The current plaque replaced an older plaque at the garden on the outskirts of Turin. It states: “Garden for victims of Foibe murdered only because they are Italian in Istria, Fiume, and Dalmatia by the communist partisans of Tito. In the vandalism of a few, in the indifference of others, Turin Remembers.”

The prior plaque, which had been destroyed several times by vandals, did not mention communism or former Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito, who led the Partisan movement which perpetrated the foibe massacres.

According to a report from the newspaper Il Giornale, the National Association of Partisans in Italy (ANPI) wrote to the local municipality demanding the removal of the new plaque and the restoration of the old one, claiming the new one was abusive.

The ANPI also called for an investigation into who put up the new plaque and whether they had the authority to change its language.

The foibe massacres took place in former Yugoslavia during and after the Second World War. They saw communist partisans kill as many as 15,000 ethnic Italians, with many thrown alive into natural sinkholes known in Italian as “foibe.”

By 1947 as many as 300,000 Italians had been forced to leave the area in former Yugoslavia. While some of the massacres victims were sympathisers of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, many were just ordinary civilians.

In 2004, the government of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made February 10th a national day of remembrance of the massacres’ victims.

Maurizio Marrone, a member of the national conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, reacted with anger over the proposal to remove the Turin plaque, saying: “I wonder if it is not what is written on that plaque that gives so much annoyance. We will never forget that the executioners of our compatriots were Tito Communist partisans, even if some would still like to inform the truth today.”