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Italian-Hungarian Co-operation on War Grave Care

Szöveg: Captain Melinda Várkonyi |  2019. július 6. 13:16

The delegation of the War Memorial Inspectorate General of the Italian Defence Ministry arrived on a four-day working visit to the MoD Institute and Museum of Military History on Tuesday, 2nd July.

Brigadier General Marco Ciampini, Head of Department of the Italian MoD War Memorial Inspectorate General and Lieutenant Colonel Nicola Nannola, the head of the Inspectorate General’s Section on General Affairs and Foreign Relations were received by Colonel Dr. Vilmos Kovács, the Commandant of the MoD Institute and Museum of Military History (HM HIM). During the discussion – following the presentation of the institution – Colonel Kovács informed the delegation about the state of the Italian war graves in Hungary. Special attention was paid to the renovation of the First World War graves, for which two billion of forints were allocated by the Hungarian Government in 2016.

Thanks to the HM HIM tender 804 Italian war graves in 18 settlements could be renewed in the past two years in a value exceeding HUF 37 million.

The Agreement on the Preservation of the Memories of the Soldiers and Civilian Victims killed in the world wars, and the legal status of their graves entered into force in Hungary on 1st March, 2004, which was signed by the representatives of the two counties in September 2003, in Rome. The now fifteen years of co-operation is exemplary in the area of war graves care. In the meantime, hundreds of Hungarian and Italian military cemeteries, war graves and memorials were renewed in both countries. According to data currently available, Austrian-Hungarian military cemeteries, and heroic plots can be found all in all in 89 locations, in 16 regions of the 20 regions in the territory between North Italy and Sicily, where according to the Italian records 164.751 Austrian-Hungarian soldier heroes sleep their eternal dream. From among them the identification of those of Hungarian nationality is not possible at the moment. In Hungary central Italian cemeteries can be found in 9 settlements, in which the mortal remains of four thousand Italian soldiers found eternal rest.

In the discussion both parties agreed that by virtue of the agreement they can inspect the casualty database and the archive documents of each other. This was essential because the HM HIM wishes to collate the First World War casualty record data – sorting them into database is in progress – with the Italian partner organisation’s records of the Austrian-Hungarian military cemeteries.

During the four days the representatives of the two professional bodies discussed about the Hungarian language information signs to be placed in Italy, in the Austrian-Hungarian military cemeteries, about the international commemoration to be held at the Pordoi Pass WWI Memorial on 24th August, and about the Hungarian flag to be set up near the Austrian, Italian and EU-flags at the ossuary on Monte Grappa.

During their stay in Hungary, the delegation paid their tribute in the Italian heroic plot of the New Public Cemetery, in Rákoskeresztúr, where wreaths were laid at the Central Memorial by Brigadier General Marco Ciampini, Colonel Dr. Vilmos Kovács, and Colonel Dr. Ferenc Papp, the Director of the HM HIM Directorate on Military Memory and War Graves Care.

Photos of Péter Szikits