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Meloni blasts 'decades of unforgivable silence' on Foibe

(ANSA) - ROME, 10 FEB - Premier Giorgia Meloni blasted decades of "unforgivable" silence about the Foibe on Saturday as she took part in a ceremony on the national day of memory of the mass killings by Tito's Yugoslav Partisans of Italians living in the area that stretches from the Trieste zone in Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulia region across the Istrian peninsula to Dalmatia in Croatia during and immediately after WWII. Foibe are natural pit-like karst sinkholes typically found in Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Slovenian part of Istria into which victims were thrown, sometimes alive. It is estimated that as many as 15,000 Italians largely, but not always, identified with Fascism were tortured or killed by Yugoslav communists who occupied the Istrian peninsula during the last two years of the war. Many of the victims were thrown into the narrow mountain gorges during anti-Fascist uprisings in the area and the exact number of victims of these atrocities is unknown, in part because Tito's forces destroyed local population records to cover up their crimes. Many Italians were forced to flee their homes because of the massacres. Italy established Foibe Remembrance Day only in 2004, as the tragedy had been swept under the carpet by anti-Fascists in the postwar years. Remembrance of the Foibe massacres has found new impetus under the Meloni's right-centre government, which at the end of January approved the creation of a dedicated museum on the proposal of the premier herself and Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano. "I came here many times, as a girl, at a time when, if you did so, you were pointed at, accused, isolated," Meloni said at the Basovizza National Monument for the victims of the Foibe, near Trieste. "And I came back as an adult to finally celebrate the day of remembrance that swept away, once and for all, the unforgivable conspiracy of silence that had shrouded the tragedy of the Foibe for decades and kept the drama of the exodus in the oblivion of indifference. "We are here to ask again for forgiveness on behalf of the institutions of this Republic for the guilty silence that has shrouded the events of our eastern border for decades and to pay homage to all the Istrians, the Giuliano-Dalmatians who, in order to remain Italian, decided to leave everything, houses, property, land, to remain with the only thing that the Tito Communists could not take away from them, and that is their identity". (ANSA).