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Testimonies and legacy of time

Testimonies

Suzana Guoth

Suzana Guoth, a retired teacher of German and Russian, poet, translator and author of a number of books, was born in 1943 in Szombathely, Hungary. In Puconci she spent her childhood years with her grandfather, Adam Luther, a Protestant priest.

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Matevž Košir

In his testimony, Matevž Košir presents the life of his uncle, Jakob Košir, who was his confirmation sponsor and like a father to him. At the family farm, Matevž served as a shepherd. Jakob joined the Home Guard, and at the end of the war in May 1945, he went to Austrian Carinthia with other members. Like others, he was returned to Yugoslavia, but then all trace of him was lost. He was last seen in a camp in Škofja Loka; his family assumes he was murdered by the post-war communist authorities in Macesnova Gorica, a part of Kočevski Rog, along with several thousand other Home Guard members. They are still looking for his remains.

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Presentation of the Scientific Monograph Čez ocean v novo življenje: Usode slovenskih povojnih političnih begunk (Going across the Ocean to Start a New Life: The Fates of Slovenian Post-War Female Political Refugees)

On February 7, 2024, at the Study Center for National Reconciliation, a monograph entitled “Going across the Ocean to Start a New Life: The Fates of Slovenian Post-War Female Political Refugees” was presented by the authors Marta Keršič, Neža Strajnar and Mirjam Dujo Jurjevčič.

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Rozalija Lindič, née Trunkelj

Rozalija Lindič, née Trunkelj, was born in 1932 in Log pri Žužemberku. During the Second World War, her father had to flee his home for fear of Partisan violence. In July 1944, Partisans murdered her mother, Marija. Eight children were left parentless. The children were subjected to Partisan violence even after their mother’s death and the end of the war.

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Alojzija Debevec, née Trunkelj

Alojzija Debevec was born in 1928 in Log pri Žužemberku. During the Second World War, her father had to flee his home for fear of Partisan violence. In July 1944, Partisans murdered her mother, Marija. A few days after her mother’s murder, Alojzija, then a sixteen-year-old girl, was taken away from home, incarcerated and tortured.

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Jože Žakelj

Jože Žakelj was born in 1941 in the parish of Šentjošt nad Horjulom. While he does not remember the war, revolutionary violence hurt and permanently marked his extended family and the inhabitants of Šentjošt. After the Second World War, Jože’s father, a former Home Guard member, was in hiding; then he retreated to Argentina via Italian camps in 1948. Jože’s mother and her three sons stayed in Slovenia, only barely sustaining themselves. They joined his father in Argentina in 1956.

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Jure Igor Ahčin

Jure Igor Ahčin was born in 1926 in Ljubljana. When he was a gymnasium student, he left to join the Home Guard, where he was stationed in the headquarters of the school group under Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Peterlin. He also knew General Franc Krener well. After the war, he went to Viktring, then to the refugee camp in Spittal, from which he fled to Italy. He was in different refugee camps in Italy and left for Argentina in May 1948.

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Janko Maček

Janko Maček was a researcher, writer and avid collector of witness stories, publishing his writings regularly in the Zaveza magazine and a number of own monographs. His writings are a rich and indispensable source for researching recent Slovenian history; we SCNR employees included them in research on wartime and post-war revolutionary violence. We are grateful for all the work he did, which provides a highly necessary insight into the painful reality of the Slovenian past, as well as seeks the truth and thus lays the foundations for the reconciliation process and a life of peace and co-existence.

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Prof. Dr Lovro Šturm (1938–2021)

Prof. Dr Lovro Šturm (1938–2021) was a Slovenian jurist, professor, constitutional court judge, member of the first make-up of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia (1990–1998), president of the Constitutional Court (1997–1998), Minister of Education and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia (2000), Minister of Justice of the Republic of

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Pavla Maček Eiletz

Mrs. Pavla Maček Eiletz was returned from Carinthia to Teharje along with her sister, Polona. They were released when amnesty was declared. At the time, their family was in a refugee camp in Treviso, which they reached themselves after a few months on the run. Until 1948, the family stayed in different refugee camps in Italy. In 1948, they all sailed to Argentina together, where they started new lives.

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Janez Žakelj

Janez Žakelj was born in 1941 in the parish of Šentjošt near Horjul. In May 1941, the Gestapo arrested his father; in July, the whole family was exiled to Serbia. Because the father refused to join the Liberation Front after returning from exile, Partisans threatened to kill him. The father headed the initiative to establish a Village Guard in Šentjošt to defend the locals from Partisan violence. After the war, he went into hiding and kept returning to his homeland for a while; there, he was accused of spying for an intelligence service along with Mirko Bitenc. Janez’s mother was also incarcerated after the war, and their farm was confiscated by the authorities. The family was under constant surveillance by Udba. Janez’s father retreated to America, where he was joined by the rest of the family in 1956.

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Elizabeta Grom Pleničar

Elizabeta Pleničar was born in 1922 in Vrhnika. Her brother, Tomaž, was returned from Carinthia and murdered in Kočevski Rog in 1945. At the end of the war, Elizabeta followed her fiancé, Dušan Pleničar, on a refugee journey. They got married in an army camp in Forlì. The Pleničar couple arrived in England in 1948 and started a life in London. Dušan had been born in 1921 in Litija. In addition to many other decorations, he was awarded the papal medal “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice”. He was the editor of the Klic Triglava (Call of Triglav) newspaper. He died on 4 December 1992.

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Marie Dular, née Golobič 

Marie Dular presents the shocking story of her family during and after the Second World War. Her father and mother were educated and socially active, so they had to withdraw from Jesenice, where the family lived, before Germans would have deported them. They retreated to Ljubljana. After the war, the entire family except her mother went to Carinthia as refugees and then across the world. Marie’s mother failed to move and was severely persecuted by the communist authorities for a number of years, separated from her family. Marie found refuge in the Northern America along with her husband and father; her sister and brother did so in Canada. The first time the children gathered at their mother’s side was in 1967, when she was terminally ill; she died in the fall of the same year. Having endured great pain and suffering, Marie found peace, freedom and prosperity abroad, where she started a family and lived in a new home.

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Viktorija Bajda Kolarič

The testimony of Viktorija Kolarič, née Bajda, from Prebačevo near Kranj uncovers memories of wartime. Her father fled the Partisans and joined the Home Guard. Following a retreat to Carinthia after the end of the Second World War, he did not return to Yugoslavia due to his wife’s late pregnancy, unlike other Home Guard members sent there by the British. This is how he escaped certain death. The family moved to the US, where Viktorija got married and started a family. She first returned to her homeland only in 2003, when Slovenia was already independent, and was captivated by the beauty of her native land.

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Rudi Kolarič

Rudi Kolarič was born in a prosperous trader family in Brezovica near Ljubljana. The start of the Second World War, with the occupation, seriously impinged on their exemplary and peaceful lives. They had no liking for the occupying forces and were enthusiastic about the Liberation Front (OF), which promised freedom. However, after Partisan violence in their village, they realised communism lay behind OF and committed even worse atrocities than the occupying forces. A Village Guard kept them safe. In 1945, after the war, Rudi fled as a refugee and started a new life in the US.

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Frančiška Kočar and Marija Petek, both née Kopač

Frančiška and Marija were born in Prikrnica near Moravče. After the war, they left their homeland with other family members due to Partisan threats. Their refugee journey led them through the camps in Viktring, Lienz and Spittal; in December 1948, they emigrated to Argentina.

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Irena Zajec Fajdiga

Irena Zajec Fajdiga was born in Žiri as the fifth out of eight children. During the war, two of her brothers were mobilised into the German army, so the family received threats from the Partisans. In November 1943, the Partisans shot her father, and her sixteen-year-old brother, Viktor, joined the Gorenjska Home Guard. After the war, he retreated to Austrian Carinthia, was returned to Yugoslavia and murdered. Fearing the Partisans, Irena, who was only fifteen years old, retreated to Austrian Carinthia on 5 May 1945 with her aunt. From there, she was transferred to Italy, where she lived in various refugee camps before leaving for Argentina in 1948.

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