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List of burned villages during World War II

(From the legacy of Notary Jože Lesar)

During World War II, Jože Lesar, a notary, inventoried the burnt houses, buildings and villages by various municipalities in Dolenjska, Bela krajina, Ljubljana and their surroundings. After the War, he fled the country, taking the original records of the burnt villages with him to Carinthia, from there to Italy and later to Argentina. A few decades later, he compiled them in one notebook.

Regarding Jože, his family wrote the following: “Before the War, Jože Lesar was a notary in Brežice and a visible member of the SLS (Slovene People’s Party) and the Akademski Orel society. After the German occupation of Brežice, he had to flee to his native Ribnica on the “Italian side”, because the Germans wanted to deport him. When the partisan activity in Ribnica intensified, he moved with his family to Ljubljana, where they remained until the end of the occupation and then fled via Carinthia to Italy and later to Argentina. The family settled in Buenos Aires and Notary Lesar remained there until his death. He had two daughters.”

Lesar’s inventory of villages burned during World War II in the area of the then municipalities of Črnomelj, Kočevje, Ribnica, Novo mesto, Grosuplje, Litija, Trebnje, Metlika, Ljubljana (Center, Moste-Polje, Šiška, Rudnik), Kamnik and Domžale is a unique document demonstrating the extent of the occupier’s and revolutionary violence. For example, it is recorded that 229 houses, 306 outbuildings, seven school buildings, four sawmills, two mills, one castle, one community centre and one fire station were burnt down and demolished in the municipality of Ribnica during World War II. In the Grosuplje municipality, 14 hamlets were completely burnt and 35 partially burnt; in Litija, 414 homesteads were burnt or demolished. The Germans expelled the inhabitants of 34 settlements. It is also evident from the list who caused the arson of buildings or villages.

The Study Centre for National Reconciliation holds both Lesar’s original records as well as a digital notebook, which is now accessible to the interested public.