A slideshow of photos of our visit can be found by following the link labeled “Ljubljana photos, June 2017” in the right-hand menu.
Towards the end of 2016 a Google search for “50th anniversary of the 1966 Ljubljana air crash” returned a summary of an article on the Ljubljana Airport website concerning a ceremony to unveil a memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary at the crash site at Brnik. Digging a bit deeper I found the following article on the same website:
The name and email address of Brigita Zorec, the Head of Corporate Communications at the Airport, are given at the top of the above page. I emailed her, explaining who I was and why I was contacting her. This was the start of a very fruitful email conversation, despite the fact that she told me, when we eventually met, that she had initially thought my email to be a hoax.
Brigita was wonderful. She sent me electronic newspaper cuttings of articles, photos and links to a Slovenian television web site that had shown the unveiling ceremony. The TV report also contains archive footage of the immediate aftermath of the crash that I had never seen.
Brigita offered to take me to the memorial when I visited Ljubljana. She also put me in contact with Marko Ličina at the National Museum of Contemporary History in Ljubljana. More about that on the page The Museum of Contemporary History.
Brigita did one other wonderful thing for me: she put me in touch with Professors Metka Derganc and Igor Ravnik who, as two junior doctors in 1966, had volunteered to work with the survivors. Metka Derganc is the daughter of Professor Mirko Derganc who treated and coordinated the treatment of the survivors. See the page Meeting the doctors for more information about this meeting.
On June 22nd 2017 I, accompanied by my wife Audrey, flew to Ljubljana. I was extremely nervous about this as it was the first time I had returned since the crash. The primary purpose of the trip was to visit the memorial to honour my father and two sisters who had died. However, it turned into something so much more than this. It was a very moving and therapeutic experience for both of us.
NOTE: The title of the Television website article, in Slovenian, is “50 let od največje letalske nesreče pri nas na Brniku odkrili spomenik”. If you copy and paste this into Google the article, in Slovenian, is the top result. There is a link next to it to enable you to translate the page into English before displaying. In general, if you find a document written in Slovenian, copying and pasting text into Google will help you find relevant web pages.