The Slovenia Times

Slovenia remembers WWI General Maister


Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan highlighted Maister's patriotism at the main state ceremony in Dornava last night.

Židan finds Maister inspiring to this day due to his "patriotism, a sum of his ethical virtues of a man, soldier, poet, painter and patriot, combined in a personality of extraordinary character and morality".

A ceremony will be held in Maribor today with the Slovenian chief of the general staff, Maj Gen Andrej Osterman, as the keynote speaker. Ceremonies will also be held in Kranj, Kamnik and Ravne na Koroškem.

The Presidential Palace is holding an open day to mark the holiday with the honorary guard of the Slovenian Armed Forces lined up in front of the building, as has become custome for national holidays.

Defence Minister Andreja katič will lay a wreath at the monument to Maister in front of the Defence Ministry in Ljubljana.

Disagreeing with a decision of the Maribor city council towards the end of WWI to make Maribor part of Austria, Maister put together a 4,000-strong army that took control of the city during the night on 23 November 1918.

He then occupied Slovenian ethnic territory in the north-east, establishing the northern border between Austria and Yugoslavia that was later ratified by the Saint Germain Peace Treaty. The border between Slovenia and Austria still runs along these lines.

The biggest statue dedicated to Maister is located in front of Ljubljana's railway and bus stations, featuring him mounted on a horse. The statue by acclaimed sculptor Jakov Brdar was commissioned by the city of Ljubljana and erected in 1999.

Rudolf Maister Day has been observed as a public holiday since 2005, and there are over twenty associations around the country honouring the memory of the Slovenian hero.


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