Slovenia

History

A part of the Hapsburg Monarchy until the First World War, most of Slovenia joined the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, thus becoming a part of Yugoslavia in 1929. A sliver of her coastal region, however, was given to Italy in 1920. In April 1941, when Germany’s twelve-day campaign against the South Slavic state led to its partition between the Axis powers and her allies, southern Slovenia and Ljubljana were annexed by Italy, while Germany occupied northern and eastern Slovenia and attached these areas to the Carinthia and Steiermark Reichsgaue. Hungary occupied the Prekmurje region, and some villages in Lower Carniola were annexed by the newly-founded Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH). When Italy concluded a separate peace with the Allies in September 1943, Germany took over her part of occupied Slovenia. In May 1945, Slovenia became a part of Yugoslavia again. In June 1991, Slovenia declared independence.

On the eve of the Second World War, Slovenia had an estimated overall population of 1,450,000 people. There was a Jewish community of about 1,000 people, whose numbers swelled, according to official Yugoslav data, to 1,533 (according to religion, not to ancestry) by 1939. Prior to the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, that number spiked to around 2,500, due to an influx of refugees from Germany and Austria and including baptised Jews. After April 1941, the German occupiers immediately introduced Nazi racial and purification policies. The Jews in northern and eastern Slovenia (the Slovenian Styria, Upper Carniola, Slovenian Carinthia, and Posavje regions) were deported to concentration camps as early as in the late spring of 1941. Very few survived. In Italian-occupied Ljubljana and Lower Carniola, the Jews enjoyed relative safety until these regions were taken over by the Germans in September 1943. By the end of 1943, most Jews had been deported to concentration camps, while some managed to escape to partisan-controlled areas. The Jews of Prekmurje, where the majority of Slovenian Jewry lived prior to the Second World War, suffered the same fate as the Jews of Hungary: When Germany occupied Hungary in the spring of 1944, almost the entire Jewish population of the Prekmurje region was deported to Auschwitz. Very few survived.

Archival Situation

On 31 October 1945, the National Government of Slovenia established the Central State Archives of Slovenia, which in 1991 was renamed the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia. The Historical Archives of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Slovenia merged with the national archives in 1990, while the former Archives of the Institute of the History of the Labour Movement (later renamed the Institute of Contemporary History) were included in 1992. In 1998, part of the Archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which kept records of the National Security Agency, was also included. Apart from the main repository in the Gruber Palace in the capital Ljubljana, the Archives have six other branches: Four in Ljubljana, and one in Gotenica and Borovec in the Kočevje region. In addition to the National Archives, Slovenia has regional, church, and university archives.

EHRI Research (Summary)

EHRI has identified the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia and the National Museum of Contemporary History as the most likely institutions to hold Holocaust-relevant sources. EHRI has yet to determine the exact number and importance of their holdings. Outside of Slovenia, the Croatian State Archives in Zagreb and Rijeka hold significant collections that are relevant to Holocaust research on Slovenia. Furthermore, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has collected a number of oral history interviews on Slovenia during the Holocaust period, and is in possession of the Eventov Archive of the Association of Immigrants from the former Yugoslavia in Israel.