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Justina Lukančič Fajfar

Mrs. Justina Lukančič was born at Slavina near Postojna in September 1927. At that time, this part of Slovenia was part of Italy. Her father Jože was a leather man and was employed, but when he lost the job, he and his family moved to Trieste, where he worked on the railway. In Trieste, he should have changed his surname, but he resisted it and was imprisoned. After his release, he fled to Yugoslavia. When the Italians occupied Vrhnika in April 1941, her father met with an Italian soldier who knew him, and without any bad thinking they greeted each other. That was fateful for him.

On 3 September 1942 at night, some Partisans came to them. At that time, Justina was 14 years old. She told her father to hide, but he refused saying that he did not do anything bad to anyone. They arrested the father and plundered the house and asked for money. Since her father felt that something bad would happen to him, he asked if he could say goodbye to his wife and children. Then they saw each other for the last time. In a rage of anger and despair, Justina attacked the Partisan who led the group, and harshly said, “Are you not ashamed of killing innocent people every night.” He put the gun on her head and said, “Will you be quiet or I shall trigger.”

The family realised that due to permanent Partisan thefts and threats, they had nothing left but to emigrate. They did not know what happened to the father for four months. One day Justina was visiting her neighbours. An officer of the Village Guard came to them and said that he wanted to order a coffin because they found someone. Justina was shown the found cap, handkerchief and cigarette case. Justina recognised them as her father’s. At the end of the war, they told the family that he had been falsely killed and even offered a pension to my mother, provided she signed a statement that he had been killed by the Italians. Mother did not agree with this and she did not get a pension.

In May 1945, Justina left home across the border to Austria, from there to Italy, through a number of camps and then to Argentina. At home, there remained her mother, older sister and younger twin sisters. Her brother was a member of the Home Guard, he was only 16 years old. For the last time they met in Tržič, where he was in a group of Vrhnika Home Guard and just like she, he was on the way to Carinthia.

Recorded: November 2013, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Conversation was led and recorded by: Renato Podbersič

Preparad for publication by: Mirjam Dujo Jurjevčič and Marta Keršič