Projekt Izgubljene kočevarske vasi

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  • Project: The Lost Villages of the Gotschee Germans

    The Lost villages of the Gotschee Germans is an interactive multimedia project by Center for mladinsko kulturo Kočevje (Centre for The Culture of Youth in Kočevje). Answerable for a cultural heritage we researched, responsible for a local history we documented what otherwise would be probably gone with the wind. You are looking at the part of project, which handles 12 villages of the Gotschee Germans. It marks them with signs and puts them on a map. The villages are furthermore presented by movies at www.KocevarskeVasi.si.From the middle of the 14th century until 1942, a German- speaking area of approximately 800 sq km in size was part of the Kočevsko region. During the Nazi occupation, Germans living in various European countries were massively migrated back to the German Reich by the Nazi government. After the Italians had occupied the Kočevsko region in 1941, a small German-speaking community of about 12,000 people had to migrate as well. The Gottscheer Germans were appointed the area along the Sava and the Sotla rivers in the Lower Štajersko region, from which the most Slovenians had been exiled. After WW2, the destiny of the Gottscheer Germans was similar to that of  other German-speaking communities in Slovenia. Those who did not leave with the German army at the end of the war and those few who remained in the Kočevsko region were exiled to Austria by the new Yugoslav government. Later, they dispersed and settled in various parts of Austria and Germany; many moved to the Unites States of America. 

    The exile of the Gottscheer Germans, post-war devastation and decay, and well-planned destruction of mostly sacral buildings in the 1950s had a fatal long-term effect on the area. More than one half of 176 villages in the Kočevsko region were destroyed: the area is now covered with woods. Only 28 out of 123 churches have been preserved, and out of approximately 400 chapels and religious signs about 40 can still be found. Many cemeteries were either levelled with the ground or the German tombstones were removed. Apart from the changes in the national structure, the economic and proprietorial situation of the area was profoundly changed. The Karstic soil and the densely wooded area of the Kočevski Rog with its deep abysses witnessed mass killings of several thousands of Slovenian soldiers opposing the National Front, who were returned to Slovenia after they had tried to emigrate. The extensive region was later closed to the public and a number of penal and work camps were set up. Very few remnants are left to this day to witness the 600-year- long presence of the German national community amidst the Slovenian territory. The plaques present the images of the once vibrant villages, countryside and its people, who shaped the Kočevsko region over the centuries. Author: dr. Mitja Ferenc

     

  • O projektu "Izgubljene kočevarske vasi"

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The village was arranged in a small Carst field. This fact is probably connected to the origin of its name. The German expression: “an der reichen Au” literally means: “at the rich meadow”. In a way, the name reminds of the arrival of colonists from Carinthia, where many settlements and fallows bear similar names. Rajhenav developed into type of a road-side and junction settlement with a substantially broadened road in the middle. 

The settlement was among the oldest ones in the Gottschee region. Its origin reaches back to the end of colonisation around 1400. The German speaking colonists came first then, in the Kočevski Rog area, and often came together with Slovenian natives to look for new land to progress even deeper in the woods to produce fields and pastures. By clearing these woods, they gradually gained some cultivable land and established villages. According to the Land Register Book from 1574, a settlement by the name Reichnau included 10 properties or estates divided into 20 halfway farms. There were 36 land owners living here, along with 135-145 inhabitants. At the time the village was one of the largest ones in the Gottschee region. 

In 1869 Rajhenav officially had 58 houses and 280 inhabitants. From 1880 to 1931 the number of inhabitants decreased permanently; only half of the population of Rajhenav remained, compared to five decades earlier. In 1936 seven of the 58 numbered houses were empty and 20 were already in ruins, mostly because of emigration. 

The villagers made their living by farming and stockbreeding. The place was well known for its high quality cattle. They also produced wooden buckets and other wooden articles. Some of them were sold at other villages. Some of the families were supported by relatives in America. The first provisional school with a year long programme was opened in 1880. From 1905 on, the school had one class and teaching was done in German. Until 1926, when the school committee bought house No. 34, it did not have its own building. In 1929 they built one. It was modest: made from wood, rough-casted, and with only one classroom. Only children from Rajhenav went to this school. Each year there were from 20 to 30 pupils in average. The school was closed during the Gottschee Germans’ departure. There was also a voluntary fire brigade organised in the village, which had already been established in 1907. Furthermore, the villagers organised their own branch office of the Red Cross. But, the municipality office and a parish were in Koprivnik, 5 km away. 

The German inhabitants, 130 people from 28 houses, departed in 1941, between December 3rd and 17th. Afterwards, the largest village in Kočevski Rog started to decay rapidly. It was finally demolished during an offensive at Rog in August 1942. Italian soldiers systematically burned down the houses, and according to the inventory at the end of war, all 44 houses had been destroyed. After World War II the settlement was not rebuilt and repopulated. In its place there was only a smaller state estate for breeding cattle. Two of the houses were restored. In the 1970s this estate too was abandoned, but soon after the Yugoslavian Army took up residence there, bringing telephone lines and electricity to it.  

Rajhenav is the birth place of Viktor Stalzer (25. 11. 1920-12. 12. 2005), one of the founders of Gottschee Landmannschaft in Klagenfurt, and for many years its president. He also co-founded and edited Gottscheer Zeitung, of which the modern edition has been published from 1955 onwards. 

In 1996 Alojz Brdnik settled in Rajhenav, mainly to breed cattle of the best meat sorts. He followed in Rajhenav’s rich stockbreeding history, when in the times of Maria Theresa oxen were bred here. At Brdnik’s home – house No. 1 – there are two memorial plaques. One is a reminder of World War II and the Tomšič Brigade, and the other of the arising of an independent Slovenia, when the Territorial Guard took over one of the buildings of the Yugoslav Army.  

A succursal or supplementary church was erected in the middle of the elongated village, along the road. The building was consecrated as St. Mary Magdalene’s in the 18th century. The slender lines of the building, as seen in old photos, show that the church originates from the 17th century. In the second half of the century it was mentioned by Valvasor in his field registers. 

During World War II the church was destroyed by fire. For the most part the burnt walls were removed in the beginning of the 1960s, and many of the stones were used for consolidating roads in the woods. On the location of the former church there is still one column with the date of 1926 – the last reminder of what was once a mighty church. 

On the settlement’s west side the St. Eliah Chapel, erected in approximately 1785, was once located. On the spot there are only a few partially recognisable stones remaining from the nave’s foundation and from the southern wall of the altar niche. 

Predstavitev vasi v besedi in sliki

  • All
  • Borovec Pri Kočevki Reki
  • Czmk
  • GLAŽUTA, Karlshütten, Gloschhittn
  • INLAUF, Inlauf, Inlaf
  • Izgubljene Kočevarske Vasi
  • JELENDOL, Hirisgruben
  • KUKOVO, Rapljevo, Kukundorf, Kukndoarf
  • Mitja Ferenc
  • Morobitz
  • Mröbitz
  • Nemška Loka, Unterdeutschau, Agə
  • ONEK, Honegg, Wrneggə
  • RAJHENAV, Reichenau, Reichenagə
  • Rajndol, Reintal, Reintol
  • Tvkocevje
  • VERDRENG Podlesje, Verdreng, Vərdreng