The Maribor Uprising, also known as the April Uprising, was a significant event in Maribor’s history and marked the beginning of active resistance against Axis occupation during World War II in Slovenia.

After the Axis Powers invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, Slovenia was partitioned amongst Germany, Italy, and Hungary. Maribor and Lower Styria were annexed by Nazi Germany, marking the beginning of a brutal period of German occupation. The Germans pursued a policy of Germanization, including forced resettlement of the Slovene population, confiscation of property, cultural repression, and severe political repression.

On 27th April 1941, within weeks of the German annexation, the people of Maribor rose up against the occupiers. This uprising, which involved a significant portion of the city’s population, was a response to the forced resettlement of thousands of Maribor’s residents, as well as broader resentment against the Nazi regime.

Unthinkable to the Nazi authorities, a daring act of resistance took place just three days after Hitler’s visit. On April 29th, 1941, a group of young Slovenians orchestrated a daring act of sabotage in the heart of occupied Maribor. In the quiet early morning hours, two German official cars were set ablaze near the Zamorec Hotel.

The audacious act, meticulously planned, involved the young rebels – Avgust Greif, Bojan Ilich, Ljubo Tarkuš, and their trusted comrades. The act was carried out despite the city being under a tense and heightened state of Nazi surveillance. The swift and forceful German response saw mass arrests and the introduction of curfew.

The rebel heroes, their identities hidden, suffered harsh consequences. Many, including Ilich and Greif, were captured and executed within months. Yet, their courageous act lived on, marking the first act of rebellion in Slovenia during the Nazi occupation. Despite their loss, their act of defiance had ignited the Slovenian resistance, creating a legacy of courage that still resonates today.

The date of the Maribor Uprising, 27th April, is now commemorated as Resistance Day, a national holiday in Slovenia. This day is dedicated to remembering the resistance fighters and the sacrifices made during World War II.

The Maribor Uprising thus holds a significant place in Maribor’s, and Slovenia’s, history. It symbolizes the courage and determination of the Slovene people in the face of brutal occupation and is a source of national pride and remembrance.

Maribor Uprising