The group of Italian-speaking citizens of the Habsburg Empire living in Trentino, a small region located at the western border of the Empire, is an excellent example of the interruption of everyday life caused by the war. Literacy was widespread in this small region. This allowed women and men at war to write their own memories of the conflict on notebooks, diaries, and letters. Such writings became frequent after traumatic events (imprisonment, displacement, and call to arms). Significantly, the war experiences of these Italian-speaking citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire mainly concern the Eastern front, where men were sent to fight (Galicia, Bukovina), where they were taken prisoner (Russian Empire), and where women, elderly, and children had been displaced (Bohemia, Moravia). Almost all female writers were young. This paper intends to shed light on the war experience of these three categories of people who left autobiographical and personal writings. The analysis of these writings makes it possible to assess how the relationship with the regional space and “the other” changes from time to time (with host populations in the case of refugees; populations of other regions of the Empire in the case of soldiers; rural residents of Russia in the case of prisoners of war), and how these perceptions affect group self-representation.
First World War, Trentino, refugees, POWs, diary, Galicia, Habsburg Empire, Eastern Front, minorities.