Tag Archives: The Hist Fic Chic

Hitler and Mussolini’s “Option” Left the Tyroleans with Nothing – by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

After WWI and ratification of the Versailles treaty, Italy, as a European ally, was ceded the portion of Tyrol south of Brenner Pass. As part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the population was German speaking and had been part of an autonomous province for some one hundred years, meaning they had controlled their laws, government, and all aspects of their society.  The allies stipulated that the German speaking population should have their rights, language, culture, and religion protected and that they should be able to participate in governing their own territory.

The idea of self-determination introduced by Woodrow Wilson in 1918 legitimized their quest for protection of their ethnicity and language. Yet, the peace of Paris of 1919 denied the South Tyroleans the right to self-determination and incorporated the German-speaking territory of the South Tyrol into Italy. The Allies and Austria recognized that “the Italian Government intended to pursue a liberal policy toward its new subjects of German nationality regarding their language, culture, and economic interest.[1]

During the first years of South Tyrolean integration into Italy, both Italian authorities and South Tyrolean representatives tried to find an appropriate solution for the future settlement of what was now—as part of Italy—a German-speaking minority. Yet, a movement called the irredenta, or the unredeemed, insisted that this area should have always belonged to Italy, and were determined to crush any sense of Tyrolean culture. When Benito Mussolini and his Fascist party took over in 1922, the South Tyroleans faced a different treatment by the Italian authorities. Fascism threatened not only to suppress the language of the German-speaking minority in the north, but also began to uproot the cultural identity of that area.[2]

The first and major aim was to Italianize the public language of the area, to Italianize all public inscriptions, town names, street names, and eventually family names and even inscriptions on tombstones.


[1] Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p33

[2]. Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p33

They provided “relief organizations,” which would aid in further penetrating the German speaking communities: free schoolbooks, meals and holidays by the sea for children who joined their youth organizations, jobs for those adults who joined the workers association and established trade connections for the companies who collaborated with the Fascist economic organizations.  For those who did not comply, there was major harassment, despotic laws that even regulated their pets and personal belongings.

“Majoritarianism” was the attempt by the Italian government to generate an Italian majority in the South Tyrol. In Bolzano, they built a new industrial complex, and apartment buildings for Italian factory workers. In other cities the government financed the construction of hydroelectric power plants which flooded lands and villages. The government started purchasing land from South Tyrolean bankrupted farmers and provided minor compensation for land destroyed by the flooding. The South Tyroleans had little chance to resist the dictatorial measures.

Although open confrontation with the Italian regime was rare, the South Tyroleans managed to withstand most of the Italianization efforts. They could not prevent the Italianization of the names of their villages and streets, but they prevented the Italianization of their children by speaking their German dialect at home and by teaching them written German in their illegal, secret schools. Organizations and associations that the Italian regime had not forbidden found ways to bypass the official orders. The marching bands renamed songs the fascists had prohibited. The traditional Austrian “Under the Double Eagle” became the “Eagle March” and the march “Vienna Always Remains Vienna” turned into “Wine Always Remains Wine.  Also, due to secret financial help from German relief funds during the economic crisis, many South Tyroleans did not have to face bankruptcy.[3]


[3] Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p 39

The idea of Volkssturm found its most radical realization in Hitler’s ideology. The new resistance group consisted mostly of young people. For them Germany, and especially Nazi-Germany, was the example of unprecedented economic rise and a reflection of the modern age.  Between 1928 and 1939 various resistance groups formed in the province to fight the fascist Italian regime and its policy of suppressing the German language.

Yet, no matter how intense the South Tyroleans’ effort to conform with national socialistic ideals was, Hitler had different intentions; he claimed that Germany’s only possible option was to assure Italy that the South Tyrolean problem did not exist. Despite Hitler’s public renunciation of South Tyrol and despite the development of the German-Italian friendship, the South Tyroleans’ continued to hope for integration with Nazi-Germany. For them Hitler’s foreign policy was an indication that his remarks on South Tyrol were tactically necessary steps[4]

During Hitler’s visit in Rome in May 1938, Mussolini confessed, “The past developments have shown, that this tribe cannot be assimilated,” therefore he promised that he would make some concessions to the German-speaking minority in the north as long as Hitler guaranteed the pacification of the area. By now, both Germany and Italy were interested in settling this question once and for all.[5]

June 23, 1939 the two dictatorial regimes decided to move the German-speaking South Tyroleans to German territory in the north and leave South Tyrol with Italy. The two governments gave the South Tyroleans the option either to emigrate to Germany or to remain in South Tyrol and become “good Italians.” At first, the South Tyroleans’ reactions were a fierce rejection of Hitler’s offer to “come home into the Reich.” But soon the Nazi-oriented VKS (Völkisher Kampfring Südtirols, or the South Tyrolean People’s Freedom Party) succeeded in convincing their fellow countrymen that the South Tyroleans’ resettlement in Germany was a necessary “sacrifice.”[6]


[4] Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p 45

[5] Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p 45

[6] Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p 47

The propaganda that evolved on both sides during the months following the June discussions, eventually divided the German-speaking South Tyroleans population into two hostile camps, those remaining and those who opted for Germany. 

85%-90% of the population opted for emigration; and were called Optanten. Those who chose to stay, called Dableiber, or the Leavers and Stayers. The Dableiber were condemned as traitors while the Optanten were defamed as Nazis. The Option destroyed many families and the development of the economy of the province was set back for many years. The first families left their homeland in 1939, and by 1943 a total of around 75,000 South Tyroleans had emigrated, of which 50,000 returned after the war. 

The era of the Options, however, had opened a deep gap among the German speaking population of the South Tyrol. Those remaining were in the minority and were repeatedly exposed to persecution from those who had opted to migrate. They were treated like betrayers of their country, their nationality, their blood, and their neighborhood. Friedl Volgger, who became an influential politician, had opted to stay in the South Tyrol and ended up in the concentration camp Dachau. He explained: “What the Jews were in the German Reich, were now part of the South Tyroleans in the eyes of their fanatical compatriots. The hatred between the two groups did not know any confines. Children left their parents, neighbors burned their neighbors’ houses, priests fought each other from the pulpit. In 1943 when Hitler’s troops finally marched into the South Tyrol the situation of those who had opted to remain became even worse. [7]

Seventy-three years after having their autonomy stolen from them, the German-speaking minority in the north of Italy succeeded in securing the ethnic, cultural, social, economic, and political uniqueness of their homeland. Today, the South Tyroleans are among the best protected minorities in Europe. They determine their own political future and administer their province by themselves. 


[7] Eva Pfanzelter, The South Tyrol and the Principle of Self Determination: An Analysis of a Minority Problem, p 50

Background history to Chrystyna’s new novel “Two Fatherlands” – a “Just Hatched” new book release.

Original post on Chrystyna’s blog – visit here where you can follow her and check out her new book. https://inktreks.com/2020/10/03/the-option-tyrol/

Buy the Reschen Valley Series here: https://books2read.com/NoMansLand1

A “Just Hatched” Book – Two Fatherlands by Chyrstyna Lucyk-Berger

Author Bio: Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger is an American ex-pat living in western Austria (“cows, not kangaroos”). Her first trip to South Tyrol over the Reschen Pass included the discovery of a medieval church tower sticking out of the water off the shore of the reservoir. She knew she had a story she had to write. What was beneath the lake? It took her some ten years to learn enough German to start the research for the Reschen Valley series – a story of corruption, greed and prejudice, but also of a fierce love for homeland and community. The Reschen Valley series consists of six books. Four are published  (including a prequel) and the next one, Two Fatherlands, is now on pre-order. Her last book in the series will deal with the South Tyrolean Freedom Party in the Sixties; one could say an Austro-Italian version of the IRA.
Synopsis:

How do you take a stand when the enemies lurk within your own home?

1938. Northern Italy. Katharina, Angelo, and Annamarie are confronted by the oppressive force created by Mussolini’s and Hitler’s political union. Angelo puts aside his prejudices and seeks alliances with old enemies; Katharina fights to keep her family together as the residents in the valley are forced to choose between Italian and German nationhood with neither guaranteeing that they will be able to stay on their land, and Annamarie finds herself in the thick of a fascist regime she thought she understood.

By war’s end, all will be forced to choose sides and none will escape betrayal.

Link: books2read.com/TwoFatherlands4

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The Author Roost – The Great Centurion: Punic Wars by Angelus Maximus

Who is this mysterious man?

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He is just a dude who wishes he lived in Ancient Rome. Angelus is crazy about everything Roman to the point where he named himself based on a Pleb who might have lived during Roman times. He got attached to Roman history at a young age when he was exposed to non-fiction books about the wonders of the Roman Empire. When he’s not writing, he likes to watch YouTube videos and read books about Ancient Rome. Another time period that he’s fascinated with is the bronze age, he plans to do another series set in the mysterious bronze age. 

Since he couldn’t afford a time machine, he decided to write a series in the LitRPG genre. He is a huge Caesar 3 fan along with the Age of Empires game series and wanted to combine the two into a novel. For those unfamiliar with the LitRPG genre, it’s basically a book written like an RPG video game to put it simply. 

The first book in his series, The Great Centurion: Punic Wars will be coming this fall. It will have city building, land battles, a Roman who becomes an honorable general, naval battles, and even a bit of fun with women in togas.

Blurb for the upcoming book, The Great Centurion: Punic Wars

Release Date: October 16, 2020

A LitRPG set on the Dawn of the Second Punic War. Legions and Elephants are only the beginning!


In the classical age of the Roman Republic, Victor Maximus a young roman is determined to be the next legendary soldier. Through determination and grit, he has impressed his superiors and becomes a great Roman general.

Victor finds himself in the middle of the Second Punic War between Roma (Rome) and Carthage, a period where the elephant riders have become hostile and threaten to break the peace treaty from the First Punic War. He’ll have to quickly hone his skills as a general, gain experience, and improve his abilities.

Victor will have to use the spoils of war to improve his arms and armor, construct forts, manage settlements, and lead his armies to victory while having to tread the borders of the Roman Republic. If he doesn’t succeed, he and his people may find themselves under the foot of a Carthaginian Elephant. Leading armies on land and epic naval battles, Victor will have to juggle everything along with his desire to make some fine female friends. That is despite the lovely women being in enemy lands and having to break the code of ethics set in Rome, by the Senate.

Prepare yourself for a story of the rough life of a Roman general as he becomes, The Great Centurion! This is a LitRPG set in the real world. As Victor will learn, not every battle is winnable, and being a general isn’t always glorious! There is a moderate to high amount of sexual references. This book is set in real life and the consequences are all too real.  

Links:

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Angelus-Maximius/e/B08G7XQ7P8/

Link to Book: mybook.to/thegreatcenturion

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GeneralAngelusMaximus/ 

Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/puertorico05971 

Ta Da!! The Hist Fic Chic is Now a Blog Tour Host!

In conjunction with The Coffee Pot Book Club, the fabulous and far-reaching blog of Mary Anne Yarde, I am happy to announce that I am now a blog tour host for her club!!

If you wish to have your Historical Fiction book on blog tour, please visit her author promotions page here: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/p/blog-tours.html

The Legend of St Dwynwen – The Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers, and Shakespeare’s Inspiration?


Article by S. E. Morgan – Historical fiction author


In the decades after the Romans left British shores, the old gods vied with the new Christian religion. Saints were named, often when they founded a new churches. Missions sent from Christian kingdoms such as Brycheiniog, deep in the Welsh mountains.

Dwynwen was daughter of the Welsh ruler Brychan Brycheiniog. She was one of a reputed 24 children, although other versions suggest 24 daughters and 24 sons! They lived in Garth Madron, (Talgarth, near Brecon) in the 5th century.  Brychan reared a highly educated and godly brood, all his children studied under an elderly blind priest, Drichan, in Glandwr near Builth Wells. 

Her legend was first documented in the 12th century, and  her church was an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages but presumably there was an oral history reaching back long before that. She was revered in Wales until the Protestant Reformation, when Henry VIII’s English church discouraged the veneration of saints. Her name and the legend were largely forgotten until Victorian times when a cross was erected near her church, with another more ornate version in 1903.

In the 60’s a student introduced the idea of sending cards on her saint’s day, which was  celebrated since the 15th Century on the 25th of January. Her legend predates Shakespeare and the story of the Sleeping Beauty tales by many centuries, and possibly because of the long oral history has several version.

Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, a handsome prince, who returned her love, but her father would not allow the match. In many accounts, rejected Maelon either rapes or attempts to rape her. In other versions she is simply distraught because they were not allowed to marry and hopes to forget him.  Broken-hearted Dwynwen runs into the forest and prays for help. An angel appears and gives her a sweet potion which turns Maelon into block of ice. Dwynwen prays again for assistance and is granted three wishes; that Maelon is revived, that she never has to marry, and that true lovers are rewarded and looked after. She retreats to the beautiful little Island off the coast on Anglesey, Ynys Llanddwyn and establishes a sanctuary amidst ‘dwarf bramble and briar rose’ beside a holy well. Pilgrimages to visit that well were made by women wanting the saint’s blessing. Whether their request would be granted was supposed to be determined by watching  the direction the fish swam in her holy well.

I have based my new novel, “The King over the Sea”, around Maelon her rejected lover. Dwynwen and Maelwyn Succus, better known as St Patrick, in all probability, also lived around this time in Wales. No one knows quite who this young man Mealon was, which gave me plenty of scope for my tale, which aims to be an exciting page-turner. (Free on Kindle Unlimited).

Bio: After many years working in mental health and latterly as a civil servant, I have taken time to indulge in my passions of walking, Wales and writing. I am working to combine all three, in historical novels set in Wales. Occasional potter, photographer and painter, my aim is to develop parts of my brain little used until now – while I still have the chance.

A “Just Hatched” Book – The Monster Within, The Monster Without by Lindsay Downs

The Monster Within, The Monster Without. The Rebirth of Miss Francene Stedman

Blurb– When bodies start turning up in Whitechapel, Miss Steen returns to London with Lord Cartwright and the Countess of Harlow as her chaperone to solve the murders. Little does she realize she will be introduced to the last person she wants to meet — and hunting down the murderers proves a lot more difficult than they had anticipated.

This book is part of the Tragic Characters in Classic Lit series.

Excerpt  Offered another cup of tea told me this interview, which was more of an inquisition, was not finished. Not that I was complaining since I greatly enjoyed improving on my story. It was false but excellent practice for the future, if needed. From behind me I heard the French doors open.

I sensed a man was approaching because the breeze carried his masculine scent to me, which I did not recognize. The walking stopped. My hostess lifted her head slightly giving the newcomer a smile of pleasure.

“I was wondering if or when you would make your presence known to us. Miss Steen, may I introduce you to my son, Lord Cartwright.”

When the countess said “Lord” at first the word did not register in my mind. In London I was acquainted with a Mr. Cartwright, but he was far from being a peer.

“You must have met him as he is employed by Sir William Morse as a Runner from Bow Street.”

I set the bone china teacup and saucer on the glass tabletop, then clinched my fists in anger as I turned in my chair to see if this man was who I knew. He is. Except now he wore a dark brown jacket with matching vest. Covering his legs were buckskin riding britches tucked into well-worn riding boots. A perfectly tied cravat in a coachman’s knot circled his neck, which I was sorely tempted to wrap my fingers around and strangle him. Even more annoying was the wisp of raven black hair hanging down over his forehead. He stood in front of me with a slight smirk on his lips. 

That behavior caused me to almost lose what little politeness I had left in me. When he gave me a slight bow then reached for my hand, I lost my temper completely.

“Miss Steen, this is indeed a pleasure,” he spoke.

His words were pleasant but behind them I was sure he was laughing at me for having fooled him all these years.

I could no longer be in his presence. Standing, I gave him my hand across his smirking face. Dashing for the open doors, I escaped him 

I barely could make out what he was yelling, not that I cared for he had just made a fool out of me. Rushing out the front door I told the coachman to take me home.

“Now,” I screamed at him, climbing into the carriage.

We had barely arrived at the main road when tears started filling my eyes then rolled down my cheeks. I withdrew a hanky from my reticule and tried to pat my face dry but could not because the waterworks continued to flow unabated. Through hazy eyes I saw the coach was approaching my parent’s house. The carriage barely halted when I thrust open the door, climbed out then raced inside and up to my room, throwing myself on the bed.

Buy links-

US- https://tinyurl.com/yxpmmwte

UK- https://tinyurl.com/yyskcuj2

CA- https://tinyurl.com/y5u797sq

AU- https://tinyurl.com/y3qoj7q7

Author’s bio- I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.

So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers. 

My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.

With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.

Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres. 

My favorites are regency and murder mystery. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to do and have been successful.

I’ve been published since 2008.

Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas.

Author links

Facebook- http://tinyurl.com/pgq8vzz

Twitter- @ldowns2966

LinkedIn- http://tinyurl.com/e8t56

Goodreads-http://tinyurl.com/prcdmml

Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://tinyurl.com/kvfz468

Amazon- http://tinyurl.com/ktem76c