Dan O. Rados


On this May, 2023 an important commemoration took place in Kočevski Rog, Slovenia. In this place in 1945, after the formal end of WWII, the Yugoslav communists, led by Tito’s partisans, committed a most terrible crime and mass murder of 30,000 human beings, mostly Croatians and Slovenes – civilians and POW’s.

The commemoration started with a Holy Mass on a Saturday at the edge of theKren abyss in Kocevski Rog. The President of the Slovene bishops conference (SŠK) Anton Saje reminded the present that the purpose of the commemoration was to pray for all victims and seek reconciliation and forgiveness in the Slovenian society: “Reconciliation and forgiveness is God’s gift which requires human involvement and negation of evil. It also requires a courageous decision making, ongoing effort and cooperation of all: a bright future is conditioned by rejection of revenge, a search for the truth and justice for all”.

The commemoration was attended by the ex-president of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor and ex-premier Janez Janša.

Pitifully enough, the representatives of the Croatian authorities have never participated in the commemoration of this brutal crime, one of the largest by numbers, in history of modern Europe. Neither the Croatian Premier Andrej Plenkovic, (HDZ), nor the Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, (SDP), attended to show respect for the victims: thus, they continued their intentional silence in order to protect the crimes of their communist predecessors and family members.

Partisan officer Simo Dubajić testified that every day 5-6 train compositions loaded with post war victims, were executed. Most of them were Croatians. (enclosure: full documentary, Bleiburg, Tito’s License for Genocide).


(May, 2020)

Dear family members of the victims,

Dear Mr. President of the Republic,

Dear archbishop,

Dear gathered clergy,

Brothers and sisters,

On 25 May, 1945, 75 years ago, Edvard Kardelj sent a personal note from Belgrade to Boris Kidrič in Ljubljana requesting a faster processing of prisoners and increase in number of executions. As a result, the executions were sped up and my father, caught in the process, was transported to Kočevje.

At the beginning of The War my father was 14 year old. Only one year later, to avoid Italian occupation persecution, he escaped across the new Italian-German border. He served as a homeguard in Polhov Gradec, run away from prison in Ljubljanski Dvorac, was sentenced to 20 months of forced labor, sent to concentration camp Dachau, then joined other homeguards who were retreating to Viktring, and was repatriated to Yugoslavia to a partisan prison camp Šentvid, near Ljubljana.

Exactly in this place, he and hundreds of other young or under age prisoners were ordered to face the machine guns without a benefit of a trial or sentence.

The terror which the bullets missed, the regime later compensated by imposing fear in the society, and assassination of any memories of the terror as it had happened.

At that time of hard to comprehend repression and direct threats of execution, the people created a new phrase: “It is better not to know”. The truth was so horrible that we, the younger generation, initially could not believe even the most-minute fragments of it. Evidently, the truth is so terrible that in the past 75 years not a single documentary was made in Slovenia about this tragedy which deeply divided our society. 


Nevertheless, the hard truth survived in the minds of individual witnesses, small groups, some churches, neighboring countries and across the globe with those who survived or their families. Also, as incredulous as it sounds, among some perpetrators of crime who were confronting their own conscience.

In Europe, the 20th century produced two great evils, national-socialism and

communism. Hundreds of millions of people died or suffered because of it.

Particularly so the Slovenes and before us, our Primorski neighbors, under the

fascist regime. The two great evils, each emulated the other, and competed among themselves to commit a greater evil. Both were genocidal.

Evil is evil by its very nature and by the consequences of its actions, not by its

genocidal rhetoric. The evil that wages war against its own people in the name of special interests cannot be noble by its action. Moreover, evil cannot be

permanently erased by revenge, civil war or forgiveness, but only by presence of a just nation.

It is a human condition to reject injustice to aspire for freedom and dignified life. Some individuals involved in the whirlpool of occupation and war, which above all wanted to remain faithful to themselves, often were left in an elusive reality without any noble choice.

Thus, instead of co-living, we should at least try not to live one against another, but one next to another. Until today, we only touched the surface of this process.

Being in this sacred place of horrors, we must send a clear message to those who evoked death from the parks and squares of Ljubljana: we will not allow you to involve Slovenia back into the savagery of war. This blind hatred has already created too much grief. We will use all our power to prevent such terrible decline we witnessed in the past. We will not yield.

What is the message for our young people who lost their lives in this abyss at a base of Macensova gorica? Again united, and finally reconciled in death, these victims of 75 years ago, are asking: Did our death teach you, the following generation, anything at all?

The answer is: yes.

The truth about your fate, for me personally the fate of my father, is a violent

testimony about consequences which may be caused by a national conflict. This testimony motivated us to do our best in order not to take old horrible path half a century later. In that respect, we succeeded.

The second generation, represented here by President Boris Pahor and I, succeeded in 1991 to attain our independent Slovenia despite all negative forecasts, without shedding blood in that national effort. That in itself is another reason why we have a right to lay to rest here anyone, without exceptions, in the common, final place of repose.

We must become, again, a civilized nation!

To accept all victims, to reject old prejudices and to affirm the message of our

national anthem: to restore the peace on earth, with joy!

Despite all adversities, on 25 May 1991, exactly 46 years after state orders of cleansing and executions, the Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independent state, dreamt about in St. Visnjari, and affirmed in reality by the May declaration. Despite the deep historical national conflict, we, the Slovenes, were able to unite recognizing that we are all bound by the same basic values; in those hard times, the national resolution was defended by both the sons of the partisans and the sons of the home-guards. The sons of those who had been deported decades earlier, voluntarily returned to defend the Homeland jointly with members of the Territorial defense.

Therefore: we emphasize reconciliation, healing and preservation of truth. These values must be elevated to the pedestal of Slovene nationhood. In such way, we will propagate good will to all future generations. We have a Constitution, and constitutional values which apply equally to all. We have our independence, common national and state symbols; we have a beautiful country and a demonstrated ability, although developed lately, to defend it under difficult times. We also are resolute to, although late, honor ALL our victims.

May they rest in peace.

We salute you, Homeland !!.

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