What do January 27 and February 10 have in common? Apparently not much, apart from the usual cold winter temperatures. In reality very much, in that the two dates have respectively been adopted as "National Holocaust Remembrance Day" and in Italy in accordance with the Laws of the Republic "National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe" thus acquiring a special place of great importance in our country’s calendar of official commemorations.

Just to inform the younger generations, on 27 January (1945) Soviet troops occupied the Auschwitz camp, freeing prisoners reduced to human larvae and thus setting in motion the collapse of the Nazi concentration system, intent on the systematic elimination of all "non-Aryans" through criminal logic. Italy decided to establish a public day of remembrance with Law no. 211 of July 2000 and in doing so demonstrated great political sensitivity while furthermore anticipating a similar UN Resolution by a few years.

On 10 February (1947), with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, peace was concluded between Italy and Yugoslavia and consequently put an end to the tragic events along the border, such as the Foibe massacres and the dramatic Istrian-Dalmatian exodus.

With State Law n. 92 of March 2004, our country adopted the decision, not without culpable delay, to honor the sacrifice of these victims and to imprint it in the collective conscience of all Italians for always. By placing these two events alongside each other, we certainly do not intend to ignore the existence of distinct responsibilities as well as the very different number of victims caused by the two phenomena together with the different geographical areas in which the horrible crimes brought to mind by "National Holocaust Remembrance Day " and " National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe" historically took place. On the other hand, what we wish to highlight is the fact that racial hatred, total contempt for human life and the policies of annihilation of the enemy form the absurd "pseudo-cultural baggage" of totalitarian systems and regimes that are ideologically very different. If Europe finally seems to be free of such wreckage (but we must still be vigilant, since the bloody inter-ethnic conflicts in the Balkans didn’t take place so long ago), we cannot observe the same situation in other continents where such perverse designs continue to be "scientifically" pursued and are often, unfortunately, also carried out.

As soon as "Maria Dolens" finds her voice after the winter silence she will therefore have to work hard to spread the universal message of Peace and Brotherhood, of which she is such an authoritative interpreter. Her message should be "loud and clear" and should spread far and wide. I very willingly deliver the conclusion of my speech with the insightful words of President Mattarella, pronounced on the occasion of the "National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe ": "A crime against humanity, even when many play a part, remains as such, adding to the infamy the guilt of having dragged numerous other people into it".


"Reggente" Marco Marsilli, Foundation President

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