Memorial Site Peace be with you at St. Stanislav’s Institution

Blessing of the memorial
Blessing of the memorial site

If these become silent, the stones will cry out (Lk 19,40)

St. Stanislav’s Institution endured bright and dark moments in the history of the 20th century. Its creative life was first interrupted by WWI, when a large area of the building was turned into an army hospital. During WWII there was first a Nazi camp to assemble Slovenes who were to be expelled from the homeland, and immediately after the war the institution served as a concentration camp for the extermination of anticommunists. Most of the prisoners were taken to Kočevski Rog or other massacre sites in Slovenia. St. Stanislav’s Institution has thus become on several occasions a place of extreme human suffering. The memorial site Peace be with you honours all victims who suffered in this place. Visitors are invited to embrace silence, consider the respectful memory of the victims and refrain from any hatred and violence.

The memorial consists of seven stone blocks, which like the prisoners who occupied this space seventy years ago lie scattered over the entire area of St. Stanislav’s Institution. Five blocks can be found in the park and on green lawns, one is at the forum, and one is in the main building. The stone blocks are reminiscent of ruins, the ones in the park of nameless graves. Instead of names, the words Peace be with you (3 Jn 1,15), are engraved in the languages of those who suffered while here or after they were taken to execution. Are the seven stones actually seven graves? Are the engraved words possibly the voice of the dead, coming from the grave, or are these the words through which I would, if I could, talk to my dead brother? The memorial epitomizes Jesus’ answer to the question, how many times I shall forgive?: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Peace be with you was designed by architect Robert Dolinar in 2015 to comemmorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI and 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. The commemorative year was observed in St. Stanislav’s Institution under the motto: “I am here to love, not hate.”