During World War II, Maribor and its surrounding regions saw the rise of significant resistance movements. Slovenia, inclusive of Maribor, was unique in Europe as it was directly annexed by the Axis powers – Germany, Italy, and Hungary. Consequently, the Slovene Partisans, a formidable resistance movement, was born.

The Slovene Partisans were a branch of the larger Yugoslav Partisan resistance movement, orchestrated by the Communist Party. Maribor emerged as a vital hub of Partisan activity, particularly post-1941. The Maribor Uprising in July 1941 marked one of the initial organized resistance actions in Slovenia during the global conflict.

These resistance fighters engaged in assorted forms of guerrilla warfare against the occupying forces, including sabotage of infrastructure, attacks on transport and communication routes, and assassinations of top-ranking officials. The Partisans also put together a parallel government structure and enacted mass mobilization efforts to defy the occupation.

Given Maribor’s strategic importance, it was heavily fortified and defended by the Nazis, thereby making it a prime target for the Partisans. This situation sparked brutal retaliations from the Nazis, such as mass shootings and deportations.

Towards the end of the war in 1945, with the backing of the Allied forces, the Partisans succeeded in liberating Maribor from Nazi control. Today, the Slovene Partisan resistance during World War II is celebrated as an integral part of Slovenia’s national history and identity.

Partisans hiding in Pohorje forest