Lost Gottschee villages in Slovenia: Part 1A–J

Page 1

Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org)



Mitja FERENC and Gojko ZUPAN

LOST GOTTSCHEE VILLAGES IN SLOVENIA The Gottschee Germans Used to Live among Us Part I: A–J

Ljubljana, 2018

izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 1

18.5.2018 22:48:46

Mitja FERENC and Gojko ZUPAN Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia The Gottschee Germans Used to Live among Us Part I: A-J A revised edition of Izgubljene kočevske vasi. Nekoč so z nami živeli kočevski Nemci. 1. del : A-J (Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia. The Gottschee Germans Used to Live among Us, Part I: A-J) Published by: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts) and Center za mladinsko kulturo Kočevje Issued by: Department of History For the publisher: Roman Kuhar, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana Edited by: Mitja Ferenc Authors: Mitja Ferenc and Gojko Zupan Photographs: Mitja Ferenc, Jože Saje, Gojko Zupan et al. Translated by: Saša Mlacović Proofreading: Josh Rocchio Reviewers: Prof. Dr. Dušan Nečak, Prof. Dr. Darko Friš Cartographer: Mateja Rihtaršič Designed by: Uroš Čuden, Medit d.o.o. Layout: Uroš Čuden, Medit d.o.o. Printed by: Demago Maribor Number of copies printed: 200 Ljubljana, 2018 First edition. Price: 40 EUR The authors are responsible for the contents. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the publishers. Authors have endeavoured to find all copyright owners. If in a particular case we have not stated the true owner, we shall do so at the first opportunity. The project was made possible by Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije (Slovenian Research Agency) Cover photograph by: Dolenja Topla Reber, before 1937 Cover photograph by: Dolenja Topla Reber, the area of the village, 2009 Cover photograph by: Dolenja Topla Reber, the Franciscan cadastre, 1824 Back cover: A village celebration CIP - Kataložni zapis o publikaciji Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, Ljubljana 94(497.434=112.2) 323.15(497.434=112.2)(091) 908(497.434-22) FERENC, Mitja Lost Gottschee villages in Slovenia : the Gotschee Germans used to live among us / Mitja Ferenc and Gojko Zupan ; [photographs Mitja Ferenc ... [et al.] ; translated by Saša Mlacović ; cartographer Mateja Rihtaršič]. - 1st ed. - Ljubljana : Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete, 2018-. - (Historia : znanstvena zbirka Oddelka za zgodovino Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani ; 26) Pt. 1: A-J. - 2018 ISBN 978-961-06-0072-5 (zv. 1) 1. Zupan, Gojko 294727424

izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 2

18.5.2018 22:48:46

Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia

Table of contents

Draga (pri Borovcu) | 140 Gaber | 141 Gače | 142 Glažuta | 144 Golobinjek | 147 Gorenja Bukova Gora | 149 Gorenja Loka | 150 Gorenja Topla Reber | 152 Gorenje | 155 Gorenji Mačkovec | 157 Gorenji Vecenbah | 158 Gornja Briga | 160 Gornje Ložine | 162 Gotenica | 165 Gradec | 173 Grčarice | 175 Grčarske Ravne / Jelendol | 180 Gričice | 183 Grintovec | 185 Handlerji | 187 Hrib | 189 Inlauf | 192 Iskrba | 196

Introduction | 5 A Historical Outline From the settlement to 1918 | 9 In the Yugoslav state | 22 The Kočevje region’s endemic creativity | 55 An overview of settlements Ašelice | 67 Beli Kamen | 69 Bistrica | 72 Blatnik | 74 Blaževica | 78 Borovec | 80 Breg | 87 Brezje | 89 Brezovica | 92 Cesta | 94 Cvišlerji | 96 Črmošnjice | 99 Črni Potok | 106 Deleči Vrh | 110 Divji Potok | 112 Doblička Gora | 114 Dolenja Topla Reber | 117 Dolga vas | 121 Dolnja Briga | 127 Dolnje Ložine | 131 Draga | 133

Appendices | 197 Index of places | 201 Selected sources and bibliography | 205


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 3

18.5.2018 22:48:46


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 4

18.5.2018 22:48:49

settlement described settlements in this book

today’s state border linguistic area

Settlement in 1939



The first part of the historical and topographical survey of the Kočevje region entitled The Lost Villages of Gottschee is an update of the research and books which have been in the making for almost two decades. The care and energy devoted to this individual, resettled, and almost disappeared linguistic group in an area of about 800 km2 is unmatched in Slovenia or elsewhere in Europe. The Kočevje region is not a uniform landscape; it lies in Slovenia’s south-eastern part and extends as far as the Croatian border, in the east as far as White Carniola, and rises above the valley of the River Krka in the northern fringes. It is not a closed and bounded geographical whole; it is a part of the Dinaric landscape that extends from the Ljubljana marshes towards the southeast. Extensive, dynamic, in some places furrowed karstic plateaus alternate with systems of valleys and scarce watercourses that usually disappear underground. The typical karstic surface is imbued with sinkholes and underground caves, chasms, and terra rossa or a similar type of soil. In areas untouched by human hand rock soil is covered with undergrowth and forests, particularly with stands of beech and fir trees, in the more recent years by stands of spruce trees. No other part of Slovenia boasts a similar in-depth cultural and historical survey of its villages, churches, shrines, gravestones, of each natural and regulated water source, models of existing and demolished churches, lists of former schools and select industrial facilities. The Kočevje region prides itself on an exhibition of the abandoned villages and even a museum collection of the resettled population. The Gottschee Germans’ material remnants in the Ko­ čevje region are scarce but expressive enough. Individual German explorers, and particularly Slovene researchers, proved that politically erased material memory galvanizes writers of memoirs and researchers either in the archives or on location. Previously undiscovered archival documents or even original objects from individual demolished churches that were dispersed in public and private collections can always be found. The shortcomings of dry scientific research were enhanced by personal experiences narrated by people who used to live in the area and kept in touch with it. Tiny, even child-like naive sketches are of great value; they were produced by those who drew the villages’ homesteads from memory, marked the location of the village lime tree and drew smoke rising from the chimneys, hinting that the hearth is active and that there is life in the house. In the Kočevje region, where the former stone-built house walls are overgrown with clematis, bushes, and spruce trees, the written word often outlives the material remains. Having researched and listed the locations of the former villages and churches a long

time ago, we, the authors, felt it necessary to revisit the area. More has changed than we anticipated; remnants of house walls in forests are even more overgrown, the landscape and settlements situated alongside roads experienced more significant and rapid changes. Diligent people built many new houses, workshops, and smaller industrial plants. The settlements’ former schemes are often unidentifiable, and the old types of houses are no longer extant. The number of farms has dwindled; only those who are particularly attached to the soil and to the estates persevere. Factories, sawmills, and individual large farms have disappeared. With the exception of few protected hunting enclosures, the less accessible settlement of Gotenica and the area of Škrilj, the district is imbued with forest paths and roads. Information boards, signposts, new shrines, and masonry chapels were set up in freely accessible locations, while settlements consisting of holiday cabins emerged in other places. The villages’ or hamlets’ topographical features had to be surveyed anew. The term topography is in Slovene literature, and particularly in practice, at times somewhat misused; archaeologists, ethnologists, geographers, linguists, art historians, historians, etc. produce their own topographies. In the text at hand we aimed to sum up the best research conducted in the more recent decades and inspect the provided data on location. Material from archives that are not easily accessible was added, along with privately owned photographs. This would not have been possible without the help of the Gottschee Germans’ societies in Slovenia, Austria, and the USA. Individual Slovene archives were of great use, particularly documents kept in the Kočevje Regional Museum. The Gottschee villages and their particularities were paid a lot of attention in the new millennium. Mitja Ferenc’s on-site, historical research and books dealing with sacral art were after 1990 followed by Ferenc’s and his students’ in-depth scientific research. Various authors followed suit; articles and books were published, along with Marija Makarovič’s ethnological, people-friendly volume Črmošnjiško–Poljanska dolina in njeni ljudje, which was published in 2005 and contains valuable memorials. We, the authors, paid particular attention to the cemeteries in the Kočevje region (along with Mateja Bavdaž) as well as to other types of cultural heritage in the area. Additional topographic features were listed. Mitja Ferenc continued with his research in the archives and compiled his findings in an extensive volume entitled Kočevska– pusta in prazna. Nemško jezikovno območje na Kočevskem po odselitvi Nemcev. He addresses the area’s broader issues, and a separate chapter is dedicated to the cultural heritage, first and foremost to the sacral heritage; in the afore-


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 5

18.5.2018 22:48:50

Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia

existence in the recent decades. Our style is lapidary, resembling that of authors of at least three different Slovene geographical lexicons. As was the case in the majority of publications, the list of settlements relies on the volume Krajevni leksikon dravske banovine, since it includes the names of all extant and vacant villages. The former villages are either nonexistent or completely changed. Along with the expressive piles of stones, the written sources are a means of preserving the memory of these settlements and of the people who lived and worked in them. Each settlement was given its own chapter in this new book. Slovene names of villages in the Austrian state of Carinthia were added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage; we followed suit by listing all versions of the Kočevje region’s names of settlements, and they are followed by place names and other types of names in Slovene, German, and in the Gottschee German dialect. The description includes a brief etymological explanation of the origin of individual villages’ names, along with the settlements’ and monuments’ reference numbers in the Register of Immovable Cultural Heritage, which is maintained by the Information and Documentation Centre at the Cultural Heritage Directorate, the Ministry of Culture. The Register is available online and provides the exact geolocation of each registered building or settlement. Some buildings or villages were so degraded or demolished that the experts at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (the competence of the Ljubljana and Novo Mesto Regional Offices) decided not to include them in the Register. The texts are supplemented with reproductions of the villages’ areas in the Franciscan cadastre and the data obtained from various censuses. Descriptions of selected buildings, mostly churches and schools, were added where possible; devotional shrines were recorded in each village. Along with shrines, we also listed memorial plaques and other monuments, testaments to the tragedy occurring during World War II, after the resettlement of the Gottschee German population. The area provided shelter to partisans and was the scene of the German and Italian occupying forces’ offensives, combats, hostages shootings, the resettlement of the few remaining inhabitants on the one side, and efforts to save the wounded in hidden hollows on the other. All this constitutes the shared history of the villages at hand. The writing is founded on and explained by means of footnotes, which are not meant to clutter up the main text. Short descriptions of the villages’ development also include presentations of families that left the area at the beginning of World War II for various reasons. We sought to include as many additional data, particularly photographs, as possible; the volume is supplemented with many figures, gathered from various sources for each respective village. Documentary photographs stem from different periods; their respective owner or photographer is stated in each accompanying capture. Many photographs are faded and of lesser artistic quality; neverthe-

mentioned volume more demanding readers will find a detailed list of sources, which can be helpful when researching the subject. Particularly telling is the extended edition of Wilhelm Tschinkl’s volume Kočevarska folklora: v šegah, navadah, pravljicah, povedkah, legendah in drugih folklornih izročilih / Gottscheer Volkstum: in Sitte, Brauch, Märchen, Sagen, Legenden und anderen volkstümlichen Überlieferungen (first edition in 1931), which was complemented with new research results and published in 2004. Publishers active in the society Društvo Kočevarjev staroselcev/ Gottscheer Altsiedler Verein encouraged Anton Prelesnik, one of the leading authorities on the Kočevje region’s forests, villages, and historical peculiarities, to write the book entitled Vodni viri na Kočevskem / Wasserquellen im Gottscheerland, which was published in 2007. His different view on the area’s development and the settlement network, which was always contingent upon water, is particularly valuable. The Kočevje Regional Museum coordinated additional research of the sacral heritage, which was showcased in an exhibition in 2006. The exhibition’s extensive catalogue Sakralna dediščina na Kočevskem / Das Sakralerbe im Gotscheerland has served as a basis for all recent research. The Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts supplemented these studies with an art historical topography dealing with a part of the area of the former German linguistic island; their volume is about to be published shortly. Matjaž Ambrožič’s research is painstakingly punctilious. He wrote a book on the Kočevje parish in 2003; it is based on archival sources which were still inaccessible at the time of our research and bears the title Župnijska cerkev sv. Fabijana in Boštjana ter sv. Jerneja v Kočevju in njene podružnice. The chronicle on the Kočevska Reka parish, whose publication was prompted by the parish priest Jože Milčinovič, is extensive. Experts active in the Novo Mesto Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage are very diligent; the monograph about the development of the Črmošnjice parish could not have come into being without them. Books rich in content should not be left unnoticed, e.g. Mirko Oražem’s study Grčarice skozi preteklost, and other booklets, brochures, and newspaper articles, some of which are cited next to the descriptions of villages and others in the list of sources and bibliography. The acquired knowledge and new findings cannot be summed up in a single volume. The topographical book at hand is the first out of three volumes that will in the alphabetical order deal with all settlements which were populated by the Gottschee Germans; its primary goal is to preserve the memory of these villages. At the same time we wish to acquaint the broader public with the compiled material and the data on the lost villages. All former Gottschee villages are discussed, those that disappeared completely as well as those experiencing a new type of


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 6

18.5.2018 22:48:50


of origin, wherefore each village contains directions how to reach it. The directions are more detailed in the case of lost villages which are at present located in forests and settlements which are not marked on general or electronic maps. They are somewhat briefer in the case of villages set alongside main roads. Many sources and pieces of information cannot provide comprehensive accounts of the life itself or its many nuances and intertwinements. We will be grateful to every attentive reader whose knowledge and views, previously unseen documents or yellowed photographs will complement this topographic survey.

less, each photograph tells its own story about the area, the house, the people, and the period in question. They include documentary snaps taken when visiting the village. We were assisted in our on-site surveys by JoŞe Saje. The text at hand is not and does not aspire to be a history of great names; it is a history of ordinary, rebellious people, who are in many instances anonymous. This book is not meant to be merely a desk-research publication with a collection of data and short introductory studies; it aims to help you as a reference book on site and to encourage those who wish to familiarize themselves with individual abandoned villages, churches, wells, and with the fates of people in the area at hand to embark on a journey. The texts should assist those in search of their ancestors’ place

Mitja Ferenc and Gojko Zupan


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 7

18.5.2018 22:48:50

izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 8

18.5.2018 22:48:52


today’s state border linguistic area

community area

Settlement in 1939 and administrative territorial regulation of the Kočevsko region in 2007


A Historical Outline

From the settlement to 1918

a part of the Dinaric landscape, which is not marked by high mountains, but rather by dynamic karstic plateaus and valleys with a typical karstic surface. The German linguistic area extended mostly in the karstic hilly and forested terrain, with three mountain ranges running from the northwest to the southeast: Kočevska Mala Gora with Kočevski Rog (also known as Rogovsko Višavje), Stojna (in literature referred to as Fridrihštajnski Gozd and Kočevska Velika Gora), and Goteniško–Reško Pogorje with four larger valleys: Dragarska Dolina, Goteniško– Reška Dolina, Kočevsko Polje, and Črmošnjiško–Poljanska Dolina. It encompassed about 800 square kilometres and was from east to west about 42 km long, and from north to south around 30 km. This geographically very diverse area was called by German geographers Oberland (the upper country, from Mala Gora to Mozelj), Unterland (the lower country, from Mozelj towards the south), Hinterland (the back country, between Grčarice and Kočevska Reka), Hochtal von Suchen (Dragarska Planota), Walden (forest – Kočevski Rog), and Moschnitze (Črmošnjice – Poljanska Dolina). The criterion according to which an individual settlement was included in the German linguistic island was simply whether or not in the 1880-1910 Austrian population censuses its inhabitants predominantly used German as their language of communication or not. According to the data obtained from the Austrian population censuses, the German linguistic island in the Kočevje region encompassed 21 municipalities, along with a large part of or whole villages from 8 other municipalities. All these municipalities were located in the districts of Kočevje, Novo Mesto, and Črnomelj; the German-populated areas within them included about 17% of villages and 18% of the population in 1880. In the Kočevje district the German linguistic area contained 116 (28%) villages, 39% of the population, and 42% of the houses. It included the municipalities of Stari Log, Nemška Loka, Polom, Gotenica, Kočevje, Knežja Lipa, Novi Lazi, Koče, Livold, Mala Gora, Stara Cerkev, Mozelj, Borovec, Koprivnik, Kočevska Reka, Črni Potok, and Briga, in part also the municipality of Dolenja Vas. In the Novo Mesto district the German linguistic area encompassed the municipalities of Poljane, Črmošnjice, and Smuka, a total of 43 villages, or about 8% of villages, population, and houses in the district. The only entirely »German« municipality in the Črnomelj district was the municipality of Planina, while only individual villages in five municipalities were included into the German linguistic area; Bistrica and Zaderc in the municipality of Čeplje; Rodine in the municipality of Talčji Vrh; Miklarji, Mavrlen, and Bistrica in the municipality of Dobliče;

Germans in Slovene ethnic territory Germans living permanently in the Drava Banovina before World War II, excluding several thousand Germans from the Reich or empire, arrived in Slovene ethnic territory in three ways. The German political lordship brought German secular and ecclesiastical lords to the area. They were later also joined by German townspeople, and in more recent centuries by representatives of big enterprises and the intelligentsia. They were mostly town- and market-based, where they owned houses, factories, worked as freelance professionals, craftspeople, and were landowners or, in some areas, even farmers. Their number was larger before World War I; however, white-collar professionals (professors, teachers, officials) emigrated to Austria after the establishment of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs or the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in the autumn of 1918. The second group consisted of Germans who settled Slovene ethnic territory during the colonisation of highland areas in the Middle Ages. Those were, first and foremost, the Gottschee Germans, who arrived after 1330 and retained their Germanness, and the Sorica Germans, who settled the Selca Sora Valley after the thirteenth century and, having been encircled by the Slovene population, mostly lost their German awareness. Both colonizations, that in Kočevje and Sorica, are the most recent agricultural colonizations in Slovene ethnic territory. The third group consists of Germans who were cut off from the more or less compact German territory by the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919. These were the Apače Germans, who were left outside Upper Styria due to the border on the Mura River, and Germans in four villages to the south of the stream Kučnica, in the north-western part of Prekmurje, since the border was delineated along the stream. The German linguistic island in the Kočevje region The authors use the term Kočevsko, the Kočevje region, for the area of a more or less ethnically mixed enclave encircled by Slovenes that was populated by the German population (the Gottschee Germans or Gottscheers) for six centuries, up to 1941. However, we are aware that Kočevsko, in fact, is a broader area, one that also comprised areas populated solely by Slovenes. The Kočevje region lies in Slovenia’s south-eastern part and is not a closed and bounded geographical entity. It is


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 9

18.5.2018 22:48:52


border of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia border of the Drava ban’s domain


Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 10

18.5.2018 22:48:54

A Historical Outline

and Vrčice in the municipality of Semič. This district’s German area encompassed 7% of villages, 5% of houses, and 4% of the population. In 2018 this area belongs to seven administrative units (municipalities), the majority of which are included in the municipality of Kočevje, with the exception of several villages in the south, along the Kolpa River, and in the valley Poljanska Dolina. In the east, the municipality of Dolenjske Toplice includes the western part of Kočevski Rog (Podstenice) and villages in Črmošnjiška Dolina (Kočevske Poljane, Stare Žage, Mali Rigelj, Občice, Nova Gora, Laze, and Travni Dol). Three areas of approximately the same size belong to the municipalities of Loški Potok, Črnomelj, and Semič. In the west, the municipality of Loški Potok includes villages in Dragarska Dolina (Draga, Glažuta, Trava, Srednja Vas, Podpreska, and Lazec); to the southeast, in the municipality of Semič its western half, i.e. the former settlements in the southwestern outskirts of Kočevski Rog; and in the municipality of Črnomelj the villages of Mavrlen, Doblička Gora, Miklarji, Rodine, Stražnji Vrh, and Bistrica. The smallest parts are located to the northwest and to the north, in the municipalities of Ribnica (Grčarske Ravne and Grčarice) and Dobrepolje (Kukovo). The majority of the population, about 14,800 out of a total of 17,300 people, lives in Kočevje and its surroundings, in Kočevsko and Mezeljsko Polje; more than half of the population lives in Kočevje alone. Dragarska Planota and several settlements in the valleys Kočevskoreška Dolina and Črmošnjiška Dolina, and the outskirts of Kočevski Rog above White Carniola are still populated, while other areas are practically uninhabited. Bearing in mind the fate that befell the Kočevje region, the remnants that would bear witness to the area having been settled by Germans are few and far between. 112 settlements out of a total of 176 were burnt down or destroyed in some other way; they are either non-existing at the present or consist of one or two inhabited houses. Many of them are still included in the Republic of Slovenia’s official lists of settlements; however, their traces would not be found easily. Nowadays, there are only 101 settlements, 70 of which are located in the municipality of Kočevje, six in the municipality of Loški Potok, two in the municipality of Ribnica, six in the municipality of Črnomelj, nine in the municipality of Semič, and eight in the municipality of Dolenjske Toplice. As many as 20 settlements are uninhabited, the majority of which lies in the municipality of Kočevje; a house or ruins still stand in some of them, but mostly they lack any extant remnants.

The Kočevje book of privileges dated to 27 June 1642 (The Kočevje Regional Museum). The original document issued by Emperor Friedrich III in 1471 was destroyed in a fire in 1596, when the entire archive was demolished. The charter’s text was renewed by Emperor Ferdinand III, when he confirmed the town privileges on 27 June 1642; the original is kept in the Kočevje Regional Museum.

the karstic, stony and forested terrain, which is rather unsuitable for arable farming due to its climate, postponed the area’s colonization. Nevertheless, Slovenes somewhat accessed the area before the arrival of the German colonists, exploited it economically, and occasionally even settled some areas, albeit rather sparsely. The German settlement of the Kočevje region is associated with the House of Ortenburg, which obtained ownership of the area in 1247. As one of the last uninhabited areas in Slovene ethnic territory the region was settled in the fourteenth century by the German population, in some places along with Slovenes. The Ortenburgs resettled serfs from their estates in Upper Carinthia and eastern Tyrol to this sparsely inhabited, forested area in modern-day Slovenia in the 1330s, and particularly in the 1350s and early 1360s. Erich Petschauer argues that the Ortenburgs initially might have brought

The German settlement The Kočevje region, a remote, karstified, forested landscape that is not easily passable, was settled at a relatively late point. The Slovene internal colonization halted mostly on its fringes. The remoteness and infertility of

Carl Postl, the town and castle of Kočevje, 1864. (The Miran Jarc Library, Novo Mesto)


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 11

18.5.2018 22:48:55

izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 12


today’s state border linguistic area

community area

Settlement in 2007 and administrative territorial regulation of the Kočevsko region in 2007 today’s state border


Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia


18.5.2018 22:48:56

A Historical Outline

The Kočevje coat-of-arms. Kočevje was granted its seal with the inscription »Sigillum civitatis in Kotschew 1471« and a coat-of-arms on a blue shield with a depiction of St Bartholomew, the town’s patron saint.

Ruins of Castle Friedrichstein. (Photo J. Konečnik)

exchanged. The privileged position, which they were granted upon resettlement, was also reflected in terms of tribute and soccage. When the Ortenburgs died out, the Counts of Celje inherited the area of Kočevje. Friedrichstein Castle was the seat of the Kočevje seigneury up to the mid-seventeenth century; Count Frederick of Celje built a castle, which was named after him, in a steep spot above Kočevje in the years 1422-25. After the Counts of Celje’s decline the Kočevje area was inherited by the Habsburgs, who leased the area to various noble families. In 1641 it was purchased by the Auerspergs, who were elevated to dukes in 1791 and the Kočevje region to a dukedom. The seat of the seigneury was transferred to Kočevje, where they built a castle in 1650. The Gottschee Germans were the last agrarian German settlers in Slovene ethnic territory. They were followed by Germans who arrived mainly in newly established markets and towns as craftsmen, merchants, miners, officials, and representatives of whitecollar professions. The Gottschee Germans were one of the oldest German ethnic groups outside Germany or Austria and the only agrarian German linguistic island in Slovene ethnic territory after World War I. It is thus characteristic of the Kočevje region that it was mostly populated by Germanic settlers for more than six centuries. They settled the area, just as they did elsewhere in Slovenia, and lived alongside Slovenes; their lives and problems matched that of Slovenes. The infertile karstic land was difficult to cultivate, the forests, common land, and meadows were not easily cleared, and charcoal not easily burnt. They spoke the language that they had brought from their motherland, but, since they were closely connected to Slovenes, they adopted many Slovene words, particularly terms associated with agricul-

settlers from their territories in Lower Carniola and its neighbourhood, which were sparsely populated by Slovenes. Originally, this settlement probably began via older passable routes along the Kolpa River, which could explain the settlements’ and area’s Slovene names. The internal colonization, often together with Slovene settlers, continued in the following decades by deforesting wooded areas, obtaining arable fields, and establishing new settlements. The »birth certificate« of the Kočevje linguistic enclave and the first document containing a mention of any Kočevje village, namely Mooswald, is dated to 1 September 1339. A 1363 document refers to the Kočevje region’s centre as Gotsche; while in a 1377 document the wording »unsern Markt ze Gotse« denotes it as a market. The Slovene name is thought to originate either from the term hoja (Hočevje) or koča (Kočevje). Kočevje as the centre of the colonized area was used also to denote the settled region. After 1400, when the external colonization is believed to have been concluded, internal colonization continued from time to time; wooded areas were deforested, new cultivable land obtained, and new settlements were established. Many German settlers were not given whole huben upon their arrival. The land was divided and cut into pieces due to the mode of cultivation of rather infertile karstic soil. The fragmentation and division of land was also affected by Turkish incursions and peddling, which alienated the locals from their native soil, but probably also by reasons known from other agricultural areas (succession, marriages, etc.). Under the Ortenburgs the local farmers were hereditary tenants, who had freeholds that could be sold or


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 13

18.5.2018 22:48:57

izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 14

the municipal seat

present-day state border the linguistic area the district border the municipal border

Administrative territorial regulation of the Kočevsko region from the middle of the 19th century to 1933


Lost Gottschee Villages in Slovenia


18.5.2018 22:48:59

A Historical Outline

tural tools, etc. They lived in an enclave surrounded by Slovenes; they were cut off from their original linguistic territory, and thus to a great extent retained their original language. The language of the Gottschee Germans was named Gottscheerish and was later not understood by other Germans. If they wanted to understand it, they had to learn it just as any other foreign language. Neighbours always entered into marriage with each other, which also holds true for Slovenes and Germans. To this day Slovenes bear Gottschee German surnames, as the Gottschee Germans have Slovene ones. Kočevje, the pew of the dukes of Auersperg from 1905 in the parish Church of Sts Fabian and Sebastian and Bartholomew in Kočevje. (Photo G. Zupan, 1993)

The administrative in ecclesiastical organization It was already under the Counts of Celje that the seigneury of Kočevje was divided into three offices: the upper office, the lower office, both located in Kočevje, and the Kočevska Reka office. In the north the seigneury of Kočevje was bounded by the seigneuries of Loka, Ribnica, Čušperk, and Žumberak; in the east by the seigneuries of Mehovo and Metlika; in the south by the seigneuries of Poljane and Kostel, and the Kolpa River; and in the west it extended over the Čebranka River and Gerovo to the Croatian territory. If we take into consideration the borders of the area populated by the Gottschee Germans up to January 1942, the majority of the settlements (136) already existed in the 1570s. They are believed to have been populated by 9,000 people, around 8,000 of whom lived in the villages and 600–700 in Kočevje. The Kočevje seigneury encompassed 127 settlements, five settlements (Spodnji Log, Spodnji Pokštajn, Lapinje, Brezovica, and Zadrc) belonged to the seigneury of Poljane, and four (Seč, Ašelice, Vimolj, and Nova Gora) to the seigneury of Mehovo. After the Austrian administrative reorganization Carniola was divided in the mid-eighteenth century into three counties; the Kočevje region was a part of the Novo Mesto county. Lower territorial units, ecclesiastical not administrative, were parishes, which served as the basis for the formation of other administrative units or districts. In 1809 the Kočevje region was occupied by French troops; the claims for war reparations resulted in a rebellion in the region, which brought about the plundering of Kočevje. In 1811 the French introduced a new administrative division, and the areas under their rule were divided into districts, cantons, communes, and sub-communes. After the re-introduction of the Austrian rule in 1814 the district’s lordship was once again active in Carniola. The districts were divided into main municipalities, which were divided into sub-municipalities. The Kočevje region belonged to the districts of Novo Mesto, Kočevje, Ribnica, Žužemberk, and Poljane (pri Kolpi). In 1849 district administration was introduced, which was divided into court districts. The administrative division was thus more or less complete and remained essentially in this

form until Austria’s disintegration. The Kočevje region was thus part of three district administrations and six court districts: the district administration of Kočevje (the court districts of Kočevje, Ribnica), Črnomelj (Metlika, Črnomelj), and Novo Mesto (Novo Mesto, Žužemberk). In 1787, when the former Aquileian parishes were transferred from the archbishopric of Gorizia to that of Ljubljana, Kočevje became the seat of a deanery, whose borders were subject to change. Up to 1843 the entire linguistic area belonged to the Kočevje deanery, whereupon the border parishes were included into the neighbouring deaneries, namely those of Novo Mesto, Ribnica, Semič or Metlika and Žužemberk. Before 1787 pastoral care was performed by eight parishes (Kočevje, Kočevska Reka, Mozelj, Črmošnjice, Koprivnik, Stari Log, Stari Trg, and Osilnica), as well as by the local chaplaincy of Grčarice, which was removed from the Ribnica parish in 1767. After the establishment of the Kočevje chaplaincy in 1787, ten local chaplaincies were removed from the existing parishes; the first five had been removed by the end of the eighteenth century (Borovec, Planina, Poljane, Spodnji Log, and Trava), and the next five in the first half of the nineteenth century (Polom, Topla Reber, Nemška Loka, Zdihovo, and Gotenica). With the establishment of the local chaplaincy in Nemška Loka in 1828, which was not mentioned in yearbooks until 1832, the linguistic area approximately overlapped with the area of seventeen parishes, chaplaincies, and lokalien. Work and economy The Auerspergs were one of those feudal families in Slovene ethnic territory that got involved in large-scale nonagrarian production very early, particularly in ironworking, wood processing, and glassmaking, i.e. industries requiring raw materials found nearby. The beginnings of industrialization in the Kočevje region date back to the


izgubljene kocevske vasi-I del_ang_kor4.indd 15

18.5.2018 22:49:00

Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org)