Lavo Čermelj, Italianized in "Lavo Cermeli" (
October 10 1889- January 26 1980) was a Slovene physicist, political activist, publicistand author.
Lavo Čermelj was born in
Trieste, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After finishing the German language lyceumin his native town, he enrolled to the Charles Universityin Prague, where he studied law for one year. He then switched to the University of Vienna, where he studied mathematics and physics, graduating from physics in 1914. During World War Onehe was drafted in the Austro-Hungarian Army. After the war he returned to Trieste, then already part of the Kingdom of Italy, where he worked as a professor at a private Slovene languagehigh school. In the late 1920s he collaborated with several underground organizations that were resisting the policies of Fascist Italianizationin the Julian March. When his activities were traced by the Italian Fascist secret police, he illegally emigrated to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He settled in Ljubljana, and got employed at the Bežigrad Grammar School.
In the early 1930s, he started actively working as a researcher at the
Minority Institutein Ljubljana, a private institution establsihed to study the position of Slovene minortites in Italy, Austria and Hungary. In 1935, he published the monograph "Life - and - death Struggle of a National Minority: the Yugoslavs in Italy", in which he described the persecution of the Slovenesand Croatsin the Julian Marchand in the Venetian Slovenia. The book was later translated into French, German, Italian and Russian, becoming a referential work on the subject.
When the Italian army occupied the so-called
Province of Ljubljanaafter the invasion of Yugoslaviain April 1941, Čermelj was arrested by the Italian authorities and trialed at the Second Trieste trial. He was sentenced to death, but the convistion was later converted to life imprisoment. He was sent to the maximum security prision on the island of Elba. In 1944 he was released by the Allied troops and joined the Yugoslav partisans. After World War Two, he collaborated as an expert for the Yugoslav foreign ministry, and after 1947 he dedicated himself mostly to the study of the legal position of the Slovene minority in Italy.
Čermelj also wrote several books and articles for the popularization of science.
He died in
* [http://www.spletna-knjigarna.si/default.cfm?Jezik=Sl&Kat=041201&Artikel=2267&ProdID=2267&Quantity=1 Bibliography]
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