From 18th to 20th of September it has been organized the 4th event of APPEACE project in Maribor (Slovenia).
The meeting has been organized by the Museum of National Liberation in Maribor in cooperation with the Drago Kobal Primary School, where the teacher Marjetka Berlič was chosen to manage the cooperation, and with the Prežihov Voranc Primary School, where project coordination was assumed by Natalija Carmona and Klavdija Šipuš.
The first working day started with the activity EDUCATE – Preparation of exhibits and materials at the Museum of National Liberation in Maribor where have been presented the exhibitions, particularly emphasising World Wars I and II. After the presentation and guided tour of the Museum, the meeting continued at the Prežihov Voranc Primary School, at the presence of pupils, the two mentors and the headmistress Janja Bukovec, as well as pupils and mentor from the Drago Kobal Primary School. Firstly there was a screening of a short film on the life in Maribor during World War II, made by a SERŠ student, Peter Berberih, to go back in time and transfer the public to the period in question.
Pupils and project participants were then split into several teams. Each primary school team consisted of two pupils from each school, whereas project participants formed a separate team. Each team was given their own task and topic, all of them related to the theme of war and children at war. Pupils were provided with original documents and object to prepare the final presentation, which had to be in the English language. The topics available were children at war, children refugees today and children soldiers today, stolen children during World War II, illegal children, children from Petriček Hill, children of internment, etc. The way that each group decided to present the topic depended on themselves entirely, which meant that children were able to use their imagination.
Project participants, on the other hand, were given a special task: we had to use the materials given to construct a villa for all of us to live in. We were divided into three groups: the yellow team had all the rights, the blue team were subordinated to the yellow team, yet they retained some of the rights, whereas the red team had no rights at all and had to follow the instructions provided by the yellow and blue teams. They weren’t even allowed to talk within the team. The aim was to experience discrimination and non-verbal communication for ourselves.
The results of pupils’ efforts were exceptional. Based on the topics given, they prepared outstanding presentations. They were creating posters, writing poems, painting and drawing, making their presentations in the English language. Project participants were in agreement about Natalija Carmona and Klavdija Šipuš having prepared really informative and interesting lessons.
In the afternoon, the event continued at the Military Museum of the Slovenian Armed Forces, with a tour of the exhibitions by Mladen Horvat and the participation of the Head of the Museum, Major Zvezdan Markovič. In the Museum, a special emphasis was given on the Slovenian Independence War. At the end of the day there was a visit to the Pobrežje cemetery, to honour the memory of General Rudolf Meister, victims of World Wars I and II, and also lit a candle at the memorial to the Soviet victims of Stalag XVIII D and at the peace memorial. The first day’s programme was concluded by visiting the building that once hosted the Stalag XVIII D camp for prisoners of war.
The following day the event continued the activity Suggestion of the places, tour and itinerant focus on the scene of the Battle of Pohorje. The activities have been conducted in Osankarica, with the presence of representatives of Slovenian Armed Forces. At the exhibition on the Pohorje Battalion, the pupils of Drago Kobal Primary School presented an excellent programme, talking of the final days of soldiers from the Pohorje Battalion and their final battle. The pupils and project participants also joined their voices in song, which resounded across Osankarica.
As planned it was also organized the visit to the site of the final battle of the Pohorje Battalion. Standing by the monument and listening to the song Počivaj jezero v tihoti, it was possible to lit candles and laid a wreath, and the children decorated the monument with stones, on which they had written their names.
Later on, at the exhibition space, there was a screening of a film on the Pohorje Battalion and a workshop for children to compose a draft peace manifesto.
In the evening it was organized a workshop called “Spend the night in the museum” .This is a special programme, which the National Liberation Museum has been organising for a number of years. It is an attempt to teach children some history, while also bringing them closer to the museum and its main task – protection of cultural heritage. This workshop was based on the Circle of Violence. Headed by the museum curator Uroš Dokl, it was possible to learn on how to transform conflicts, how to learn from history, to create links within the group and seek solutions to problems that they encountered on their path. As the strenuous evening programme ended, the participants slept in the museum and in the morning said their goodbyes, full of fond memories.
During the last day, there was a tour of Maribor monuments (Volkmerjev prehod, Meister, a memorial to hostages, a National Liberation Struggle memorial…), after which there was the event celebrating the European Heritage Days at the National Liberation Museum Maribor. This year’s topic being celebrations, Maribor prepared costumed presentations of Slovenian celebrations in the past, be it of national, religious or personal importance.