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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lucy Christalnigg: a REMARKABLE woman in WW1


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Hi All,

this is an incredible story, and it is all true. It happened in august 1914, in the very first days of the war.

The place is Gorizia, which later became battleground, but at the time was in peace. Actually the area north of Gorizia, near Caporetto.

Lucy Christalnigg was a countess, a car racing driver, and a red cross volunteer. And she became THE FIRST victim in Gorizia,

in what would be called the Isonzo Front.

In a time when only the super-rich had a car, and they were all male and mostly used a driver, Lucy loved to drive her own

car - no driver - and take part in races on the Alps. She was an Austrian, and lived mostly in Gorizia (now Italy, then part of the Austrian Empire).

As the war started, she offered to carry materials for the Red Cross.

She found herself in the middle of the Alps at night, on her car, and met a check-point.

It was never clarified what happened exactly, but she was shot... and what happened next was even more upsetting.

So: this is a true and remarkable story about the beginning of the war,

there is a book about it (see below for links and blurbs). There are a few photos around, i could post them if anyone is interested, and there

is also a video on youtube. Just let me know if you are interested.


The Last Summer - (The Story of Lucy Christalnigg and the End of a World)

by: Nello Cristianini

A TRUE STORY - Based on original accounts, this is the true story of the first victim of the Isonzo Front.

It is the summer of 1914 and the Austro-Hungarian Empire has just taken the road which will lead to its ruin. In the remote resort town of Gorizia, general mobilisation starts in August, and involves also Countess Lucy Christalnigg, racing car driver, on a mission for the Red Cross. During the journey between Klagenfurt and Gorizia the Countess meets her tragic fate, while the world is sliding into war.

After 100 years, this story brings back to life a forgotten episode which had caused great sensation at the time, describing the atmosphere of the last days of a lost world.

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i will post more material shortly (i am on the road now), including photos,

but here is some more information for now:

Lucy Christalnigg had been told she had right of safe passage that night, she thought that the check-points had been informed,

but at least one of them had not. She did not stop and they shot her. This is what you find in the newspapers of the time.

BUT we know that her car was found correctly parked, and her foot on the brake pedal. So she seems to have stopped.

The situation was so controversial (and her husband an important officer) that they decided to leave her body untouched until

a military commisssion came ... this took A LONG TIME and it was august in Italy....

An important detail now involves her dog, who was traveling with her... but i do not want to abuse your patience.

This may be a bit out of topic.

Let me know if you care about the strange and sad fate of her travel companion, the dog...

(anyway, there is a book: HERE http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Summer-Story-Christalnigg/dp/1500349712

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