Marija Novak Pivik

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Mrs. Marija Pivik, born Novak was born at Jelični Vrh in 1937, in the parish of Gore near Idrija. Her father was a tailor, and her mother was a housewife. In the family, there were born eleven children, seven girls and four boys. For twenty-five years Jelični Vrh belonged to Italy, so Marija remembers how they went to Yugoslavia for flour and provisions. His father had five apprentices as a tailor, and he was very entrepreneurial and earned well. He also installed his own electricity grid. Under the Italian rule the family did not feel shortages.

The changes occurred at the time when the Communist revolution began during the World War II, and the Communists began robbing the farms. The natives asked the Italians for protection. They replied that they would not protect them, but they could give them weapons. Thus, the farmers were organized and armed. Sixteen-year-old Marija’s brother Ivan joined the defence units. They took care of the safety of the Zavratec village. One day he came into the hands of the Partisans, who led him to the mountains and tortured him. Since then he has not been back. His father tried to find out where he was killed. The truth was discovered many years later.

After the war, Marija as a 10-year-old girl was a shepherd, in the meantime, she passed the school. Her mother died quickly so they were left alone with her father. Like her brothers and sisters, Marija worked on the farmers to survive. They were hungry many times. In 1955, her future husband came to Slovenia, who was born in America and worked for seven years on shipboard. After their marriage, they went to America. Marija very slowly got accustomed into a new environment. She was very bored and homesick. After moving to Cleveland it was better. Marija said that at St. Vid it was as if she would come to Ljubljana: Slovenian language, Slovenian accordion, Slovenian shops, inns, home … She included in singing choirs and participated in the national amusement band, singing meant everything to her. The first album of the band was released in 1970. Maria lived from music, she fully developed her talents and turned them generously on the development of the Slovenian community. She taught children, youth and adults singing. They also had performances in Slovenia. She and her husband were also the Presidents of the Slovenian House. She returned to Slovenia for the first time in 1960. She hands over her love to the Slovenian song, words and the Slovenian homeland to the younger generation.

Recorded on: 22/11/2016 in Cleveland (USA)
Conversation led by: Renato Podbersič, Camera: Boštjan Kolarič