ALL SOULS’ Day was commemorated one day early, on November 1, at the World War I military cemetery in the Petržalka borough of Bratislava. The Petržalka Beautification Society organised a solemn event at the Petržalka-Kopčany cemetery to remember the 331 soldiers who are buried there. The schedule of the event, which began at 14:00 included laying a memorial wreath on the central cross and the performance of the C and k. (i.e. Austro-Hungarian Empire’s) brass chamber orchestra, which was dressed symbolically in uniforms of the Austrian army in the First World War.
The orchestra’s pieces included Prayer before Battle, an official military composition which used to be performed at field masses before units were sent to the front, as well as the funeral song of the Italian army, I Used to Have a Friend, Ernest Huska, vice-chair of the society, informed the TASR newswire. He added that the reason for the Italian song was because there were two Italian soldiers buried at the Kopčany cemetery. Several prominent guests, both Slovak and foreign, took part in the ceremony.
“We continue the tradition with a memorial ceremony that takes place for the seventh time; the tradition that existed between 1921 and 1938 and that was then abruptly halted by World War II and the following years of totalitarianism and disinterest,” Huska concluded. At the Petržalka-Kopčany cemetery, soldiers of nine nationalities of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy are buried, as well as prisoners of war who died of injuries or illnesses in Bratislava in the years 1917-1918.