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Irena Zajec Fajdiga

Irena Zajec, married name Fajdiga, was born on 26 August 1930 in Žiri in the family of Marija Oblak and Ivan Zajec. She was the fifth out of eight children. During the war, two of her brothers were mobilised into the German army, the eldest in January and the second in March 1943. After the Germans withdrew from Žiri in October 1943, Partisan and Home Guard units regularly patrolled the area until May 1945. In late November 1943, Partisans called on their home. The family hid in a shelter. The Partisans threw grenades into the house. Her father told them to stop attacking because there were children in the house, but he was shot. During the attack, Irena was with her aunt in Rovte. Her brother, Viktor, had run onto the roof and hid behind a chimney; after this event, he joined the Gorenjska Home Guard. After the war, he went to Austrian Carinthia, was returned to Škofja Loka and murdered in its vicinity on 29 May 1945. Just before the end of the war, the Rovte Home Guard had called on their home. The commander told her mother that Irena should withdraw along with them. Fearing the Partisans, Irena, who was only fifteen years old, retreated to Austrian Carinthia on 5 May 1945 with her aunt. Her mother stayed at home as she was too weak to make the journey. Irena did not go to Viktring, staying in the vicinity of Klagenfurt instead; along with other refugees, she was taken by truck via Villach to Italy in Udine and Monigo, reaching the camp of Servigliano on 5 September. In the camp, she met Pavel Fajdiga, a journalist. In 1948, they went to Argentina, namely to Buenos Aires, where they got married in 1952.

Recorded: November 2013, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

The conversation was held by: Renato Podbersič and Tamara Griesser Pečar, camera: Renato Podbersič

Preparad for publication by: Mirjam Dujo Jurjevčič