Maribor, 12. June (STA) – A documentary event dedicated to former Slovenian industrial giant TAM will be held in Maribor, the European Capital of Culture, on Friday and Sunday to honour the legendary vehicles maker and its workers.
The event, organised by the Maribor cultural association KUD Borza, will take place in what used to be TAM’s boiler room. The authors of the show entitled “Was ist Maribor?” (What is Maribor?) are actor Aljoša Ternovšek, directors Sebastijan Horvat and Matjaž Latin, and choreographer and performer Andreja Kopač.
Ternovšek told a press conference in Maribor on Tuesday that the ceremony was to highlight the heyday of the collapsed giant and pay tribute to the last key element of Maribor’s identity which had been formed around the company in the second half of the 20th century.
“The identity of Maribor after WWII is a story about the rise and fall of one of the biggest and the most successful companies of former Yugoslavia and the first burden of the new country of Slovenia, which was unable to carry it so it sacrificed it,” Ternovšek said.
With the collapse of TAM, Maribor lost the identity as a workers’ city and has failed to find a new one so far, he added.
The ceremony will be divided in two parts to be followed be an epilogue, Latin noted. The first part will show TAM’s history from its beginnings through numerous footages and interviews with workers until the late 1980s, when first problems and strikes started.
The second part will bring a discussion on the reasons for the collapse of the factory in the 1990s.
The company was founded in July 1941 by military prisoners and Maribor’s inhabitants, because the German military industry needed an aircraft-parts factory. Soon after the war, the Yugoslav government decided to convert the works to vehicle production and rename the company Maribor Tezno Automobile Factory.
After Slovenia gained independence, TAM was transformed into a holding owned by its subsidiaries. Four years later, on 2 June 1996, the company went into receivership and the process has not been concluded until this day.
Ternovšek sees the collapse of TAM as a clash between the socialist and neoliberal ideologies, a battle for political dominance. “TAM was a state within a state. It had everything and was practically self-sufficient. It had its own security service, territorial defence, arsenal, cafeterias, apartments and holiday houses,” he noted.