Germany and Italy today agreed to offer people living in the Italian province of South Tyrol a choice of remaining in Italy or moving to Germany.
South Tyrol, which was originally part of Austria before World War One, was administered by Italy in the 1930s. It contained both German- and Italian-speaking residents. A local Nazi party, the Völkischer Kampfring, spread propaganda and false rumours suggesting that the Italians were planning on deporting all residents. The agreement between Germany and Italy gave the residents until 31 December 1939 to either remain part of Italy, or move to the German Reich.
Approximately 70% of the residents chose to emigrate to the German Reich. Those who chose not to were treated aggressively by those in the 70%, with reports of the minority being called ‘traitors’ and compared to other ethnic groups who Germans hated, such as the Jewish community.