Royal Decree of October 1, 1923, Ordering of the School Grades and the Curriculum in Elementary Schools (Regio Degreto 1º ottobre 1923, Ordinamento dei gradi scolastici e dei programmi didattici dell´istruzione elementare).

With the exception of “Religion,” instruction in the schoolchildren’s mother tongue was forbidden. German-language teachers were fired and consistently replaced with teachers from Italy who were adherents of the Fascist ideology; these new teachers were usually unable to speak German. At the initiative of the Canon Michael Gamper, so-called “catacomb schools” were therefore set up. In these secret schools (often located in parish rectories), the children of South Tyrol received instruction from volunteer South Tyrolean teachers. If these secret schools were discovered, the parents and teachers were in danger of receiving severe fines or being condemned to imprisonment and exile.