The Italian Almanac

corpses from foibe

Italian News / Television - February 11

Over the past few days millions of Italians have been watching dramatic scenes of ethnic cleansing on their television screens, in the first film to be made in Italy about the massacre of up to 15,000 men, women and children, many killed by Yugoslav communists towards the end of the second world war just for being Italian.

It is the hardest-hitting part of a government campaign to draw attention to a little-known event which was marked for the first time yesterday, 60 years on, with a national day of remembrance. Parliament observed a minute's silence and the foreign minister, Gianfranco Fini, and other dignitaries attended a military ceremony in the north-eastern city of Trieste, where many of the crimes were committed.

Between 1943 and 1945 thousands of Italians living in Trieste, Gorizia and the Istrian peninsula were tortured, shot or pushed to their deaths in rocky chasms by communists determined to cleanse Yugoslavia of its Italian population. Some were sympathizers of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime in Italy. Others were innocent civilians. They were left, some still alive to rot in natural ditches known in Italian as "foibe".