Lidija Drobnič was born in Ljubljana in 1931. She experienced the Italian occupation and the beginnings of revolutionary violence in the Ljubljana province. In 1947, as a student at the classical Gymnasium in Ljubljana, she enrolled in the illegal organisation Christian Democratic Youth, whose main goal was for Slovenia to return to democracy without violence and revolution. She was arrested and accused of discouraging youth from work and propagating against shock work, and she was sent to socially useful labour in the Ferdreng female concentration camp. There, along with almost 800 other inmates, she experienced severe humiliation, slave work, abuse and, above all, fear of what was going to happen to them. She was often certain that she was going to die. Making do with meagre provisions, the inmates had to perform heavy physical labour, dressed in the clothes they were wearing at the time of their arrest, without contact with their loved ones and watched over by the guards. Lidija was transferred from Ferdreng to the Škofja Loka Castle in October 1949 along with other camp inmates. She was released in March 1950. She experienced first-hand what the reign of the communist system was like; it had robbed her of her most beautiful years of youth. After the release, she had to sign a statement saying she was going to keep quiet about everything that happened in the camp.
At the time of the democratic changes, which were promising a brighter future for Slovenia, she was in the front line, fearlessly expressing her demands for a free, independent and democratic state. She became president of the sisters alumni of Mary Help of Christians, an active member of the Christian Democrats, a member of the Commission of the Republic of Slovenia for redress, founder of the Slovenian Union of University Women and co-founder of the Society of former political prisoners. On her initiative, the constitutional court annulled the naming of Titova cesta in 2011 after the former dictator, the president for life of the SFRJ who symbolised the post-war totalitarian communist regime. With her strong will and hard work, she moved the boundaries of the impossible. She was a faithful support to her husband, the first general prosecutor in Slovenia, Anton Drobnič. She found her role as a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother as well as a lawyer, politician and tireless fighter to preserve fundamental human rights and dignity. Her posture is undeniably derived from the trials of her life. Every year since 1990, she has been organising a memorial ceremony in Ferdreng which remains a living testament to the suffering of Slovenian wives and girls.
The speech of the Lidija Drobnič: Lidija Drobnič, govor 2019.
Recorded: 8 September 2019, Ferdreng (Slovenia)
Prepared for publication by: Marta Keršič