One hundred years ago, Europe was caught in a storm of unimaginably devastating proportions. All it took was a small spark to ignite long-kindling tensions into the fire of a savage war that engulfed the whole world. No-one had anticipated such death and destruction. The only visionaries who had predicted the horrors were poets, such as Simon Gregorčič.
The National and University Library will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War by holding an exhibition which takes its title from a verse in Gregorčič’s poem Pri zibeli (At the Cradle). The documents kept in the Library awaken the spirit of the time through detailed military maps, the personal diaries of commanders from the front and civilians in the rear, extensive newspaper reports, the stories of fugitives, postcards, photographs, concert listings and the music of infantry regiments…These special messengers from another time are legacies of Rudolf Maister, Fran Milčinski, Anton Podbevšek, Josip Vidmar, Hinko Smrekar, Ferdo Vesel and the other creators of Slovenian cultural history, who will receive a special place in this exhibition.
Behind every document lies a story and the recognition that the world they knew had gone forever. It was torn apart by a “storm of hostility”. Despite the fact that a century has passed, a mere sight of many of these documents is still shocking.
But is that enough to keep history from being repeated?