National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe

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Medal of Day of Remembrance given to relatives of victims of foible killings

National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe, or Giorno del ricordo in Italian language, is an Italian celebration for the memory of the victims of the Foibe and the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus. With Italian Law 92 of 30 March 2004 [1] has been instituted this 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 Yugoslavia. The same law has instituted a specific medal to be conferred to relatives of victims:

Law's motivation[edit]

This National Memorial Day is held annually on 10 February and is observed by all Italian political parties including the President and comune mayors. The remembrance is in memory of the killing and enforced exile of Italians and democrat or anticommunist Slavs ordered by communist dictator Josip Broz Tito in 1943–60.

The incidents are known as the foibe massacres and the Istrian exodus. According to recent studies and an estimation of the historian Guido Rumici the total number of Italian victims (including people murdered during their imprisonment or deportation) as ranging from 6,000 to 11,000, and up to nearly 400,000 expelled or emigrated from Dalmatia, Istria and the area bordering Slovenia.

Introduction of the Law[edit]

Exiles requested recognition of the Foibe many years ago but diplomatic reasons delayed any progress, given Italy's peaceful relations with president Tito, who was a useful ally against the Soviet empire during the cold war; but after the fall of all the communist dictatorships in Europe and the subsequent dissolution of the Italian Communist Party in January 1991, a Bill was introduced into parliament.[2] Italian deputies and senators almost unanimously voted in favour and the law was passed as number 92 on March 30, 2004.[3]

Law's effect[edit]

The National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe is a civilian memorial day but no reduction of working time is observed.[4] The law grants an award, but no money, for all relatives of assassinated victims, upon request. Those who died in Nazi concentration camps are also considered victims. The award consists of a certificate and a metal insignia with sentence The Italian Republic remembers. The law also institutes two museums; the Museum of Istrian-Dalmatian civilization in Trieste and the historical archive museum of Fiume, transported to Rome.

Approval and criticism[edit]

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano gave an official speech during the 2007 celebration of the "Memorial Day of Foibe Massacres and Istrian-Dalmatian exodus" in which he stated:[5]

...Already in the unleashing of the first wave of blind and extreme violence in those lands, in the autumn of 1943, summary justice and tumult, nationalist paroxysm, and social retaliation were intertwined with a plan to eradicate the Italian presence from what had been, but ceased to be, the Julian Marches (Venezia Giulia). There was therefore a movement of hate and bloodthirsty fury, and a Slavic annexationist plan, which prevailed above all in the peace treaty of 1947, and which assumed the sinister shape of an "ethnic cleansing". What we can say for sure is that what occurred - 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[6]

Although widely welcomed in Italy, this commemoration has received some criticism from the Italian radical left and in Croatia claiming it was an "attempt at neofascist revisionism".[7] In February 2012 a photo of Italian troops who were killing Slovene civilians (as a retaliation because Tito's partizans murdered Italian soldiers) was shown on public Italian TV as if being the other way round. When historian Alessandra Kersevan, who was a guest, pointed it out to the television host Bruno Vespa that it is Slovenes on the photo who were killed and not vice versa, the host did not apologize. A diplomatic protest followed.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Legge n. 92 del 30 marzo 2004
  2. ^ Article by Daniel J. Wakin
  3. ^ "Declaration of Vote" (PDF). Transcript of the 561st Session of the Italian Senate (in Italian). pp. 38 and following.
  4. ^ Official Italian law
  5. ^ Presidenza della Repubblica, Giorgio Napolitano, official speech for the celebration of "Giorno del Ricordo" Quirinal, february 10, 2007 integral text from official website of the Italian President Bureau
  6. ^ «....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, february 10 2007
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Article". RTV Slovenia. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  9. ^ Il giorno del ricordo - Porta a Porta, from Rai website

External links[edit]