Slovenia marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Slovenia has marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday with a series of events, including the laying of wreaths, exhibitions and the traditional reading of the names of Slovenian Holocaust victims.
Top Slovenian officials labelled the Holocaust one of the bleakest moments in history, warned against its denial and urged tolerance.
Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič stressed in his address at the outset of proceedings in parliament that WWII was also being remembered because of the Holocaust, one of the darkest crimes in the history of modern civilisation. He said its memory must be preserved as a warning and reminder, arguing the causes leading to this tragedy were still not left entirely in the past. "Nationalism, national myths, racial and religious discrimination ... have not yet become part of the past. Some are still reviving the menacing symbols of this dark period and regime." Despite the promises and commitments to the contrary, humanity has not learned the lesson, said Zorčič, pointing to the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica. The crises of the past decade have brought to the surface new forms of intolerance, racism, xenophobia and hostility, he said, adding the rising dissatisfaction and intolerance during the Covid-19 pandemic was worrying, as it gave rise to dangerous negative emotions.
The Foreign Ministry said it was our common responsibility to stand up against all attempts to deny or distort the horrors of the Holocaust. It believes the remembrance day is an occasion to remember all victims of one of the worst genocides in history, but also those who helped save lives. The ministry and the Slovenian delegation at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) have supported and contributed to Holocaust remembrance, education and research for years, it added in a written statement. Slovenian IHRA delegation head Marko Rakovec praised the many organisations and individuals in Slovenia raising awareness about the Holocaust, especially among the young.
A wreath was laid on behalf of Prime Minister Janez Janša at the Jewish section of the Žale cemetery already on Tuesday, while Boris Čerin, the president of the Slovenian Jewish Community, and Rabbi Ariel Haddad, will lay one later in the day.
President Borut Pahor meanwhile laid a wreath at a memorial at the Jewish cemetery in Dolga Vas, north-east, warning about hate speech, intolerance and incitement to violence having become an all too normal part of our life in recent years.