At a ceremony hosted by Zvolen Castle in Slovakia on Thursday, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis decorated two Slovakian war veterans that fought alongside Romanian soldiers to free Czechoslovakia in 1944-1945.
A Military Virtue National Order in rank of Officer with military insignia was awarded to Juraj Penicka, 91, and to Melicher, 92, direct combatants in the national liberation battles.
Iohannis also bestowed a For Merit National Order in rank of Knight on Pavel Nigrini – an employee of the Slovakian Association of Anti-Fascist Combatants of Zvolen and on Deputy Chairman of the ASLA-SZPB organisation of Zvolen, a former multi-annual president, and a Cultural Merit Order in rank of Officer for National Heritage on the Regional Committee of ASLA-SZPB, represented by its chairman Dusan Sablatura.
“By the decorations bestowed today I wanted to reward the merits for the preservation of the memory of the Romanian Army soldiers, your devotion in time to the maintenance of the Romanian soldiers’ monuments and tombs who found eternal rest on the soil of Slovakia, at the Romanian Military Cemetery of Zvolen, as well as your merits in the partisan fights which took place as the National Slovakian Insurrection and to the memory of solidarity with the Romanian Army,” said Iohannis, according to Agerpres.
He voiced Romanians’ gratitude for the dedication and care of Slovakian authorities, citizens and veterans in honouring the memory of the Romanian soldiers who died on the battleground 70 years ago.
“Today, we are undertaking full responsibility to treasure and honour the sacrifice of these heroes. The responsibility to preserve confidence and faith in free and democratic world is incumbent on us, along with bringing our own contribution to the promotion of the values of freedom and peace,” said Iohannis.
Also attending the decoration ceremony were Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska and Mayor of Zvolen, Lenka Balkovicova.
On Thursday, Iohannis laid a wreath at the Romanian Military Cemetery of Zvolen, the site of 11,000 Romanian soldiers’ tombs who died in the battle to liberate Czechoslovakia in WWII. Kiska attended the ceremony as well.
“I felt a strong emotion going to the Romanian-Slovakian Military cemetery, where 11,000 Romanian troops are resting in peace,” said Iohannis.
Iohannis on Wednesday and Thursday paid an official visit to Slovakia. On the first day, he met his Slovakian counterpart, the Slovakian prime minister and the chairman of Slovakia’s National Council, as well as Romanian young people working in Slovakia.