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Stanislav Novačan

Stanislav Novačan was the second of five children in the family, his father was from Štajerska and was a member of the Austro-Hungarian Army, his mother was from Borovnica. The family moved a lot because of the father’s job. Stanislav was born in Moravče, the family later moved to Borovnica. He attended primary school in Podpeč and was later a student at the general upper secondary school in Ljubljana. After completing his secondary education, he enrolled in the teacher training college and finished his studies in 1941. During this time he lived in Collegium Marianum. The headmaster of this institution at that time was dr. Jožef Pogačnik, who later became the Archbishop of Ljubljana. Stanislav remembers him as a demanding, but at the same time fatherly educator. He also remembers the image of Alojz Grozde: a tall blond boy who always left an impression on everyone who met him. Stanislav remembers his staying in Collegium Marianum with fondness. He got his first employment in Mirna peč. When visiting his family in Borovnica during the War, he was captured by the Italians and taken to internment in Gonars. Famine was the cause of many internees’ deaths at that time. If you didn’t receive food packages from home, you had little chance of survival. In this respect, Stanislav was lucky.

When he returned home in 1943, when Italy was capitulating, he somehow managed not to join any of the warring parties. This, however, earned him a nickname OR (standing for “cautious ass” in Slovenian). Thus, he awaited the end of the War.

In 1945, he was transferred by decree to a school in Knežak (where he was appointed as an administrator). Later, he was summoned to the education headquarters in Ljubljana and assigned another place to teach. He was sent to the westernmost Slovenian village, Robidišče, which borders on Italy on three sides. At that time, the village had about 200 inhabitants. As a teacher, he advocated for a cultural revitalization of village life. He led a choir, an acting group, organized evening gatherings and in this way became involved in village life. All this was interrupted by two strangers, Udba informants from Tolmin, who knocked on his door one day in 1949. They kindly invited him to cooperate with their organization, but Stanislav declined the invitation. The consequence of this action was his imprisonment. Seven other villagers were also imprisoned. Seventeen-year-old Irma Cenčič, a Robidišče local, never returned from prison. She was very beautiful, young and an excellent soprano. Stanislav also recognized her voice when she sang in prison.

Stanislav’s narrative also sheds light on how the Udba spread its net across all Slovenian villages, even the smallest and most insignificant. Stanislav paid for his refusal to cooperate with Udba with imprisonment and termination of employment in Robidišče. He was transferred back to Borovnica, where he also married. He started teaching at the local primary school, became the headmaster and several times closely experienced how the communist system became ingrained in the schooling: even during this time, he felt Party pressures. Although it was known that the employees’ political opinions differed, they did not discuss politics publicly among themselves. One of them recorded employees’ characteristics. In 1982, Stanislav retired.

Recorded: 7 May 2014, Borovnica (Slovenia)

The conversation was led by: Marta Keršič, camera: Mirjam Dujo Jurjevčič

Preparad for publication by: Marta Keršič and Mirjam Dujo Jurjevčič

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