Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor has decorated four individuals for work spanning remembrance of the Holocaust, fight for the rights of the victims of war violence, and helping children with cancer.
Robert Waltl, a theatre director and leader of the Jewish Cultural Centre, received the Order of Merit for his contribution to Holocaust remembrance, the promotion of tolerance, and for his theatre work.
He breaks taboos, creates opportunities, heals human emotions and remains people of the power of remembrance, the president’s office said.
Waltl said the decoration was a recognition not just of his efforts to make life in the country better but also of “our perfect diversity, and the wish to contribute to the community with our work.”
Ivica Žnidaršič, who heads the Association of Slovenian Deportees 1941-1945, received the Order of Merit for her work on deportee rights and years of efforts to nurture a culture of remembrance, including the inception of a European Museum of Victims of Fascism and Nazism in Brestanica and numerous articles, lectures and books on the subject.
The president’s office said her effort resulted in the passage of legislation on victims of war violence that has benefited nearly 70,000 Slovenians who had been deported, describing her as “the heart, face and conscience of Slovenian deportees and refugees.”
The husband and wife team of Valerija and Ivo Čarman, founders of the Golden Bow Institute, a charity for children with cancer, received a Medal of Merit for their “generous, heartfelt and noble actions.”
They were among the first to openly speak about childhood cancer and paved the way for the eradication of prejudice, according to the president’s office.
Valerija Čarman said their motto has always been that “our heart is too great to be kept to ourselves, we can always give a piece of it to someone.”