Milwaukee – Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch is wrapping up her multi-day tour of the Slovenian communities in the United States by meeting Americans of Slovenian descent in Illinois, after she visited on Friday the federal state of Wisconsin, a home to around 6,500 people of Slovenian descent.
During her stop in Milwaukee the minister met Christina Carroll, the president of the Slovenian Arts Council, and visited the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Golda Meir Library.
The library keeps a Slovenian musicological collection with more than 2,000 sheets of music by Slovenian composers, and vinyl records and CDs of Slovenian music ranging polka to contemporary compositions.
One of the biggest collections of Slovenian music materials outside Slovenia, the collection has been acquired primarily through the Library’s Frank and Mary Ermenc Endowment. The couple founded a memorial fund in 1981, donating 100,000 US dollars for the Slovenian music collection and US$50,000 for promotion of Slovenian music.
Jaklitsch also visited Triglav Park, a resort near Milwaukee established by Slovenian immigrants 60 years ago and run by members of the Slovenian cultural association Triglav Milwauke. The park includes a multi-purpose hall with a chapel, several holiday homes and a small lake next to a miniature church.
Members of Triglav Milwauke and other Slovenian associations gathered for a ceremony to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence and 60th anniversary of Triglav Park.
The minister thanked them for remaining faithful to their Slovenian identity and Slovenia and for their exceptional contribution to Slovenia’s recognition as an independent country 30 years ago.
The minister congratulated the Slovenian Arts Council on its 35 years of operations and presented Triglav Park on its 60th anniversary with a recognition of the Office for Slovenians Abroad and with a Slovenian flag and an inscription by Slovenian President Borut Pahor.
The minister started her ten-day visit in Cleveland, Ohio, on 16 September, by attending a major ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, which is also the main theme of her tour of the US.
The minister also visited Slovenian communities in New York and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where about seven thousand Slovenians, mainly from the Prekmurje region, had settled in the past, and which still has strong ties to the region and its twin city Murska Sobota.
She then travelled on to Indianapolis in Indiana to visit a former parish of St Trinity and the National Home and meet members of the Slovenian community. She was in Joliet in Illinois on Saturday and will conclude her tour in Lemont on Sunday. Both are towns with strong Slovenian communities.