Article published on March 30, 2008
community published
Article published on March 30, 2008
The border in the past The border between Italy ang Yugoslavia ran at that time in the middle of the cemetery. It was highly guarded by the soldiers and even closed for some time. You could cross into Italy only with a pass. Before you could cross to the other side you were additionaly searched and asked a few questions.
The questions you were asked by the soldier were very strict and disciplinary. Whatever you were asked you had to reply, giving the correct answer. Most of the people werw given only a summary body search (as we know it today), in addition to having to take off their shoes and socks, since most of the people used to smuggle things precisely in their socks. If people crossed the border crossing in a car, the whole car was searched as well. From the seats to the boot. People mostly went to Italy to buy things or sell their products. Obviously, everything was determined in the value or quantity. Those who wanted to take into or out of the country more than the allowed value, had their possession confiscated by the customs officers. People were also punished by having their pass taken for a certain time, which meant that they couldn't cross the border for some time.

There also existed the so called doublr property pass. They were given to Slovene farmers who additionaly worked on their fields in Italy. There were many farmers at the time who owned fields in Italian territory. When they went to collect hay in their fields, they obviously had to put it on their carts and take across the border. The soldiers at the border crossing had special pointed sticks with which they stabbed through the hay to check if the farmers was trying to smuggle something across the border. Later there appeared dealers who smuggled things from one side to the other. The examination were common practice at the time and were experienced by everyone who want to cross the border.

A particular event that took place in Miren during those times

One afternoon an Italian visited the inn in Miren. He slowly drank one glass after another and got drunk by the end of the evening. When he looked outside he saw only darkness around him because night had fallen by that time. He stood up and decided to go home in Štandrež (Sant Andrea in Italian). The border crossing was already closed or to be exact there was no real border crossing. This meant that the Italian had crossed the border to Miren illegaly. The way back was more difficult than the way there. It was dark and he was drunk. As there was no border yet, there were the so called »dead watches«, which meant that the soldiers werw hidden in a ditch day and night waiting for some scoundrel who would dare to cross the border and get home. The soldiers warned hom with the familiar »hello«, to make him stop and turn back, but he didn't react and slowly walked on. Then the soldiers took their guns and since the Italian gentleman still didn't stop and paid no notice to the warnings, the Italian soldiers shot him without mercy. He fell on the spot where he was shot, still on the Slovene side, in the middle of the field. These events had big impact on Miren, since they made people ralize that the soldiers would never band to the people's wishes and that it was better to obey the given rules because it was the only possibility to live in peace.

The border today

Today you can cross the border crossing without any examinations or strict questions. Your only task is to show the police officer your pass. He may look at it to see if it really belongs to you, but he might just nod his head and show with his hand that you're welcome in Italy. After a short time we won't even need that and we'll freely drive a car, ride a bike or just walk into Italy.

december 2008

Hilda Hozanović by Nova Gorica