Learn about Slovenia’s efforts to advance education, remembrance, and research on the Holocaust and genocide of the Roma.
Learn about Slovenia’s efforts to advance education, remembrance, and research on the Holocaust and genocide of the Roma.
Joined the IHRA
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Marko Rakovec – Head of Delegation
Blanka Jamnišek (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – Deputy Head of Delegation
Marjetka Bedrac (Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Boris Hajdinjak, (Center of Jewish Culture Sinagogue Maribor) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Alenka Janko Spreizer (University of Primorska) – Academic Working Group
Vera Klopcic (Institute of Contemporary History) – Academic Working Group
Vojko Kunaver (National Education Institute) – Education Working Group
Monika Kokalj Kocevar (National Contemporary History Museum) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Irena Lačen-Benedičič (Ministry of Culture) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Renato Podbersic (Study Centre for National Reconciliation) – Academic Working Group
Božo Repe (University of Ljubljana) – Academic Working Group
Matjaž Špat (Union of the Associations for the Values of the National Liberation Movement in Slovenia, Ravensbrück- Auschwitz Committee) – Education Working Group
Irena Šumi (European Centre Maribor) – Academic Working Group
Robert Waltl (Jewish Cultural Center Ljubljana) – Education Working Group
Tone Vrhovnik Straka (Ministry of Education, Science and Sport) – Education Working Group
The joint efforts of the Slovenian government and NGOs to educate and inform the public about the fate of the Jewish population in the territory of Slovenia during the Holocaust have been well received in schools and beyond. Significant developments include visits by groups of Slovenian history teachers to Yad Vashem in 2009, 2015 and 2018, the unveiling of a memorial to Slovenian Holocaust victims – entitled ‘Forgotten Suitcase’ – in the city of Murska Sobota, and the annual symposiums “Each Year One Name” at the Centre for Jewish Cultural Heritage – Synagogue in Maribor.
Regular public events include the programs “Shoah- Let Us Remember” that encompasses numerous events all over Slovenia and “Festival House of Tolerance”. For the general public and students, a publication was issued entitled: “Unknown Traces: Judaism, Antisemitism and the Holocaust in Slovenian History”. In 2018, the most recent remembrance project based on research was the installation of commemorative brass plaques in the pavements (Stolpersteine) of Ljubljana in front of houses where Jews once lived.
As part of teaching and learning about the Holocaust, preserving the memory of both its victims and other victims of Nazi persecution and raising awareness of the importance of human rights, numerous educational activities will be carried out in Slovenian primary and secondary schools to mark 27 January.
Visit the Sinagogue Maribor website for more details.
All IHRA Member Countries are asked to complete a basic questionnaire with key facts about the state of Holocaust education, remembrance, and research in their country. The answers to the questionnaire, and to the Country Report, if available, are provided by the national delegations, who are also responsible for keeping the information up to date.
Statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (published every year: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022):
Statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commemorating the International Day of Dignity and Memory of the Victims of Genocide on 9 December, 2015–2019 (Slovenian and English), sometimes in combination with the Human Rights Day on 10 December:
Statements of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 19 January 2020 (including the speech at the IHRA Ministerial Meeting during the Luxembourg IHRA Presidency):
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the IHRA working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination (20 October 2020):
In addition to statements some other activities of prevention, education and memorizing have been supported by the Slovenian government and implemented in cooperation with the civil society, including the academia. Some examples are the following:
In the previous period of the National Program of Measures of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Roma, the Government Office for National Minorities also implemented the National Platform for Roma Project, in the framework of which activities were not explicitly aimed at preventing prejudices and stereotypes and addressing the challenges of discrimination, but they were open and inclusive in terms of the content. The invited interlocutors for particular areas got an insight into the understanding of the life of members of the Roma community, the causes of their social exclusion and the levers of their activities. These actors provided representatives of professional institutions that attended the event, and these events provided deeper insight into the Roma community and an understanding its activities.
National Program of Measures of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Roma for the period 2021-2030 brings the information about the IHRA working definition of antigypsyism. The National program quotes the IHRA working definition of antigypsyism and provides the intended future activities for combat antigypsyism. The National program activities of education, raising awareness and training target police and civil servants employed in central institutions who, within their competencies, work with representatives of the Roma community or are key decision-makers in the preparation and adoption of policies at the local and national level. Additionally, the combat antigypsyism is planned through other activities for integration into the social and cultural life of Roma and by strengthening the activities and cooperation of the Council of the Roma Community of the Republic of Slovenia and other organizations of the Roma community.
In 2008, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day has been declared as the national Holocaust Remembrance Day in Slovenia as well. Ever since, numerous organizers across Slovenia organize cultural and commemorative events, symposia and scientific meetings, exhibitions, diverse pedagogical programs, etc., dedicated to honor the Holocaust victims and survivors and also other groups and individuals who were during WWII persecuted by the Nazis and the Fascists. In the last decade or more, all these commemorative and educational programs have been promoted under the umbrella of the “Shoah – Let Us Remember” project that is coordinated by the Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor (hereinafter: Synagogue Maribor). In 2022, Slovenian cultural and scientific organizations, and schools implemented over 100 Holocaust remembrance and educational events:
In addition to commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Synagogue Maribor endeavours with its project “Stone Tears” to also promote commemoration of the 26 April as one of the sad milestones in Slovenian history. Namely, on that day in 1944, mass deportations of the Jews from Prekmurje region to Auschwitz-Birkenau begun resulting in almost complete destruction of Jewish life and presence in Slovenia. Diverse commemorative events are being organised around this date in Maribor, Murska Sobota, Lendava, Ptuj and Ljubljana:
The Roma victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis and Fascists have been commemorated in Slovenia by various Roma organizations, such as Romani Union Murska Sobota and the Slovene Romani Association, since 2014 annually also by the Synagogue Maribor and its partnering organizations. Each year, on 2 August or around this date, at least two commemorations of the Genocide of the Roma are being held in Slovenia: the event “The Night That Silenced the Violins” in Maribor, and a commemoration in Murska Sobota. These events are reported mainly at the local media and in the Roma TV show “So vakeres?” (What are you speaking?) at the Slovenian national TV. On the contrary, in other programs of the national TV or mainstream media, only brief reports about these events can be traced. In the year 2021 the event was politicized and connected with the massive killings of a group of Roma, committed by the partisans.
As en expample here is a description of events organised on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Roma victims of the Roma genocide 2.-6. August, 2021.
The Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor and the EPEKA Association, organized a commemorative event “The Night That Silenced the Violins” on 2 August 2021 in Maribor. Within the framework of this event, Dr Vera Klopčič, a member of the Slovenian delegation to IHRA and member of the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, presented IHRA definition of antigypsyism. She also addressed the question how the international community’s endeavors regarding the recognition of the persecution of Roma in the past contribute to the fight against discrimination directed toward the Roma. Her speech was published in Slovene in the Roma newspaper Romano nevijpe no. 33, November 2021
Next commemorative events were organized by the Roma Association of Slovenia and their partnering organizations on 6 August 2021 in Murska Sobota and Petanjci. The program started with planting of a tree commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first Roma congress. The tree was planted in the Garden of Memories and Companionship in Petanjci by a special guest, Prof. Dr Dragoljub Acković from Serbia.Then, the program continued in Murska Sobota with a round table providing space for discussion about the situation, perspectives, and aspirations of Roma in the future development and life in EU/Europe. Guests of the round table will be Mr Matjaž Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation at the Council of Europe, Prof. Dr Dragoljub Acković, General Secretary of the European Roma Association and member of the Serbian parliament, Dr Vera Klopčič, member of the Slovenian delegation to IHRA and member of the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, Mr Orhan Galjus, Vicepresident of the European Roma Association, Mrs Emina Schemo, Vice President of the European Roma Association and Counselor to the Ministry of Political System and Inter-Community Relations of the Republic of North Macedonia, and Ms Vita Zalar, Young Researcher and Research Assistant at the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The participants of the round table were also addressed by Mr Miha Lobnik, Advocate of the Principle of Equality of the Republic of Slovenia, and Mr Jožek Horvat Muc, President of Roma Association of Slovenia. The program was concluded with laying of a wreath at memorial plaque to Roma victims of the genocide committed during WWII.
On 2 August 2021, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality Miha Lobnik was the keynote speaker at the Roma Genocide Remembrance Day in Murska Sobota. In his speech, he pointed out the following: “During the Third Reich, among many others, half a million Roma and Sinti lost their lives. The goal of these inconceivable hostile acts was the final erasure of Roma and Sinti and many others. When we remember Porajmos, we must therefore repeatedly emphasize that these acts were cruelly inhumane and that we must do everything we can to ensure that this never happens again.” He emphasized the need to speak of Porajmos over and over again as a serious human tragedy and to hold this belief as one of the foundations on which we can unanimously build a society of security and equality for all. “Unfortunately, the number of reports of discrimination, verbal intolerance and hate crimes seems to be increasing. Intolerance, hatred and contempt for the Roma community still characterize the lives of too many Roma across Europe,” he said. Lobnik sees Memory of Porajmos /… / as an opportunity to think about more effective action for positive changes in the position of Roma in society today: This process is pan-European. The new EU Strategic Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation 2020–2030 will also play an important role in this. For Slovenia and other Member States of the EU, this represents a new opportunity to improve the position of Roma in society through appropriate measures. In order to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities for all members of the Roma community. Lobnik emphasized that these efforts must be guided by cooperation and inclusive dialogue, as only action in which state and local authorities, civil society organizations and the Roma community will make an equal contribution that can bring the change for the better. In his answer to our questions, the AEP express the regret that no high-ranking state officials were present at the event.
No specific academic programs exist, but there have been on-the-job professional trainings for educators in elementary and high schools in Slovenia.
In the past seven years we had two international seminars with Yad Vashem – in April 2018 (24 participants) and due to the COVID-19 pandemic virtually in October 2021 in four terms for 35 participants (history teachers).
We had some more trilateral international seminars for our history teachers with Memorial de la Shoah from Paris: the first seminar was held in July 2018 in Ljubljana, the second in June 2019 in Trieste. Due to COVID-19 situation, in 2020 and 2021 two online webinars have been organizes, as well. These seminars relate to so called “sensitive issues” of the 20th century history on the Holocaust, genocides, international and cross-border conflicts. Participants are from three countries (Italy, Slovenia, Croatia) – 13 or 14 teachers from each country, around 42 teachers from all three countries. These seminars (or webinars) lasted three days including plenary lectures and workshops.
We had another two seminars with Austrian teachers (one of them “live” in Klagenfurt, Austria) in September 2021, and one online for teachers from Slovenia, Austria, and Croatia. The programs were very similar to the previous seminars as mentioned above. Our last seminar for teachers from Slovenia, Italy and Croatia was held in Zagreb in March 2022 (live three-day seminar).
All seminars were very highly rated by teachers, also from all neighboring countries.
The National Education Institute Slovenia collaborates closely also with the public institution Synagogue Maribor. As a result, several teacher trainings and workshops have been organized. For example:
Copy of the Abstract:
Roma and Sinti in Slovenia during the Second World War are a rarely researched topic when it comes to Slovenian historians. ResearchersofRomani studies usually focus only on oppressive methods of occupation forces, leaving out other forms of Roma existence and participation. Roma and Sinti communities actively interacted both with partisan and occupation forces.There are examples of non-violent coexistence and, at the same time violent oppresion on the partisan, German, Italian and Hungarian side. For example, the Roma participated both in Slovene Home Guard and in the Partisan Detachments of Slovenia.War crimes were committed over Roma communities both by the partisans and occupation forces. Both sides also tried to prevent the Roma from travelling across their territory. Te oppression continued after the war with forced migration organised by the Yugoslav government. Much of the post-war discourse on the holocaust revolved around disputes whether the Roma community should be recognised as a victim of the holocaust.
Copy of the abstract:
The occupation and division of the Drava Banovina in 1941 among four neighbouring states was followed by a period of ethnic cleansing perpetrated against members of the Slovene nation and against members of national minorities, i.e. Germans, Jews, and Gypsies. The paper sheds light on genocide committed against Gypsies. Gypsies were victims of genocide perpetrated by Italians, Germans, Hungarians, and members of the Slovene resistance movement (partisans). Partisans’ involvement in the massacre committed against the Gypsy minority represents a special Slovene addition to the genocide perpetrated against Slovene Gypsies.
Each year, the Synagogue Maribor also organizes an annual international scientific meeting thus providing the platform for presentations of the latest research findings and conclusions on Holocaust, and also Genocide of the Roma. These scientific meetings are known under the title “Each Year One Name”.
Further, the presentations that are presented at the “Each Year One Name” international scientific meetings are afterwards also published in the collection of papers “Jews in Slovenia: History and the Holocaust”. So far, six volumes of this serial publication have been published. They are openly accessible on Synagogue Maribor’s webpage “Publications and other materials”, as well as in the Digital Library of Slovenia (dLib).
In 2015, the Synagogue Maribor also published a collection of papers “Porrajmos – The Withheld Genocide of the Roma”. In this publication, several articles have been published presenting so far less known contents on Roma history in Slovenia and their fate during the WWII, when they were deported to concentration camps. Currently, the second volume of this collection of papers is being prepared.
In the Slovenian history textbooks there are contents, connected to the Holocaust and genocide included according to our history curriculum (for basic – elementary and for high schools) meaning, that these contents are included in the WWII history topic. There have been more of these highlights in recent years. According to the higher number of teachers, who participated in seminars on Holocaust education we have noticed a growing interest for these topics. Our schools have received also the IHRA Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust, translated into Slovenian language, and teachers are encouraged to use them in the classroom.
Some examples of the publications available to Slovenian teachers:
Slovenian teachers are also encouraged to use materials that are openly accessible on websites, such as of IHRA’s, Yad Vashem’s and Centropa’s. They can also search for further materials on the webpages “Publications and other materials” (orig. “Publikacije in druga gradiva”), and “Audio-visual material” (orig. “Avdio-vizualno gradivo”) of the Synagogue Maribor. In addition, the later provides various exhibitions about the Holocaust and Genocide of the Roma, which the teachers and schools can borrow free of charge.
During the WWII, in Ljubelj a work camp has been erected on the occupied Slovenian territory as a satellite unit of the Mauthausen concentration camp. The Ljubelj Jug (South) camp was established with the purpose to enable the construction of the Ljubelj tunnel for the German Reich. On the other side of the tunnel was Ljubelj North work camp (in today’s Austria) Today, at the place where the camp Ljubelj Jug once stood there is a monument and a memorial park with the remains of camp huts, other buildings and the crematorium. Slovenian teachers and students as well as other vistiors can visit this memorial site, which is under the management of the Tržič Museum, on site or virtually.
Further, Slovenian teachers also use diverse literature (such as The Diary of Anne Frank, Hana’s Suitcase, The soldier with golden buttons, etc.) and testimonies by Holocaust survivals (such as Pisma Eriki Fürst, Interview with Miriam Steiner Aviezer, Three Promises, Klara Kukovec, etc.).
Last but not the least, in 2018 Slovenia has joined the “Crocus Project” by HETI, as well. In school year 2021/22, 84 Slovenian primary and secondary schools are taking part in this project. The role of the national coordinator of the project for Slovenia has been overtaken by the public institution Synagogue Maribor.
No, not in the past seven years.
There are several public and private institutions that encompass topics related to Holocaust and/or Genocide of the Roma in their programmes. Some are specialized as institutions, which develop and promote Holocaust remembrance, research, and education as part of their core programme. Others, i.e., institutions that are not specialised in Jewish history, heritage, and culture, organize programs devoted to prior mentioned topics only occasionally.
Contemporary museums and Memorial Museums in Slovenia commemorate Nazi and Fascist victims and support the preservation of the historic sites, sources and artifacts and cooperate on a national and international level in different projects. They prepare exhibitions, education classes, teacher-training courses, guided tours and discussions with survivors. Many contemporary museums have a branch or department in a space where a memorial site is located. They are accessable by public transport and under heritage protection. Including consultation of victim associations on design and content permanent exhibitions were prepared.
Occasionally, Holocaust and/or Genocide of the Roma related programs or exhibitions can be found at numerous Slovenian museums and cultural institutions, among them at the National Liberation Museum Maribor (this museum is listed in EHRI Portal, too), the Museum of Recent History Celje, International Research Centre for Second World War Maribor, etc.
There is no research institution in Slovenia that would be devoted to Holocaust and/or Genocide of the Roma studies exclusively. On the other hand, many research institutions in Slovenia initiate or collaborate in the research projects dedicated to prior mentioned topics. Such institutions are, for example:
In addition, there are several Slovenian university professors and researchers, among them are also members of Slovenian permanent delegation to IHRA, who conduct research on different issues related to Holocaust and/or Genocide of the Roma.
Slovenian archives keep documents and other archival materials, which can be classified as Holocaust related material. However, these sources have not been organised in specific Holocaust collections so far. In 2018, a special memorandum on cooperation in obtaining information on Holocaust crimes from the material of the Slovenian archives has been signed between Archives of the Republic of Slovenia and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The main objective of this collaboration is to digitize the archival material from the period before, during and after WWII, which sheds light on the historical context of the Holocaust in Slovenia. The Archives of the Republic of Slovenia is listed in the EHRI Portal, in which we can also find the Regional Archives Maribor.
There are also several memorials honouring the Holocaust victims, as well as victims of the Genocide of Roma that were erected throughout Slovenia:
Contemporary museums and Memorial Museums in Slovenia commemorate Nazi and Fascist victims and support the preservation of the historic sites, sources and artifacts and cooperate on a national and international level in different projects. They prepare exhibitions, education classes, teacher-training courses, guided tours and discussions with survivors. Permanent exhibitions were prepared in consultation (on design and content) with victim associations.
Many contemporary museums have a branch or department in a space where a memorial site is located. They are accessable by public transport and under heritage protection. Expamles of activities are explained in the answers to question no.9.
The National Education Institute Slovenia receives funds from the state budget for all activities connected with teaching and learning about Holocaust and other genocides. Seminars with Memorial de la Shoah, Paris, are financed by the later.
The independent public institution Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor has been established in 2011 by the Maribor Municipality. The institution is a successor of a cultural center that has been operating since 2001 in former medieval synagogue of Maribor as part of the Maribor Regional Museum. Synagogue Maribor is today the sole public institution in Slovenia, which is specialized in research and public presentation of Jewish history (including Holocaust and antisemitism), heritage and culture in Slovenia. Nevertheless, it is still being financed exclusively by the Maribor Municipality, while occasionally some of its programmes are co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
Next to the preserved synagogue in Maribor, there is also a preserved former synagogue in Lendava. This, like the one in Maribor, is today used a cultural centre while at the same time it houses a permanent exhibition about the Jews in Lendava. The Synagogue Lendava is managed by two public cultural institutions: the Gallery-Museum Lendava and the Library & Cultural Centre Lendava – both receiving funds for implementation of the programmes in the former synagogue by Lendava Municipality.
Slovenia co-sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of This Crime (11 September 2015):
Slovenia co-sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Responsibility to Protect and the Prevention of Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes Against Humanity (18 May 2021)
Slovenia co-sponsored the following UN Human Rights Council Resolutions: