Foibe massacres

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Foibe massacres
Grotta Plutone from Foibe 2016 by Sharon Ritossa.jpg
Grotta Plutone, one of the places of the massacre, a foiba close to Basovizza, Trieste, Italy, where the Trieste Steffe criminal gang killed 18 in May 1945.[1] It is a deep natural sinkhole with an overhanging entrance, typical of the Karst Region, into which victims were often thrown alive.[2]
Foibe seats.png
Locations of some of the foibe
LocationJulian March, Kvarner, Dalmatia (Italy and Yugoslavia)
Attack type
DeathsEstimates range from 3,000 to 5,000 killed,[11][12] according to other sources 11,000[13][14] or 20,000.;[4][13] 4,000 deported

The foibe massacres (Italian: massacri delle foibe; Slovene: poboji v fojbah; Croatian: masakri fojbe), or simply the foibe, refers to mass killings and deportations both during and after World War II, mainly committed by Yugoslav Partisans and OZNA in the then-Italian territories[a] of Julian March (Karst Region and Istria), Kvarner and Dalmatia, against the local ethnic Italian population (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians),[3][4][7][8][9] and Slavs who were members of fascist and collaborationist military and police forces,[15][16][17] civilians associated with the same, opponents of Yugoslav annexation and real, potential or presumed opponents of Titoism,[6] automatically associated with Nazi-Fascism and collaboration with the Axis powers,[4][5] while some were innocent.[18]

Some academics claim attack types were reprisal killings[4][10][19] and ethnic cleansing against Italians,[3][4][7][8][9] many of whom were unarmed and innocent.[18] Other academics dispute ethnic cleansing claims. stating that Italians were not primarily targeted for their ethnicity, the majority of victims were members of fascist forces, and that many more Slavic collaborators were killed in postwar reprisals.[18][20][19][21][22][16] Also among the victims were those opposed to the Yugoslav annexation of territories, killed as a preventive purge of real, potential or presumed opponents of Titoism, native anti-fascist autonomists — including the leadership of Italian anti-fascist partisan organizations, opposed to Yugoslav annexation, and the leaders of Fiume's Autonomist Party, like Mario Blasich and Nevio Skull, who supported local independence from both Italy and Yugoslavia. For example in the city of Fiume, where at least 650 were killed during and after the war by Yugoslav units, the majority judged before military courts for war crimes, and smaller number of political opponents.[23][24]

The estimated number of people killed in the foibe is disputed, varying from hundreds to thousands,[25] according to some sources 11,000[13][14] or 20,000.[4] The Italian historian, Raoul Pupo estimates 3,000 to 4,000 total victims, across all areas of former Yugoslavia and Italy from 1943 to 1945,[12] He places the events in the broader context of "the collapse of a structure of power and oppression: that of the fascist state in 1943, that of the Nazi-fascist state of the Adriatic coast in 1945."[26]

The term refers to the victims who were often thrown alive into foibe[2][27][28] (from Italian: pronounced ['fɔibe]), or into deep natural sinkholes characteristic of the karst regions. 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. Others included deaths resulting from the forced deportation of Italians, or those who died while trying to flee from these contested lands.

The foibe massacres were followed by the Istrian–Dalmatian exodus, which was the post-World War II exodus and departure of local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians) from the Yugoslav territory of Istria, Kvarner, the Julian March, lost by Italy after the Treaty of Paris (1947), as well as Dalmatia,[29] towards Italy, and in smaller numbers, towards the Americas, Australia and South Africa.[30][31] According to various sources, the exodus is estimated to have amounted to between 230,000 and 350,000 Italians (the others being ethnic Slovenes, Croats, and Istro-Romanians, who chose to maintain Italian citizenship)[32] leaving the areas in the aftermath of the conflict.[33] A joint Italian-Slovene commission noted that the majority of the exodus happened in the early 1950's, when it was clear these parts would become permanently Yugoslav, and that the exodus had multiple causes, including war-caused economic hardship and general repressive policies in general in the immediate postwar years.[21]

The events were part of larger reprisals in which tens-of-thousands of Slavic collaborators of Axis forces were killed in the aftermath of WWII, following a brutal war in which some 800,000 Yugoslavs, the vast majority civilians, were killed by Axis occupation forces and collaborators, with Italian forces committing war crimes. Historians put the events in the context of broader postwar violence in Europe,[34] including in Italy, where the Italian resistance and others killed an estimated 12,000 to 26,000 Italians, usually in extra-judicial executions, the great majority in Northern Italy, just in April and May 1945,[10] while some 12 to 14.5 million ethnic Germans were expelled from Central and Eastern Europe, with a death toll of 500,000[35][36] to 2.5 million.[37][38][39]


Map of Dalmatia and Istria with the boundaries set by the Treaty of London (1915) (red line) and those actually obtained from Italy (green line). The black line marks the border of the Governorate of Dalmatia (1941-1943). The ancient domains of the Republic of Venice are indicated in fuchsia (dashed diagonally, the territories that belonged occasionally)

Early history[edit]

As elsewhere under Rome, the indigenous populace became mostly Latinized. From the 6th century, large migrations brought Slavs to the area, who intermixed with the indigenous populations, establishing Croatian, Bosnian and Serb kingdoms and other Slavic principalities in parts of Dalmatia.

Between the 9th century and 1797, the Republic of Venice extended its dominion to coastal parts of Istria and Dalmatia.[40] Thus Venice invaded and attacked Zadar multiple times, especially devastating the city in 1202 when Venice used the crusaders, on their Fourth Crusade, to lay siege, then ransack, demolish and rob the city,[41] the population fleeing into countryside. Pope Innocent III excommunicated the Venetians and crusaders for attacking a Catholic city.[41] The Venetians used the same Crusade to attack the Dubrovnik Republic, and force it to pay tribute, then continued to sack Christian Orthodox Constantinople where they looted, terrorized, and vandalized the city, killing 2.000 civilians, raping nuns and destroying Christian Churches, with Venice receiving a big portion of the plundered treasures.

A portrait painting the fall of the Republic of Venice (1797): the abdication of the last Doge, Ludovico Manin

The coastal areas and cities of Istria came under Venetian Influence in the 9th century. In 1145, the cities of Pula, Koper and Izola rose against the Republic of Venice but were defeated, and were since further controlled by Venice.[42] On 15 February 1267, Poreč was formally incorporated with the Venetian state.[43] Other coastal towns followed shortly thereafter. The Republic of Venice gradually dominated the whole coastal area of western Istria and the area to Plomin on the eastern part of the peninsula.[42] Dalmatia was first and finally sold to the Republic of Venice in 1409 but Venetian Dalmatia wasn't fully consolidated from 1420.[44]

From the Early Middle Ages onwards numbers of Slavic people near and on the Adriatic coast were ever increasing, due to their expanding population and due to pressure from the Ottomans pushing them from the south and east.[45][46] This led to Italic people becoming ever more confined to urban areas, while the countryside was populated by Slavs, with certain isolated exceptions.[47] In particular, 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.[48]

Republic of Venice influenced the neolatins of Istria and Dalmatia until 1797, when it was conquered by Napoleon: Koper and Pula were important centers of art and culture during the Italian Renaissance.[49] From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, Italian and Slavic communities in Istria and Dalmatia had lived peacefully side by side because they did not know the national identification, given that they generically defined themselves as "Istrians" and "Dalmatians", of "Romance" or "Slavic" culture.[50]

Austrian Empire[edit]

Austrian linguistic map from 1896. In green the areas where Slavs were the majority of the population, in orange the areas where Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians were the majority of the population. The boundaries of Venetian Dalmatia in 1797 are delimited with blue dots.

The French victory of 1809 compelled Austria to cede a portion of its South Slav lands to France, Napoleon combined Carniola, western Carinthia, Gorica (Gorizia), Istria, and parts of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Dubrovnik to form the Illyrian Provinces.[51] The Code Napoléon was introduced, and roads and schools were constructed. Local citizens were given administrative posts, and native languages were used to conduct official business.[51] This sparked the Illyrian Movement for the cultural and linguistic unification of South Slavic lands.[51]

After the fall of Napoleon (1814), Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia were annexed to the Austrian Empire.[52]

Many Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians looked with sympathy towards the Risorgimento movement that fought for the unification of Italy.[53] Istrian Italians were more than 50% of the total population for centuries;[54] only Italian language schools existed until 1848,[55] and due to restrictive voting laws, which allowed only wealthy property owners to vote, the Italian-speaking aristocracy retained political control of Istria and Dalmatia.[56] However, after the Third Italian War of Independence (1866), when the Veneto and Friuli regions were ceded by the Austrians to the newly formed Kingdom Italy, Istria and Dalmatia remained part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, together with other Italian-speaking areas on the eastern Adriatic. This triggered the gradual rise of Italian irredentism among many Italians in Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia, who demanded the unification of the Julian March, Kvarner and Dalmatia with Italy. The Italians in Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia supported the Italian Risorgimento: as a consequence, the Austrians saw the Italians as enemies and favored the Slav communities of Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia.[57]

During the meeting of the Council of Ministers of 12 November 1866, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria outlined a wide-ranging project aimed at the Germanization or Slavization of the areas of the empire with an Italian presence:[58]

Her Majesty expressed the precise order that action be taken decisively against the influence of the Italian elements still present in some regions of the Crown and, appropriately occupying the posts of public, judicial, masters employees as well as with the influence of the press, work in South Tyrol, Dalmatia and Littoral for the Germanization and Slavization of these territories according to the circumstances, with energy and without any regard. His Majesty calls the central offices to the strong duty to proceed in this way to what has been established.

— Franz Joseph I of Austria, Council of the Crown of 12 November 1866[57][59]

In 1870 Austria liberalized elections, allowing Croatian parties to gain control. Croatian finally became an official language in Dalmatia in 1883, along with Italian.[60] In 1909 the Italian language lost its status as the official language of Dalmatia in favor of Croatian only (previously both languages were recognized): thus Italian could no longer be used in the public and administrative sphere.[61]

Istrian Italians were more than 50% of the total population for centuries,[54] while making up about a third of the population in 1900.[62] Dalmatia, especially its maritime cities, once had a substantial local ethnic Italian population (Dalmatian Italians), making up 33% of the total population of Dalmatia in 1803,[63][64] but this was reduced to 20% in 1816,[65] 12.5% in 1865,[66] and 2.8% in 1910.[67] In the 1910 Austro-Hungarian census, Istria had a population of 57.8% Slavic-speakers (Croat and Slovene), and 38.1% Italian speakers.[67]

Minority Italian-speakers continued to wield strong influence in Zara, the Austrian capital of Dalmatia, thus the proportion of Italians continued to grow, making it the only Dalmatian city with an Italian majority,[68] comparable to Istrian towns like Pola/Pula (45.8% Italians; 15.2% Croats; c. 39% German-speaking military)[b] and Capodistria/Koper (92,02% Italians; 4,99% Slovenians; 2,13% Croats; 0,86% Germans).[c]

World War I[edit]

The Trieste National Hall, the main center of the Slovene minority in Trieste, after fascists burned it (1920)

Although a member of the Central Powers, Italy remained neutral at the start of WWI, and soon launched secret negotiations with the Triple Entente, bargaining to participate in the war on its side, in exchange for significant territorial gains.[70] To get Italy to join the war, in the secret 1915 Treaty of London the Entente promised Italy South Tyrol, Istria and parts of Dalmatia, Greece, Albania and Turkey, plus territory for Italy's North Africa colonies.

After World War I, Italy annexed Istria and Zadar, while Dalmatia (except Zadar) was annexed by Yugoslavia. As a result, 480,000 Slavic-speakers came under Italian rule, while 12,000 Italian speakers remained in Dalmatia. In 1919 D’Annunzio and an army of Italian war veterans seized the city of Fiume (Rijeka), arresting hundreds of local Slav leaders. With the help of local fascists Italy later annexed the city, with further anti-Slav violence.[71] Other armed Italian irregulars tried to grab other cities with large Slav majorities, leading to unrest in Split in 1920, including attacks on local Italians, while fascists burned down the Slovene National Hall in Trieste,[21] and the Croatian National Hall in Pula.[72]

Italy launched a policy of forced Italianization,[73] forbidding Slavic languages in public institutions and schools, moved 500 Slovene teachers to the interior of Italy, replaced them with Italian ones. All Slavic publications were banned, libraries closed. The government changed people’s names to Italian ones. All Slavic cultural, sporting, professional, business and political associations were banned. Slavs were restricted from public sector employment. Fascist Blackshirts perpetrated anti-Slav violence.[21] As a result, 100,000 Slavic speakers left Italian-annexed areas in an exodus, moving mostly to Yugoslavia. In a 1920 speech in Pola (Istria), Mussolini proclaimed an expansionist policy, based on the fascist concept of spazio vitale, similar to the Nazi's lebensraum:[74]

Towards expansion in the Mediterranean and in the East, Italy is driven by demographic factors. But to realize the Mediterranean dream, the Adriatic, which is our gulf, must be in our hands. 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, 1920

World War II[edit]

Map of areas Italy annexed after the invasion of Yugoslavia during the World War II - Province of Ljubljana, Governate of Dalmatia and the area merged with the province of Fiume. Italy further occupied half of the Independent State of Croatia (below grey line), plus Montenegro and parts of Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia (the latter annexed to Italy-occupied Albania)

Seeking to create an Imperial Italy, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, Albania, France, Greece, Egypt and Malta. In April 1941, Italy and its German ally attacked Yugoslavia, carving up the country, Italy occupied large portions of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia, directly annexing to Italy Ljubljana Province, Gorski Kotar and Central Dalmatia, along with most Croatian islands. Italy proceeded to Italianize Dalmatia.[75] Place names were italianized and Italian was made the official language in schools, churches and government.[75] All Croatian cultural societies were banned, Italians took control of all key mineral, industrial and business establishments.[75]

Italian fascist policies prompted resistance, with many Yugoslavs joining the Partisans.[76] In response, the Italians adopted tactics of summary executions, internments, property confiscations, and the burning of villages.[77] The Italian government sent tens-of-thousands of civilians, including many women and children, to Italian concentration camps - Rab, Gonars, Monigo, Renicci, Molat, etc. 30,000 Slovenes[21] and 80,000 Dalmatians, 12% of the population,[78] were sent to Italian concentration camps. Thousands died in the camps, including hundreds of children.[79] Italian forces executed thousands of additional civilians as hostages and conducted massacres, such as the Podhum massacre in 1942. On their own, or with Nazi and collaborationist allies, the Italian army undertook brutal anti-Partisan offensives, during which tens-of-thousands of Partisans were killed, along with many civilians, plus thousands more civilians executed or sent to concentration camps after the campaigns.

Origin and meaning of the term[edit]

Labin, December 1943: bodies recovered from a foiba by Italian firefighters and German soldiers. Local civilians are trying to identify relatives or friends.[80]

The name was derived from a local geological feature, a type of deep karst sinkhole called foiba.[81] 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,[d] 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]:[26]

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.[e]

The terror spread by these disappearances and killings eventually caused the majority of the Italians of Istria, Fiume, and Zara to flee to other parts of Italy or the Free Territory of Trieste. Raoul Pupo wrote:

[...] the horrible death in a cave [...] became 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 [...]


The first claims of people being thrown into foibe date to 1943, after the Wehrmacht took back the area from the Partisans. Other authors claimed the 70 hostages were killed and burned in the Nazi lager of the Risiera of San Sabba, on 4 April 1944.[85][86][87][88][89]

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 massacres occurred in two waves, the first taking places in the interlude between the Armistice of Cassibile and the German occupation of Istria in September 1943, and the second after the Yugoslav occupation of the region in May 1945. Victims of the first wave numbered in the hundreds, whereas those of the second wave in the thousands. The first wave of killings is widely regarded as a disorganized, spontaneous series of revenge killings by Slovenes and Croats after twenty years of Fascist oppression, as well as "jacquerie" against Italian landowners and more broadly the Italian elite in the region; these killings targeted members of the Fascist Party, their relatives (as in the famous case of Norma Cossetto), Italian landowners, policemen and civil servants of all ranks, considered as symbols of Italian oppression. The scope and nature of the second wave is much more disputed; Slovene and Croat historians, as well as Italian historians such as Alessandra Kersevan and Claudia Cernigoi, characterize it as another wave of revenge killings against Fascist collaborators and members of the armed forces of the Italian Social Republic, whereas Italian historians such as Raoul Pupo, Gianni Oliva and Roberto Spazzali argue that this was the result of a deliberate Titoist policy aimed at spreading terror among the Italian population of the region and eliminating anyone who opposed Yugoslav plans of annexing Istria and the Julian March, including anti-Fascists.[11][83] It is to be noted that while the foibe became the symbol of these massacres, only a minority of the victims were killed with this method, largely during the first wave; a far larger part were executed and buried in mass graves or died in Yugoslav prisons and concentration camps.[90][18][11][83][91][92][93]

After the re-occupation of Istria by Axis forces in September 1943, following the first wave of killings, the fire brigade of Pola, under the command of Arnaldo Harzarich, recovered 204 bodies from the foibe of the region. Between 1945 and 1948, Italian authorities recovered a total 369 corpses from foibe in the Italian-controlled part of the Free Territory of Trieste (Zone A), and another 95 were recovered from mass graves in the same area; these included also bodies of German soldiers killed in the closing days of the war and hastily buried in these cavities. Foibe located in the Yugoslav-controlled part of the Free Territory of Trieste, as well as in the rest of Istria, were never searched as this territory was now under Yugolav control.[94]

Great controversy has surrounded the foiba of Basovizza, one of the most famous foibe (and unlikely called as such, as it was not a natural foiba but a disused mine shaft). Newspaper reports from the postwar era claimed anywhere from 18 to 3,000 victims in this foiba alone, but Trieste authorities refused to fully excavate it, citing financial constraints. At the end of the war, local villagers had thrown the bodies of dead German soldiers (killed in a battle fought in the vicinity in the closing days of the war) and horses into the mine shaft, which after the war had also been used as a garbage dump by the authorities of the Free Territory of Trieste.[95] After the war the Basovizza foibe was used by the Italian authorities as a garbage dump. 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.[95]

Area controlled by the Yugoslav Partisans (in red dots) immediately after the Badoglio Proclamation (8 September 1943)

At the Plutone foibe near Bazovizza, members of the Trieste Steffe criminal gang killed 18 people. For this the leader of the gang, Giovanni Steffe, and three others were arrested by the Yugoslav forces. Steffe and Carlo Mazzoni were killed by the Yugoslav forces while trying to escape. Three members of the gang, all from Trieste, were later convicted by Italian courts to 2 to 5 years in jail for the killings.[1] Altogether some 70 trials were held in Italy from 1946 to 1949 for the killings, some ending in acquittals or amnesties, others with heavy sentences.

In 1947, 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 Allied authorities, not participating in enquiries about the deportations for fear of arrest and trial 'for their former fascist activities'.

Alongside a large number of Fascists, however, among those killed were also anti-Fascists who opposed the Yugoslav annexation of the region, such as Socialist Licurgo Olivi and Action Party leader Augusto Sverzutti, members of the Committee of National Liberation of Gorizia; in Trieste, the same fate befell Resistance leaders Romano Meneghello (posthumously awarded a Silver Medal of Military Valor for his Resistance activities) and Carlo Dell'Antonio. In Fiume (where at least 652 Italians were killed or disappeared between 3 May 1945 and 31 December 1947, according to a joint Italian-Croat study), Autonomist Party leaders Mario Blasich, Joseph Sincich and Nevio Skull were among those executed by the Yugoslavs soon after the occupation, as was anti-Fascist and Dachau survivor Angelo Adam. Priests were also targeted by the new Yugoslav Communist authorities, as in the case of Francesco Bonifacio. Out of 1,048 people who were arrested and executed by the Yugoslavs in the province of Gorizia in May 1945, according to a list drafted by a joint Italian-Slovene commission in 2006, 470 were members of the military or police forces of the Italian Social Republic, 110 were Slovene civilians accused of collaborationism, and 320 were Italian civilians.[96][11][83][97]

The foibe massacres were state terrorism,[4][98] reprisal killings,[4][10] and ethnic cleansing against Italians.[3][4][7][8][9] The foibe massacres were mainly committed by Yugoslav Partisans and OZNA against the local ethnic Italian population (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians), as well against anti-communists in general (even Croats and Slovenes), usually associated with Fascism, Nazism and collaboration with Axis,[4][5] and against real, potential or presumed opponents of Tito communism.[6] The events were also part of larger reprisals in which tens-of-thousands of Slavic collaborators of Axis forces were killed in the aftermath of WWII, following a brutal war in which some 800,000 Yugoslavs, the vast majority civilians, were killed by Axis occupation forces and collaborators.

The foibe massacres were followed by the Istrian–Dalmatian exodus, which was the post-World War II expulsion and departure of local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians) from the Yugoslav territory of Istria, Kvarner, the Julian March, lost by Italy after the Treaty of Paris (1947), as well as Dalmatia,[29] towards Italy, and in smaller numbers, towards the Americas, Australia and South Africa.[30][31] According to various sources, the exodus is estimated to have amounted to between 230,000 and 350,000 Italians (the others being ethnic Slovenes, Croats, and Istro-Romanians, who chose to maintain Italian citizenship)[32] leaving the areas in the aftermath of the conflict.[33][99] From 1947, after the war, Italians were subject by Yugoslav authorities to less violent forms of intimidation, such as nationalization, expropriation, and discriminatory taxation,[100] which gave them little option other than emigration.[101][102][103] According to the census organized in Croatia in 2001 and that organized in Slovenia in 2002, the Italians who remained in the former Yugoslavia amounted to 21,894 people (2,258 in Slovenia and 19,636 in Croatia).[104][105]

Number of victims[edit]

Changes to the Italian eastern border from 1920 to 1975.
  The Austrian Littoral, later renamed Julian March, which was assigned to Italy in 1920 with the Treaty of Rapallo (with adjustments of its border in 1924 after the Treaty of Rome) and which was then ceded to Yugoslavia in 1947 with the Treaty of Paris
  Areas annexed to Italy in 1920 and remained Italian even after 1947
  Areas annexed to Italy in 1920, passed to the Free Territory of Trieste in 1947 with the Paris treaties and definitively assigned to Italy in 1975 with the Treaty of Osimo
  Areas annexed to Italy in 1920, passed to the Free Territory of Trieste in 1947 with the Paris treaties and definitively assigned to Yugoslavia in 1975 with the Osimo treaty

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. 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".[6]

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.[26] More recently, Pupo has revised the total victims estimates to 3,000 to 4,000.[12] Italian historian Guido Rumici estimated the number of Italians executed, or died in Yugoslav concentration camps, as between 6,000 and 11,000,[13] 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. Other sources claim 20,000 victims.[4]

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.[106] 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.[107][94] More bodies were sighted, but not recovered.[107][94]

The most famous Basovizza foiba, was investigated by English and American forces, starting immediately on 12 June 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 29–30 April 1945.[108] The Italian mayor, Gianni Bartoli continued with investigations and digging until 1954, with speleologists entering the cave multiple time, yet they found nothing.[108] 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. At the time, no inspections were carried out either in the Yugoslav-controlled "Zone B", or in the rest of Istria.[94]

Other foibe and mass graves were investigated in more recently in Istria and elsewhere in Slovenia and Croatia; 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, most likely all military, 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.[109][110][111][112][113]


Recovery of a body from a foiba in Istria

After the war, inspector Umberto de Giorgi, who was State Police marshal under fascist and Nazi rule, led the Foibe Exploration Team. Between 1945 and 1948 they investigated 71 foibe locations on the Italian side of the border. 23 of these were empty, in the rest they discovered some 464 corpses. These included soldiers killed during the last battles of the war. Among the 246 identified corpses, more than 200 were military (German, Italian, other), and some 40 were civilians, of the latter, 30 killed after the war.[114]

Due to claims of hundreds having been killed and tossed into the Basovizza mineshaft, in August–October 1945 British military authorities investigated the shaft, ultimately recovering 9 German soldiers, 1 civilian and a few horse cadavers.[115] Based on these results the British suspended excavations. Afterwards the city of Trieste used the mineshaft as a garbage dump. Despite repeat demands from various right-wing groups to further excavate the shaft,[116] the government of Trieste, led by the Christian Democratic mayor Gianni Bartoli, declined to do so, claiming among other reasons, lack of financial resources.[116] In 1959 the shaft was sealed and a monument erected, thus becoming the center of the annual foibe commemorations.

Only a few trials were held, including that of the Trieste Zoll-Steffe criminal gang, for the killing of 18 people in the Plutone foibe in May 1945. Afterwards, Yugoslav authorities arrested the gang members and took them to Ljubljana, with two killed along the way while trying to escape, and the others convicted before a military tribunal.[117][118] Additional members of the gang were brought before an Italian court in Trieste 1947, and were convicted and sentenced to prison for 2–3 years for their role in the Plutone killings.[118]

Memorial stone in memory of the Italian victims of Foibe and Yugoslav deportations, Padua.

In 1949 a trial was held in Trieste for those accused of killing Mario Fabian, a torturer in the "Collotti gang", a fascist squad that during the war killed and tortured Slovene and Italian antifascists, and Jews.[119][120] Fabian was taken from his home on 4 May 1945, then shot and tossed into the Basovizza shaft. He is the only known Italian victim of Basovizza. His executioners were at first condemned, but later acquitted. The historian Pirjevec notes that the head of the gang, Gaetano Collotti, was awarded a medal by the Italian government in 1954, for fighting Slovene partisans in 1943, despite the fact that Collotti and his gang had committed many crimes while working for the Gestapo, and was killed by Italian partisans near Treviso in 1945.[119]

In 1993 a study titled Pola Istria Fiume 1943-1945[121] 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".[122]

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 Fiume 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."[123]

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.[124] 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".[125]

Alleged motives[edit]

The discovery of the entrance to a mass grave in Friuli after World War II
The foiba of Basovizza, near Trieste

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.[24]

Pupo claims that he primary targets of the purges were repressive forces of the Fascist regime, and civilians associated with the regime, including Slavic collaborators, thus:

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.[f]

Since Yugoslav troops did not behave like an occupying army,[g] this partly contradicts the numerous academic authors and institutional figures — both in Italy and abroad — who recognized an ethnic cleansing against Italians,[3][4][7][8][9] and against ethnic Slovenes, Croats and Istro-Romanians who chose to maintain Italian citizenship.[32]

Another reason 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.[126]

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.[h]

Gaia Baracetti notes that some representations of foibe, such as a miniseries on Italian 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”.[18] Others, including members of Italy's Jewish community, have objected to Italian right-wing efforts to equate the foibe with the Holocaust, via historical distortions which include exaggerated foibe victim claims, in an attempt to turn Italy from a perpetrator in the Holocaust, to a victim.[127] 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.[128]

Pamela Ballinger in her book, History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans, wrote:[129]

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".

An Italian-Slovene commission, namely the Slovenian-Italian historical-cultural commission (Slovene: Slovensko-italijanske zgodovinsko-kulturne komisije), wrote in its 2000 report that the Italian exodus had multiple causes.[6]

The report by the mixed Italian-Slovenian commission describes the circumstances of the 1945 killings as follows:[6]

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.

Following the war the Yugoslav government pursued a policy of “Slav-Italian brotherhood” and Italian workers came to Yugoslavia to help with rebuilding. Relations worsened in 1948 when Yugoslavia broke with Stalin, while the Italian Communist Party supported the Soviet Union. Border disputes, postwar economic deprivations and the initial totalitarian nature of the Yugoslav government, made life difficult for all. All this led to what was until then a limited exodus, to much broader exodus following 1950.[6] The commission was re-established in 2007 with the official name of Mixed Italian-Slovene Commission for the Maintenance of the State Border.[21]


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.[130]

So, the Italian government tactically "exchanged" the impunity of the Italians accused by Yugoslavia for the renunciation to investigate the foibe massacres.[131] 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.[132] On the other hand, Belgrade didn't insist overmuch on requesting the prosecution of alleged Italian war criminals.[133]

Re-emergence of the issue[edit]

Rome, Giuliano-Dalmata district: monument to the victims of foibe
Concert at the Quirinal Palace in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella on the occasion of the National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe in 2015

For several Italian historians these killings were the beginning of organized ethnic cleansing.[7] 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.

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:[134]

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.

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:[135]

... 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[8]

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.[136][137]

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.[138]

In Italy, Law 92 of 30 March 2004[139] declared February 10 as a Day of Remembrance dedicated to the memory of the victims of Foibe and the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus. The same law created a special medal to be awarded to relatives of the victims:

366px Ribbon bar medal to the relatives of the victims of foibe killings.svg 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.[140][141]

In the media[edit]

  • Il Cuore nel Pozzo, a 2005 TV movie focusing on the escape of a group of children from Tito's partisans.
  • Red Land (Rosso Istria) [it], a 2018 film directed by Maximiliano Hernando Bruno and starring Geraldine Chaplin, Sandra Ceccarelli, and Franco Nero.
  • Warlight, a book by Michael Ondaatje. ISBN 978-0-525-52119-8

Note: 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. For a complete list, see § Bibliography and § Further reading.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Successively lost by Italy to Yugoslavia after the Treaty of Peace (1947).
  2. ^ The 1910 Austrian census recorded a city population of 58,562 (45.8% Italian speaking; 15.2% Croatian; the rest were mostly German-speaking military).[69]
  3. ^ According to the 1900 census, 7,205 Italian, 391 Slovenian, 167 Croatian, and 67 German inhabitants lived in Koper.
  4. ^ See Raoul Pupo,[11][82][26] Gianni Oliva,[83] Arrigo Petacco[84] et alia.
  5. ^ Italian: 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.[26]
  6. ^ English: 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.[26]
  7. ^ English: 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.[26]
  8. ^ Italian: ... la 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.[26]


  1. ^ a b Cernigoi, Claudia (2018). "Operazione Plutone": le inchieste sulle foibe triestine (in Italian). Kappa Vu. ISBN 978-88-32153-01-9.
  2. ^ a b "Foibe, oggi è il Giorno del Ricordo: cos'è e perché si chiama così". La Repubblica (in Italian). GEDI Gruppo Editoriale. 10 February 2021. Retrieved 19 October 2021. La ricorrenza istituita nel 2004 nell'anniversario dei trattati di Parigi, che assegnavano l'Istria alla Jugoslavia. Si ricordano gli italiani vittime dei massacri messi in atto dai partigiani e dai Servizi jugoslavi. [The anniversary [was] established in 2004 on the anniversary of the Paris treaties, which assigned Istria to Yugoslavia. We remember the Italians victims of the massacres carried out by the partisans and the Yugoslav services.]
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bloxham & Dirk Moses 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Konrád, Barth & Mrňka 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Rumici 2002, p. 350.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Italian-Slovene commission.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Ferreto Clementi.
  8. ^ a b c d e f (in Italian) «... già nello scatenarsi della prima ondata di cieca violenza in quelle terre, nell'autunno del 1943, si intrecciarono giustizialismo sommario e tumultuoso, parossismo nazionalista, rivalse sociali e un disegno di sradicamento della presenza italiana da quella che era, e cessò di essere, la Venezia Giulia. Vi fu dunque un moto di odio e di furia sanguinaria, e un disegno annessionistico slavo, che prevalse innanzitutto nel Trattato di pace del 1947, e che assunse i sinistri contorni di una "pulizia etnica". Quel che si può dire di certo è che si consumò - nel modo più evidente con la disumana ferocia delle foibe - una delle barbarie del secolo scorso.» from the official website of The Presidency of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, official speech for the celebration of "Giorno del Ricordo" Quirinal, Rome, 10 February 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Il giorno del Ricordo - Croce Rossa Italiana" (in Italian).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ a b c d Lowe 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e Pupo & Spazzali 2003.
  12. ^ a b c Boscarol, Francesco (10 February 2019). "'Foibe, fascisti e comunisti: vi spiego il Giorno del ricordo': parla lo storico Raoul Pupo [Interviste]". TPI The Post Internazionale (in Italian). Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d Rumici 2002.
  14. ^ a b Micol Sarfatti (11 February 2013). "Perché quasi nessuno ricorda le foibe?". (in Italian).
  15. ^ Baracetti, Gaia (2009). "Foibe: Nationalism, Revenge and Ideology in Venezia Giulia and Istria, I943-5". Journal of Contemporary History. 44 (4): 664. ISSN 0022-0094. That fascists were specifically targeted by the repression is also confirmed by various Italian sources. A letter attached to the Hazarich report on the excavations carried out in the foibe in 1943 mentions corpses of fascists thrown there; another the extractions of the bodies of "our unfortunate squadristi (members of the fascist militia). An Italian report on "the grim fate of PIsino" (a city in istria) mentions only the killings of squadristi, which contrasts markedly with the subsequent report on the German offensive: random shootings of civilians, burning of houses and bombings
  16. ^ a b Troha, Nevenka (2014). "Nasilje vojnih in povojnih dni". (in Slovenian). Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino. Retrieved 4 June 2023. By this definition, among the 601 victims [documented from the Trieste region], 475 were members of armed formations and 126 were civilians.
  17. ^ Baracetti, Gaia (2009). "Foibe: Nationalism, Revenge and Ideology in Venezia Giulia and Istria, I943-5". Journal of Contemporary History. 44 (4): 657–674. ISSN 0022-0094. In 1947, 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 Allied authorities, not participating in enquiries about the deportations for fear of arrest and trial 'for their former fascist activities'.
  18. ^ a b c d e Baracetti 2009, p. 657–674. sfn error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFBaracetti2009 (help)
  19. ^ a b Pupo, Raoul (15 May 2021). "Le foibe giuliane". Archived from the original on 15 May 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  20. ^ Zamparutti, Louise (1 April 2015). "Foibe literature: documentation or victimhood narrative?". Human Remains and Violence. 1 (1): 75–91. doi:10.7227/HRV.1.1.6.
  21. ^ a b c d e f "Mešana slovensko-italijanska komisija za vzdrževanje državne meje | GOV.SI". Portal GOV.SI (in Slovenian). 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  22. ^ Siviero, Tommi (27 December 2022). "Italian Right Stirs Up Grievances About Yugoslavs' WWII 'Foibe Massacres'". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  23. ^ Società di Studi Fiumani-Roma, Hrvatski Institut za Povijest-Zagreb Le vittime di nazionalità italiana a Fiume e dintorni (1939-1947) Archived October 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali - Direzione Generale per gli Archivi, Roma 2002. ISBN 88-7125-239-X, p. 597.
  24. ^ a b "Le foibe e il confine orientale" (PDF) (in Italian). Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  25. ^ Hedges, Chris (20 April 1997). "In Trieste, Investigation of Brutal Era Is Blocked". The New York Times. Section 1, Page 6. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Pupo 1996.
  27. ^ "In Trieste, Investigation of Brutal Era Is Blocked". The New York Times. 20 May 1997. Retrieved 3 April 2023.
  28. ^ "Italy film recalls pain of forgotten WWII massacres". France 24. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  29. ^ a b Georg G. Iggers (2007). Franz L. Fillafer; Georg G. Iggers; Q. Edward Wang (eds.). The Many Faces of Clio: cross-cultural Approaches to Historiography, Essays in Honor of Georg G. Iggers. Berghahn Books. p. 430. ISBN 9781845452704.
  30. ^ a b "Il Giorno del Ricordo" (in Italian). 10 February 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  31. ^ a b "L'esodo giuliano-dalmata e quegli italiani in fuga che nacquero due volte" (in Italian). 5 February 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  32. ^ a b c Tobagi 2014.
  33. ^ a b Thammy Evans & Rudolf Abraham (2013). Istria. p. 11. ISBN 9781841624457.
  34. ^ Konrád, Barth & Mrňka 2021, p. 20.
  35. ^ Ingo Haar, "Herausforderung Bevölkerung: zu Entwicklungen des modernen Denkens über die Bevölkerung vor, im und nach dem Dritten Reich". "Bevölkerungsbilanzen" und "Vertreibungsverluste". Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte der deutschen Opferangaben aus Flucht und Vertreibung, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2007; ISBN 978-3-531-15556-2, p. 278 (in German)
  36. ^ The German Historical Museum puts the figure at 600,000, maintaining that the figure of 2 million deaths in the previous government studies cannot be supported.Die Flucht der deutschen Bevölkerung 1944/45,; accessed 6 December 2014.(in German)
  37. ^ Kammerer, Willi. "Narben bleiben die Arbeit der Suchdienste — 60 Jahre nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg" (PDF). Berlin Dienststelle 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.the foreword to the book was written by German President Horst Köhler and the German interior minister Otto Schily
  38. ^ Christoph Bergner, Secretary of State in Germany's Bureau for Inner Affairs, outlines the stance of the respective governmental institutions in Deutschlandfunk on 29 November 2006, [1]
  39. ^ "Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Die Vertreibung der Deutschen aus den Gebieten jenseits von Oder und Neiße",; accessed 6 December 2014.(in German)
  40. ^ Alvise Zorzi, La Repubblica del Leone. Storia di Venezia, Milano, Bompiani, 2001, ISBN 978-88-452-9136-4., pp. 53-55 (in italian)
  41. ^ a b Sethre, Janet (2003). The Souls of Venice. pp. 54–55. ISBN 0-7864-1573-8.
  42. ^ a b "Historic overview-more details". Istria County. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  43. ^ John Mason Neale, Notes Ecclesiological & Picturesque on Dalmatia, Croatia, Istria, Styria, with a visit to Montenegro, pg. 76, J.T. Hayes - London (1861)
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  • (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) 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) 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) 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) Franco Razzi, Lager e foibe in Slovenia.
  • (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.), Società 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.

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]

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