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Vergarola (Pola) photographed at 2:15 PM on August 18, 1946
(Courtesy of La Voce del Popolo and by Franco G. Aitala)

Mines Explosion at Vergarola Beach, Pola
August 18, 1946

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Eye-witness accounts:

  • Giuseppe (Bepi) Nider - poem

News media coverage:

The facts (under construction):

28 huge deep water mines containing 9 tons of explosives had been stored by the Italian fascists in the waters off Vergarola beach (toponomy) near the Pola cement factory.

It is claimed that the mines were formally defused by the Italians before they retreated, but they remained in the bay. At approximately 2 PM, August 18, 1946, they exploded either by accident or were defused and set off deliberately by unidentified person[s], thereby killing 70 and wounding over 100 people (these numbers are not verified and may not be accurate). Most of the victims were bathers who had been attending an annual swimming event called "Scarioni". 

Among the dead were the following children (their ages are in brackets):

  • Brandis, Alberto (3)
  • Berdini, Luciana (5)
  • Dinelli, Norina (6)
  • Giurina, Nadia (11)
  • Marchi, Silvana (5)
  • Maresi, Marina & Graziella (3 & 5), sisters
  • Muggia, Vitaliano (10)
  • Niccoli, Maria Luisa (12)
  • Ricato, Aurelio (10)
  • Rocco, Gianna & Licia (5 & 8), sisters
  • Roici, Gianfranco & Lucio (12 & 15), brothers
  • Succi, Carlo (6)
  • Vivoda, Sergio (8)*
  • Zelesco, Edmondo (6)

 *Lino Vivoda, his brother, is the author of L'Esodo da Pola, Ed. Nuova Litoeffe (Castelvetro, 1989), the only published book to recall the tragedy.


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This page compliments of Franco G. Aitala and Marisa Ciceran

Created: Saturday, August 18, 2001; Last updated: Saturday September 17, 2011
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