The Slovenia Times

All Saints' Day, an occasion to remember the dead and heal divide

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On All Saints' Day people tend to visit the graveyards in their community, laying wreaths on graves that they have spruced up for the occasion. This is sometimes followed by mass and a festive hearty meal.

The holiday, which is a work-free day, however, also continues to have a political dimension, with senior politicians carefully picking the sites they visit, mindful of the deep-rooted divisions stemming from WWII and its aftermath.

Post-war killing sites and graves have been receiving more attention in recent years, while the reconciliation efforts also resulted in July in the unveiling of the memorial to all victims of war and war-related violence, which will see a high-profile commemoration today.

President Borut Pahor, PM Miro Cerar, Speaker Milan Brglez, National Council President Mitja Bervar, Chief-of-Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces Major General Andrej Osterman and Police Commissioner Marjan Fank will all attend the commemoration at the memorial located in Congress Square.

The six senior officials will also lay wreaths at Ljubljana's ┼Żale cemetery at memorials to the victims of the 1991 war for independence, victims of WWI, Partisans killed in WWII, an ossuary for the victims of WWI, as well as at the Linden Tree of Reconciliation, which honours those killed in post-WWII reprisal killings.

Meanwhile, Pahor will also visit Sv. Urh near Ljubljana, which was an outpost of the Nazi Germany-aligned Domobranci militia, as well as the Teharje Memorial Park near Celje, located where around 5,000 members of the Domobranci and other prisoners were brought after the end of the WWII and later executed.

Another major site of post-WWII killings, the abandoned mine at Huda Jama, was honoured by a delegation of MPs last Friday.

Moreover, on Saturday Speaker Brglez laid a wreath at the site of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia, as the most senior Slovenian state official ever to honour the victims of the Ustashe concentration camp.

Other Slovenian MPs and officials also have or will visit sites abroad, for instance the Visco and Gonars concentration camps in Italy and cemeteries in Austria's Carinthia and Styria regions.

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