Late author Pahor remembered at commemoration in native Trieste

Trieste – A commemoration was held on Wednesday evening at the National Hall in Trieste, Italy, to pay respects to late Slovenian author Boris Pahor, who died aged 108 in his native Trieste on Monday. He will be laid to rest on Tuesday at St Ana Cemetery in Trieste.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor remembered him as a “stubborn and strong-willed person with a clearly developed moral compass, a man who embodied the resistance against all three totalitarianisms”.

The president said that the writer “embodied the Slovenian national experience of the entire 20th century”.

Boris Pahor (1913-2022) has been often referred to as the witness of the horrors of the 20th century.

He lived under Fascism, which was very hostile to Slovenians and saw the National Hall as the symbol of Slovenian presence in Trieste being burnt down in 1920.

He survived several Nazi concentration camps, and resisted Yugoslavia’s undemocratic communist regime, while all the time promoting the Slovenian minority’s rights.

Author Marin Brecelj said at the commemoration that the courage Pahor showed tells us what a free man he was. “Nationality in you had above all a democratic charge.”

The Slovenian president described Pahor as “a difficult interlocutor” – “if you wanted to flatter him with Slovenian identity, he pointed to the context of Europe, if you wanted to endear yourself to him with Europeanism, he reminded you that national identity is irreplaceable”.

The writer’s resistance to all totalitarianisms and his commitment to freedom and to the Slovenian ethnic minority were also highlighted by Italian representatives of national regional and local authorities.

Literary historian Marija Pirjevec meanwhile said that with his books, Pahor brought into the world the Slovenian language, “which was condemned to death under Fascism”.

Pahor’s literature started transcending the boundaries of the Slovenian language with the 1990 translation in French of Necropolis, a 1967 novel about his experience of the Nazi concentration camps.

The city of Maribor meanwhile opened on Thursday a book of condolences for Pahor, noting that the writer was made into a freeman of Maribor in 2010.

The honour was meant to express “gratitude and respect” to Pahor and honour his lifetime work and contribution to Slovenian culture.

The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), whose member Pahor became in 2009, has also announced its plan to hold a commemoration for the writer.