The Slovenia Times

Tribute paid to Slovenia's western region


The ceremony, held on the eve of Primorska Reunification Day, was organised by the local community and local war veteran organisations.

Delivering the keynote at the event, Šarec said that the people of Primorska were the greatest example of how a "glorious victory, a victory of good over evil eventually gets born out of the biggest sorrow and suffering."

"The Primorska people showed a great deal of courage, and they also suffered a great deal, and they serve as an example for us that we need to persevere, that we must not give up and how a victory gets born eventually from all the suffering."

According to Šarec, all the problems Slovenians experience today are "only triviality compared to what the people of Primorska had to go through in the past."

Slovenia's western region, often likened to France's Provence or Italy's Tuscany, had been part of Slovenian lands under the Austro-Hungarian Empire until First World War when it became part of Italy.

Italy claimed the region as part of a secret pact signed in 1915 with the Triple Entente, pledging to attack the Central Powers in exchange for territorial gains.

The 1919 Paris Peace Conference failed to tackle the border issue of Italy and the newly-emerged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovens, Yugoslavia's predecessor.

However, under the 1920 Rapallo Treaty, swathes of Primorska with Goriška Brda, the valleys of the Vipava and Soča, the Kras, Istria and a large part of the Notranjska region fell to Italy.

After the end of World War Two, Istria, Trieste and the eastern parts of Italy populated by Slovenians were occupied by Yugoslav Partisans, while the western part of Primorska was taken by the allies.

Nevertheless, in June 1945 the Partisans were made to retreat and Primorska was divided into two zones, one under the allied command and the other under the Yugoslav military administration.

The 1947 Paris Peace Treaty awarded a large part of Primorska, Istria south of Mirna, as well as Rijeka, Zadar and the Adriatic islands to Yugoslavia.

In this way most of the people of Primorska, who had suffered for more than 20 years under Fascism and after 1943 under Nazism, were reunited with Slovenia proper.

Nevertheless, an estimated 140,000 Slovenians remained outside Yugoslavia's and Slovenia's borders, as the peace treaty awarded Gorizia, Resia, Benečija and Val Canale to Italy.

The Yugoslav-Italian border was not confirmed until the two countries signed the Treaty of Osimo in November 1975, which took effect in 1977.

Marking the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, Primorska Reunification Day has been celebrated on 15 September since 2006, although not as a work-free day.


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