Many areas of the Dolomites are in the process of setting up projects to enhance the historical testimony of the Great War.
Sesto di Pusteria was both victim and protagonist of this tragedy. Sesto di Pusteria is the only place of Germanic language and culture belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to find itself at the front line, undergoing forced evacuation and displacement, and then, together with other places of the South Tyrol, being annexed to Italy. This chance set of events makes Sesto an emblematic place to tell the history of this period, not only for the Tyrolean citizens of today but for all the inhabitants of Europe.
The vicissitudes of the civilian population and of the soldiers during this extremely important moment in history have so far surprisingly been neglected, undoubtedly because of the upheaval following the end of the war and annexation to Italy. Given the considerable interest in the First World War that is now emerging in Europe, Sesto has unique and inestimable contribution to make.
The Associazione Bellum Aquilarum (Bellum Aquilarum historical association) aims to save from oblivion the surviving testimony to this tragedy in order to preserve it so that it can be handed down to future generations, not only to the young people of Pusteria, but also to those living in places once belonging to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire that were the scenes of battle here.
The tragedy experienced so deeply at Sesto and in Pusteria is askin to that of many other areas of Europe which were on the front line or which, after the war, witnessed the havoc brougth on by territorial annexation. The ensuing cultural, historical and political schism was immense; without doubt, these events changed Pusteria but also Europe itself, and today – in a European perspective enabling the age-old tensions issuing from the war to be overcome – preserving these memories can aid us in the construction of our common future.
The Associazione Bellum Aquilarum ONLUS – a non-profitmaking organisation for the common good – recognised by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano; since it is a non-profitmaking organisation, contributions from any source are welcome, from private citizens, associations and institutions sharing the same aims. The intent is to further the recovery and valorisation of surviving historical testimony by the setting up and running of open-air museums, historical archives, documentation centres and any other enterprise serving the aforesaid purpose.