Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has criticized the decades of “unforgivable silence” at the commemoration in Bazovica on Saturday about the Italians who were killed by Yugoslav partisans in foibes (karst pits) during World War II and in Porec.
Meloni, who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani and Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano, laid a wreath at the National Monument to the Victims of Phobia in Bazovica near Trieste. She also spoke about how she had come to that place “many times as a girl” and how those who did so were “accused and isolated.”
“We are here to once again ask for forgiveness on behalf of the institutions of this Republic for the wrong silence that has surrounded the events on our eastern border for decades,” she added.
The Italian Prime Minister highlighted that Italians from Istria, Dalmatia, and Rijeka made a difficult decision to leave everything behind in order to remain Italian. She emphasized that it is their identity that they could not lose, even though Tito’s communists could not take it away from them.
At the end of January, Meloni approved the creation of a museum dedicated to Istrian, Rijekan and Dalmatian exiles who suffered under Tito’s communist dictatorship. The museum is seen as a historic duty to these individuals who experienced great hardship during that time period. According to Croatian historian Marica Karakaš Obradov, around 300,000 people left Istria during World War II and its aftermath, including 188,000 autochthonous Italians from Istria and Rijeka.