Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has criticized the decades of “unforgivable silence” at a commemoration in Bazovica on Saturday that honored Italians who were killed by Yugoslav partisans in foibes (karst pits) during World War II and in Porec.
Meloni, who said she had visited the site “many times as a girl,” called for forgiveness from Italy’s institutions for not speaking out about the events on its eastern border for years.
“We are here to once again ask for forgiveness on behalf of the institutions of this Republic for the wrong silence that has surrounded these events for decades,” Meloni said.
Italy has been celebrating the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Phobia and the Exodus of Italians from Dalmatia, Istria, and Julian Krajina since 2004. The day is marked by wreath-laying ceremonies held throughout Italy, including in Bazovica where Meloni spoke.
Meloni was joined at the event by Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani and Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano. Wreaths were also laid by regional leaders such as Massimiliano Fedriga, president of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, and Roberto Dipiazza, mayor of Trieste.
The creation of a museum dedicated to Istrian, Rijeka, and Dalmatian exiles who suffered under Tito’s communist dictatorship was approved by the right-wing government led by Meloni earlier this year. The museum is seen as a historic duty to those who were displaced during World War II and their descendants.