Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Make This Land German ... Italian ... Hungarian ... Croatian! The Role of the Occupation Border in the Denationalization Policy and the Lives of the Slovene Population.

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H250  Humanities  Contemporary history (since 1914) 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
Second World War, Border Studies, Occupation, Everyday Life, Memory Landscapes
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33083  PhD Kornelija Ajlec  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  362 
2.  08682  PhD Bojan Balkovec  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  673 
3.  27510  PhD Mateja Breg Valjavec  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  191 
4.  30791  PhD Rok Ciglič  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  411 
5.  33273  PhD Mateja Ferk  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  179 
6.  50826  PhD Božidar Jožef Flajšman  Historiography  Researcher  2018 - 2020  537 
7.  00840  PhD Aleš Gabrič  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  847 
8.  23948  PhD Primož Gašperič  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  186 
9.  35035  PhD Matjaž Geršič  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  234 
10.  08394  PhD Bojan Godeša  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  455 
11.  13179  PhD Mauro Hrvatin  Humanities  Researcher  2019 - 2020  363 
12.  22605  PhD Darja Kerec  Humanities  Researcher  2017 - 2020  277 
13.  07553  PhD Drago Kladnik  Geography  Retired researcher  2017 - 2020  1,160 
14.  31243  PhD Peter Mikša  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  676 
15.  11484  PhD Božo Repe  Historiography  Head  2017 - 2020  2,474 
16.  39166  PhD Maja Vehar  Historiography  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  141 
17.  33837  Manca Volk Bahun  Humanities  Researcher  2017 - 2020  316 
18.  22245  PhD Matija Zorn  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  1,220 
19.  33080  PhD Žiga Zwitter  Humanities  Researcher  2017  184 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0501  Institute for Contemporary History  Ljubljana  5057116000  5,114 
2.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,391 
3.  0588  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education  Ljubljana  1627082  30,270 
4.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,885 
World War II marks one of the most critical moments in Slovene history. Four occupation regimes – German, Italian, Hungarian and the regime of Ustasha Croatia – divided Slovenes among four different national entities and sentenced them to death, ethnically speaking – also by using methods of genocide. The German Reich acquired the territories of Upper Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, the northwest part of Prekmurje and the northern part of Lower Carniola. Italy occupied Inner Carniola, Ljubljana and the remaining part of Lower Carniola. Hungary occupied most of Prekmurje, while the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) occupied five villages in Posavje. The border between the occupation zones did not follow the historical, administrative or provincial/ethnic border. The demarcation was mostly set on 12 April 1941 based on Hitler's instructions for breaking up Yugoslavia.  The dimensions of the ethnocide and genocide carried out by the occupiers is evident in the forced migrations and border crossings – 58,522 Slovenes in German and Italian concentration camps, 688 in Hungarian camps, some 400 in Croatian camps, close to 20,000 Slovenes in confinement and forced labour, and 80,000 in prisons. 571 Jews from Prekmurje were deported; most of them were murdered in Auschwitz. The Germans planned to deport from 220 to 260,000 Slovenes, and succeeded in deporting 63,000. Around 17,000 of them managed to escape to the German occupation zone across the German-Italian border. A portion of the 10,000 who had been deported to NDH from the German occupation zone managed to flee to the Italian occupation zone or got there by legally crossing the border. 17,000 Gottscheers from the Italian occupation zone were moved to the vacated Slovene territories along the Croatian border (which makes the study of this border that much more necessary).  The occupation of Slovene ethnic territory in 1941 created five different border areas and borders in Slovene lands. These were: the border between Germany and Hungary, the border between Hungary and NDH, the border between Germany and NDH, the border between Italy and Germany, and the border between Italy and NDH. Despite the formal annexation of the so-called Province of Ljubljana to Italy, the so-called Rapallo border was preserved, which separated the Littoral Slovenes from the others. Only the border with Croatia, which was based on older demarcations, has been preserved to this day.  The border regimes at these borders differed; consequently, so did the life there. Some of the borders were much more fortified than others, for they had minefields, barbed wire fences, stations with machine guns, etc. Often all the buildings near the border were torn down and the forest thinned to enable greater control of both sides of the border. This was mostly carried out with forced labour, which involved the local population. The formation of these borders was accompanied by war violence, deportation of population, desertion or migration from one occupation zone to another (Gottscheers); simultaneously, due to vital necessity and the partisan resistance (which did not acknowledge this breakup and fought against it), illegal border crossings were being established. All of this inevitably resulted in many traumas and severed the traditional patterns of migrations, agriculture and commerce. These traumas were only partly researched in the past. One prominent example is the discussion of the border with NDH, which was almost entirely ignored to avoid conflicts in the multinational post-war Yugoslavia. The local population on both sides of the border continued to feel hurt and has passed this on to younger generations and to the collective memory of both nations. This is corroborated by the fact that over 70 years after the end of the war, Slovenia and Croatia are still unable to reach an agreement on the final location of the borderline.
Significance for science
- The project is the first in Slovene historiography to tackle a comprehensive discussion of the history of borders during World War II. Until now, studies, including those created based on national projects, mostly touched upon the borders in the Slovene (ethnic) territory in the 19th century and up to the fall of the Habsburg Monarchy. - The project has formulated innovative research contents; -  the project is designed as an interdisciplinary one – its historical and geographical research will process a larger quantity of data of different provenance, which will consequently supplement one another and be consolidated into a whole; -  through this project the LiDAR technique will be used in Slovene historiography for the first time; it is already the standard tool for historiographical and archaeological studies abroad; -  Slovene history, the history of all the relevant occupying countries, and the history of the entire region will be enriched with new findings and illuminated from a different perspective; -  the project will establish a base for the further development of border studies in Slovene historiography; -  the project will also contribute to our understanding of landscape changes as the consequences of warscape shaping, and whether these changes are still reflected today; -  comparing our research with similar foreign research, the project will consolidate the international integration of Slovene historiography; -  this project will form a bridge between researchers of history: intensive incorporation of the knowledge of non-research institutions (museums!), including amateur history lovers; the latter are quite numerous in Slovenia in the field of World War II and typically possess substantial knowledge of the terrain and empirical contents, which one rarely finds in archival sources; -  this project will emphasise the aspect of locality: the numerous regional specifics of Slovene territory, including differences in natural geography and the distinction between rural and urban areas.
Significance for the country
- The project contents cover a research topic that is topical and to which society is having an increasingly sensitive reaction; -  the project will enrich the knowledge required and demanded by society with regard to the current border issue, in which knowledge of the historical component is the key to understanding contemporary events in this field; - the presentation and popularisation of the project's research achievements will contribute to strengthening social consciousness about the importance of borders, cross-border integration, migration currents, power of the state and national security; - the project will visually demonstrate how the already small Slovene territory was chopped up unimaginably; -  the project will be placed in the context of commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. This milestone is remembered by all of Europe, which uses it to warn of the atrocities of war and their fatal impact on the lives of European citizens, which is especially important at a time when some of the areas in question once again have physical obstacles at the borders (the barbed wire fence at the southern Slovene border) due to contemporary illegal migration currents that are affecting the everyday lives of individuals and society; -  the project is socially significant as it will record and popularise the cultural heritage of World War II; -  indirect impact of the research and findings on local tourism through exhibitions, memorial sites, memorial parks, etc.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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