In Bazovica, Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni criticized the decades of “unforgivable silence” at the commemoration on Saturday about the Italians who were killed by Yugoslav partisans in foibes (karst pits) during World War II and in Porec.
Meloni said she had visited the National Monument to the Victims of Phobia many times as a girl, and those who did so were often “accused and isolated.” She added that it was time for Italy to once again ask for forgiveness on behalf of its institutions for the wrong silence that has surrounded events on its eastern border for decades.
The Italian Prime Minister was joined by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano, as well as regional leaders. Wreaths were also laid by President Massimiliano Fedriga and Mayor Roberto Dipiazza.
In January 2023, the right-wing government led by Giorgia Meloni approved the creation of a museum dedicated to Istrian, Rijeka and Dalmatian exiles who suffered under Tito’s communist dictatorship. The museum is expected to be a historic duty to these communities who were forced to leave everything behind in order to remain Italian.
It is estimated that several thousand Italians were killed in Istria during World War II and its aftermath. Research conducted by Croatian historian Marica Karakaš Obradov indicates that between July 1943 and September 1943, around 80% of Istrian inhabitants of Italian nationality left their homes, with approximately 300,000 people fleeing or being expelled from Istria, Rijeka and Zadar.