Cirila Traven Kermavner

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Mrs. Cirila Kermavner was born in Ljubljana in 1931. She lived some time in Ljubljana, then stayed with her mother in Gorenjska, and then moved to Šentgotard near Trojane where her father was a mayor. When the World War II started, she was 10 years old. She retained beautiful memories of schooling at Lichtenturn, the order of Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.

Even though she was still a child, she well understood what was happening in her neighbourhood, as she was mainly in contact with the elderly. She heard of many murders and felt compassion for all victims, no matter on which side they were.

At home they had one of the most modern farms in Slovenia, therefore, many important and interesting visitors came to see the advanced farm. According to her words, even one of Hitler’s closest colleagues and German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would have visited them. After the war, due to a visit of Tito and Khrushchev, they had to demolish the chapel on their farm. Cirila was no longer at home at that time, as she joined a group of refugees who went to Carinthia in May 1945. Cirila also remembered how she was by coincidence accepted as a child even with Hitler.

After the war, she with her mother and relatives withdrew to Carinthia, to the Vetrinj camp. They said they were going for fourteen days, then it was stretched for more than seventy years. The pain in her stomach saved her from returning from Vetrinj back to Yugoslavia and thus staying alive. Very soon they found out what happened to the returned members of the Home Guard and civilians. Then there was terrible sadness, people were only helped by prayers to survive. From Vetrinj, Cirila was transferred to Lienz and then to Spittal. With her mother, they moved to the United States in 1949, and later her father joined them. The native inhabitants did not accept them well, they said they had bloody hands. Cirila married a young man from Slovenia (December 1950), whom she had known since before. They began to live a new life and were happy and satisfied.

Recorded on: 23/11/2016 in Cleveland (USA)
Conversation led by: Renato Podbersič, Camera: Boštjan Kolarič