Slavich, Chiacich, Pepeu

Mario Slavich

Trieste, 1894-1949

Native Italian, completed secondary school in 1912; at the outbreak of the conflict he is a student at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Vienna. Enrolled in the Medical Corps of the Austro-Hungarian army, he assists at the medical military hospital in Cilli (Celje). From the summer of 1917, he is on the Isonzo front at the emergency first aid station of the III Battalion of the Austrian Landwehr Nr. 2 at the foot of the Fajti Hrib in Slovenia. After Caporetto, he follows the unit into occupied Friuli and Veneto to the front lines of the Piave. By the end of the conflict, he holds the rank of Lieutenant, earning the Red Cross Silver Medal and the Gold Cross for Meritorious Service.

He graduates in Padua in 1920. Assistant from 1923 in the Division for Internal Diseases at the Regina Elena Hospital of Trieste, of which he became head in 1943. He also lends his services to the S.M. Maddalena Hospital for Infectious Diseases. A highly cultured individual; lover of music, singing, travel (occasional voyages as ship’s doctor on Lloyd Trieste transatlantic sailings) and sport, in particular horse-racing and football, being a founding member and sports physician for U.S. Triestina Football Club from 1926. On display some snapshots from his photo album kindly provided by his children Maria and Gianni.

Michele Chiachich

Fiume 1879-Trieste 1966

Career officer in the Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War. He commands, with the rank of Captain, the engineer squadron of the 12th Uhlan Cavalry Regiment (k.u.k. Ulanen Regiment Graf Huyn Nr.12), charged with overseeing the unit’s various logistical requirements. He fights in Galicia and the Carpathians; from October 1916, he is on the Romanian front.

In April 1918, he moves with his regiment to the front at the Piave R., around Mosnigo and later Meduna, where in October 1918 he is appointed a Major. After the war he settles in Trieste, leaving his large collection of photographs, taken by himself, and 24 diaries written in German to the collector, Diego de Henriquez and today housed at the Museo della Guerra per la Pace (War Museum for Peace), dedicated to him. Used in part in some photographic exhibitions in Fiume and Trieste (both in 2008), the material, which is precisely reflected in his diaries, offers a rare and singular glimpse of the military and human vicissitudes of the Hungarian cavalry on various fronts during the conflict.

Francesco Pepeu

Trieste, 1887-1971

In December 1910, he graduates in Medicine and Surgery in Vienna. In August 1914, he is called to the Austrian K.u.k. Landwehr PolaNo.5 with the rank of Second Lieutenant Doctor and sent to the Carpathians in December 1914 as battalion doctor. He is then transferred to a hospital behind the lines to treat smallpox and exanthematic typhus, given his specialisation in hygiene and infectious diseases. Decorated several times, he returns to his regiment as Head Doctor and takes part in the Gorlice offensive. In the summer of 1916, during the Russian counter-offensive he is wounded in the abdomen.
He is hospitalised first in Ungvar, then Vienna and, after recovering, becomes regimental doctor in Judenburg (Styria). Subject of an investigation for anti-Austrian sentiments, having allegedly dismissed too many wounded or sick soldiers, he is acquitted and in the autumn of 1917, returns to his regiment in Romania, in the district of Rimnicu-Sarat, to head the bacteriological laboratory (K.u.k. Bakteriologisches Feldlaboratorium No. 98). At the end of the conflict, he makes a fortuitous return to Trieste in December 1918. Having specialised in hygiene and infectious diseases, he is one of the leading post-War experts in the treatment of smallpox and exanthematic typhus. The sizeable collection of his wartime photographs is housed at the Fototeca (Photo Library) of the Trieste Civic Museums.