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The Left Is Worried About the Testimony of a Partisan on the Post-Was Massacres

For many years, we have witnessed the silence of the executioners who were responsible for the deaths of innocent people in the post-war massacres; however, things have obviously started to change for the better. There is more and more hope that not only the truth will finally be revealed, but also regret for the worst crimes that ever happened on Slovenian soil. This is evidenced by the revelation of the Slovenian historian Jože Možina, Ph.D., who hosts the TV show Pričevalci (Witnesses) on the public RTV Slovenia. Namely, he revealed that one of the future episodes would likely include a confession from a partisan who was in the leadership of the Association of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia, and in 1945, led people from Teharje to their deaths – people who by no means deserved to die. 

After the war, the captured home guards, soldiers and civilians were temporarily stationed in the area of the former German training centre in Teharje. The Allies stopped them in Carinthia, along with the refugees and runaways from Serbia and Croatia and handed them over to the new partisan authorities. They were then killed without a fair trial, some near the camp in Bukovžlak or near Celje, and some were taken to Huda Jama near Laško, to the mine shafts of Hrastnik or Pečovnik.

“Tectonic shifts. A partisan, decorated four times, once in the leadership of the Association of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia, decided to make a sincere confession. In 1945, he led people from Teharje to their deaths: ‘They were mostly young girls, boys, not guilty of anything. The Party decided on everything,’” journalist Jože Možina revealed about the conversation and emphasised that the man in question is burdened by the crime, and the only cure for it is the truth. “The episode will air in September,” he added. Obviously, however, this is not an isolated case of significant shifts happening. According to Možina, a nearly 100-year-old member of the Association cancelled her appearance on the show Pričevalci some time ago, one day before the show was supposed to be taped. “They said that it happened because of the pressures from the other members of the Association. And now, this lady has called me and asked to buy my book. ‘I want to know what happened, and then, I will get back to you.’ She will, of course, get her own copy of the book, with a nice dedication.”

We witnessed an interesting revelation on the show Pričevalci two months ago when Bruno Tekavec spoke about his father, Filip Tekavec, who betrayed the members of the Revolutionary Organisation of the Julian March T.I.G.R. on Mala gora near Ribnica. After trying to loosen up the control over memory and silence for almost three-quarters of a century, we learned the truth about who betrayed the first Primorska anti-fascists in a shocking testimony. On the 13th of May 1941, members of T.I.G.R. were attacked by Italian carabinieri on Mala gora. When Možina asked Tekavec how the Italians even knew where the members were, Tekavec replied: “They knew because my father had written a letter and betrayed the whole operation. After all, the official, you could say the “red” variant of the story, is practically impossible. Namely, the claims that they were betrayed by an old man from Ribnica, who was blamed for everything. And the allegations that the Italians already ambushed the house, that they came inside, are also nonsense.”

The Union of the Associations for the Values of the National Liberation Movement of Slovenia (Zveza združenj borcev za vrednote Narodnoosvobodilnega boja Slovenije – referred to as the ZZB NOB) should undoubtedly reflect on Tekavec’s testimony, as he clearly admitted that members of T.I.G.R., who were the first to start an armed resistance against fascism, were betrayed by the ancestors of ZZB NOB. If we ever want to achieve reconciliation, one of the things that need to happen is also that the sins be confessed in black and white. Only that can lead to repentance and forgiveness. But perhaps the show, which is scheduled to air in September, will motivate some other people to repent as well.

Nina Žoher

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