By annexing the province of Ljubljana, fascist Italy provoked an unexpected reaction: the Slovenian Resistance movement also developed west of the Rapallo border.
Following the Great War, the Slovenian component in the Venezia Giulia region amounted to roughly 300000 people: a substantial minority in the cities of Trieste and Gorizia, the majority in the hinterland of the Karst and the Isonzo valley.
Fascism had already practised a twenty-year policy of denationalising violence, having been partly successful, but at the same time provoking a fierceful reaction, on which the new partisan movement would be founded.
The regime immediately tried to give a very strong repressive signal: in the autumn of 1941, the Special Court for the Defense of the State arrived in Trieste for the second time. The Court had already been in Trieste in 1930, in order to attend the great trial against Slovenian and Croatian anti-fascism movement which then went down in history as the First Trial of Trieste. In 1941 the Second Trial was meant to be a warning for the Slovenian population on both sides of the Rapallo border.
On the 15th of December 1941, five Slovenian anti-fascists were shot at the Opicina firing range. Their remains were buried in a mass grave in Fontane di Villorba (TV).
The bodies were brought back to Trieste only in October 1945.