Furlani Carolina (1893-1987)


On the 23rd December 1893 was born in Gorizia Carolina (Lina) Furlani, a cruise ship dedicated to service throughout her long life. At the beginning of the First World War, while her brothers were enlisting volunteers in the Italian army, Carolina went to Udine, where she began her activity as a crucerossine. Since then her life was dedicated to the Red Cross, in peace and war. When in 1915 her brother Charles, nineteen years old, was mortally wounded on Calvary, Carolina crossed the lines to assist him; and the same disregard for her own salvation in the face of a duty to do showed during the Second World War, when in October 1943, at the time of the arrest of staff and patients in the military hospital in Athens, the Germans left the Red Cross the choice between going home or following the sick in captivity. Carolina Furlani, together with her companions, chose to share the fate of her patients, and followed them to the concentration camp of Zeitheim, where she had among other prison companions Antonia Setti Carraro, mother of Emanuela, wife of General Dalla Chiesa.

In the period between the two wars, even though she was always engaged as a cruelty nurse, she devoted herself to welfare activities and teaching, and actively collaborated with her sister Giuseppina in the "Santa Gorizia" boarding school, of which she was director from 1960 to 1965, after the death of Giuseppina who had given all of herself to the boarding school. Together they established the Furlani Foundation, which awards scholarships to the best students of the "Scipio Slataper" Magistral Institute. Carolina served on hospital ships with the wounded in the wars in East Africa and Spain, and then participated in the campaigns of Albania and Greece. A cruz roja for seventy years, Carolina Furlani received two Red Cross silver medals, a cross of merit for war, the Spanish cruz roja and other honours and awards; she was also awarded the title of Knight of the Italian Republic. She died in 1987, at the age of 93.