Cravos Emilio (1880-1915)

27/03/2020

On November 2nd a bunch of red carnations revives one of the oldest graves in the cemetery of Gorizia, the one where the remains of Emilio Cravos, "lived of his work as a humble inhabitant / died as a hero under Austrian lead", as it is written on the tombstone. A hermitage in the Parco della Rimembranza and a tombstone in the Palazzo Municipale remind us that he was shot "for too much love of Italy". His too much love was expressed in words, certainly sincere, probably rash, perhaps - someone said - dictated by wine, pronounced on the evening of November 15, 1915, in the tavern Tausani in Piazza Grande, while Gorizia was shot by the Italian army that Emilio Cravos did not consider enemy. An irredentist? More simply, an Italian from Gorizia. "I was born Italian, I'm grown Italian, I'll die Italian," he said that evening. The only political demonstration he attended was the one held in Graz to demand the establishment of an Italian university in Trieste. At the outbreak of the war he did not trespass to enlist, but it was among the Gorizians who left the bombed city. He couldn't stand the life of a refugee, however, and returned to Gorizia - to die there.

The exact sequence of events is not certain. Perhaps Cravos came in and said "good evening" and an officer replied "we don't speak Italian here"; perhaps another adventurer toasted "viva l'Italia" and Cravos imitated him. The Austrian soldiers present replied "death to Italy", and Emilio Cravos' answer was "hurray for Italy - death to Austria - shit to Austria". He was arrested and tried for high treason, guilty of having tried to "arouse contempt against the unitary state nexus of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy". Some witnesses testified in his favour, but the testimony of two soldiers, Mate Eterovic and Ivan Stipicic, was decisive for his death sentence. He was thirty-five years old: he was born in 1880.

He was shot on November 17. The people of Gorizia who remained in the city saw him walking along the streets. Lucia Bortolotti reported in her diary: "the company of soldiers, who were at Marega's, passed at this moment with the officer who was staying with us, Bokros, in the lead. Among them is Cravos, the one who sells in the square. They beat him to death. They're going to shoot him on the Vertoibizza. Behind him go four soldiers with hoes to dig his grave. He was arrested two days ago. I don't want to write any more." Other witnesses reported that along the way the group narrowly avoided a bomb dropped from an Italian plane ("Pecà, he had to send it in ramengo!" said Cravos) and that the officer repeatedly proposed to him that he had saved his life in exchange for the names of irredentist leaders, receiving the answer "no! and I'll do it soon! ". He fell under bullets at 5.15 p.m., at Valdirose, just beyond the Casarossa. Subsequently, his name was given to the road that runs along the border line to the right of the pass, a few meters from the place of the shooting.