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Basovizza Heroes monument granted cultural significance status

Trieste, 13 January - A memorial site in Italy's Basovizza dedicated to four Slovenian victims of Fascism executed in September 1930, known as the Basovizza Heroes, has been granted the status of cultural importance by Italian regional authorities, the Trieste-based Primorski Dnevnik reported on Wednesday.

Basovizza, Italy
A memorial marking the execution of anti-Fascist Slovenian youths known as Basovizza Heroes.
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA
File photo

The Basovizza Heroes are regarded as symbols of opposition and resistance to the fascist regime and ideology, and as heroes of a free Europe built on the foundations of anti-fascism. The four members of the secret anti-fascist organisation Borba (Fight) - Ferdo Bidovec, Zvonimir Miloš, Franjo Marušič and Alojz Valenčič - were shot dead on 6 September 1930 near the village of Basovizza not far off from today's border between Italy and Slovenia.

The decision to grant the memorial the status of cultural importance was endorsed by the Friuli Venezia Giulia authorities on Monday, Simonetta Bonomi, the head of the region's Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, confirmed for the Slovenian minority's paper.

The institute launched a procedure to grant the memorial site the status in August last year. By going through with this, the region has laid the groundwork for the memorial to become a monument of national importance in Italy in the future.

This is also the aim of the Basovizza Heroes committee at the Slovenian National and Study Library in Trieste. Moreover, together with the two umbrella minority organisations, the committee is striving to rehabilitate the four victims, who are still officially considered terrorists in Italy.

Since the Basovizza Heroes were convicted by a fast-track court, the rehabilitation procedure will be lengthy. The case falls under the purview of a military court, where a retrial and rehabilitation are difficult to achieve, the committee said.

The granting of the status was welcomed by President Borut Pahor, who thanked all who had worked for many years for "this important shift in the status of the monument", which he visited together with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in 2020.

"Following the actual return of the Trieste National Hall to the Slovenian minority, this is another important step in the Slovenian-Italian relations," the president said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy also expressed much satisfaction with the move, adding that this "historic step should be put in the broader context of the current historical moment".

The Slovenian Cultural and Economic Association (SKGZ) and the Council of Slovenian Organisations (SSO) said that the visit to the monument by the Slovenian and Italian presidents "undoubtedly contributed to the favourable outcome of the procedure."

"By paying tribute to the four fallen lads, the president of Italy recognised the importance of their fight against Fascism, and the status ... further underlines that the heroes were on the right side of history, and not terrorists."

The organisations added that this also opened a legal avenue for the annulment of the verdict with which the four were sentenced to death.

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© STA, 2022