The Execution of Cesare Battisti


A Patriotic Painting


Cesare Battisti was a writer and publicist of Italian origin born as an Austrian subject. An advocate of sucession of Trieste and the Trento from Austrian rule, he joined the Italian army when war broke out and was afterwards captured by the Austrians. Considering him to be a traitor to his country of birth, he was tried and condemned to death. His execution was photographed and afterwards postcards were made of the event. They were very popular in Italy and served to flame indignation against the Austrian enemy.

From a present day point of view it is quite incomprehensible why Austrian authorities allowed photographs of the execution to be taken and published, since they were promptly used by the Italians as anti-Austrian propaganda.

Above we see a patroitic and stirring painting. Below is a series of photographs of the actual event.

For more detailed information go to this Great War Society link : Cesare Battisti, Italian Patriot, Hero, Martyr



A Series of Photographs

Being brought before the court to receive the death sentence

Place of execution with the hangmen standing next to the gallows.

Reading the death sentence for the last time.

The last moments. The noose is placed around Battisti's neck while a hangman lifts him up upwards. Such an execution was more akin to a slow strangling or garroting than a traditional hanging.

Afterwards the hangmen smile obscenely. Seemingly proud of their work they pose with the body. Soldiers crowd around to be in the photograph.

Note the vast difference in the demeanour of the soldiers in the painting and this photograph. There are few sad faces to be seen.


Afterwards : a memorial plaque is unveiled in Rome


The cover of a French popular novelette
featuring a patriotic story about Cesare Battisti