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Is Fear of the Truth Too Strong? The National Web Portal Censors the Historical Testimony of a Partisan About the Post-War Massacres

“An example of censorship on RTV! I want to publish the text about the Witness of the Decade, a partisan – a witness to the post-war massacres, in a visible place on the RTV web portal, but the editor Kaja Jakopič has been avoiding this for six days now, while the testimony is being summarised and published by our competition. This is censorship to the detriment of the readers! Who is benefitting from covering up crimes? Enough of that!” said Jože Možina, who was critical of the fact that certain RTV employees are doing everything in their power to ensure that the truth of the shocking interview with a repentant partisan, a witness to the horrific post-war massacres, does not reach the wider public. We are still checking to see why the editor of the MMC web portal, Kaja Jakopič, did not publish the conversation in a visible place on the portal.

“Let’s be honest: if we had a normal public television, we would be advertising this exclusive interview everywhere, even in newscasts. But in reality, the whole thing went out without any trailers, and with a delay. And we all know that it has a GREAT historical value (unlike the photos from the yacht). The rerun of the testimony will be on air on Saturday at 9 am on TVS2! Please retweet this. This is a sincere confession of one of the last direct witnesses of the post-war massacres and it is really worth watching. Whoever is not able to condemn all three totalitarianisms, despite everything the former partisan and president of the Association of Fighters of the National Liberation Movement just told us, has no basic morals and is not a democrat, but rather a threat to Slovenian society,” the RTV journalist and historian Jože Možina was critical this time, who usually interviews guests on his show, who have experienced the terror of the post-war massacres first-hand.

The show recorded a few days ago had a particularly great impact because the guest was one of the then-participants – Anotn Cizl. You can watch the show in its entirety on the RTV website. Let’s recap: This week, on the show Pričevalci (Witnesses) by Jože Možina, the guest was the almost one-century-old partisan who even presided over his local Association of Fighters of the National Liberation Movement for a while. In many ways, he is the most important witness of recent times, and what gives his testimony an indisputable historical significance is the revival of the memory of the killing of prisoners from Teharje in the summer of 1945, which he witnessed as a partisan. The cries and screams of innocent victims marked him and have accompanied him his whole life.

“It is a terrible burden,” he said. This is an extremely truthful testimony of a century-old partisan that reveals the secrets of the biggest crimes – the post-war massacres of civilians and prisoners, committed by the communist authorities at a time when the regime dictators in Slovenia were Edvard Kardelj, Boris Kidrič, Ivan Maček, Mitja Ribičič, and others. We have never heard such testimony before – at almost 100 years old, Anton Cizel laid a burden off his conscience. As a partisan guard, he drove the prisoners to the killing sites in Mostec and Huda jama. “The whole thing was led by the communists… There were guards on each side of the column as the prisoners walked towards the river Sava, where they were shot and thrown into a ditch. Women cried before they were killed, they were young, and they had children…”

They cut off pregnant women’s breasts and poured schnapps over their wounds
Cizel described in horror how they used to drive the innocent prisoners to the killing site. Through Brežice in Mostec near Dobova, where the archaeologists also found the remains of many people who were murdered after the Second World War. Namely, they found the remains of at least 139 people that were parts of separate groups, archaeologists said. “It stays with you,” said Cizel, confirming that he often returns to the times of the mass killings in his mind. “These are painful memories, a terrible burden. I can still hear their cries. I only heard gunfire. There were fewer and fewer screams.” When the prisoners were loaded into a car, no one in Teharje knew they were going to their graves. “It was only when we got there, and they saw people with shovels that they knew. And then came the tears. Below the field, there was a trench, and further down, there was the river Sava. That is where they killed them. I talked to them while driving them there, I asked one woman why she was locked up, but she did not even know why. She was a waitress, working in a shop. I also remember an older man, who was a shoemaker, and I gave him a cigarette that had some value at the time.”

“Or I gave a crust of bread to some woman here and there,” he recalled, noting that oftentimes, he did what he was not supposed to – he helped the prisoners. The people Cizel drove to the killing site were never questioned by anyone. “Nobody asked them a thing; they just killed them. And that is terribly painful.” The main actor in all of this was the party. “The party was the leader of this whole operation. It was practically god-like; whatever they said, that is what had to be done.”
“One of the members of the association beat up a priest there, he dragged him up the stairs, and later you could see that he was regretting it, he just blankly stared ahead. But the Association of Fighters never made an effort to eliminate those who killed from their ranks.”
“Those who killed were mostly members of the party, and they protected each other,” he said. “They took the land from farmers; they took the shops from the shopkeepers. They cut off the breasts of women who were pregnant or had children and their poured schnapps over their wounds,” Cizel recalled with horror and tears in his eyes. “You are never able to get something like that out of your head, never. All of these images still haunt me.” He said that memories still haunt him and that some soldiers even committed suicide because of it after the war.

Domen Mezeg

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