TIGR Primorske association sees history distorted at state ceremony

Sežana – An association fostering memory of the anti-Fascist underground organisation has distanced itself from the state Resistance Day ceremony at a monument to three TIGR members, which they see as distortion of history.

In a written protest issued on Friday, TIGR Primorske said the 27 April ceremony in Mala Gora near Ribnica in the south of the country did not pay due tribute to those who made a decisive contribution to the World War II victory on Slovenian soil.

The association was bothered that “not a word” was said about the special status of Primorska, Slovenia’s western region, under Fascist Italy where the “flame of resistance” was ignited as early as 13 July in Trieste, or about the Liberation Front and its values, or the Partisan resistance, which also involved TIGR members.

“The keynote speaker did not have the courage or permission and feared saying out loud who were the winners on Slovenian soil in World War II,” said the association, referring to Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, a member of the junior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC).

They said it was not true that the clash of Mala Gora was the first armed clash with the occupying forces on Slovenian soil in WWII or that three TIGR members clashed with 34 Italian soldiers.

The association said the TIGR members were ambushed in Mala Gora on 13 May 1941 by a patrol comprising four Italian carabinieri and three local gendarmes, joined after a few hours by a larger Italian military unit.

The local gendarmes were “nothing but home collaborationists”, the association said, adding the event could justifiably be considered “the first armed attack by home collaborationists on Slovenian resistance, in this case TIGR”.

The association quotes two historians, including Tone Ferenc, who in his book on TIGR operations in Austria and Italy in the spring of 1940, says that the clash was preceded by betrayal because “local farmers informed the carabinieri in Ribnica about the presence of subversive elements”.

Meanwhile, an association called Slovenski TIGR 13. Maj defended the 27 April ceremony as being of “high quality and pluralist such as TIGR always was” and a decent tribute to the organisation. They also supported efforts to designate 13 May as holiday in memory of TIGR.