48 professors from Italy and Germany, among them mostly linguists, have signed an appeal to the Italian President Sergio Mattarella for the preservation of the so-called Italian place names in South Tyrol. This action is sharply criticized by EFA member party Süd-Tiroler Freiheit (STF).
In a press release STF stresses out that this initiative is an easy-to-read attempt to justify artificially italianised and thus fascism- burdenend place names in South Tyrol – not only politically, but also scientifically. Crucial terms such as Fascism, Ettore Tolomei (the man who invented the concept of “Alto Adige” and around other 8.000 place names in South Tyrol) are deliberately avoided. Also deliberately no difference is made between bilingualism of names and bilingualism of words. In doing so, the action unmasks itself. Also the fact that the list of the signatories contains the name of Carlo Alberto Mastrelli, the long-standing director of Ettore Tolomei's "Istituto di Studi per l'Alto Adige", shows that the entire action has nothing but an Italian-nationalist background which is being hidden under the cover of science.
EFA and STF believe that science should be committed exclusively to the truth and not be used to mislead. In addition, almost all signatories of the letter lack concrete research focused on South Tyrol and cannot claim close allegiance with the place name issue.
Background information: Back in 2012, the South Tyrolean government presented a new law on place names, which stipulated that all the German and Ladin place names should be officially reintroduced, confirming at the same time the existence of most Italian place names. STF & EFA were against the law We were against the law because it made no distinction between authentic Italian place names and those which were just invented in the Fascist period. The law was contested by the South Tyrolean Italian nationalist parties before the constitutional court in Rome, because few invented place names were running the risk to disappear from official use. Although no judgement has so far been made by the Constitutional court, the Italian government urges South Tyrol to revise that law by avoiding to put into question any of the invented place names. The letter of the 48 scientists fits this context.