TIGR, abbreviation for Trst (
Trieste), Istra ( Istria), Gorica ( Gorizia) and Reka ( Rijeka), was an anti-Fascist insurgentorganization, active in the 1920s and the 1930s in the eastern Italian region known as the Julian March.
The organization, which is considered to be one of the first
antifascistresistance movements in Europe, was composed of Slovenesand Croatsfrom the regions that were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy with the Rapallo Treaty of 1920. It was active between 1927 and 1941. Many members of this organization were connected with Yugoslav and British intelligence services and many of them were militarily trained.
In 1930 the Italian fascist police discovered some TIGR's cells and four members (
Ferdo Bidovec, Fran Marušič, Zvonimir Milošand Alojzij Valenčič) were sentenced and executed at Bazovica( _it. Basovizza) near Opicina. Nevertheless, the organization re-organized itself in the early 1930s under the leadership of Albert Rejecand Danilo Zelen. Among the actions planned by the organization, the most daring and far-reaching was probably the attempt on Benito Mussolini's life in 1938. The plan was supposed to be carried out in 1938, when the dictator visited Kobarid(then officially known as Caporetto). The plan was put off at the last minute.
While in the late 1920s, the organization had close connection with radical Yugoslav nationalist movements, such as
ORJUNA, after the reorganization in the 1930s it adopted a more left wingideology. Several connections with Italian anti-Fascist organizations were established and in 1935 an agreement of co-operation was signed with the Communist Party of Italy. The TIGR nevertheless tried to remain above all ideological divisions, maintaining a close relationship with the local Slovene and Croat Roman Catholiclower clergy and grassroots organizations in Istria and the Slovenian Littoral.
In 1941 several members of TIGR were condemned for
espionageand terrorism, and four of them ( Viktor Bobek, Ivan Ivančič, Simon Kosand Ivan Vadnal) were executed in Villa Opicinanear Triestethe same year, jointly with the Communistactivist Pino Tomažič. By the time of the Axis invasion of Yugoslaviain April 1941, most of the organization was already dismantled by both Italian and Nazi Germansecret police and most of its prominent members either sent to concentration camps, killed or exiled.
World War II, many of its members joined the partisan resistance, although the organization itself was not invited to join the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People. After the establishment of the Communist regimein Yugoslavia in 1945, most of them were removed from public life and the Communist Party of Sloveniacontinued to closely monitor some of TIGR's members up to the 1970s. Their activity was removed from the official historical accounts. Only in the 1980s their resistance activity started to be appreciated again, with several historical books written on the matter.
In 1997 on athe 50th anniversary of annexation of the
Slovenian Littoralto the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, the then president of Slovenia Milan Kučansymbolically insignated the organization TIGR with the Golden Honour Insignia of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia ("Zlati častni znak svobode Republike Slovenije"), the highest state decorationin Slovenia.
Gorizia and Gradisca
History of Slovenia
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