STA, 27 January 2019 - Slovenia is marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with events coming up in Ljubljana, Lendava and Ptuj today after having already been held around the country earlier this week. University professor Maca Jogan says that remembering Holocaust is important for distinguishing between the perpetrators and victims.
Jogan, professor emeritus from the University in Ljubljana who was the keynote speaker at a memorial ceremony in Ljubljana's Kino Šiška last Sunday, told the STA that equalising the perpetrators with those who suffered under them and fought against them needed to end.
The line between the two sides is being blurred in Slovenia since the 1990s by "all sorts of quasi journalists and then politicians", who wrap it in the language of tolerance.
"Anti-Semitism (with Jews as target) has been replaced in Slovenia in the last three decades with anticommunism (with Partisans as targets and perceived as criminals)," Jogan said.
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This also explains the results of an Eurobarometer survey published earlier this week, which showed that in Slovenia "only" 12% of respondents see anti-Semitism as a problem, while in the EU the share stands at about 50%.
The current situation should be addressed through education and remembrance of concrete victims, concrete perpetrators and concrete circumstances that had led to the crimes of Holocaust. "These were not just political or ideological, there was a big industry behind it."
In education, the danger is to reduce the Holocaust to the suffering of Jews and the Roma, Jogan said, pointing to Italy, where they spoke only of the crimes of Germans against Italians.
She also noted that a number of indicators showed that Israel was monopolising the right to Holocaust remembrance. "This is not acceptable, because overall the number of Jewish victims was lower than of all other victims combined."
In Slovenia, a series of cultural and educational events remembering Holocaust victims is held in January every year.
President Borut Pahor labelled the Second World War the "biggest aberration from moral standards in human history" as he addressed the main ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Maribor on Friday.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the genocide by the Nazi regime and its collaborators which resulted in the deaths of an estimated six million Jewish people, five million Slavs, thousands of Roma people, thousands of mentally and physically disabled people, and thousands homosexuals.
Some 63,000 Slovenians were taken to Nazi and Fascist concentration camps during the Second World War and 12,000 of them never returned home.
27 January commemorates the day when Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.
Between 1.1 and 1.5 million people, Jews and members of 26 other nations, mostly Slavic, including 1,700 Slovenians, died in Auschwitz during the war either in gas chambers or during scientific experiments.
The UN declared 27 January International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005 and Slovenia has been observing it since 2008.
On the global level, this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked by calls for human rights protection.