L’AEROFOTOTECA NAZIONALE RACCONTA....Come nasce un'industria di guerra strategica? Il caso della SLOI di Trento

Giuseppe Carra


Some time ago I came across a "singular story" and I tried to analyze it using indicators, I hope sufficiently
neutral, to compare the congruity of the events compared to the story told by the SLOI of Trento,
in which from 1939 to July 1978 Lead-Tetra–Etyle was produced -Etile (TEL, TetraEthyl Lead) as
antiknock, used in fuels for military aviation before and for civil use after the end of the second world war.
TEL, once mixed with a halogenated derivative of ethylene ('scavenger' required to ensure the mechanical
integrity of the engine), formed the compound known as Ethyl-Fluid. A very small percentage of TEL
present in the fuel guaranteed its antiknock activity during combustion in the engine cylinder, while the
scavenger avoided the precipitation of the Lead as oxide, keeping it in an aeriform form such as Lead
halide which was eliminated with the exhaust gases.

Parole chiave


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Riferimenti bibliografici

Clair C. Patterson, Contaminated and Natural Lead Environments of Man, Archives of Environmental

Health, 11, 3, 1965, 344; Alice Hamilton et al., Tetra-ethyl lead, JAMA 84, 1925, 1481; Carlo Giavarini,

Chimica e Industria. Gli anni del Piombo, 72, 1990, 1027; Antonio Cristofolini et al., Incubo nella città,

Trento, 1978; Antonio Reggiani, L’esposizione professionale a Piombo Tetraetile; Mario Del Dot e Antonio

Cristofolini, Piombo tetraetile, benzina e salute, Verona, 1984; Gabriel Kolko, American Business and Germany,

-1941, The Western Political Quarterly, 15, 1962, 713; Marcello Benegiamo, Bussi e la grande

chimica in Abruzzo. Un’ambizione fallita, Textus Ed., 2013.

Indagini militari:

- W.A.Eldridge, A Study of the Toxicity of Lead Tetra Ethyl, War Department - Chemical Warfare Service -

Edgewood Arsenal (Edgewood, MD), Report No. E.A.M.R.D. 29, Project No. A-10, October 5, 1924,


- Scientific and Technical Mobilization. Hearing before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Military

Affairs. United States Senate. 78th Congress, 1st Session S. 702 part 6, Oct. 15, 1943, 939-946.

Materiali del Tribunale militare di Norimberga (MTN-VI):

- Telford Taylor, J.E. DuBois Jr. and D.A.Sprecher et al., December 12, 1947, Preliminary Memorandum

Brief of the Prosecution, Military Tribunals, Nurnberg, United States of America against Krauch and Others,

case VI, 43; T. Taylor, Opening Statement for the United States of America, 113; 131; 157-158: ”...it is necessary

that protective measures to be taken by IG for the eventuality of war should not substantially interfere

with the conduct of business in normal times. For a variety of reasons it is of the greatest importance, for the

normal conduct of business, that the officials heading the agent firms who are particularly well qualified to serve

as cloaks should be citizens of the countries wherein they reside”.; 197-201: “Farben’s sense of efficiency [...] it

decided to build its own concentration camp close to the plant site to house the inmates assigned to its construction.[...]

Monowitz was surrounded with electrically charged barbed wires, watchtowers, SS guards, etc. The

inmates living at the concentration camp Monowitz worked solely for Farben in the construction and operation

of IG Auschwitz. [...] more than sixty percent were determined to be unfit for work and were “selected” for

immediate gassing. From the remaining forty percent, the best labor was given to IGAuschwitz.

In spite of the

careful “selection”, the life span of an inmate coming to I.G. Farben Auschwitz was approximately three months.

[...] Conditions were so bad that the SS suggested

that additional hospital wards be built.[...] Farben turned

the request down on the grounds that IG Auschwitz did not have space in Monowitz for sick inmates, but only

for healthy ones who were able to work.[...] “Five Percent” rule. No more than five percent of the total inmates

were permitted to be sick at one time. If that percentage was exceeded, “selections” would take place to eliminate

the excess. The excess were sent to Birkenau for gassing. Another rule was the “Fourteen Day” rule. Inmates were

admitted to the hospital only if it was thought they could be cured and returned to work within fourteen days.

Thus, those who were worn out or otherwise unable to work because of sores, fractures, or other slow-healing incapacities,

were “selected” for gassing. [...] Farben laid down the rule that only 3 percent

of the total strength

were permitted to be sick.”

- roll-40, Bk.39, NI-4922, 98, 101, 105;

- Sec. L. Secrecy Regulations, Research and Development of Military Importance, and Withholding of Strategic

Information and Know-How from Foreign Countries, 1309.

Materiali da fonti militari:

- United States Strategic Bombing Survey, January 1947 - Oil Division – Final Report. Appendix A: Attack

on Chemicals. pp. 15-16 ( https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011672485;view=1up;s


- September 30, 1945 - Over-all Report (European War) – Effects of Attacks on Selected Industrial Target

Systems. The attack on oil. Prosecution Exh. 715 - NI-3767. p.50 (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=


Fonti archivistiche italiane:

Ministero dei beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Archivio di Stato di Trento, La seconda guerra

mondiale a Trento - L’intervento sui danni di guerra da parte del Genio civile di Trento,



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