STA, 5 September 2020 - President Borut Pahor and his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović attended on Saturday a memorial ceremony honouring the victims of the Fascist concentration camp Kampor on Rab island.
According to Pahor's office, this was the first time that the two countries' presidents attend the annual event together.
Prior to the ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Kampor, Pahor and Milanović laid a wreath to the monument of the victims of the camp, known as one of the most notorious Fascist camps in the Second World War.
Pahor wrote that the joint gesture "symbolised the importance of friendship and a shared awareness of the need to preserve memory, which should also serve as a warning".
"The decision to come to Rab and bow the the victims of the Italian concentration camp Kampor together with Croatian President and friend Zoran Milanović was urgent and simple", he said.
Predsednika sta položila venec k spomeniku žrtvam italijanskega fašističnega terorja Kampor. To je prvič, da sta se slovenski in hrvaški predsednik skupaj poklonila spominu na žrtve taborišča Kampor. pic.twitter.com/B6PDjLAWDp— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) September 5, 2020
Pahor added that on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War he wanted to personally and on behalf of Slovenia honour the memory of the victims of the camp that saw so many people suffer and die.
He warned that "any form of intolerance and hatred begins with words and small actions, with small evil gestures that grow into serious evil before most people even realise it. This is how it came to Fascism, which showed its face here on Rab".
According to the Slovenian president, European peace is based on reconciliation between two of the biggest opponents, the German and French people. This reconciliation is also the cornerstone of today's EU, "an alliance where we want to achieve a better life, while it is still and always will be above all a project of peace".
Some 15,000 Croats, Slovenians and Jews, including about 1,200 children, experienced the horrors of the camp in the 14 months and a half of its operation. Croatian sources suggest at least a fifth of all internees died there because of abuse, famine and disease.
Pahor and Milanović also used the opportunity for bilateral talks to "continue and reaffirm the good and friendly cooperation between the two countries", the president's office said.
Milanović picked Slovenia for his first trip abroad after his appointment at the beginning of the year. He held a working meeting with Pahor in Otočec at the end of February.
The presidents also held talks in Ptuj in mid-May after Milanović laid a wreath to the victims of post-war killings in Maribor's Dobrava cemetery.