Žilina, April 26, 2021. The non-governmental association Servare et Manere, as the responsible organization for the implementation of the international project Tree of Peace, is looking for opportunities and challenges to plant memorial trees also in the home country. Plantings in Slovakia are especially important during the pandemic period, when travel abroad is very limited. For this reason, we are trying to build cooperation with embassies accredited in the Slovak Republic.
In the summer of this year, the new Tree of Peace will be planted in Žilina, which will be dedicated to all victims of the Holocaust. The event will take place under the auspices of His Excellency Boaz Modai, Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Slovak Republic. The Žilina’s memorial tree will have a special name: The Tree of Peace to Holocaust victims. Žilina did not escape key moments in our modern history either, and unfortunately it was also the scene of these sad events. By planting a memorial tree, Servare et Manere will commemorate victims of the Holocaust not only from Žilina or Slovakia, but also all civil war victims of the European Jewish population during the WW2. About 6 million Jews were murdered during the Jewish ethnic genocide. From the territory of the then Slovak state, 68 000 to 71 000 Jews were deported to Concentration camps. These Concentration Centres have been set up for deportation from Slovakia: in Bratislava – Patrónka; Sereď – Jewish camp; Nováky – Jewish camp; Poprad – Barracks under Gerlach; Žilina – Military camp, Štefánik’s barracks. The Žilina Centre was intended for 2 500 Jews and began operating on March 21, 1942. Under the title of the Žilina Concentration Centre, there are on 92 sheets together with the appendix a list of 1 882 Jews from Žilina, including children and pensioners. The Presidium of the Ministry of the Interior abolished this centre on October 24, 1942 and leaving only the centre in Sereď and Nováky.
The Tree of Peace in Žilina will have another peculiarity. Together with Dr. Ori Fragman-Sapir from the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens we selected a kind of tree that grows naturally in Israeli nature and at the same time will be able to grow in the conditions of Žilina. The Tree of Peace in Žilina will be the second memorial tree in Žilina within this international project and in the order of the 8th Slovak Tree of Peace in general.
The main goal of the International Tree of Peace Project is the promoting a message of peace through the planting of at least one Tree of Peace on every continent. The project was originally associated with the centenary of the end of the WW1. It has since evolved to having a more general focus of promoting ideas of peace and friendship amongst nations and spreading an ecological message through the planting of trees as a symbol of peace and remembrance with a respect to nature. To date Trees of Peace have been planted in Uzbekistan, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Serbia, the United States, Russia, Poland and Austria.