Primary Sources

Provision for the Restatement of Names and Surnames


Images of 1989 tend to center on dramatic events in Berlin, in Beijing, in Bucharest, and in Johannesburg, just to name a few. Visions of mass demonstration and popular uprising predominate. Even in places like the former Czechoslovakia, where peaceful transition occurred in a "velvet" revolution, the perception is one of overthrow of state authority in the name of popular reform. Lost in these vivid images is the view of events and subsequent reforms of 1989 and the years following as part of a historical process of openness and restructuring, a process begun before 1989 and stretching well into the decade of the 1990s and beyond. An alternative example to these trends is seen in the following law from Italy in 1991, where the Italian government took its own steps toward addressing the affects of Communism, by allowing East European emigres the right to restore their true ethnic identity, rather than the imposed identities of the former Communist regimes.

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Law 114, March 28, 1991, Gazz. Uff. April 8, 1991.

Primary Source—Excerpt

Law 28 March 1991, n. 114 (Published in Gazzetta Ufficiale n.082 of 8 April 1991) [The Italian text available here.]

Provision for the Reinstatement of Names and Surnames modified during the Fascist Regime in the Territories annexed to Italy by the laws of 26 September 1920, no. 1322 and 19 December 1920, no. 1778.


As approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic: The President of the Republic promulgates the following law:

Article 1

1. The right is hereby granted to restore to its original form an Italian surname assumed or assigned on the basis of the terms of Articles 1 and 2 of the Royal Decree-Law of 10 January 1926, no. 17 converted from the law of 24 May 1926, no. 898, extended by the Royal Decree of 7 April 1927, no. 494, to the territories annexed to Italy by the laws of 26 September 1920, no. 1322 and 19 December 1920, no. 1778.

2. Entitled to the right to restoration are persons designated by the prefectural decree with which the new surname was assumed or assigned, the spouse and the relatives to which the new surname was extended and, in such case, their descendents subsequently recorded in the Public Registry with such surname.

Article 2

1. The request for reinstatement should be made to the Prefecture that issued the decree under the measure named in Article 1, the assumption or assignment of the new surname.


4. If the province corresponding to the above-stated Prefecture is no longer part of the Republic [of Italy], the request for reinstatement should be directed to the Prefecture of Trieste.


law presented with the seal of the state will be inserted into the official body of legislative acts of the Republic of Italy. All concerned are obliged to observe it and to see that it is observed as a law of the State.

How to Cite this Source

Italy, "Provision for the Restatement of Names and Surnames," Making the History of 1989, Item #178, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:26 pm).

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