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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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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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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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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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Dr Milko Mikola

Even as a child, Milko Mikola suffered the effects of the communist system and of the actions of its leaders, who took power in Slovenia in the aftermath of the Second World War. Though his father had been a German prisoner and both his parents had been part of the Partisan resistance movement during the war, the post-war totalitarian regime did not spare them. Due to the decreed mandatory handover, his mother’s detention and his father’s imprisonment, his family suffered greatly. As a result, his father and mother were no longer able to work the farm and sold it. In his father’s absence, Milko had to perform difficult farm work, during which he injured himself and was disabled for the rest of his life. He focused on his studies but was subjected to humiliation later, when he took up employment, too. Despite harsh conditions, he completed a doctorate in history and became the first director of the Study Centre for National Reconciliation. His main research interest was the study of post-war revolutionary violence in Slovenia, where he conducted pioneering work.

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Tone Stele

Tone Stele was born in 1924 in Tunjice near Kamnik. Like many other Slovene boys, he was drafted by force into the German army in 1943 and had to fight on the Eastern Front. From the day he had left for the army, he regularly wrote to his family. The letters, rich in content, demonstrate a great distress and suffering of the young man, who was forced to join an SS unit and fight in foreign lands. He had interrupted his education due to the war, and his short life ended in the distant Ukraine, where he fell in combat. A year later, his older brother, too, lost his life as a forced conscript.

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Jože Strah

Jože Strah was born in 1944 in the settlement of Ločica pri Vranskem. With vivid words, a rich memory, a critical assessment of social developments and drawing on his personal experiences, he takes us back in time to World War II and the period of socialism. As he writes in his recollections, “the post-war period was marked by many anomalies that fell on the shoulders of an impoverished population unknown to the present time. Life was very modest, or, to use a better term, miserable. As there was no money, people resorted to austerity at every turn, in some places even to the point of starvation.” His experiences will revive many people’s memories of the socialist times which Slovenia experienced for decades after the War.

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Expert Symposium – THE THOUGHTS ON AN AUTONOMOUS AND INDEPENDENT SLOVENIA AMONG THE SLOVENIAN EMIGRANTS

Expert symposium titled The Thoughts on an Autonomous and Independent Slovenia Among the Slovenian Emigrants reveals through the prism of Slovenian political programmes in the Slovenian communities in the neighbouring countries and worldwide the directions of the development of Slovenian statehood that emerged among the emigrants after the end of World War II. It presents the parallels and divergences of the emerging programmes and their interactions as well as the reverberations in the homeland. Examining the activities of individuals and numerous Slovenian communities who significantly influenced the development of Slovenian independence, we learn about the actions of the post-war political emigrant communities in the light of the development of the idea of an autonomous, independent and sovereign state of Slovenia.

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Anica Rahne

Anica Rahne (born Kožuh) was born in 1933 in Šujica (Dobrova near Ljubljana). There were nine children in the family. During the Italian occupation, the father and the oldest brother were sent to internment on the island of Rab and to other Italian camps. Two brothers disappeared in the post-war massacres and the father was imprisoned in Kočevje for four months after the War. Around that time, Anica learned to be a seamstress and got a job at the salon of Mrs. Škabar, a renowned fashion seamstress. The wives of Slovenian political figures, including Nada Vidmar and Pepca Kardelj, visited the salon. Anica recalls many shocking events from her parish that occurred during and after the War. Her optimism and deep faith helped her to survive life’s severe trials, from which she emerged richer and stronger.

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Anton Golež and Marija Milač Golež

Anton Golež was born in 1927 in Ljubljana. When he was a secondary-school student, he joined a Home Guard unit, graduated during the War, fled to Viktring in Carinthia, was returned and imprisoned in concentration camps, first in Kranj and later in Šentvid pri Ljubljani. As he was a minor, he was granted amnesty in August 1945. Later, he got employed, but the authorities did not validate his graduation for another two years. After the War, he met Marja Milač in Ljubljana. They married and had a family.

Marija Milač was born in 1929 in Prevalje and spent her childhood there. Then the family moved to Dravograd, where the father was the head of the municipal administration. Marija fled to Ljubljana as a 12-year-old girl during the German invasion of Yugoslavia. Maria’s brothers, who were secondary-school students at the time, were already staying in Ljubljana. Fearing the German occupation, other family members joined them as well. After the War, Marija fled to Carinthia. She stayed in the Viktring camp, together with her brother Metod. Her brother Ciril was repatriated and murdered by the Communist authorities. After the War, Marija returned to Slovenia and graduated from the Academy of Music.

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Jože Gorenc

Jože Gorenc was born in 1933 in the village of Mali Podlog near Krško. When he was eight, he and his family were exiled from their homeland and taken to a labour camp in Germany. He spent four years in several camps, performing various jobs and leaving there the most beautiful years of his childhood and youth. After returning home in June 1945, the family was not spared by the new Communist system either.

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Jožef Gorše

Jožef Gorše was born in 1942 in Nadlesk, in the municipality of Lož Valley. His father was sent to an Italian and later a German camp during World War II. He returned after the War, but because he did not want to become a member of a cooperative, he did not get a job for another five years. He was later employed as a butcher. Jožef educated himself in toolmaking and found employment at Kovinoplastika Lož, a company making plastic and steel products. He was a member Volunteer Industrial Fire Brigade (PIGD) Kovinoplastika Lož for 27 years. During the Slovenian War of Independence, he was a member of the Territorial Defense (TD) staff in the Lož Valley local community and actively participated in activities relating to Slovenia’s independence. All his life he was also an active member of various voluntary associations in the municipality, for which he received numerous decorations and awards. For one year, he was the mayor of the Lož Valley municipality.

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Anton Ivanetič

Anton Ivanetič was born in 1937 in Semič. His father was first a member of the partisans, but later left and joined the civic guards. The wife was threatened that she would be killed if her husband did not report to the partisan command. When he did that, he never returned home again. He was missing since December 1943 and they never found out where he was killed. The family lived in great poverty. Despite the hardships of life, Anton always maintained good will and serenity.

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Stanislav Novačan

Stanislav Novačan was interned in Gonars when he was a student, during the World War II, and after the end of the War he was sent as a teacher to the westernmost Slovenian village, Robidišče. He advocated for a cultural revitalization of village life until two members of Udba from Tolmin knocked on his door and took him to prison. As he did not want to cooperate with Udba, he was transferred to Borovnica as a punishment. There, his career continued, but under the Party’s supervision.

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Antonija Marolt, born Prošnik

Antonija Marolt was born in 1926 in Horjul. Two of her brothers were victims of the revolution and its violence, one was murdered by the partisans in 1942 and the other was returned from Carinthia in 1945 and then murdered. His remains lie in an unknown location. Tončka was sentenced to death in May 1945, later exonerated from this sentence and imprisoned instead. She spent time in the camps in Šentvid nad Ljubljano, Kočevje, Teharje and Begunje na Gorenjskem. She returned home in 1948.

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Jože Košir

Jože Košir presents the story of his family and the fate of his parents Jožef Košir and Marija Košir, born Beber. His father Jožef Košir took an active part in the partisan movement during the War and afterwards served in KNOJ (People’s Defence Corps of Yugoslavia) and the Yugoslav People’s Army. He was arrested and interrogated on 21 November 1949 for allegedly participating in activities against the state. In December 1949, he was convicted. He served in various labour camps and prisons his sentence of 16-year imprisonment with forced labour and 5 years of civil rights’ loss.

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