History of the island  Lussin

Middle Ages

Traces of settlements of Slavic populations can be found at Lussin as dating back to the Middle Ages. During the same period Lussin came within the influence Venetian maritime empire and soon became one of its colonies. Under the Venetians, some Lošinj began to get rich, especially among those who managed to become captains of the Venetian fleet. Many palaces and villas were built by the wealthy Lošinj of that time, especially in the two main towns of Veli Losinj (LussinGrande) and Mali Losinj (LussinPiccolo). For these ancestors of the islanders of simple historical research of surnames record that, to hear them today, are regarded for their sound or more Slavic or more of the Veneto region.

The Venetian language must have been the one that emerged as dominant in the wealthy families of the island but there are studies that show how the Chakavian (usually considered in the literature as a 'Croatian dialect') was also discussed at this time (Suttora 1970 and Balon et altera 2005). It should be noted, again, as today all my interviewees relate to the language they speak as "lussignàn", an idiom which according to them and the common sense of these areas is linked to the Venetian and Italian. Often, in order to differentiate themselves from the language spoken by the majority of the inhabitants of the island, ie the Croatian, the Lošinj say today just to talk "Italian."


During the nineteenth century the Habsburgs asserted their dominance over Lussin. The exploits of captains and sailors Lošinj in the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire are part of the mythology of these regions. And it is in that period that flourished, in particular, the local maritime industry. Shipyards and powerful fleets took their base in these bays of Kvarner. 
In the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian nationalism emerged with force. Conflicting positions of the pro-Italian and pro-Croatian became the ideological wings of political extremism that undermined the possibility that the multi-ethnic state governed Vienna survive in our modern era (see Sluga 2001). 
At that time the name was used as an official title Lussin to define the island. Not by chance, the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition, has a motto "Lussin."

At the end of the First World War, the Italian monarchy took over the area to the island of San Piero - ILOVIK, one of the components of the archipelago of Mali. In 1922 in Rome, and all over the Kingdom of Italy, fascism came to power. All Slovenian and Croatian institutions were abolished in the new eastern edge of the Savoy and Italy of Mussolini, the public use of the mother tongue slave of a very large number of citizens was probito. 
These policies italianizzatrici also occurred in Veli Losinj (Lussingrande)- and hit the local population of the Croatian language which probably corresponded to about half of the islanders. Violence and executions against those who opposed these measures spread across the north-eastern Adriatic coast and in Kvarner (Walston 1997 Rumici 2001, and Pupo 2005). In the fascist label extreme racism that divided ethnic groups in a population that, apart from the different mother tongues, was sharing a common fate for centuries, Mussolini said, "When ethnicity does not get along with geography, it is the ' that ethnicity must go "(quotation cited by the journalist Henry Petacco).


These tragic incidents reached its peak during World War II when they were built detention camps and huge massacres occurred. Two internment camps were built in these areas. One on the island of Rab - Rab and one in Trieste. According to some sources, most of the victims who were exterminated were Slovenes, Croats and Jews, perhaps 7,000 deaths in Rab and 3000 in Trieste (Walston 1997 Crainz 2005).

The Second World War left almost intact Lussin until September 1943. "All the water was red, for all the stretch of sea in front of Rovenska," Claudio told me Smaldone, senior descendant of the historic family Bussani of Veli Losinj. Claudio commented on the massacre of Serbian Chetniks by Tito partisans executed in one of the bays in the midst of which branches off Veli Losinj. The Chetniks, according to the recollections of Lošinj, were ill-equipped and poorly dressed, but could "hardly believing their eyes" to take temporary control of the island - without bosses left after the fast escape fascist administration. The partisans, having stained with the blood of the monarchists pebbles of what is now a beach frequented by tourists, conquered at first Lussin but were driven out by the Nazis who held control of the Kvarner until 1945 (Balon et altera 2001). In April 1945, the partisans could then hoist the flag with the Star of Yugoslavia. And that flag stood for several decades.

The archipelago of Mali was thus part of the Eastern bloc socialist. From 1945 to 1961 between 190 and 350 thousand people, including some citizens of Slovenian and Croatian, left Istria, Dalmatia and Kvarner - upsetting a multilingual mix that had lasted for centuries (Rumici 2001, and Pupo 2005). Lussin was part of socialist Yugoslavia. Many Lošinj moved to the first city that remained in Italy or Trieste, while other islanders were resolved to other parts of Italy or scattered in the rest of the planet. He made a tragic exodus, although many could opt for their Italian holiday.


"They were our dark years," says Stelio Hats commenting the first time in Veli Losinj in Yugoslavia. Hats, who later became one of the important characters of tourism Lošinj in the period of socialist dictatorship, recalls the ups and downs of his intention to leave in Italy forever, the prison and forced labor that touched for failing to adequately at the end of freedom of speech and thought. Public speaking in Italian or lussignàn what became unwelcome to the authorities and to the new croatofona overwhelming majority in power. Any kind of manifestation of its Italian identity was violently discouraged. 
The story was cutting the year 1948, and Yugoslavia dissolved the alliance with the Soviet Union.It opened a fast and tremendous aggression against all potential enemies of the policy of Belgrade. To make the cost of Yugoslav nationalism and hunting the Stalinist Lošinj were also some language Istrian-Venetian, perhaps regardless of their real political position and their nationalist claims. Although they touched the prison, forced labor and, for those most affected by adverse fate, terrible imprisonment in Goli Otok - a field worthy of Nazi concentration camps (see also the book by Scotti, G. 2002. Goli Otok: Italians in the gulag of Tito, Trieste: LINT).

In 1953-1954, the Yugoslav authorities closed the elementary school and broke up the Italian association representing Italians in Veli Losinj, as well as other historical centers of the Istrian-Venetian area as Opatija - Opatija and Cres - Cres. The anthropologist Pamela Ballinger, in a personal conversation, he told me: "The exclusion of political and administrative Lussin from Istria and its incorporation in the County of Kvarner has meant that the experience of the Italian became very different from the rest of Yugoslavia, and so it was for the 'revival' Italian in Istria 90s that had less to Lussin later. " 
The fate of Mali changed. The future of the presence of families of native istroveneta was questioned unlike, apparently, other similar mixed areas in the Balkans where there were citizens of the Italian language, and where the instruction in Italian and the ability to organize as an association were maintained for the citizens who wanted to declare an Italian national. In Veli Losinj, on a heritage registered 2961 inhabitants in 1945, people who claimed to be descended from Italian 1989 in 1945 to 75 in 1961 (Silver Tremul 2001). Lussin, like all large or small centers of Yugoslavia affected by the exodus, was repopulated with people from many areas of the former Yugoslavia and, it seems, to other places in Eastern Europe: Serbs, Albanians and Croats arrived on the island in particular by continent. The buildings of those who had left were occupied by newcomers to take ownership had nothing, apparently, that cross the entrance of the house. 
At the same time, the conditions Venetian and Italian island were essentially forgotten by the socialist regime: Lošinj became the official name, the one usually accepted in public contexts.

Like many other diasporic groups from the former Yugoslavia, for decades Lošinj around the world have kept in touch through an informal community. They began to give the name of exiles.Gradually, many chose to represent their political demands adhering organizations of exiles and keeping connected through books, magazines and more recently through websites and newsletters via e-mail. Today these publications produced by the paper or digital Lošinj who have gone from Lussin, and their descendants, travel the world and is used at many places in the world. Much of this production, however, has its headquarters in Trieste, where this is the most active community of "no longer residing in Lošinj."

Some of the trends identified by the anthropologist Pamela Ballinger in his ethnography (2003) on refugees and the 'left' of Rovinj, can be seen as particularly relevant for the Lošinj.Quest'antropologa reveals how the Istrian-Venetian who remained in Istria after the war found themselves fighting a general distrust of leadership and so policies and propaganda to the Yugoslav minority populations (see Shoup, 1968: 103, quoted by Ballinger, 2003: 212). These individuals have grown "nostalgia for a lost world Italian" and eat "a sense of internal upheaval, an exile of heart and mind, if not of the body" (Ballinger, 2003: 220) - the feelings that I seem to have observed among many of Lošinj older, remaining on the island that is dispersed in the diaspora. According to Ballinger, many Italians fear of Yugoslav citizens had to make a show of their Italian character because of the rise of nationalism Slavs in this socialist state.


In 1991, the Croatian government has declared its independence from Yugoslavia, throwing at least formally to democracy and the free market. A few months before the independence of Croatia and 37 years after the abolition of the public activities of the Italians in Veli Losinj, was inaugurated with a big party the Italian Community of Losinj, the association which still represents Italians in Veli Losinj. The Association of Italian was able to begin to engage in a series of cultural activities such as lectures and performances in Italian and Istrian-Venetian, and offer Italian courses which, today, are consumed by the entire population of the island.

But the presence of Italian citizens who feel it is today, implicitly put into question by the context of the Croatian state.

The new Republic of Croatia did not take into account the possibility of reopening of schools with teaching Italian language. And no one knows if it will ever see the light of a kindergarten in Italian, which would rise in the Pearl Villa on the shores of the main village - despite a massive investment 'random' by the Italian government after the money spent does not seem to have taken care of most of support the initiative.

But the taboo of visibility in the presence of 'Italian' in Lussin rooted and profound consequences.Taking example by the fascists, socialists officials had imposed a Croatization of the cultural landscape. So they had been "repainted" the surnames of citizens who sounded too Italian, was obliata the Istrian-Venetian tradition in the names of places, islands and narrow streets that for centuries has accompanied the Slavic tradition, had been rewritten portions of the cadastre according to both the nationalities of the "new class" that together were in power. Even the two most prominent figures in the history of the island prefascist, the naturalist and tenor Joseph Ambrose Haracic Kaschmann, originating in Mali Losinj, were ribatezzati. If the Balkan wars of the '90s they stood away from this island, the new Croatian rampant nationalism did nothing to intervene on this wide range of operations in Yugoslavia Kvarner and we can still turn to Mali Losinj in places and monuments entitled to croatissimi Ambroz Hara? i? and Josip Kašman - or read the exploits of these uncritical Croats in tourist guides printed by the local tourist office. 
It should however be said that today many tourist brochures printed on the spot (although not all) use the term in Italian (Losinj) to refer to the island.

The 90s marked a crucial step for the exiles Lošinj. The story of Joseph Favrini is symbolic in this sense. In 1998 he founded the 'Community of Mali', a formal organization of exiles of Mali, which was added together with the purpose of explicitly political in what was an already existing informal social network of friendships within the diaspora Lošinj. In this context he has created the Gazette, a newspaper printed in colors today in over 1500 copies and distributed by mail across the planet , and at the same time, the community has begun to churn out a series of books manicured and full of illustrations that resemble the the island's past. Favrini dies at the end of 2005. Seems to me fair to say that the Gazette and other publications of the community of Lošinj can be a crucial attempt to write a history forgotten by the official history both in Italy and in Croatia.

The main party in Croatia since independence in 1991, became the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Community), which ranged from extreme nationalism under the leadership of Franjo Tudjman to more moderate positions in the last years in which Croatia is seeking to enter the European Union. The indicator of how the power of this party is also rooted in the Kvarner is provided by the rise of a prominent politician Gari Hats, Hats son Stelio, it then became not only man-key tourist archipelago but also the first President of the Italian Community reborn in the 90s. Although native speakers istroveneta, Gari Cappelli is now mayor of Mali and parliamentary Sabor thanks to its militancy nell'HDZ (several of his countrymen of the Venetian language did not appreciate this leap of quail).

The cultural and political power in the post-Yugoslav Croatian nationalism was seen as interwoven network of the Catholic Church, one of the few organizations capable of organizing mass meetings in recent years. For example, my interviewees tell how it was invented, from scratch, a procession on the day of the patron saint of the island. In this new ritual, the priest leads a procession in which they are carried in triumph of medieval artefacts found in Veli Losinj, or stones engraved with symbols in Glagolitic, the ancient language of the Church Slavonic. In plain sight in the procession to enunciate so their bond with the age of the presence of culture (Catholic) Slavic island, as they tell me, there would be the elders of the local nationalist politicians and the flags of Croatia. But the interference of the church in nationalist disputes is dated by the Italians a few decades before. For example, they say, in the 70 signs in Italian Baroque style of the ancient way of the cross located within the Church of Veli Losinj were removed from a zealous priest in the attic of the temple itself - where they are kept immersed in the dust, tutt 'present day. 
Scholars Kunovich and Hodson (1999) point out more generally that the Croatian church has often been synonymous with war against other ethnic groups, while, on the other hand, the positions of power of the Church have always been supported by the post- Communists in the government.

Obviously Croatia is integrated into the contemporary transnational. "I wish these new masters Austrians and Italians in Croatia, who have bought the largest banks and telephone companies in this state, not stopped to keep our money", it is the gloss of an interview with my middle-aged, who continues "I would like that we had not only the masters that come from those places, but that would bring the cops from Vienna and Milan." Not just for the views of one respondent, but also according to some research (Transparency International 2004 cited in October 2006 and cf. La Voce del Popolo 2007a), corruption in public institutions in Croatia seems to be a significant problem. The scenario post-socialist seems to have opened the way to important business, clouded by doubts about their moral legitimacy, for some islanders near the establishment. It seems that one of the biggest opportunities for enrichment has been put into the bag in Zagreb Jadranka, the company Lošinj committed since the time of Yugoslavia into different sectors such as tourism, as well as the owner of some supermarkets on site. "Some secretaries have become millionaire in no time, do not know how," he told the Lošinj about the sale of the shares of Jadranka. 
Even tourism, which has become the most profitable industry of Mali from the 70s, come to think, is a strand of continuity of power during and after Yugoslavia. "They'll Lussin a new species of Costa Brava: all white, all costs will be devastated by concrete casting", is the prediction of a bitter interview that binds "the lack of political foresight Zagreb" with "unscrupulous interests of the powerful, but fools and ignorant of Mali. " According to the lawyer of Croatian killed on the island in the summer of 2007 would have been at the center of a network of mediations and non-clear trades orchestrated by the powers that own premises in relation to a new building plan and building plots on the property to Lussin.

Italians living in Lussin are habitual consumers of the media in Croatia. A ranking on a global scale about media freedom square Croatia all'ottantaquattresimo behind the other states of Central and Eastern Europe (Freedom House 2004 quoted in October 2006 and cf. Peranić 2005). 
The Lošinj are also regular viewers of the Italian national TV and Italian newspapers in general which, ironically, almost never remind you of the existence of the communities of Italians in the former Yugoslavia. The head that would be potentially linked to represent the interests of the Italian-speaking community in Slovenia and Croatia, the newspaper 'The Voice of the People' published in Rijeka, is the one that probably can not do politically to represent these people. The newspaper lives indeed of public funds that come in, as well as from Rome, also from Ljubljana and Zagreb. And, to quickly browse the newspaper during the summer as a tourist, it seems to me that one of the least 'covered' by the news of the newspaper is just Lussin.

In June 2004, Croatia has begun talks to become a member of the European Union, and it is thought that this goal can be cut in 2011. Such negotiations have included the revision of the rights of minorities and Croatia has introduced new legislation to protect of these cultural communities. In this context, even Lussin the Italian Community has the right to have a representative at the town hall and has some small funding for their activities. Italians of Mali are no longer even the second national group, in terms of numbers: in the 2001 census were overtaken by those who declare themselves ethnic Serbs. However it should be noted that, according to the same census, in the town of Mali are more than those who claim to be speaking Italian that those who claim to be native speakers of Serbian. A British scholar who lives on the island and knows the local cultural landscape, he said: "I think within a couple of decades there may be no more people, from the island and living in Mali Losinj (Lussinpiccolo), speak the Italian ". 
"The problem is the mixed marriages," he told a Lošinj who lives on the island for his entire life."The children of these marriages between Italians and Croats speak Croatian at the end because the majority can not win," he said.


History of the island by three names: Lussìn / Lussino / Lošinj

Enrico Maria Milica