National Hall in Trieste returned to Slovene ownership

On 13 July 1920, Italian fascists burned down the Slovene National Hall in Trieste, a prelude to the persecution and assimilation of the Slovene minority under Mussolini. Now Italy has returned the building to Slovene ownership and Presidents Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella made a joint visit to nearby monuments. Will this bring the two sides any further in their difficult confrontation with the past?

Open/close all quotes
La Stampa (IT) /

A gesture of pan-European significance

La Stampa approves of the two presidents holding hands during their commemoration:

“The image harks back to the gesture made by Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand in Verdun in 1984, a symbol not only of the peace between Germany and France after the tragic events of the First and Second World Wars, but also of the firm intention to continue the European project and to place it above national divisions and resentment. ... The gesture of Mattarella and Pahor expresses - more than any words or expressions of intent - a renewed desire to bring their nations closer together to affirm the values of the European Union and to strengthen the solidarity of countries in the fight against the pandemic, the economic crisis and social inequality.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

A sad compromise

Slovenia and Italy still have a long way to go in terms of confronting the past, writes Dnevnik:

“Italy and Slovenia have a similar problem with history. We too cannot accept the horrors of the post-war massacres, or extricate the memory of them from the historical context before and after they occurred. But if even a century after the first fascist crimes and seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War, all we Slovenes and Italians can do is admit that we still cannot face the crimes of our antecedents, we are all pitiable. Laying the wreath for the Slovenian and Italian victims was a big step for diplomacy. But just a small one for humanity.”

Primorske novice (SI) /

A gesture that carries risks

Primorske novice wonders whether the gesture of Slovenian President Borut Pahor might encourage Italian historical revisionism:

“Will Italian public opinion and politics end up turning the Slovenians and Slovenia into fools? Will only Pahor's tribute to the Italian victims be recorded, and will this be the starting point for new ideological views? The answer to this question does not depend solely on the Italians. Will this government and future Slovenian governments persist in urging their neighbours to implement the commitment that has now been signed? And will Matarella's tribute to the heroes of Bazovica be stressed often enough? Or will we be content with our flag waving smaller in the background? And blame it on the big and the strong?”