Starting in 1957, the first BAS activists tried to bring attention to the problems of the German-speaking populace of South Tyrol by means of acts of political resistance.
This included the distribution of flyers and especially the hoisting of the Tyrolean provincial flag and the painting of the Tyrolean eagle – the symbol of the province of Tyrol – on stone walls.
These symbols – of importance to the people of South Tyrol – had been prohibited since the Fascist era. Even after World War II, using these symbols could result in considerable penalties!
After the Italian senate passed a new citizenship law allowing South Tyrolese who had opted for Italian citizenship to be stripped of their citizenship by mere administrative act for “disloyalty towards the State and its institutions,” on June 1, 1961, ten representatives of the northern and South Tyrolean BAS met in Zernez (Switzerland). They jointly agreed to commit acts of political resistance against symbols of the Italian state and its colonization and immigration policies – while absolutely avoiding the harming of human life. The date of the “Night of Flames” was set.
By 1964, at the latest, this injunction was dropped – undoubtedly in response to the torture of imprisoned BAS activists and because of the murder of Luis Amplatz, other activists, and innocent civilians. It became more and more difficult to identify the actual allegiance of those committing attacks in which people were hurt or killed. Certainly by 1964, it was no longer to deny the involvement of the Italian state in numerous attacks. By means of this “strategy of tension,” the activists were to be discredited and isolated, and Austria put under pressure.
Starting in 1961, Italian Neo-Fascists in Austria detonated bombs injuring or killing people. The perpetrators were never brought to justice.