Ivan Lavrič was born in the village of Hrib, at Loški Potok in 1928. His father worked in France for more than twenty years and returned home only in 1947. After a short while he was retired, but soon fell ill and died of cancer. His mother received a Yugoslav and French pension after him. They wanted to take it away, but the law prevented this.
During the German offensive, in autumn 1943, Ivan was fifteen years old. His mother ordered him to hide his cousin’s shotgun. The cousin was hiding because he fled from the Partisans. The Germans searched for hidden weapons and threatened to take away their grandfather if he did not hand them over the guns. Despite the handing over of Ivan’s shotgun, they arrested him and together with about hundred men took him to Trieste. From there Ivan was sent to Ljubljana, where he got a job on the railway. They got food and earned some money. Then the prisoners were again taken to Trieste, where they were mobilized to Primorje Guards. They had shorter military preparations, and then they were deployed by posts.
When he arrived on holiday from Primorska in October 1944, his mother went to Ribnica at night to meet with him. Someone announced that his mother left home, so the Partisans surrounded the house. The mother heard shooting and stopped a few kilometres in front of her home. She came home only the next day, but the Partisans were still waiting for her. They took her to Kočevje and called her for hearing to Črnomelj for nine months..
At the end of the war, Ivan withdrew to Italy with his unit, then he was transported to the camps in the south of Italy and from there to Germany. In Germany, they were employed as cutters in the forest. They were under British military supervision. In December 1947, they were moved from Germany to England. Ivan was then nearly twenty years old.
Everyone had to decide where to work. Whether in a mine, in the iron industry or on farms. Most of them went to work in the mines because they thought they would earn more. Ivan worked in the mine for ten years. He soon began to send home packages with clothes and other things, but his mother soon informed him not to send the packages anymore, since she had to pay more for them than their content was worth.
In England, he met a girl from Venetia, married in 1958 and created a family.
Recorded on: 13/04/2011 in London, Great Britain
Conversation led and recorded by: Renato Podbersič