Ceremony remembers return of Primorska to the homeland

Idrija – The main ceremony remembering the return of the western Primorska region to the homeland will be held in the town of Idrija, west of Ljubljana, on Saturday. The event will also mark 74 years since the implementation of the Paris Peace Treaty under which Primorska was reunited with Slovenia after being under Italian rule since the end of WWI.

The keynote speaker at the ceremony ahead of the 15 September holiday will be a young scientist from Idrija who lives in the US, Nina Leskovec.

The cultural programme in Idrija’s central square will present the life and work of Črtomir Šinkovec (1914-1983), a partisan, poet, journalist and editor from Vojsko pri Idriji.

The ceremony, which will be aired live by public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, will be addressed by Idrija Mayor Tomaž Vencelj and the head of the WII veteran organisation, Bojan Režun.

While all Slovenian people were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War One, the western region of Primorska became part of Italy after the war.

The Paris peace conference ended in 1919 with no solution to the border issue between Italy and the newly-emerged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovens, Yugoslavia’s predecessor.

Then, under the 1920 Rapallo Treaty, Italy got what is roughly referred to as Primorska, including the cities of Trieste and Gorizia, Vipava and Soča Valleys, Kras, Istria and parts of the Notranjska region.

The area remained under Italy, or under Nazi Germany after its 1943 capitulation, until the end of WWII, when Istria and Trieste were occupied by Yugoslav Partisans, while the western part of Primorska was taken by the allies.

The allies made the Partisans retreat in June 1945, dividing the area into two zones, one under the allied command and the other under the Yugoslav military administration.

The 1947 Paris Peace Treaty brought a compromise, giving Yugoslavia a large part of the areas it wanted to have under its administration, including around Gorizia and Trieste.

As a result, the majority of Primorska people were brought under Yugoslavia after suffering under Fascism for more than 20 years and then briefly under Nazi Germany.

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

Day of Return of Primorska to the Motherland, evoking the implementation of the Paris Peace Treaty, has been celebrated since 2005, being introduced under the Janez Janša government, although not as a work-free day.