STA, 3 June 2019 - The Society of Slovenian Deportees 1941-1945 (Društvo izgnancev Slovenije, 1941-1945) urged Slovenia ahead of 7 June, Slovenian Deportees Day, to claim at least a symbolic portion of what it says remains around EUR 50 billion owed by Germany in war damages. The society's Ivica Žnidaršič believes Slovenians know too little about the deportations that started in June 1991.
Žnidaršič told the STA that the German occupying forces had deported 63,000 Slovenians. Around 45,000 were taken to German deportation camps, 10,000 to Croatia, 7,500 to Serbia, and 2,000 to Hungary, while around 17,000 Slovenians escaped to avoid being deported. There are believed to have also been 2,000 children among the deportees.
"Slovenian deportees remain the group of Slovenians that have been hurt the most, since we lost all of our property and never received reparations. We only secured our status as victims of war violence in 1995," she said.
According to Žnidaršič, the victims have been receiving modest annuities since then - 0.84 euro for each month of violence for the deportees and 0.50 euros for the refugees.
"A 2001 law gave us a one-off reparation payment of 25,000 Slovenian tolars or 104 euros for each month or 12,000 tolars for the refugees. There was also 864 euros paid for deceased parents. However, we never received any damage payments for the material damage," she added.
The Society of Slovenian Deportees 1941-1945 is pointing out that there is no statute of limitations for war crimes, which is why Germany still owes Slovenia around EUR 50 billion.
It expects Slovenia will claim at least EUR 3 billion, which would allow the construction of a centre for victims of war violence and secure EUR 6,000 to the still living deportees. Of what were around 80,000 who were deported or who fled there are only around 9,500 still alive today.
It was on 7 June 1941 that the deportations started with a large transport operation in Slovenska Bistrica. The day is marked by a number of events each year. The central one this year will take place at the central camp for the deportations of Slovenians in WWII at Brestanica pri Krškem.