The Prison of Asinara Island, Italy – were our Princess Romanework died in the hands of the Fascist in 1940
During the First World War, the Asinara Island was used as a prison camp for some 24,000 Austrian and Hungarian soldiers, 5,000 of whom died during their imprisonment. It was also used as a place of detention for members of the nobility of Ethiopia during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia between 1936 and 1941. Princess Romanework was among the prisoners who lost their lives in captivity in the island.
Princess Romanework was the first daughter of Emperor Haile Selassie from his first wife, Woizero Altayech. Princess Romanework who was married to Dejazmatch Beyene Merid had four sons, two of which survived to adulthood. They were Dejazmatch Samson Beyene, and Dejazmatch Merid Beyene. Later in 1936, one of her son Dejazmatch Beyene Merid, died at a young age fighting the fascist Italian invasion.
Princess Romanework and her sons were captured by the Italians, and imprisoned in Italy, where the Princess died on Asinara Island in 1940, and her body was returned to the Imperial Family after the restoration of 1941. Her sons, Dejazmatch Samson Beyene, returned to Ethiopia and was raised by their grandfather the Emperor. He later died in Ethiopia before the revolution. Asinara Island was the worst prison in Italy and in the 1970s the prison facilities were refurbished as a maximum security prison where by Prisoners and warders the only inhabitants of Asinara were for about 110 years, until the closure of the prison in December 1997.
Now the island is virtually uninhabited. The census of population of 2001 lists one man. The island is located off the north-western tip of Sardinia, and is mountainous in geography with steep, rocky coasts.
Rest in peace our Princess Romanework !!