Holocaust Remembrance: Pahor Visits Jerusalem; New Exhibition on Slovenians in Auschwitz

By , 24 Jan 2020, 12:41 PM Politics
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STA, 23 January 2020 - Slovenian President Borut Pahor laid a wreath at Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem on Thursday as he attended the World Holocaust Forum marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

On the sidelines of his two-day visit to Jerusalem, Pahor repeated his position on the quashing of the 1946 conviction of Leon Rupnik for collaboration with the Nazis during Second World War.

According to his office, Pahor explained his position on Rupnik, the head of the provisional government of the Nazi-occupied Ljubljana, to Israelis, including Miriam Steiner-Aviezer of Yad Vashem.

He told them that he never commented on concrete decisions of the independent institutions of the rule of law. But he did add that in his view future generations too would deem the general's swearing to Hitler, his collaboration with the occupying forces and his being an anti-Semite as abject acts.

The ceremony today was addressed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron with their main message being that the Holocaust should not be forgotten and even that all must be done to prevent it from ever repeating again.

The memorial concluded with Holocaust survivors Rose Moskowitz from the US and Colette Avital, the head of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, lighting a menorah.

This was followed by the invited world leaders laying wreaths at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Yad Vashem, among them Pahor.

Pahor held several bilateral meetings ahead of the ceremony, including with his Austrian counterpart Alexander van der Bellen, Hungary's Janos Ader, Italy's Sergio Mattarella, Portugal's Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Slovakia's Zuzana Čaputova.

In brief meetings he also congratulated European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli on their appointments.

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Exhibition pays tribute to Slovenians in Auschwitz

STA, 23 January 2020 - An exhibition launched in Maribor on Thursday tells about the hardship of some 2,300 people from Slovenia who were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, some 1,300 never to return.

The documentary exhibition Here Is Where Death Worked Itself to Death ... was launched at the Maribor Synagogue as part of the events commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Among the 2,300 deported to the camp from Slovenia, 350 were Jews, at least 78 were Roma, and at least one was a member of Jehovah's Witnesses from Slovenia.

"For around 1,300 of them, Auschwitz is the place of death, which means it's one of the largest cemeteries of the Slovenian victims of World War II," said Boris Hajdinjak, the author of the exhibition.

He noted that one third of the victims were women, while the most tragic fate befell the Roma. "None of them would survive the war. Most of those identified were deported from Dolenjska", south-eastern Slovenia, Hajdinjak told the STA.

People were deported from all parts of the country. "No region was excluded. Interned in Auschwitz were the Logar sisters, after whom the Logar Valley (N) is named," he said, offering one example.

On display until 17 March, the exhibition tells personal stories of various groups and types of people who ended up in the camp, Hajdinjak's way to show that nobody was spared.

The exhibition is part of the project Shoah - Let Us Remember, a series of events held annually across the country to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The project's honorary sponsor is Culture Minister Zoran Poznič, who was unable to attend the ceremony in Maribor.

Speaking on his behalf, State Secretary Tanja Kerševan Smokvina said that remembering the Holocaust was particularly important today in the face of new kinds of hatred.

"New concentration camps are at Europe's doors, children are drowning in our seas and rivers, while the Holocaust denial, attempts at historical revisionism, xenophobia and hatred are on the increase."

The official urged everyone to ask themselves what each can do to alleviate and turn around those trends.

She noted that Minister Poznič is in talks with his counterparts from the countries of the former Yugoslavia to renovate what used to be the Yugoslav exhibition pavilion at the Auschwitz-Birkenau remembrance centre to mount a joint exhibition there as "a lasting memory and above all a reminder".

The main ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be held in Lendava on 30 January with President Borut Pahor as the keynote speaker.

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