The Italian law of 30th March 2004 instituted a “Remembrance Day” on 10th February to commemorate the victims of Foibe and the forced emigration of population with Italian origin living in Dalmatia.
Basically “Foibe” are natural karst cavities. The name foiba comes from the Julia dialect which in turn derives from the Latin fovea (pit, quarry).
On two occasions, during World War II and immediately after it, they were the place for executions, when the Communist partisans of Marshal Tito threw there thousands of people guilty of being Italians, fascists or against the communist regime.
The killings were frighteningly cruel. The condemned were tied to each other with a long wire, tightened to the wrists, and lined up on the banks of the “Foibe”. Then the soldiers opened fire against the first three or four people of the chain who, falling into the abyss, dead or seriously wounded, dragged the other unfortunates with them, thus condemned to survive for days on the corpses of their companions, amid unimaginable suffering.
The “Foibe” phenomenon refers to two distinct events, with different dynamics and modalities: the first one is subsequent to the dissolution of the Italian authority with the armistice of 8 September 1943 and mainly concerned Istria; the second one is a consequence of the partisans power seizure aswell as of the Yugoslav People’s Army in May 1945.
Some sources affirm that the number of prisoners of war who died in Tito’s concentration camps was really high, reaching the number of 20 thousand people. These numbers are difficult to confirm due to the chaos that reigned in 1945 after the end of the war and on which an objective historical judgment is still lacking.
The tragedy of the eastern Italian lands ended with the signing of the peace treaty of Paris on 10th February 1947. It handed over Istria, Rijeka, Zadar and the Dalmatian islands to Yugoslavia, with Belgrade’s right of confiscate all the assets of Italian citizens, which should have been compensated by the government of Rome.
What we can say for sure is that the Foibe are one of the barbarities of the past century; they represent the violation of the most important human rights the RIGHT TO LIFE.
For this reason we have the duty to remember the death of many innocent people, in order to preserve the historical truth of our past.