Writer Boris Pahor laid to rest in Trieste

Trieste – Several hundred people gathered at St Ana’s Cemetery in Trieste on Tuesday to lay to rest Boris Pahor, one of the greatest Slovenian writers. Pahor was paid respects by several Slovenian politicians and other public figures, who highlighted the high moral and ethical standards of the writer and witness to all three totalitarianisms.

Many of his compatriots from Slovenia and Italy came to pay their respects to the writer already in the morning when they signed a book of condolences at his coffin.

“We have lost a great man, a great Slovenian, a Trieste citizen, a European,” said Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon, who attended the funeral service together with Culture Minister Asta Vrečko and Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar.

Arčon also underlined Pahor’s message to resist injustice and unconditionally support coexistence and love.

Eugen Bavčar, a France-based Slovenian philosopher credited with Pahor’s novel Necropolis about his Nazi concentration camp experience being published in French in 1990, was also there, and so were Trieste-based writer Miroslav Košuta, ex-Culture Minister Jožef Školč and Slovenian People’s Party (SLS) leader Marjan Podobnik.

During the Mass, which was attended by Trieste Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, priest Karel Bolčina said that Pahor was “a patriarch and a patriot, a great humanist and a prophet, a man with a capital M”.

He compared Pahor to the biblical Job, saying that as “a great witness of the tragedies of the last century”, Pahor wrote about his disappointment and hope, suffering and redemption, bitterness and consolation.

Senator Tatjana Rojc, a member of the Slovenian minority, said on the sidelines that Pahor’s national consciousness should be understood in the spirit of poet Srečko Kosovel, that is in the sense that we are all Europeans but should not forget our national identity.

Pahor (1913-2022) was born into a Slovenian family in Trieste while the city was still part of the Hapsburg Empire and witnessed the rise of Fascism in Italy later on.

Just before he turned 7, he saw the Fascists burn down National Hall, the cultural and political hub for Slovenians in Trieste, which the minority received back 100 years after the arson.

He joined the Liberation Front-led resistance movement during WWII, but the Nazi authorities sent him to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in 1944, from where we was deported to several other camps.

Pahor dedicated his life to warning about the threat of Fascism, Nazism and Communism. He has received many awards for his books, including the Prešeren Prize, the highest accolade for Slovenian artists, as well as Slovenia and France’s state decorations.