SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Dr. Pivko Ljudevit, soldier, trainer, politician and writer for Slovenian cause

A falcon, carved in an upright tombstone, is a symbol of the rise in physical, mental and moral field. It is also a symbol of a society, which has played an important role in shaping Slovenian national consciousness and in battles for the Northern border, in which it was decided further fate of Maribor. With this symbol the life story of Dr. Ljudevit Pivko is also marked. A doctor of Slavic and German language, a prolific writer, patriot, active member of the Sokol (falcon in English l.) movement in Maribor and an important person in dramatic historical events.

In 1861 the monarch Franz Joseph I legislated the right to establish associations of non-German nations of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Next year in Prague the first Slavic Sokol Association was founded. The idea of Sokol was spreading rapidly in Slovenia. At the end of 19th century, there were 10 active Sokol associations in Slovenia, but not in Maribor. Here a strong German national movement was preventing the foundation of the association. The predominant influence of the Germans in the city is reflected in the fact that until 1918, out of a total of 25 newly established societies only 3 were Slovenian.

One of these was the Sokol Association Maribor (Sokolsko društvo Maribor), founded on 24. March 1907 in Narodni dom. The inaugural meeting was also attended by Dr. Ljudevit Pivko. The previous year he settled in Maribor, when he get job of a teacher - trainee at the Classical gymnasium Maribor. Soon after the founding association Pivko became a coach for gymnastics, between the years 1909-1911 secretary and in the 1911-1914 period the elder of association.

It was his idea to establish the association library as a means to strengthen national consciousness. Before the World War I Pivko already suceeded in establishing himself as a prolific writer. In his works nationalistic Slovenian topics dominate (A Brief History of the Slovenian nation, Sixty years of work in Slovenian politics etc.). Pivko also published a professional guide for physical education ("Gymnastic Games I and II.").

During World War I, Pivko established himself as a fearless commander of patriots and an outstanding strategist. In 1917 in Carzano, he organized the transition of a greater part of Austro-Hungarian Regiment to the Allied side. After this, he organized special units of volunteers from a significant number of Slavic and South Slavic officers, who fought against the Austro-Hungarian army until the end of war. After the war Pivko returned to Maribor and became a member of the National Council for Styria, which played a key role in the battles for the northern border. Subsequently he issued several books with memories of his military years (Carzano, Against Austria etc.) and a book which describes the beginnings of the Sokol association in Maribor.

He was actively involved in the public life of Maribor, as president of the Slovenian School association, councilor of the Association of Cultural Societies, member of Maribor Historical Society ... In 1930, after the dissolution of Parliament and established dictatorship, he has been appointed in the newly created Council of the Drava Province, and a year later he got parliamentary mandate.

He died in 1937. The commemoration took place in Narodni dom, where his Falcons held the honour guard. Maribor Falcons wrote in his obituary following words: "Dr. Pivko was an ideal falcon and soul of the pre-war time of Sokol association in Maribor ", a time, when Slovenes in the city by the Drava erected as equivalent to the German population.