Treaty of Peace with Italy (1947) and Citizenship

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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Treaty of Peace with Italy (1947) and Citizenship

Postby ericad » 18 Jul 2010, 01:14

I'm trying to interpret this treaty and apply it to my grandfather's situation. If anyone has the time to have a look and offer an opinion it would be greatly appreciated.

The treaty
After WWII parts of NE Italy were ceded to Yugoslavia per the Treaty of Peace with Italy (entry into force 15 September 1947). Articles 19 deals with the citizenship of the subjects domiciled in that region. Article 19 states:

1. Italian citizens who were domiciled on 10 June 1940 in territory transferred by Italy to another State under the present Treaty, and their children born after that date, shall, except as provided in the following paragraph, become citizens with full civil and political rights of the State to which the territory is transferred, in accordance with legislation to that effect to be introduced by that State within three months from the coming into force of the present Treaty. Upon becoming citizens of the State concerned they shall lose their Italian citizenship.

2. The Government of the State to which the territory is transferred shall, by appropriate legislation within three months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, provide that all persons referred to in paragraph 1 over the age of eighteen years (or married persons whether under or over that age) whose customary language is Italian, shall be entitled to opt for Italian citizenship within a a period of one year from the coming into force of the present Treaty. Any person so opting shall retain Italian citizenship and shall not be considered to have acquired the citizenship of the State to which the territory is transferred. The option of the husband shall not constitute an option on the part of the wife. Option on the part of the father, or, if the father is not alive, on the part of the mother, shall, however, automatically include all unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.

My nonno and the treaty
Art 19(1): My nonno was domiciled in Fiume on 10 June 1940. He was born there (then Italian territory) to Italian parents. Therefore, prima facie he would adopt Yugoslavian citizenship and lose their Italian citizenship.

Art 19(2): In 1947 my 19 year old nonno (whose customary language was Italian) migrated from Fiume/Rijeka to Milan (within 12 months of entry into force of the treaty).

Subsequent migration to Australia
My grandparents (my nonna also followed the same path above but as we're going through my nonno, I won't go into her circumstances) lived in Milan from 1947-1949 and were married there in 1949. They emigrated to Australia in 1950 and my father was born in 1951. My nonno was naturalised in 1956. The key issue is whether my Nonno was an Italian citizen at the time of my father's birth.

I have all the documents required to apply for citizenship however I'm trying to determine whether in fact my Nonno may have acquired Yugoslavian citizenship and as such, renounced his Italian citizenship. My nonno (who died in 1999) always identified himself as an Italian but I never asked about whether he actually opted for Italian citizenship. I've been going through his immigration papers on the national archives website and I've found the following references to nationality/citizenship (some appear contradictory):

- Under documents/passport/identity is listed: Identity card No. 18345277 issued 29/8/49 in Milano by Italian police
- Previous addresses are listed as: 1927-1941: Fiume Italy, 1941-1947 Fiume Yugoslavia, 1947-1949 Milano Italy (to support the above re art 19)
- Ethnic/national group: Italian

However under citizenship/nationality headings in other pages they are listed as either:
- Unregisted Yugoslavian
- Undetermined
- Italian Yugoslavian
- Yugoslavian

Key questions
1. Does anyone know the significance of the Italian identity card? Is this evidence of citizenship at the relevant time?

2. My Nonno's birth certificate was issued by the Croatian authorities as Fiume is now part of Rijeka. Will the consulate automatically assume he was not born an Italian?
- I also acquired my bisnonno's Italian birth certificate just to be safe on this point and to show that my Nonno was born to an Italian father.

3. Should I take all the immigration papers to my consular appointment?

Ok that was mammoth but I'm trying to be prepared for everything before my appointment and I'm a bit worried about this issue. Thanks in advance.

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Re: Treaty of Peace with Italy (1947) and Citizenship

Postby wishyou » 20 Jul 2010, 16:53

As I know History of Istrian people your grandfather surely NEVER did renounced his Italian citizenship. Istrian people were very proud to be italian and they kept inside forever their italian soul.
And the fact he run away from Istria for going in Milan renforce my idea:
a) He left Fiume in the days when treaty became in force (probably to avoid to became Yugoslavian)
b) Anyway, if he did acquired Yugoslavian citizenship why did he leave Istria to go to Italy?
c) And also, in that time it was almost impossible, for political reasons, that a Yugoslavian citizen could leave Yugoslavia to go to Italy
1. Identity card is an identification document and it lokks like a passport. One of the data of Identity Card is "citizenship" and in that time it was released only to italian citizen. I assume that if he did show this Italian document is to declare is Italian citizenship
2.Rijeka is the croatian name of the italian name Fiume. I don't think the consulate will automatically assume he was not born an Italian or better, if they do they will commit an error. Anyway you did the right thing owing your grandgrandfather italian birth certificate, just to prove he was born from an italian.
3. If they further prove that your grandfather was an italian, it is better

Good luck

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Re: Treaty of Peace with Italy (1947) and Citizenship

Postby ericad » 23 Jul 2010, 03:24

Thanks for that. It's true about my Nonno's fierce pride of his heritage. I remember he had a giant map of Fiume on his kitchen wall and when I was little he would make me practise pronouncing all the place names. He was also a member of the Fiume Society in Sydney and although he loved raising his family in Australia, I know he considered himself an Italian first and foremost.

Fingers crossed for my appointment. I hope it won't be a problem.

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