Pahor visits Auschwitz-Birkenau museum

Warsaw – On the last day of his visit to Poland, President Borut Pahor visited on Saturday the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to get acquainted with the state of play regarding the renovation of Block 17, where an exhibition on Slovenian internees will be set up, and to lay a wreath at the commemorative plaque.

This comes after Pahor met his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Friday. At the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site, he was received by the museum’s director Piotr Cywinski and Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation director general Wojciech Soczewica, the president’s office said.

Pahor toured the museum complex and the premises of the former Nazi concentration camp, where 2,342 internees from Slovenia were imprisoned during the Nazi Germany period, and 1,331 of them died there. He also laid a wreath at the memorial plaque, which since 2008 also bears an inscription in the Slovenian language.

Moreover, he toured the premises that will host an exhibition by the successor states of the former Yugoslavia and was informed about the state of play regarding the renovation of Block 17, where a permanent exhibition on the Slovenian internees will be put on show.

“We are striving to open an exhibition in Block 17 to commemorate the victims, honour their memory and at the same time remind everyone that something like this must never happen again,” he said.

Recently, at Pahor’s initiative, the government adopted an initiative to reach an agreement on the financing of the re-establishment of a joint permanent exhibition in Block 17 of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum.

The president lauded the government’s decision as an important step towards an appropriate commemoration of the Slovenian internees. He said he was committed to help ensure that the other successor states would also endorse the agreement.

The first permanent exhibition on the suffering of the Yugoslav prisoners of Auschwitz was set up in 1963. Known as the Yugoslav Pavilion, its venue occupied the first floor of Block 17, but was closed in 2009 after years of disagreements and unsuccessful attempts to regulate relations between the successor states of the former Yugoslavia.