First civilian victim of the Isonzo front

First civilian victim of the Isonzo front

Do you know who was the first victim of the Isonzo front? 

Many people think that first innocent victims of the First World War were assasined Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife shot in Serbia on 28th June 1914 by Gavrilo Princip.

But that in fact is not true! This was actually the cause why all of the Europe found itself fighting the greatest battle so far, some even on the Isonzo front.

After the Franz Ferdinand’s assasination Italy immediately declared its neutrality. The government goal was to see which side would offer more land in return for italian support nevertheless they were in Triple Alliance with Germany and Austro-Hungary from 1882.

The Entente, also called  Entente Powers, convinced Italy on 26th April 1915 to join them with signing secret agreement in London (Treaty of London) with which obliged to offer Italy lots of new territories (including parts of Slovenia, Southern Tirol and Dalmatian Coast) for their latter expansion.


source: Wikipedia.

So, who was Lucy Christalnigg?

Countess Lucy Christalnigg, wife of Count Oskar Christallnig, was a lady in her forties. Being one of the first female drivers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire brought her a lot of fame. In 1907 she won a race organised by Carinthian Automobile Club and that made her even more selfconfident nevertheless she had to pay many penalties for driving too fast! But she enjoyed it!

Near the Gorizia the couple owned the Villa Liebenwald (today there is a famous restaurant Šterk), well known place for entertaining and dance.

šterk inn

archive: Gostišče Šterk.

She care a lot about young men sent to Galicia so she decided to help them in a way she knew well. Late in the evening on the 9th August 1914 Lucy, her driver and her young assistant were driving in a fancy new car she bought for Red Cross from Klagenfurt to Gorizia. Being in a hurry she did everything to avoid waiting at the checkpoints. That is why she sent notes in advance to notify soldiers at checkpoints to let her car through so she could get faster to Gorizia.

For defending Italy neutral status all soldiers at the checkpoints had to check everyone passing by. Not far away from Bovec, just a few meters from Srpenica checkpoint, Lucy apparently did not hear two warning shots. After a second soldier aimed towards the car, fire the rifle and killed Lucy instantly.

The hurry-note from Lucy came to the checpoint where she was killed only a few hours after the incident in early morning hours of 10th August 1914.

We can see a stone monument at the place where the checkpoint at Srpenica stood.Lucy Christalnigg first civilian victim on Isonzo Front

Now we can remember Lucy Christalnigg, the first civilian victim of the First World War on Slovenian grounds, but also as the first female racer in Austro-Hungary.

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Written by Vesna on 16th February 2016.