Decades of Silence Around Foibles Prevail

Decades of Silence Around Foibles Prevail

Italian PM Criticizes Silence Over WWII Atrocities

At a recent commemoration event in Bazovica, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni criticized the decades-long silence about atrocities committed against Italians by Yugoslav partisans in World War II. The silence pertains to the killings of Italians in foibes (karst pits) and in Porec, as reported by Italian news agency Ansa.

Unforgivable Silence

The event took place at the National Monument to the Victims of Phobia in Bazovica near Trieste. Meloni, who had visited the place as a child, recalled the accusations and isolation experienced by those who dared to speak out. Returning as an adult, Meloni expressed her intention to break the conspiracy of silence and bring the tragic events into public memory.

Day of Remembrance

Since 2004, Italy has commemorated the victims of Phobia and the exodus of Italians from Dalmatia, Istria, and Julian Krajina on February 10. The Prime Minister underscored the sacrifices made by the Italians from these regions, who chose to abandon their homes and possessions to preserve their identity.

Commemoration Event

Other notable figures at the event included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani, Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano, the president of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Massimiliano Fedriga, and the mayor of Trieste, Roberto Dipiazza. Each laid wreaths in memory of the victims.

President’s Remarks

Italian President Sergio Mattarella also spoke out against the silence surrounding the atrocities. He condemned the mass murders and forced exodus, terming them as symbols of the catastrophic effects of totalitarianism. The President called for the memory of these events to be preserved, warning that attempts to forget or belittle them insult the victims and damage the collective consciousness of the Italian people.

Creation of a Museum

The Italian government recently approved the creation of a museum dedicated to the victims of Tito’s communist dictatorship. The museum will honour the exiles from Istria, Rijeka and Dalmatia. It is estimated that during and after the war, several thousand Italians were killed in Istria, and over 200,000 Italians left Istria and Dalmatia.

Historical Records

Historical records offer varying estimates of the number of Italians killed during the war. Italian researchers estimate 500 to 700 deaths in Istria in September 1943, while Croatian authors suggest a lower figure of 200 to 350. Between May 1945 and the following months, it is estimated that two to four thousand Italians were executed or died in camps.

Mass Exodus

It is documented that from 1943 to 1955, up to 90% of Italians in Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar left the regions, amounting to approximately 300,000 people. This figure includes native Italians, those who had settled between the wars, administrative and military personnel and their families, as well as native Slovenes and Croats.