Projekt Izgubljene kočevarske vasi

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The abandoned village of the Gottschee Germans is situated in the valley of Verderb and Verdreng or the Podleška valley, lying 528 m above the sea level. The valley is full of funnel-shaped holes (Slov. vrtača), typical for the Carst type of relief. In the northwest a hill Pevska gorica, and in the southeast a hill Šibje as well as a crest of Verdrenška gora are lying. An antenna for TV signal is at Verdrenška gora. 


The experts claim that a Slovenian word Dranc originates from the German words Gedränge, Bedrängnis, and from the German expression: “ist der Ort, wo der Wald verdrängt wurde ” - meaning a space, where the grounds are cultivated. I. Simonič, a historian, believes that it is about the settlement, which bore a German locality name, as it was founded by joint efforts of the Germans and the Slovenians.  

In the Kočevje Registry Book from 1574 the villages Verderb and Verdreng are mentioned together. Their estates (called huba) were divided into 11 halfway farms for 12 landlords. Supposingly, the estates provided living for 45 - 55 people. In the Franciscan Cadastral Register from 1824 Verdreng is registered as 16 houses. They were standing around a square empty space in the middle, next to a way passing The Church of St. John the Baptist, close to a water hole. The inhabitants were farmers, making their living by stockbreeding and peddling. They were not well-off, so their homes were relatively poor. 

A school was founded in 1893. The teaching was only in German until 1919, but later on also in Slovenian. The school was visited by the children from  Verdreng, Verderb, Turkova Draga and Zgornji Pokštajn. In 1908 the villagers of Verdrenk founded a fire brigade, but then a section of the Red Cross and the Adriatic Watch were there already. The Lexicon of Dravska banovina describes this settlement as an excursion destination for the Gottschee Germans. Most probably going on a pilgrimage to Verdrenška gora contributed. 

The village belonged to the municipality and the parish of Mozelj. It had the greatest number of inhabitants in 1910 - 101. 13 of them were Slovenians. During the last census of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1931) there were 91 inhabitants and 17 houses. The German inhabitants left the village on December 18th, 1941. 78 Germans from 17 houses departed, taking a train from a railway station Stara Cerkev. The settlement was almost empty. During the war it was burnt down by Italian soldiers, so there remained only four houses suitable for living at the end of war. They were populated with 21 people. 

Soon after the war, a penal colony for the prisoners condemned on the political grounds was arranged in this lonely valley. At first just for the women. They dwelled in the edifices south and west of a former school. Later on they were stirred up to Škofja Loka. Back here, the larger edifices were put in order and this became a village of men - prisoners and guards only. The penal colony had a head office at the former school between 1949 and 1953. Approx. 1953 the entire colony was dismissed.  

In 1955 the village was renamed and became Podlesje. It was also united with the neighbouring villages: Lapinje, Spodnji and Zgornji Pokštajn, as well with Verderb. Today there are some holiday cottages in Verdreng, along with the preserved building of former school.  

A subsidiary church of St. John the Baptist was erected during the first quarter of 16th century next to a cart track, which led through the middle of village. On September 8th, 1771, a new one (the baroque style) at the same spot was consecrated. It was constructed characteristically for this region: with one nave and a small presbytery, out of stone, with a ridged roof directly above the presbytery. There was a statue of St. John the Baptist at an altar from 1784(?5). The church got a new image after they built a belfry in 1866. Three bells were hanging in it – the two larger ones were taken by the World War I, but the third one remained. Namely, a priest from Zdihovo buried it into the grounds, before all inhabitants of the village were forced to leave. They got the bell out of soil in 1991 to be transported to Fara. The church itself was severely damaged during the World War II. After this war, it was used as a kitchen for prisoners, but soon it was pulled down and entirely removed. 

A graveyard was northwest from the settlement, approx. 200 m away from the core of village, at left hand side of the road to Rajndol. The tombstones and walls were removed after the World War II and the grounds were evened. One can still notice the foundation of walls in the meadow, hidden beneath a sod. 

Once there stood a smaller chapel of The Virgin Mary on the Hill, at the peak of Verderbška gora, designed for the pilgrimages. Now it would be close to a TV antenna. It was built in 1636. Soon after the World War II the area of Verdreng became part of a greater zone (200 km2) with restricted approach. This restricted zone was the scene of massive demolition of churches in 1950s; among them was also the chapel at Verderbška gora. Again, the bell (orig. 1642) from chapel was buried by the priest from Zdihovo, brought to daylight in 1991 and given to Pokrajinski muzej Kočevje to become part of an exhibition on the destiny of cultural heritage of Gottschee Germans. 

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