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Grasso acknowledges efforts made to forget Foibe massacres

Senate president says remember Second World War horrors

10 February, 15:47
Grasso acknowledges efforts made to forget Foibe massacres (See related) (ANSA) - Trieste, February 10 - For too long, Italy has tried to forget the terrible period in the country's history after the Second World War when thousands of Italians were slaughtered by Yugoslav partisans, Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso said Monday.

But in future, the country must remember what happened in the gorges known as Foibe, he said during a visit to a national monument established in memory of the massacres.

"We have to say that for too long, we have tried to forget and this should not continue in the future," Grasso said at the monument of the Foiba di Basovizza.

"This is the meaning of my presence here," he said during a national day of remembrance established in 2004 to mark the Foibe massacre and the forced exodus of Italians living in parts of the former Yugoslavia.

It's believed that as many as 15,000 Italians were tortured or killed by Yugoslav communists who occupied the Istrian peninsula dating back to about 1943.

Many of the victims were thrown into the narrow mountain gorges during anti-Fascist uprisings in the area.

The exact number of victims of these atrocities is unknown, in part because Yugoslav forces destroyed local population records to cover up their crimes.

The Foibe atrocities were for decades a divisive issue in Italian politics, with right-wing politicians accusing the Left of trying to airbrush the massacres out of history and focusing exclusively on the crimes committed by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.

But in recent years several centre-left politicians agreed that the Foibe massacres constituted a brutal and neglected episode in Italian history.