Dražgoše Battle symbolises courage and suffering, historian says
The battle is an example of how unity can help prevail even in hard times, Premk said at the event, attended by several thousand people, including President Borut Pahor, deputy Prime Minister Dejan Židan and former President Milan Kučan.
"Today those who are abusing history and are twisting it to serve their political purposes are lying that Slovenians were divided during WWII," he said, explaining that a large majority of Slovenians hated the Nazis and supported the Liberation Front movement.
Only little more than one percent of the population collaborated with the German forces during the war - those who joined the Home Guard (Domobranci), he said.
Slovenians would not be so divided today if events during WWII were not abused for political infighting, he said.
"The Partisans who fought for freedom and a better life don't need any 'reconciliation' that would make them equal to those who fought on the side of the occupying forces."
Premk said Slovenians should be proud of their resistance to Nazism and should respect the Liberation movement.
Dražgoše remains a symbol of courage, determination, loyalty and heroism, he stressed.
The annual commemoration is the culmination of several hikes along the Partisan routes on the Jelovica hill in the region of Gorenjsko.
The Battle of Dražgoše started on 9 January 1942, when the over 200-strong Cankarjev Battalion tried to stop German troops advancing towards the village of Dražgoše.
It was fought in deep snow and below-zero temperatures against some 2,000 Nazi Germans to prevent deportations of locals.
After three days, the German troops reached the village and killed 20 locals and another 20 in retaliation after the Partisans retreated.
The Nazis, who lost over 100 soldiers, completely destroyed the village and drove the survivors out of it. The Partisans lost nine soldiers.
The battle of Dražgoše was the biggest battle in Gorenjsko during WWII and until then the biggest resistance battle in the Third Reich.