Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor received on Tuesday representatives of three associations of German speaking communities in Slovenia. They presented their status to the president and the problems they face.
Tit Turnšek from the Umbrella Organisation of Cultural Associations of the German-Speaking Community, Veronika Haring and Jan Schaller from the Maribor-based cultural association of German speaking women Mostovi, and the head of the Gottschee Germans Association from the Kočevje area, Marjan Štangelj, presented the German speaking communities and their problems to the president.
They agreed that a lot more could be done for the communities within the current constitutional framework, Pahor’s office said in a press release.
Pahor is to present these opportunities in more detail at the upcoming annual meeting of Umbrella Organisation of Cultural Associations of the German-Speaking Community. In particular, he will call for systemic financing of activities that help preserve the identity of this community, the president’s office said.
The German-speaking community in Slovenia mostly lives in the Štajerska region in the north-east, in the towns of Maribor, Celje, Ptuj, and Apače, in the Kočevje area in the south, and in Ljubljana, says on the website of the Austrian Embassy.
The Germans settled in the Kočevje region in the 14th century and remained there until the Second World War. In 1870, some 26,500 Gottschee Germans lived in the region, according to their association.
They mostly resettled due to the 1930s recession and repatriation efforts by the Nazis during the war. The vast majority of Gottschee Germans and their descendants now live in the US.
The Mostovi association was founded in Maribor in 2000 to nurture the language and culture of the German-speaking citizens and strive for the recognition of the German minority in Slovenia.
Just like the Gottschee Germans Association, it is part of the Umbrella Organisation of Cultural Associations of the German-Speaking Community, which unites seven associations with over 1,500 members, according to the Austrian Embassy.
In 2001, Slovenia and Austria signed an agreement on culture that was the first bilateral agreement mentioning the German-speaking community in Slovenia, Mostovi says on its website.