France Resnik was born on 15 October 1926 in Trebelno pri Palovčah. After finishing primary school, he trained in Šenčur to become a whitesmith. He mainly performed work on rooftops in various locations from Šenčur to Jezersko, Šentvid, Domžale and Kamnik. He was summoned to the Reich Labour Service, where he served from 7 August 1943 until February 1944. He asked for permission to take his apprenticeship exam, but was told that he would take it later, when he finished his service. After six months he was supposed to go home on leave, but the boys from the Gorenjska region were not allowed to visit their home because there were too many partisans there. They spent 14 days cleaning shacks and the surrounding area. France was then mobilised to the German Army. He chose the infantry. He was sent to Ansbach near Nuremberg, where he stayed for a month and a half, and from there to the French Riviera in southern France. They stayed in the town of Vence, near the Italian border, where they had military exercises, and were then transported to Antibes, where they stayed in a hotel for a fortnight and continued their military exercises. From there, they were sent to the coast, to the so-called “Stichpunkt” positions, where they awaited the Allies and held exercises. “I remember a ship coming within 250 m, when I was on watch. I had a phone and I asked the squad commander what to do, since the ship was so close. ‘Keep still, do not shoot,’ he said. It was a British ship and this happened in August 1944. The ship passed, we kept still, and they [the Allies] fired on the neighbouring ‘Stichpunkt’ position. No shot was fired where I was standing.”
In August 1944, they left to assume positions in Nice. The French partisans were a constant threat to them and attacked them several times, but they were not in combat with each other. They crossed the Alps on foot to Italy, where they were stationed for a considerable amount of time by the sea in the regions of Savona and Imperia. They received orders to move on. They moved only at night, so as not to be seen, and they hid. They walked 40 to 50 kilometres per night. They reached Genoa and stayed there for a week. They also had military exercises. They were then transported to La Spezia, walked to Livorno and from there to Castelnuovo, toward the mountains, where they stayed for Christmas and the New Year’s. The German soldiers treated them well, they never bullied them for being from Gorenjska or Slovenia.
At the end of the War, France surrendered. While he was on guard duty, a boy from Prlekija approached him and revealed to him that he and his friend would surrender. He invited France to go with them. Since he was on guard duty, he was supposed to arrest them or shoot them, but he left with them instead. The American soldiers then captured them. They were taken to Livorno, then to Florence, where they stayed for a month and a half and were interrogated. From there, they went to the Aversa camp near Naples, where approximately 800 to 900 Slovenian mobilised soldiers were placed. They were treated well. After three weeks, they were taken to Grumo near Bari and from there to a civilian camp in Tricase. In Grumo, the British appealed to them to join the Yugoslav partisans, but France did not want that. He travelled to Argentina and found employment there. He returned to Slovenia for the first time in 1970. During his returns to Slovenia, he never experienced any problems with the authorities.
Recorded: November 2013, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
The conversation was led and recorded by Renato Podbersič
Preparad for publication by: Mirjam Dujo Jurjevčič