upon the organizers’ enthusiasm, i.e. teachers of both genders, who were in the majority ofcases committed to working with refugee children. In that difficult refugee period, school provided anexceptionally positive social environment. Refugee teachers - e.g. Pavla Makuc, Draga Medic, MarijaVidmar, Josip Poberaj and others - are thus regarded as outstanding pedagogical figures in extraordinaryconditions of war. Following the end of World War I, the area along the river Soča/Isonzo, but also thewhole Primorska/Littoral region and Istria, ended up under Italy (the Treaty of Rapallo, 1920); up to1926, the local Slovenes (and Croats) had been gradually deprived of their schooling due to the pressureof Italianization and fascistization.