Events During the World War I
When in May 1915 Italy declared war to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the "black-yellow monarchy" had a great need to build a road over Vršič Pass, connecting the valley of upper Sava river and the valley of Soča river, where the frontline was. The work started immediately in 1915, when the snow melted. Some 10.000 prisonners of war, mainly from Russia were brought into the area south of Kranjska Gora and a dozen of road sections were built simultaneously. Prisonners were terribly maltreated, many of them died due to malnutrition and illness. The road was built in record time, already in November 1915. But soon the first snow fell on the surrounding high mountains and the pass, which is on the altitude of 1611 m. If the front line was to be supplied, the road had to be cleaned, and the command was: "throughout the whole winter". Only some roofs were built along the road to protect it from avalanches.
The winter was very mild and even in January and February 1916 there was not much snow. But in the beginning of March it started to snow as never before. Prisonners were ordered to clean the road all the time. On March 8th the tragedy happened. From the southern slopes of Mojstrovka and nearby Robičje a huge avalanche of heavy, wet snow rushed down, demolished all anti-avalanche roofs, the monument od Prinz Eugen on the pass and even the Tičar hut, on the opposite slopes of the pass. There was no hope for hundreds of prisonners of war in barracks on the pass and its vicinity. Their number was never exactly established. The first estimate was 200-300 dead, but locals were speaking of 600 and more. The last bodies were removed only in summer, when snow melted.