The monument is a simple one, 4 m high, made in carved stone and shaped like an obelisk decorated with a winged globe on top. It was unveiled in 1906, when 40 years from the battle of Custozza were commemorated. The battle on June 24th, 1866 was part of the war for the Unification of Italy. The control over Venice being the purpose, the battle was won by the Austrians outnumbered by the Italian army. It was not a decisive battle because two weeks later Austria was forced to capitulate.
To the battle of Custozza the 50th Infantry Regiment from Alba Iulia participated, so the present monument was erected by the care of the officers of this regiment, to commemorate those who have fallen in the Italian battle, more precisely during the attack from Oliosi and Monte Vento. As written on the face of the monument, 10 officers and 123 soldiers died, 86 of them dying later from the wounds they received. The name of the fallen tell us something about the composition of the empire’s army: the officers are in majority of German origins although among them there is mentioned a Romanian one – Lieutenant-major Gheorghe Pop (Georg Popp); most of the fallen soldiers on the other hand are Romanian (29 of the 36 soldiers mentioned by name on the inscriptions).
From the four inscriptions, three of them contain the names of fallen heroes and the fourth is urging us to: „Seyd treu und standhaft gleich euern vatern” („Be devoted and steady as your fathers”).
The information that the monument presents is a specific one for the beginning of the 20th century. The transformation into heroes, as the simple mentioning of the sacrifice of some simple soldiers is a modern approach, of consideration for the contribution of the many to the line of history.
Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian
Translation made by: Ciprian Dobra, PR expert
Looking at the monument located in the central area of the Citadel Square you would probably wonder what is the connection between Alba Iulia and the battle of Custozza in 1866, during the military conflict between Italy and Austria for the possession of Venice. The 50th Infantry Regiment from Alba Iulia, formed mainly from Romanians and Hungarians, but commanded by Austrians, took part in the battle won by the Austrians in the north of Italy.
The initiative of erecting a monument dedicated to the 133 soldiers and officers fallen in Custozza belonged to the officers of the Austrian Regiment in Alba Iulia and was realized 40 years after the battle in Italy – in 1906.
The monument made out of stone is 4 meters in height, shaped like an obelisk and on top one can see a winged metallic globe.
On three of the commemorative slabs placed on the monument base, the names of the officers and soldiers who died in the 1866 battle are marked in three languages: German, Hungarian and Romanian. The name of the 10 officers fallen in the battle, one of them, Gheorghe Pop, being Romanian, are written on the slab in the front. On the left and on the right slabs we can see the names of the soldiers who lost their life in 1866. The names of the fallen also tell us about the structure of the Austrian Empire army. The officers are mostly German but the soldiers are mostly Romanian.
On the slab on the back side of the monument there is a German text that evokes the sacrifice spirit of the forefathers and which can be translated: „Be devoted and earnest like your parents!”
The monument is surrounded by two lines of massive chains being linked by cannonballs.
The information presented by the monument is specific for the beginning of the 20th century. The transformation into heroes and the simple mentioning of the sacrifice of the common soldiers is a modern practice of reconsidering of the contribution of the many to the course of history
The Custozza monument was restored recently, along with the rest of the Alba Carolina Citadel.