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Slovenia, 1945: Memories of Death and Survival after World War II [Hardcover]

John Corsellis , Marcus Ferrar
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 24, 2005 1850438404 978-1850438403 annotated edition
In 1945 Slovenia, 6,000 civilians and 12,000 members of the anti-Communist Home Guard, the "domobranci", fearing punishment for their wartime resistance to their Partisan enemies, fled to southern Austria. But there, the British 8th Army loaded them into trucks, purportedly to take them to Italy, only to deliver them straight back to Tito's Partisans. The Partisans tortured and then executed them. The remaining civilians were spared due to the brave revolt of the British Red Cross and Quaker aid workers. John Corsellis witnessed and took part in these protests and in this book reconstructs the survivors' stories. These are vivid tales of wartime cruelty, of the revival of battered communities in refugee camps, and of emigration to Argentina, the U.S., Canada and Britain. In this unique volume, the authors call on more than half a century of research and an unsurpassed knowledge of the Slovene migrant communities around the world to tell their stories.

Editorial Reviews


A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, 2005!
"very valuable..extremely interesting..the material is absolutley fascinating and historically very important." --Barbara Harrell-Bond, Founder-Director, University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre.
"extraordinarily interesting..heart-rending..particularly shows the resilience of the human spirit in a finer light than I can remember reading elsewhere."--Nigel Nicholson.
"an intensely moving and compelling narrative..I am thankful that these courageous people have at last found so able and fluent a chronicler."--Nikolai Tolstoy, author of The Minister and the Massacre

"A detailed and objective book…truly moving…An implicit reminder of the patrimony that centuries of Christian civilisation have bestowed upon the Europeans, and of which Europe itself is getting rid in favour of a totalitarian and inhuman nihilism." -- Nova Historica (Italy)

About the Author

John Corsellis has written widely on Slovene refugees, having experienced at first hand their camps at the end of WWI.

Marcus Ferrar is a writer and independent communications consultant and teaches at business schools in Switzerland and Slovenia.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris; annotated edition edition (November 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850438404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850438403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,329,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Massacre after WWI in Europe January 26, 2007
John Corsellis & Marcus Ferrar,
Slovenia 1945; Memories of Death and Survival after World War II

The authors disprove that the worst and greatest massacres in Europe, committed after the WW II happened in Srebrenica, where in April 1993 Serbs killed 7 to 8 thousand Bosnians. Indeed the greatest massacres happened in May and June 1945 in Slovenia, which was one of the six republics of Yugoslavia until 1991, when this common state fell apart. Slovenia, with just about 2 million citizens and 20.256 sq. km, is wedged between north-eastern Italy and southern Austria. On this, small territory 513 mass graves, with some 200,000 victims have been discovered (as per January 2007). Very few of these victims were real traitors or war criminals. Most of them were just opposing the communist revolution, which started after June 22, 1941, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Initially the Communists did not disclose their real objectives - to seize power after the war. They acted under the disguise of struggle against the Germans, Italians and Hungarians, who had occupied Yugoslavia two months earlier. But their real intentions soon became apparent, when they began killing honest and patriotic Slovenes, just because they were opposing communism. Besides some sabotage, or killing a few enemy soldiers, the actions of partisans in the Liberation Front (OF) too often caused more harm to the local population than to their enemy. In their reprisals against the nearby village populations, the German and Italian occupiers killed hostages, or sometimes the entire adult male population, sent the rest to a concentration camp, and burned down the whole village.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My parents lived through this ordeal December 17, 2012
Very interesting. I was born in Villach, Austria while my parents were in a displaced person's camp. My father was a member of the domobranci, but fortunately was being treated for a broken jaw as a result of a horse kicking him. He was therefore not on the train with the unfortunate soldiers that were sent back to Yugoslavia and slaughtered. In 1949, my family emigrated to California.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written "forgotten" history July 22, 2010
I checked this book out via interlibrary loan after reading a small blurb on the Daily Mail website during the World Cup about the many Slovenes killed through the betrayal by the British and I now know what many have forgotten, the coverup and by the British of the mass slaughter by the Partisans. This volume by John Corsellis was well-written with ample documentation through interviews with the survivors of this debacle the Domebranci and their children. The book covers not only the massacre itself, but also the aftermath including life in the refugee camps, the immigration of survivors to Canada, The United States, Argentina and England, their adjustment in those countries and the slow path to reconciliation that started shortly after Slovenia declared independence in 1990.

This book is perfect in that it cites its sources, has an in depth index and has an substantial bibliography. Whatever viewpoint one has of those events, we must agree that war is a horrible thing and that it brings out the human savagery that is inherent in our sin nature. The Domebranci did have some foibles in lncluding the fact that some swore their services to Hitler, but one must ask what choice did they have. It is easy in our air-conditioned rooms and our coffee shops to debate what course of action a repressed people should have taken. It surely was not easy in a land that had two murderous dictators fighting on the two sides.

This book is must-reading to understand the past.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. April 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fascinating description of the fate of slovenian people during and after ww2. The tragic killing of slovenian soldiers after the war must always be remembered.
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