Province of Ljubljana - Administration - The Italian Period - Post-resistance and War Crimes Against The Slovene Civil Population

Post-resistance and War Crimes Against The Slovene Civil Population

The initial tolerant policies of the Italian administration did not last long. After the establishment of the Liberation Front and the emergence of the partisan resistance, the Italian army's opinion has been in accord with the 1920s speech by Benito Mussolini:

When dealing with such a race as Slavic - inferior and barbarian - we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy.... We should not be afraid of new victims.... The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps.... I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians.... —Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 22 February 1922

As noted by Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mussolini government, Galeazzo Ciano, when describing a meeting with secretary general of the Fascist party who wanted Italian army to kill all the Slovenes:

(...) I took the liberty of saying they (the Slovenes) totaled one million. It doesn't matter - he replied firmly - we should model ourselves upon ascari (auxiliary Eritrean troops infamous for their cruelty) and wipe them out".

General Mario Robotti, Commander of the Italian 11th division in Slovenia and Croatia, issued an order in line with a directive received from Mussolini in June 1942: "I would not be opposed to all (sic) Slovenes being imprisoned and replaced by Italians. In other words, we should take steps to ensure that political and ethnic frontiers coincide.", which qualifies as ethnic cleansing policy.

The Province of Ljubljana saw the deportation of 25,000 people, which equaled 7.5% of the total population. The operation, one of the most drastic in the Europe, filled up Italian concentration camps on the island Rab, in Gonars, Monigo (Treviso), Renicci d'Anghiari, Chiesanuova and elsewhere.

Mario Roatta's "Circular 3C" (Circolare 3C), tantamount to a declaration of war on the Slovene civil population, involved him in war crimes while he was the commander of the 2nd Italian Army in Province of Ljubljana.

Italians put the barbed wire fence - which is now Path of Remembrance and Comradeship - around Ljubljana in order to prevent communication between the Liberation Front in the city and the partisans in the surrounding countryside.

On February 25, 1942, only two days after the Italian Fascist regime established Gonars concentration camp the first transport of 5,343 internees (1,643 of whom were children) arrived from - at the time already overpopulated - Rab concentration camp, from the Province of Ljubljana itself and from another Italian concentration camp in Monigo (near Treviso). The survivors received no compensation from the Italian state after the war.

The violence against the Slovene civil population easily matched the German. For every major military operation, General M. Roatta issued additional special instructions, including one that the orders must be "carried out most energetically and without any false compassion".

One of Roatta's soldiers wrote home on July 1, 1942: "We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them."

After the war Roatta was on the list of the most sought after Italian war criminals indicted by Yugoslavia and other countries, but never saw anything like Nurnberg trial because the British government with the beginning of cold war saw in the Pietro Badoglio, also on the list, a guarantee of an anti-communist post-war Italy.

Read more about this topic:  Province Of Ljubljana, Administration, The Italian Period

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