Židan speaks out against rising fascism at WWII battle ceremony
The event in Dražgoše aims to keep alive the memory of the uprising in the northeren Gorenjska region in the winter of 1941-1942, to honour the victims, and to show respect for the Partisan resistance fighters who worked to ensure that Slovenians can now enjoy peace and freedom, Židan said.
One of the biggest WWII battles in Slovenia, the battle of Dražgoše was fought between 200 Partisan fighters and 2,000 German soldiers from 9 to 12 January 1942 at 30 degrees below zero and in deep snow.
After three days, German troops retreated having lost over a hundred soldiers by some accounts. Only nine victims were recorded among the Partisans. But the Germans took revenge on the local population, killing 41 of them and completely destroying the village.
"We have hoped that the European 20th century history exhausted its stores of evil. But modern forms of fascism are again raising their heads all around Europe.
"[Fascism] doesn't show itself as a raging beast, it has a human face. It's becoming subtly ingrained in our reality as standards of what is publicly acceptable keep falling," Židan stressed as he pointed to attacks against fundamental human rights, disregard for moral and civilisational principles, and growing hatred and aggression.
The speaker believes that people should speak out against everything that fascism stands for: cults of personality, inciting fear of the other, mocking democracy as well as revising history.
The ceremony attracts thousands of people every year and many take part in 10 to 12-hour hikes that take them along the routes taken by the Partisans in World War Two.
This year, the ceremony was attended by several top officials and politicians, including President Borut Pahor, several ministers and MPs and Slovenia's first President Milan Kučan.