July 13th, 1920: Trieste’s Kristallnacht
The rich life and diverse activity at the Narodni domwas brought to an end on July 13th, 1920 through an arson attack by Fascist extremists and nationalists. After rallying on Piazza Unità d’Italia, they attacked numerous Slavic establishments in Trieste: they targeted cafés, shops, banks and offices, the Yugoslav consulate, and above all the Narodni dom. The fire, which was only extinguished the following day, destroyed the modern premises, books, musical instruments, and archives—a great part of the cultural heritage of Trieste’s Slovenian community.
The burning of the Narodni dom was only the first manifestation of intolerance. The burning of the Narodni dom was followed by twenty-five years of repression and persecution of the Slovenians, whom the Italian state first deprived of the right to their native language, and then, by closing schools, imprisonment, and deportations, even the right to exist.