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Testimonies and legacy of time

Historical outline and testimonies

In the 20th century, the Slovenian territory was the site of three totalitarian regimes that shook the entire nation’s body to the foundations. Since the 20th of the previous century, the suffering under fascism marked the Slovenians who then lived under Italian rule. During the World War II, fascism and National Socialism rocked the foundations of Slovenian existence with the occupation. They did not choose means to achieve objectives. The occupation of territory, planned and systematic cultural colonisation, deportations, internments, hostages shooting were the unrelenting facts that led to the destruction of the Slovenian nation. By means of interwar revolutionary violence and taking advantage of the liberation struggle for coming to power, the third totalitarianism paved the way, i.e. communism. As established by the historian Dr. Tamara Griesser Pečar, it managed “… that the liberation struggle equalled communist resistance and eliminated the representatives of non-communist orientations as collaborators«.[1]

The World War II ended in May 1945. However, the end of the occupation and the withdrawal of the foreign army that left the country were not followed by a democratic and free system, but a new totalitarian regime. Communist politicians were, in their speeches, promising a bright future, the elimination of social injustices and the introduction of equality among people, but in fact, the communist apparatus with all its tools, at the very beginning, took totalitarian control. Despite the introduction of the general right to vote, all candidates in the elections were checked and confirmed by the party, and the election results were known in advance. The Slovenian army became part of the Yugoslav army, while the Slovenian authorities became subordinate to the federal authorities. In the rightless and police state, the courts were obedient tools to the power of the authorities, through which numerous mounted judicial processes were carried out, directed against the political opposition, the Catholic Church, representatives of the economy, intellectuals, farmers and other opponents of the new authorities. There operated a secret political police that, through bugging, denouncing and censorship, exercised control over individuals in all areas of public and also private life. The nationalization, the destruction of private agriculture and entrepreneurship, broke the economic and financial independence of individuals, which in turn meant their dependence on the system.

To the victims of the communist regime, we need to add more than 16,000 political convicts and at least 25,000 political prisoners, the deportation of German and Hungarian nationals and Slovenian families from the border zone, 17,000 post-war refugees, the existence of concentration and labour camps, camps for improving and socially useful work, violent expropriations of property. By allowing for these data, as stated by Dr. Milko Mikola, there can be concluded that more than 100,000 victims of the communist system were directly affected in Slovenia. Adding to this the family members and close relatives of the victims, the number is much larger.[2]

The worst form of violence was carried out against all those who were deprived of their lives. The numbers go extremely high, and according to the census survey carried out by the Institute for Contemporary History and led by a co-worker of the aforementioned Institute Dr. Vida Deželak Barič, Slovenia lost 6.5% of the population in the World War II.[3] The Partisan-Revolutionary Camp caused more than 24,000 victims – during and after the war. If there were no post-war massacres, Slovenians would have by 15% less victims.[4]

To date, close to 700 execution places have been recorded in the Slovenian territory, where there are the remains of violent and extra-judicial murdered political and otherwise opponents of the communist system, and besides the Slovenians also a large number of Croats, Serbs, Montenegrins, Roma, members of German nationality and others.

These numbers represent the names of people, men, women, young boys and girls, children, even unborn. They include tragedies of families who have not seen each other for years or decades due to refugee problems, some of which have also been disintegrated.

The post-war communist pay back with all those who posed any kind of “danger” to the new system and opposed the new totalitarian authority permanently marked the generations of Slovenians.

[1] Tamara Griesser Pečar, Med totalitarizmi pri nas najhujše posledice pustil komunizem (Among the totalitarianisms in our country, communism left the worst consequences), Radio Ognjišče, 2015, 20/11/2018

[2] See more in Milko Mikola, Rdeče nasilje: represija v Sloveniji po letu 1945 (Red violence: Repression in Slovenia after 1945), Celjska Mohorjeva družba, Celje 2012.

[3] Prvi pravi popis – v vojnem in povojnem nasilju je umrlo 6,5 % Slovencev (The first real census – 6.5% of Slovenes died in the war and post-war violence), an interview with the historian Vida Deželak Barič,, 22/11/2018

[4] Id.