Back in 2017, I went to see the monodrama The Jewish Dog (written by Asher Krawitz and performed brilliantly by Miha Rodman) in Mini Theater. Apparently, this performance was a part of their program for students, which came with a bit of a foreword by the theater’s director Robert Waltl. The topic being the holocaust in Slovenia. He fittingly noted how Slovenians, especially younger generations, are rarely aware of the fact, that this horrific act is not just something that happened elsewhere, but something that also took part on our ground. There were around 160 Jews in Slovenia before World War II but the number increased to 1,000 later on as they migrated to Slovenia looking for safety in Italian occupied Ljubljana. Sadly, the majority was exterminated after Italy surrendered and the Nazis took over.
Connected to raising awareness on this issue is an international art piece by German artist Gunter Demnig. Stolpersteine or Stumbling Blocks are concrete cubes with brass plates on which the names of Jewish victims are inscribed. Being paved into the floor outside of their former residence these commemorative bits are easy to miss, despite being widely spread all around Europe and Russia. There have been over 70,000 of them laid in more than 1,200 cities, with the first ones in Slovenia being installed in 2012 and new ones being added later on.
So while having the loveliest of time in our beautiful capital, please remember also that not all that sparkles is gold when you stumble across an unusually inscribed cobblestone.