Use and Abuse of History and Memory: the Istrian-Dalmatian Exodus and the Current Refugee Flows
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After the World War II, about 300.000 Italian people abandoned Istria and Dalmatia, which were annexed by Yugoslavia, and moved to Italy. The exodus is tied to the atrocities committed by the Slavic forces, the so called foibe massacres. Today the memory of these events is growing, mainly in its public-institutional representations, and many initiatives are organized to remember the exiles. Knowledge and awareness of the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus, however, are limited to a minority of the population; the story is often told in an one-sided way and memory lends itself to political (and unfair) uses. The exodus is sometimes mentioned within the public discourse about the current migration flows, but, generally, memory is used to reject immigrants, and not to welcome them. Remembrance, indeed, is mainly cultivated by right-wing groups, which oppose the arrivals of foreigners. Moreover, often the associations of Istrian-Dalmatian exiles do not use the memory of their exodus to favour the reception of immigrants.