Slovenia Celebrates Resistance Day

27. 4. 2010

Ljubljana - Slovenia is celebrating Resistance Day today, a national holiday commemorating 27 April in 1941 when an anti-imperialist front was founded in Ljubljana. The Liberation Front was founded in the house of writer and literary critic Josip Vidmar, only two weeks after Slovenia, then a part of Yugoslavia, was occupied by Nazi Germany and ten days after the Yugoslav authorities surrendered in Belgrade.

Immediately upon its founding, the Liberation Front launched a campaign to attract followers, and urged all Slovenians to rise against the enemy when the Soviet Union was attacked by the Third Reich on 22 June 1941. The front soon became popular among Slovenians and represented a solid basis for a partisan resistance movement named the National Liberation Struggle.


The founding meeting of the Liberation Front was attended by a number of people on behalf of four main founding groups, namely the Communist Party of Slovenia, the Sokoli - a gymnastic society with patriotic aspirations based on a similar Czech movement, the Christian Socialists and a group of Slovenian intellectuals. The front was active in the entire territory populated by Slovenians, including where the Slovenian ethnic minority lives in Italy, Austria and Hungary.


Its platform, which was formed as early as 1941, set down that a movement against the occupying forces had to begin at once, with the movement's liberation and unification of all Slovenians being the goal.


According to the platform, one of the front's aims was also to bring about unity of all five nations in the then Yugoslavia. Moreover, the platform said that after the country was liberated, the front would take power in Slovenia and introduce people's democracy.


Soon after being set up, the front became dominated by the Communist Party, which also "took over" the leadership of the partisan national liberation movement. All class or political opponents were denied participation in it and were labelled "enemies of the people".


Following pressure exerted by the Communist Party, three founding groups of the front - the party, the Sokoli and the Christian Socialists - adopted a joint statement in February 1943 reiterating the unity of the Liberation Front.


The statement - which has become known as the Dolomiti Declaration - in fact gave the Communist Party the leading role, while the other groups renounced their independent political activity.


The foundations of Slovenian statehood, however, were laid by the front in February 1944 when the Slovenian Liberation Council (SNOS) was set up. The council issued an act on the national government and appointed the government on 5 May 1945. A successor of the Liberation Front after WWII was the Socialist Association of Working People.


The importance of the resistance against Nazis to eventual Slovenian statehood was also emphasised in a speech Monday by Parliament Speaker Pavel Gantar, who that the front was testimony to the nation's determination to shape its own future.


"Resistance was not only a right that belonged to the people, it was also a moral responsibility. The idea of the nation disappearing was unacceptable and inconceivable.

A tacit consent to the occupation without any resistance or reflection on the consequences would mean humiliation and the loss of dignity and self-esteem," Gantar said.


Historian Janko Prunk said that Resistance Day should be celebrated by all Slovenians regardless of ideological beliefs. While also being responsible for the socialist revolution, the Liberation Front carried out important work in fighting the occupation during WWII, he stressed.


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