I bambini sloveni nei campi di concentramento italiani
I bambini sloveni nei campi di concentramento italiani (1942-1943), di Metka Gombach
Metka Gombač’s essay deals with a difficult period of Slovenian history. Following Italian and German military aggression, Slovenia was partitioned and Mussolini established the province of Ljubljana, where outbreaks of fighting and rioting took place. A farm-burning policy to overwhelm Slovenian resistance was implemented by the army headquarters primarily in the triangle between the provinces of Slovenia, Croatia and Fiume. What is more, Slovenian capital city was turned into an urban lager, and 30,000 civilians were expelled. Concentration camps were set up for the internees both on Dalmatian islands and in the Italian mainland: in Veneto and in Friuli. The internees were mostly elderly people, women and children. The “Duce’s” camps, resembling to those that General Graziani had instituted in Africa, caused many victims, above all in the camp built on the island of Rab-Arbe. The majority of those who died were children and infants. In the aftermath of the war a large number of the internees who came back home found only ruins and misery. Partisan authorities took special care of the orphans who were sent to the freed areas, where an educational programme was put into practice. A competition on the subject of the internment was organized for those children not only to keep the memory of what had happened to them but also to help them to recover from traumatic experiences. Their writings, together with their drawings and sketches, were first gathered together in the partisan teachers’ folders, stored on the bottom shelves of the resistance archives. Fifty years later they were brought to light and publicly displayed in an exhibition, which, along with this article, aims at documenting their terrible experiences.
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