Victims of Totalitarian Regimes Remembered in Slovenia, Europe

By , 23 Aug 2018, 09:08 AM News
President Pahor at today's wreath-laying ceremony in the largest Jewish cemetery in Slovenia. Dolga Vas, near Lendava President Pahor at today's wreath-laying ceremony in the largest Jewish cemetery in Slovenia. Dolga Vas, near Lendava Screenshot from the embedded tweet

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STA, 23 August 2018 - The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes will be marked in Slovenia with various events today, including by President Borut Pahor's visiting the largest Jewish cemetery in the country. 

Pahor will visit Dolga Vas near Lendava in the north-east of Slovenia, the area that was home to the biggest Jewish community before the community all but disappeared as a result of the Holocaust.


The president will also attend the opening of a multi-purpose space in the Nova Vas settlement of the Roma community, which was also almost eradicated by nazi and fascist violence.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the New Slovenia party (NSi) and its MPs will honour the day by laying a wreath at the national memorial to victims of all wars and war-related violence in Ljubljana's Congress Square.

A wreath was already laid there on Tuesday by a delegation of the Study Centre for National Reconciliation and of two government commissions dealing with victims of post-war violence in the country.

The Study Centre moreover opened an exhibition in the basement of a building in Ljubljana's Beethovnova street believed to have been used as a prison by the Yugoslav communist secret service. The exhibition will still be open today.

Meanwhile, a mass for victims was given in the Ljubljana Cathedral on Tuesday by Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore.

The congregation was also addressed by theologian Ivan Štuhec, who looked back at Slovenia's post-war history by arguing that "winners, drunk with power, can be worse violators of human dignity than had been the losers when they had power".

Turning to the contemporary Europe, he said that "we can be sure today that Western Europe does not understand or does not wish to understand that the remnants of communist totalitarianism are much more present in former communist countries and being revitalised much more than fascism and Nazi-socialism in Italy or Germany".

Observed since 2009, the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes was declared with the European Parliament's resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism.

The date was chosen to coincide with the date of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 non-aggression pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany.

Stolerpsteine and flowers.jpg

Learn more about the Stolpersteine that were recently laid in Ljubljana to mark Slovenian Jews who were killed in the Holocaust here. Photo: JL Flanner

Speaker says Burden of Totalitarianism Remains

In a separate report, filed around noon Thursday, the STA gave an account of the Speaker Tonin’s address to the the National Assembly on European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, as follows:

Speaker Matej Tonin stressed that Slovenia was the only country in Europe that had suffered under all of the worst totalitarian systems of the 20th century - fascism, Nazism and communism. The pain that they have caused has not ceased, he said.

"Fascism, Nazism and communism committed the worst unspeakable atrocities of the 20th century and left several millions in human casualties," Tonin said as he addressed today's session of the National Assembly at which MPs remembered all the victims of totalitarian regimes with a moment of silence.

The three systems have caused Slovenians much suffering "that still burdens us today, more than seven decades later," said the interim speaker, who is expected to resign as speaker today, when a deputy speaker is to be elected.

"We are obligated to do all we can to avoid repeating of the mistakes of the past," he added.

He called for "respectable debates on the past", noting that all citizens, especially politicians, were responsible for creating a positive atmosphere in the Slovenian society.

Tonin said that the young generations should not be forced to carry the burdens of the past but should be taught about and by history to be able to condemn "all that was and is bad".

Immediately after the moment of silence, MP of the Left Miha Kordiš protested against Tonin's equalising of socialism with Nazism and fascism.

He accused Tonin of using his last day as speaker for "ideological fighting with political opponents."

Kordiš stressed that socialism and the "liberalising ideas of the working class" had won Slovenia an eight-hour work day, and the right to public education and healthcare.

The Left MP believes that the debate about the past was intended to "kill the liberalising potential of the workers' movement here and now".

Tonin replied that the European Parliament had accepted the European Day of Remembrance as remembrance day for all victims of totalitarian regimes and that it was right for the Slovenian parliament to mark such days respectfully.

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