Foibe massacres

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Labin, December 1943: bodies recovered from a foiba by Italian firefighters and German soldiers. Local civilians are trying to identify relatives or friends.[1]
Locations of some of the foibe

The foibe massacres, or simply the foibe, refers to mass killings both during and after World War II, mainly committed by Yugoslav Partisans against the local ethnic Italian population, mainly in Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia. The term refers to the victims who were often thrown alive into foibas (deep natural sinkholes; by extension, it also was applied to the use of mine shafts, etc. to hide the bodies).

In a wider or symbolic sense, some authors used the term to apply to all disappearances or killings of Italian people in the territories occupied by Yugoslav forces. They excluded possible 'foibe' killings by other parties or forces. Others included deaths resulting from the forced deportation of Italians, or those who died while trying to flee from these contested lands.

Origin and meaning of the term[edit]

The name was derived from a local geological feature, a type of deep karst sinkhole called foiba.[2] The term includes by extension killings and "burials" in other subterranean formations, such as the Basovizza "foiba", which is a mine shaft.

In Italy the term foibe has, for some authors and scholars,[3] taken on a symbolic meaning; for them it refers in a broader sense to all the disappearances or killings of Italian people in the territories occupied by Yugoslav forces. According to author Raoul Pupo:

"It is well known that the majority of the victims didn't end their lives in a Karst cave, but met their deaths on the road to deportation, as well as in jails or in Yugoslav concentration camps."[4]

Pupo also notes:

"With regard to the civilian population of Venezia Giulia the Yugoslav troops did not behave at all like an army occupying enemy territory: nothing in their actions recalls the indiscriminate violence of Red Army soldiers in Germany, on the contrary, their discipline seems in some ways superior even to that of the Anglo-American units."[5]

The primary targets of the foibe were military and repressive forces of the Fascist regime, and civilians associated with the regime.[5] However, there were also victims of personal revenge, denunciations (as under German occupation), criminal activity, excess of zeal, misinterpreted motives, etc.[5] The terror spread by these disappearances and killings eventually caused the majority of the Italians of Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar to flee to other parts of Italy or the Free Territory of Trieste.[6] According to Fogar and Miccoli there is

"the need to put the episodes in 1943 and 1945 within [the context of] a longer history of abuse and violence, which began with Fascism and with its policy of oppression of the minority Slovenes and Croats and continued with the Italian aggression on Yugoslavia, which culminated with the horrors of the Nazi-Fascist repression against the Partisan movement."[7]

Other authors assert that the post-war pursuit of the 'truth' of the foibe, as a means of transcending Fascist/Anti-Fascist oppositions and promoting popular patriotism, has not been the preserve of right-wing or neo-Fascist groups. Evocations of the 'Slav other' and of the terrors of the foibe made by state institutions, academics, amateur historians, journalists, and the memorial landscape of everyday life were the backdrop to the post-war renegotiation of Italian national identity.[8]

The estimated number of people killed in Trieste is disputed, varying from hundreds to thousands.[9] Raoul Pupo estimates 3,000 to 4,000 total victims, across all areas of former Yugoslavia and Italy, while adding that the foibe issue has been exploited politically by the Italian far-right.[10] Gaia Baracetti notes that Italian representations of foibe, such as a miniseries on national television, are replete with historical inaccuracies and stereotypes, portraying Slavs as “merciless assassins”, similar to fascist propaganda, while “largely ignoring the issue of Italian war crimes[11]


4 November 1943: next to the Foiba of Terli are decomposed corpses of Albina Radecchi (A), Catherine Radecchi (B), Fosca Radecchi (C) and Amalia Ardossi (D)

The first (disputed) claims of people being thrown into foibe date to 1943, after the Wehrmacht took back the area from the Partisans. The Germans threw around 70 local people into a foiba in retaliation for the bombing of a cinema that German soldiers attended.[clarification needed].[12] Other authors claimed the 70 hostages were killed and burned in the Nazi lager of the Risiera of San Sabba, on 4 April 1944.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

After Italy's surrender in September 1943, Partisan forces extended their liberated territory to much of the former Italian occupation zone, and in some areas carried out reprisal killings, In 1944, the secretary of the Fascist party stated in the local Fascist party newspaper, “Corriere Istriano”, that altogether 481 Italians were killed in the 1943 reprisals in all of Istria and Dalmatia, and that among these victims “Fascists were the most numerous”.[19] Another report from the time describes the 1943 foibe victims as "our squadristi" (i.e. members of fascist squads)[20]

Many of the bodies found in the Basovizza pit, and in the foibe of Corgnale, Grgar, Plomin, Komen, Socerb, Val Rosandra, Cassorana, Labin, Tinjan, Cerenizza, Heki, and others were ethnic Italians. Scholar Katia Pizzi writes that,

"despite evidence that Fascist soldiers had also used foibe as open-air cemeteries for opponents of the regime, only their equivalent use on the part of Yugoslav partisans appeared to arouse general censure, enriched as it was with the most gruesome details."[21]

IBetween 1945 and 1948, Italian authorities recovered a total 369 corpses from foibe in the Italian territory temporarily held by Yugoslav forces (Zone A), and another 95 were recovered from mass graves in the same area.[22] Many of these were military forces, some of these were German soldiers and Slovene collaborators. In 1947, the British envoy, W. J. Sullivan wrote of Italians arrested and deported by Yugoslav forces from around Trieste:

"there is little doubt, while some of the persons deported may have been innocent, others were undoubtedly active fascists with more than mere party memberships on their conscience. Some of these have returned to Trieste but have kept well out of the of the Allied authorities, not participating in enquiries about the deportations for fear of arrest and trial 'for their former fascist activities'."[20]

At the end of the war, near the site of the most famous Basovizza foibe, a big battle took place between Germans and Yugoslav forces, and after the battle local villagers threw dead German soldiers and horses into the mine shaft.[23] After the war the Basovizza foibe was used by the Italian authorities as a garbage dump. Newspaper reports from the postwar era claimed anywhere from 18 to 3,000 Basovizza foibe victims, but Trieste authorities refused to fully excavate Basovizza, citing financial constraints. Thus no Italian victims were ever recovered or determined at Basovizza. In 1959 the pit was sealed and a monument erected, which later became the central site for the annual foibe commemorations.[23]

Number of victims[edit]

The number of those killed or left in foibe during and after the war is still unknown; it is difficult to establish and a matter of controversy. Estimates range from hundreds to twenty thousand. Scholar Katia Pizzi claims that "In 1943 and 1945, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Italians, both partisans [belligerents] and civilians, were imprisoned and subsequently thrown alive by Yugoslav partisans into various chasms in the Karst region and the hinterland of Trieste and Gorizia".[24][page needed] According to data gathered by a joint Slovene-Italian historical commission established in 1993, "the violence was further manifested in hundreds of summary executions - victims were mostly thrown into the Karst chasms (foibe) - and in the deportation of a great number of soldiers and civilians, who either wasted away or were killed during the deportation".[25]

Historians Raoul Pupo and Roberto Spazzali, have estimated the total number of victims at about 5,000, and note that the targets were not "Italians", but military and repressive forces of the Fascist regime, and civilians associated with the regime.[5] More recently, Pupo has revised the total victims estimates to 3,000 to 4,000.[10] Italian historian Guido Rumici estimated the number of Italians executed, or died in Yugoslav concentration camps, as between 6,000 and 11,000,[26] while Mario Pacor estimated that after the armistice about 400-500 people were killed in the foibe and about 4,000 were deported, many of whom were later executed. According to some, the episodes of 1945 occurred partly under conditions of guerrilla warfare by Croatian and Slovenian Partisans against the Germans, the Italian Social Republic and their Slavic collaborators (the Chetniks, the Ustaše and Domobranci) and partly after the territory had been secured by Yugoslav army formations.[citation needed]

It was not possible to extract all the corpses from the foibe, some of which are deeper than several hundred meters; some sources are attempting to compile lists of locations and possible victim numbers.[27] Between October and December 1943, the Fire brigade of Pola, helped by mine workers, recovered a total of 159 victims of the first wave of mass killings from the foibe of Vines (84 bodies), Terli (26 bodies), Treghelizza (2 bodies), Pucicchi (11 bodies), Villa Surani (26 bodies), Cregli (8 bodies) and Carnizza d'Arsia (2 bodies); another 44 corpses were recovered in the same period from two bauxite mines in Lindaro and Villa Bassotti.[28][22] More bodies were sighted, but not recovered.[28][22]

The most famous Basovizza foiba, was investigated by English and American forces, starting immediately on June 12, 1945. After 5 months of investigation and digging, all they found in the foiba were the remains of 150 German soldiers and one civilian killed in the final battles for Basovizza on April 29–30, 1945.[29] The Italian mayor, Gianni Bartoli continued with investigations and digging until 1954, with speleologists entering the cave multiple time, yet they found nothing.[29] Between November 1945 and April 1948, firefighters, speleologists and policemen inspected foibe and mine shafts in the "Zone A" of the Free Territory of Trieste (mainly consisting in the surroundings of Trieste), where they recovered 369 corpses; another 95 were recovered from mass graves in the same area. No inspections were ever carried out either in the Yugoslav-controlled "Zone B", or in the rest of Istria.[22]

Other foibe and mass graves were discovered in more recent times; for instance, human remains were discovered in the Idrijski Log foiba near Idrija, Slovenia, in 1998; four skeletons were found in the foiba of Plahuti near Opatija in 2002; in the same year, a mass grave containing the remains of 52 Italians and 15 Germans was discovered in Slovenia, not far from Gorizia; in 2005, the remains of about 130 people killed between the 1940s and the 1950s were recovered from four foibe located in northeastern Istria.[30][31][32][33][34]


Istrian population (1900-10) - Italians were majority in west coast (darker shades), while Slavic-speakers were majority elsewhere

Since the early Middle Ages, Latin, South Slavic and Venetian communities in Istria and Dalmatia had lived peacefully side by side. The population was divided into urban-coastal communities (mainly Romance speakers) and rural communities (mainly Slavic speakers), with small minorities of Morlachs and Istro-Romanians.[35] Sociologically, the population was divided into Latin middle-upper classes (bourgeoisie and aristocracy in coastal areas and in the towns) and Slavic lower classes (peasants and shepherds inland).[citation needed]

In the 1910 Austro-Hungarian census, Istria had a population of 57.8% Slavic-speakers (Croat and Slovene), and 38.1% Italian speakers.[36] For the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia, (i.e. Dalmatia), the 1910 numbers were 96.2% Slavic speakers and 2.8% Italian speakers:[37]

After World War I[edit]

To get Italy to join the Triple Entente in WWI, the secret 1915 Treaty of London promised Italy Istria and parts of Dalmatia, German-speaking South Tyrol, the Greek Dodecanese Islands, parts of Albania and Turkey, plus more territory for Italy's North Africa colonies.

After World War I, the whole of the former Austrian Julian March, including Istria, and Zadar in Dalmatia were annexed by Italy, while Dalmatia (except Zadar) was annexed by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Contrary to the Treaty of London, in 1919 Gabrielle D’Annunzio led an army of 2,600 Italian war veterans to seize the city of Fiume (Rijeka). D’Annunzio created the Italian Regency of Carnaro, with him as its dictator, or Comandante, and a constitution foreshadowing the Fascist system. After D’Annuzio's removal, Fiume briefly become a Free State, but local Fascists in 1922 carried out a coup, and in 1924 Italy annexed Fiume.

As a result, 480,000 Slavic-speakers came under Italian rule, while 12,000 Italian speakers were left in Yugoslavia, mostly in Dalmatia. Italy began a policy of forced Italianization[38] Italy forbade Slavic languages in public institutions and schools, moved 500 Slovene teachers to the interior of Italy, replacing them with Italian ones, the government changed people’s names to Italian ones, Slavic cultural, sporting and political associations were banned. As a result, 100,000 Slavic speakers left Italian areas in an exodus, moving mostly to Yugoslavia.[39] In Fiume alone, the Slavic population declined by 66% by 1925, compared to pre-WWI levels.[40] The remnants of the Italian community in Dalmatia (which had started a slow but steady emigration to Istria and Venice during the 19th century) left their cities toward Zadar and the Italian mainland.

During the early 1920s, nationalistic violence was directed both against the Slovene and Croat minorities in Istria (by Italian nationalists and Fascists) and the Italian minority in Dalmatia (by Slovene and Croat nationalists). Examples are the 1918–20 unrest in Split, when members of the Italian minority and their properties were assaulted by Croatian nationalists (and two Italian Navy personnel and a Croatian civilian were later killed during riots), and the burning of the Trieste National Hall, the main center of the Slovene minority in Trieste, by Italian nationalists and fascists. During D’Annunzio’s armed 1919-1920 occupation of Fiume, hundreds of mostly non-Italians were arrested, including many leaders of the Slavic community, and thousands of Slavs started to flee the city, with additional anti-Slav violence during the 1922 Fascist coup,.[40]

In a 1920 speech in Pola (Pula) Istria, Benito Mussolini proclaimed

When dealing with such a race as Slavic - inferior and barbaric - we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy. We should not be afraid of new victims. The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps. I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians.

— Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 20 September 1920[41]

In 1944, near the end of a war in which Nazis, Fascists and their allies killed over 800,000 Yugoslavs, Croat poet Vladimir Nazor wrote: "We will wipe away from our territory the ruins of the destroyed enemy tower, and we will throw them in the deep sea of oblivion. In the place of a destroyed Zara, a new Zadar will be reborn, and this will be our revenge in the Adriatic".[42] (Zara had been under Fascist rule for 22 years, and was in ruins because of heavy Allied bombing). In 1911, complaining of local Italian efforts to falsely count Slovenes as Italians, the Trieste Slovene newspaper Edinost wrote: “We are here, we want to stay here and enjoy our rights! We throw the ruling clique the glove a duel, and we will not give up until artificial Trieste Italianism is crushed in dust, lying under our feet.”[43] Due to these complaints, Austria carried a census recount, and the number of Slovenes increased by 50-60% in Trieste and Gorizia, proving Slovenes were initially falsely counted as Italians.[44]

World War II[edit]

In April 1941, Italy attacked Yugoslavia, and occupied large portions of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia, directly annexing Ljubljana Province, Gorski Kotar and Central Dalmatia, along with most Croatian islands. To suppress the mounting resistance led by the Partisans, the Italians adopted tactics of "summary executions, hostage-taking, reprisals, internments and the burning of houses and villages.".[45]

The Italian government sent tens of thousands of Slavs, among them many women and children, to Italian concentration camps , such as Rab, Gonars, Monigo, Renicci, Molat, Zlarin, Mamula, etc. From Ljubljana Province alone, historians estimate the Italians sent 25,000 to 40,000[46] Slovenes to concentration camps, which represents 8-12% of the total population. Thousands died in the camps, including hundreds of children.[47] The Italian forces executed thousands of additional civilians as hostages and conducted massacres, such as the Podhum massacre in 1942. .


Investigations of the crimes had not been initiated either by Italy, Yugoslavia or any international bodies in the post-war period until after Slovenia became an independent country in 1991. In 1993 a study titled Pola Istria Fiume 1943-1945[48] by Gaetano La Perna provided a detailed list of the victims of Yugoslav occupation (in September–October 1943 and from 1944 to the very end of the Italian presence in its former provinces) in the area. La Perna gave a list of 6,335 names (2,493 military, 3,842 civilians). The author considered this list "not complete".[49]

A 2002 joint report by Rome's Society of Fiuman studies (Società di Studi Fiumani) and Zagreb's Croatian Institute of History (Hrvatski institut za povijest) concluded that from Rijeka and the surrounding area "no less than 500 persons of Italian nationality lost their lives between 3 May 1945 and 31 December 1947. To these we should add an unknown number of 'missing' (not less than a hundred) relegated into anonymity due to missing inventory in the Municipal Registries together with the relevant number of victims having (...) Croatian nationality (who were often, at least between 1940 and 1943, Italian citizens) determined after the end of war by the Yugoslav communist regime."[50]

In March 2006, the border municipality of Nova Gorica in Slovenia released a list of names of 1,048 citizens of the Italian city of Gorizia (the two cities belonged until the Treaty of Paris of 1947 to the same administrative body) who disappeared in May 1945 after being arrested by the Partisan 9th Corps.[51] According to the Slovene government, "the list contains the names of persons arrested in May 1945 and whose destiny cannot be determined with certainty or whose death cannot be confirmed".[52]

Alleged motives[edit]

It has been alleged that the killings were part of a purge aimed at eliminating potential enemies of communist Yugoslav rule, which would have included members of German and Italian fascist units, Italian officers and civil servants, parts of the Italian elite who opposed both communism and fascism (including the leadership of Italian anti-fascist partisan organizations and the leaders of Fiume's Autonomist Party, including Mario Blasich and Nevio Skull), Slovenian and Croatian anti-communists, collaborators and radical nationalists.[citation needed]

Others[who?] claim the main motive for the killings was retribution for the years of Italian repression, forced Italianization, suppression of Slavic sentiments and killings performed by Italian authorities during the war, not just in the concentration camps (such as Rab and Gonars), but also in reprisals often undertaken by the fascists.[53]

However, still others[who?] claim Tito's political aim of adding the Istrian territories as far as Trieste to the new Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. The ethnic map of the area could potentially be a decisive factor in a treaty of peace with Italy and for this reason, according to some Italian historians, the reduction of the ethnic Italian population was held desirable.

Pamela Ballinger in her book, History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans, wrote:[54]

I heard exiles' accounts of "Slavic barbarity" and "ethnic cleansing," suffered in Istria between 1943 and 1954, as well as Slovene and Croat narratives of the persecution experienced under the fascist state and at the hands of neofascists in the postwar period. Admittedly, I could not forget--as many exiles seemed to do--that the exodus from Istria followed on twenty years of the fascistization and Italianization of Istria, as well as a bloody Italian military campaign in Yugoslavia between 1941 and 1943. Nor could I countenance some exiles' frequent expressions of anti-Slav chauvinism. At the same time, however, I could not accept at face value the claim by some that the violence the Slavs suffered under fascism justified subsequent events in Istria or that all those who left Istria were compromised by fascism. Similarly, I came to reject the argument that ethno-national antagonism had not entered into the equation, as well as the counterview that the exodus represented simply an act of "ethnic cleansing".

The report by the mixed Italian-Slovenian commission describes the circumstances of the 1945 killings as follows:[55]

14. These events were triggered by the atmosphere of settling accounts with the fascist violence; but, as it seems, they mostly proceeded from a preliminary plan which included several tendencies: endeavours to remove persons and structures who were in one way or another (regardless of their personal responsibility) linked with Fascism, with Nazi supremacy, with collaboration and with the Italian state, and endeavours to carry out preventive cleansing of real, potential or only alleged opponents of the communist regime, and the annexation of the Julian March to the new Yugoslavia. The initial impulse was instigated by the revolutionary movement which was changed into a political regime, and transformed the charge of national and ideological intolerance between the partisans into violence at national level.


The foibe have been a neglected subject in mainstream political debate in Italy, Yugoslavia and former-Yugoslav nations, only recently garnering attention with the publication of several books and historical studies. It is thought that after World War II, while Yugoslav politicians rejected any alleged crime, Italian politicians wanted to direct the country's attention toward the future and away from the idea that Italy was, in fact, a defeated nation.[citation needed]

So, the Italian government tactically "exchanged" the impunity of the Italians accused by Yugoslavia for the renunciation to investigate the foibe massacres.[56] Italy never extradited or prosecuted some 1,200 Italian Army officers, government officials or former Fascist Party members accused of war crimes by Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Greece and other occupied countries and remitted to the United Nations War Crimes Commission.[57] On the other hand, Belgrade didn't insist overmuch on requesting the prosecution of alleged Italian war criminals. Thus, both Italian war crimes and Yugoslav war and post-war mass killings were set aside if not forgotten to maintain a "good neighbour" policy.[citation needed]

Re-emergence of the issue[edit]

For several Italian historians these killings were the beginning of organized ethnic cleansing.[58] The event was discussed by Jože Pirjevec in connection to the Porzûs massacre, in which 17 members of the anti-fascist group "Brigate Osoppo" (among whom was a female prisoner) were killed by members of the Italian Communist Party (among them, the nineteen-year-old Guido Pasolini, the brother of famous Italian writer Paolo Pasolini).[citation needed]

Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government brought the issue back into open discussion: the Italian Parliament (with the support of the vast majority of the represented parties) made February 10 National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe, first celebrated in 2005 with exhibitions and observances throughout Italy (especially in Trieste). The occasion is held in memory of innocents killed and forced to leave their homes, with little support from their home country. In Carlo Azeglio Ciampi's words: Time has come for thoughtful remembrance to take the place of bitter resentment. Moreover, for the first time, leaders from the Italian Left, such as Walter Veltroni, visited the Basovizza foiba and admitted the culpability of the Left in covering up the subject for decades. However, the conciliatory moves by Ciampi and Veltroni were not endorsed by all Italian political groups.[citation needed]

Nowadays, a large part of the Italian Left acknowledges the nature of the foibe massacres, as attested by some declarations of Luigi Malabarba, Senator for the Communist Refoundation Party, during the parliamentary debate on the institution of the National Memorial Day: "In 1945 there was a ruthless policy of exterminating opponents. Here, one must again recall Stalinism to understand what Tito's well-organized troops did. (...) Yugoslav Communism had deeply assimilated a return to nationalism that was inherent to the idea of 'Socialism in One Country'. (...) The war, which had begun as anti-fascist, became anti-German and anti-Italian."[59]

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano took an official speech during celebration of the "Memorial Day of Foibe Massacres and Istrian-Dalmatian exodus" in which he stated:[60]

...Already in the unleashing of the first wave of blind and extreme violence in those lands, in the autumn of 1943, summary and tumultuous justicialism, nationalist paroxysm, social retaliation and a plan to eradicate Italian presence intertwined in what was, and ceased to be, the Julian March. There was therefore a movement of hate and bloodthirsty fury, and a Slavic annexationist design, which prevailed above all in the peace treaty of 1947, and assumed the sinister shape of "ethnic cleansing". What we can say for sure is that what was achieved - in the most evident way through the inhuman ferocity of the foibe - was one of the barbarities of the past century.

— Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, Rome, 10 February 2007[61]

The Croatian President Stipe Mesić immediately responded in writing, stating that:

It was impossible not to see overt elements of racism, historical revisionism and a desire for political revenge in Napolitano's words. (...) Modern Europe was built on foundations… of which anti-fascism was one of the most important.

— Croatian president Stjepan Mesić, Zagreb, 11 February 2007.[62][63]

The incident was resolved in a few days after diplomatic contacts between the two presidents at the Italian foreign ministry. On February 14, the Office of the President of Croatia issued a press statement:

The Croatian representative was assured that president Napolitano's speech on the occasion of the remembrance day for Italian WWII victims was in no way intended to cause a controversy regarding Croatia, nor to question the 1947 peace treaties or the Osimo and Rome Accords, nor was it inspired by revanchism or historical revisionism. (...) The explanations were accepted with understanding and they have contributed to overcoming misunderstandings caused by the speech.

— Press statement by the Office of the President of Croatia, Zagreb, 14 February 2007.[64]

In Italy, with Law 92 of 30 March 2004[65] has been instituted the Day of Remembrance in day 10 February, to keep memory of victims of Foibe and of the exodus to which almost the whole population of Italian origins living in Dalmatia and Julian March has been constricted by jugoslavians. The same law has instituted a specific medal to be conferred to relatives of victims:

Infoibati.png Medal of Day of Remembrance to relatives of victims of foibe killings

In February 2012, a photo of Italian troops killing Slovene civilians was shown on public Italian TV as if being the other way round. When historian Alessandra Kersevan, who was a guest, pointed out to the television host Bruno Vespa that the photo depicted the killings of some Slovenes rather than Italians, the host did not apologize. A diplomatic protest followed.[66][67]

In the media[edit]

See also[edit]


Many books have been written about the foibe, and results, interpretations and estimates of victims can in some cases vary largely according to the point of view of the author. Since most of the foibe currently lie outside Italian territory, no formal and complete investigation could be carried out during the years of the Cold war, and books could be of a speculative or anecdotal nature. Many authors from the left wing have maintained that the foibe were an exaggeration (or, some suggested, an invention) of the extreme right for propaganda purposes,[68] and that the fascist crimes in the same areas dwarf even the most lavish of the foibe allegations.[56]

  • (in English) Pamela Ballinger, History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans, Princeton University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-691-08697-4.
  • (in English) Benjamin David Lieberman, Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe, Ivan R. Dee, 2006 - Original from the University of Michigan 9 Jun 2008, ISBN 1-56663-646-9.
  • (in English) Arrigo Petacco, Konrad Eisenbichler, A Tragedy Revealed: The Story of the Italian Population of Istria, Dalmatia and Venezia Giulia, 1943-1956, University of Toronto Press, 2005 ISBN 0-8020-3921-9.
  • (in English) Glenda Sluga, The Problem of Trieste and the Italo-Yugoslav Border: Difference, Identity, and Sovereignty in Twentieth-century Europe, SUNY Press, 2001 ISBN 0-7914-4823-1.
  • (in Italian) Joze Pirjevec, Foibe : una storia d'Italia, Turin: Giulio Einaudi Editore, 2009, ISBN 978-88-06-19804-6.
  • (in Italian) Raoul Pupo, Roberto Spazzali, Foibe, Mondadori, 2003 ISBN 88-424-9015-6.
  • (in Italian) Gianni Bartoli, Il martirologio delle genti adriatiche
  • (in Italian) Claudia Cernigoi, Operazione Foibe—Tra storia e mito, Kappa Vu, Udine, 2005, ISBN 978-88-89808-57-3. (The first edition of the book, published in 1997 as Operazione foibe a Trieste and limited in scope to the Trieste territory, is available online)
  • (in Italian) Vincenzo Maria De Luca, Foibe. Una tragedia annunciata. Il lungo addio italiano alla Venezia Giulia, Settimo sigillo, Roma, 2000.
  • (in Italian) Gianni Oliva, Foibe, Oscar Mondadori, 2003, ISBN 88-04-51584-8.
  • (in Italian) Luigi Papo, L'Istria e le sue foibe, Settimo sigillo, Roma, 1999.
  • (in Italian) Luigi Papo, L'ultima bandiera.
  • (in Italian) Marco Pirina, Dalle foibe all'esodo 1943-1956.
  • (in Italian) Raoul Pupo, Il lungo esodo. Istria: le persecuzioni, le foibe, l'esilio, Rizzoli, 2005, ISBN 88-17-00562-2.
  • (in Italian) Raoul Pupo and Roberto Spazzali, Foibe, Mondadori, 2003, ISBN 88-424-9015-6
  • (in Italian) Franco Razzi, Lager e foibe in Slovenia.
  • (in Italian) Guido Rumici, Infoibati, Mursia, Milano, 2002, ISBN 88-425-2999-0.
  • (in Italian) Giorgio Rustia, Contro operazione foibe a Trieste, 2000.
  • (in Italian) Carlo Sgorlon, La foiba grande, Mondadori, 2005, ISBN 88-04-38002-0.
  • (in Italian) Pol Vice, La foiba dei miracoli, Kappa Vu, Udine, 2008.
  • (in Italian) Atti del convegno di Sesto San Giovanni 2008, "Foibe. Revisionismo di Stato e amnesie della Repubblica", Kappa Vu, Udine, 2008.
  • (in Italian) Gaetano La Perna, Pola Istria Fiume 1943-1945, Mursia, Milan, 1993.
  • (in Italian) Marco Girardo Sopravvissuti e dimenticati: il dramma delle foibe e l'esodo dei giuliano-dalmati Paoline, 2006.
  • (in Italian and Croatian) Amleto Ballerini, Mihael Sobolevski, Le vittime di nazionalità italiana a Fiume e dintorni (1939–1947) - Žrtve talijanske nacionalnosti u Rijeci i okolici (1939.-1947.), Societa' Di Studi Fiumani - Hrvatski Institut Za Povijest, Roma Zagreb, Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali Direzione generale per gli archivi, Pubblicazioni degli Archivi Di Stato, Sussidi 12, ISBN 88-7125-239-X.
An Italian-Croatian joint research carried out by the Italian "Society of Fiuman studies" and the "Croatian Institute of History" , containing an alphabetic list of recognized victims. As foot note, on each of the two lingual forewords, a warning states that Società di Studi Fiumani do not judge completed the present work, because the lack of funds, could not achieve to the finalization that was in intentions and goals of the initial project.


  1. ^ Other photos from the footage can be see in Giorgio Pisanò, Storia della Guerra Civile in Italia 1943-1945, Milan, FPE, 1965
  2. ^ Katia Pizzi, A City in Search of an Author, pg 91
  3. ^ See Raoul Pupo (Foibe, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2003; Il lungo esodo. Istria: le persecuzioni, le foibe, l'esilio, Rizzoli, Milano 2005 etc.), Gianni Oliva, (Foibe. Le stragi negate degli italiani della Venezia Giulia e dell'Istria, Mondadori, Milano 2003), Arrigo Petacco, (L'esodo. La tragedia negata degli italiani d'Istria, Dalmazia e Venezia Giulia, Mondadori, Milano 1999), et alia
  4. ^ Raoul Pupo, Le foibe giuliane 1943-45; "L'impegno"; a.XVI; n. 1; April 1996. «È noto infatti che la maggior parte delle vittime non finì i suoi giorni sul fondo delle cavità carsiche, ma incontrò la morte lungo la strada verso la deportazione, ovvero nelle carceri o nei campi di concentramento jugoslavi».
  5. ^ a b c d Pupo, Raoul Pupo. "Le foibe giuliane 1943-45". Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  6. ^ Raoul Pupo wrote: "...the horrible death in a cave (...) become the very representation of a barbaric and obscure violence hanging over as a potential doom of an entire community. This is the image that settles in the memory of contemporaries, and become an obsession in moments of political and national uncertainty. This has the power to condition appreciably the choices of the people, such as the one by Istrians that decide to leave their lands assigned to Yugoslav sovereignty..." (" morte orrenda in una voragine della terra, (...) diventa la rappresentazione stessa di una violenza oscura e barbarica, sempre incombente come potenziale destino di un'intera comunità. È questa l'immagine che si fissa nella memoria dei contemporanei, che diviene un'ossessione nei momenti di incertezza nazionale e politica, e che ha la forza di condizionare in maniera avvertibile anche scelte di massa, come quella compiuta dagli istriani che decidono di esodare dai territori passati sotto sovranità jugoslava...").
  7. ^ See Raoul Pupo, Le foibe giuliane 1943-45, " necessità di inserire gli episodi del 1943 e del 1945 all'interno di una più lunga storia di sopraffazioni e di violenze, iniziata con il fascismo e con la sua politica di oppressione della minoranza slovena e croata proseguita con l'aggressione italiana alla Jugoslavia e culminata con gli orrori della repressione nazifascista contro il movimento partigiano." "Le foibe giuliane 1943-45",; accessed 26 September 2015.
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Further reading[edit]

Report of the Italian-Slovene commission of historians (in three languages):

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 45°37′54″N 13°51′45″E / 45.63167°N 13.86250°E / 45.63167; 13.86250