Topolšica – Victory Day was marked on Monday in the town of Topolšica, some 50 km north-east of Ljubljana, which was one of the five places in Europe where the allies made the German armed forces sign unconditional surrender in 1945. President Borut Pahor said at the event that Victory Day and Europe Day are more connected than one might think.
Seventy-seven years ago, the forces of good defeated the forces of evil, and Slovenia was among the forces of good, Pahor said in his keynote address.
Stressing that “we must cherish the memory of the fact that we were on the winning side”, the president said that the “glorious Partisan movement celebrated a great success in 1945”.
Noting that debates on Slovenia’s recent history are still alive, Pahor said: “We were on the right side of history when humanity reached a moral low, even if not everyone remembers WWII in the same way. It was on its ruins that the idea grew of never having wars again.” However, after WWII, we experienced things that we cannot be proud of, Pahor added.
The president highlighted the importance of the European idea, which has shown its full value for humanity by safeguarding peace and prosperity. “Peace, freedom and security must be safeguarded,” said Pahor.
Šoštanj Mayor Darko Menih said that one should never forget the horrors of WWII or the horrors of the war in Ukraine, and should present them to generations to come.
Velenje Mayor Peter Dermol meanwhile believes that the entire Slovenian politics should declare Topolšica a special place.
In was here that German Air Force commander Aleksander Löhr signed the capitulation of the German forces for SE Europe on 9 May 1945 after a whole day of negotiations.
Pahor, Menih, Dermol and Topolšica local community head Petra Lipičnik also laid a wreath at the memorial to local hostages and fighters against fascism during WWII.
Earlier in the day, Pahor attended an EU-related event with children in Celje, stressing that both Victory Day and Europe Day should be celebrated with joy and enthusiasm, yet with Ukraine in mind and with the hope that the country would become part of the EU in the future.