The Military History Park enters 2021, when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Slovenia, richer for a new, valuable exhibit - the Mercedes Benz 230-BINZ ambulance, donated to the Park by the Velenje Health Center for a museum presentation. The ambulance is placed in the central stage setting at the exhibition The Road to Independence and will thus indicate the important role played by paramedics and other medical staff in the war for Slovenia.
Half a century
The vehicle was made and converted into an ambulance in Lorch, Germany, exactly fifty years ago. In the same year, it was acquired by the Velenje Medical Center. For those times, this ambulance was a sought-after commodity among ambulances, in short, a great desire of every ambulance station. The vehicle was transported from Belgrade to the company Autocommerce Ljubljana for the purpose of sale. With the help of the then management of the Velenje Health Center and with the great support of the economy, Velenje managed to buy this vehicle and bring it to the Velenje Health Center. The vehicle was then, and still is, the pride of the Rescue Service of the Velenje Health Center. It should be mentioned that there were two more such vehicles in Ljubljana and one in Maribor.
The ambulance was superbly modified for that time and equipped with medical equipment. Regarding the equipment, it is necessary to mention the electric aspirator, spinal injury stretcher, accessories for the main bed for gynecological procedures and childbirth, cardiology chair, rail with extra bed, equipment for interventions in traffic accidents, immobilization devices, attachments for infusion fluids, oxygen dispensers equipment and cylinders, sanitary material in a wooden suitcase and many other small medical equipment.
Half a million miles
Despite the fact that the vehicle has driven 500.000 km, it is extremely well preserved and its placement in the museum collection is also important from the point of view of preserving the technical heritage. The ambulance was not directly on the scene of the clashes in 1991, but was on standby. A large red cross was therefore added to the roof of the vehicle to transport the wounded.
The Velenje Health Center and the heads of the rescue service Bruno Žverk, Jože Zapušek and Damija Ločičnik made sure that the car remained so beautiful all these years. The latter was the initiator of the museum donation.
The often overlooked role of the medical service in the war for Slovenia was given at least a symbolic presentation by placing an ambulance in the existing museum exhibition and joining the vehicles of the police and firefighters. It is a real coincidence that the Velenje ambulance in the exhibition is placed in the immediate vicinity of the Gazelle helicopter marked TO 001 VELENJE, which is one of the main exhibits of the museum presentation of the 1991 war of independence.