5/2007 – Deliverance from “Il Migliore”

Deliverance from “Il Migliore”*

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano could not have been any clearer in his description of the ferocity of the ethnic cleansing carried out in the Julian region after September 8th, 1943, and his emphasis of the obstinate insolence used to try (successfully, for several decades) to erase those horrors from the national conscience, or at least from headline history. The Head of State’s words were especially relevant, being that he himself was such a prominent figure in the Italian Communist Party, the party which, through its vast political, accademic, and cultural influence, sought for years to effectively bury any mention whatsoever of the foibe. Or rather, it allowed mention of them, but only in the context of showcasing its own “democratic” reaction to past fascist violence.
 The destiny reserved for the foibe and their victims is still the lot of those killed in the so-called “Triangle of Death” and those killed by hideous Red executioners. (The journalist is referring to events which took place after the end of the war, when Communist partisans killed non-communist anti-fascists.)
Regarding the post-liberation massacre of fascists, or pseudo-fascists, or simple citizens who weren’t inclined to view the USSR as a model for freedom, there still persists a declared, or unvoiced but understood, ostracism (…) and the dismissal of past reticences is hindered by abuses and appeals to the glory of the partisans: finally, the foibe have been cleared of this. And it was about time. The Day of Remembrance is truly a monumental occurrence. (…)
A second, general note to be made, one which takes into account the majority of the hoardes of ex-communists, refers to Palmiro Togliatti. The restyling of the Left has not taken into account any clean break with “Il Migliore” (Togliatti’s nickname: see below). Communist exponents flounder between lauding his intelligence and subtlety, along with the role his party played at the birth of the Italian Republic, and the obligatory reproaching, albeit quietly mentioned, of his complicity and approval of Stalinist purges and other atrocities.
Togliatti certainly wasn’t unaware of the foibe, but he was indeed silent about them. For Venezia-Giulia, however, he was imperious (I cite his report at the Fifth Communist Congress, December 29th, 1945): “The responsibility for this error (of the Italian government’s policy) falls most seriously, without a doubt, upon Bonomi (the Prime Minister) who, the day Tito’s troops were marching into Trieste and driving out the Germans, could be heard making a patriotic speech to the “Italian National Liberation Committee” (CLN) in which he repeated the famous phrase, “the cry of pain”. It was unacceptable that our Prime Minister could speak of a cry of pain when, that same day, Trieste was being liberated….The right thing to have done in that moment would have been to hail Titos troops as liberators, which is what they truly were…and, after committing this error, Italy then proceded to launch a scandalous hate campaign against Yugoslavia, a campaign based on lies and slander.” Liberating troops? The Istrian survivors would take a very different stance on that.

Mario Cervi
(traduzioni di Lorie Ballarin)

*“Il Migliore” (“The Best”) was the nickname of Palmiro Togliatti (1893-1964), Italian Communist Party secretary, prominent figure in the second post-war period, and faithful ally of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.