The past cannot be changed, but it must be remembered and learned from
Together with the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović, the President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar attended the ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of the liberation of the Italian concentration camp Kampor on the Island of Rab. In her address, the President expressed deep respect towards the memory of the past and noted the urgency of maintaining and nurturing the memory in order to ensure that the cruelties witnessed during the Second World War would not be repeated again.
Rab Island, Croatia, 9 Sep 2023
The President initially underlined that she considered her attendance at the ceremony a special honour and an expression of deep respect towards the victims of the Kampor camp and everyone who suffered the horrors of the fascist violence. She said that the site of residence, suffering and the last resting place of many people must be a permanent reminder of the unacceptability of the atrocities of war and fascist violence.
“I emphasise that human life, the life of each and every individual with no exception, is and must always be respected and invaluable. This is a standard of civilisation and a value of our existence and coexistence which must never be lost,” highlighted the President.
She recalled the courage and persistence of the internees, mostly Slovenians, Croatians and Jews, who survived the Kampor camp. Despite intolerable conditions and violence, they did not lose their spirit, but grew closer and eventually, together with the local inhabitants, expelled the occupier. According to President Pirc Musar, their struggle was a very significant indicator of unity and harmony among nations and the broader fight against evil.
The President believes that we must all confront our past, whether glorious or inglorious, in order to build upon everything that was good and never again repeat the bad things that were done to one another. “Denial of the past removes us from that. It is difficult, very difficult for me to accept that certain people actually want such denial. What is more, they want and cause great damage to their fellow human beings without shame.”
In the end, the Slovenian President expressed gratitude to the Slovenian and Croatian sides for their efforts in renovating the Kampor memorial park and war cemetery and thanked everyone who keeps the memory of the victims of war violence alive. She wished for the renovated complex to become a place of peace, comfort and meeting of the survivors, relatives and internees’ descendants, and also a symbol of persistence, perseverance, tolerance, resilience of the spirit and love for fellow human beings.
President Pirc Musar and Croatian President Milanović laid a wreath at the monument honouring the victims of the camp. The ceremony was also attended by the Slovenian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon.
- Address by the President of the Republic of Slovenia Natasa Pirc Musar on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of liberation of Kampor concentration camp (MicrosoftWord). (DOCX, 188 kB)
- Address by the President of the Republic of Slovenia Natasa Pirc Musar on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of liberation of Kampor concentration camp (PDF). (PDF, 487 kB)