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Learning history in the field

IT MAKES a difference whether history is learned from textbooks or by visiting actual places where the described historic events really took place. Slovak students and other visitors were able to experience the difference on October 27 and 28 while attending the commemoration of the 70th anniversary – organised by the French Embassy – of the Slovak National Uprising in Strečno. In this region, French partisans joined the Slovak revolt against the Nazi-satellite Slovak State.

The ruin of the Strečno Castle offers a view of the area where fighting took place.(Source: Courtesy of the French Embassy)

IT MAKES a difference whether history is learned from textbooks or by visiting actual places where the described historic events really took place. Slovak students and other visitors were able to experience the difference on October 27 and 28 while attending the commemoration of the 70th anniversary – organised by the French Embassy – of the Slovak National Uprising in Strečno. In this region, French partisans joined the Slovak revolt against the Nazi-satellite Slovak State.

The French Embassy reached for this way of lecturing – known as staff ride – when recalling fights which took place close to Strečno and in which French partisans participated.

“We tried to recall this event and make it a bit more concrete,” French Ambassador Didier Lopinot said during the event. “It is to better understand with what difficulties French partisans coped.”

The lecture took place at the tower of the ruins of the Strečno castle, which provides a view over the terrain where the fights took place.

During the fights at Strečno between August 30 and September 4, 1944, French soldiers who escaped from German captivity fought together with Slovaks to slow the advance of German troops via Strečianska Úžina (the Strečno Pass) onto Banská Bystrica. About 200 French soldiers participated, of whom 56 died and 45 were wounded, the French Embassy writes on its website.

The French Embassy organised the event in cooperation with the Slovak Army, the Museum of the Slovak National Museum in Banská Bystrica, the Historical Institute of the French Defence Ministry, the Slovak Military Historical Institute and others.

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Topic: Foreigners in Slovakia


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