Mateja Stular - Varsek has been in touch since 2008 with Diana Mara Henry. Many thanks for her sharing precious memories.
"This was my father's journey through prisons."
On Nov 8, 2011, at 2:21 PM, Mataya Varsek wrote:
"I'm planning to write about my father's journey through concentration camps and to this day I still do not know why he was arrested. Yes, he was a patriot but did not belong to any political party. During WWII a bloody civil was raging in Slovenia and many people were branded for only alleged thinking and opinions. When I was inquiring last year in Slovenia about his arrest warrant, I was met with a blank wall."
"Photo taken in Vrhnika:"
"My father, Ivan Stular, prisoner #: 60974 died in Natzweiler in 1944..... Ivan and/or Janez means John in Slovenian.
...My father was born in Vrhnika (near Ljubljana), Slovenia and both my brother and I were born there as well. My brother still lives in Ljubljana but I immigrated to Canada in l954.
From Mataya Stular about her father:
"My father's Prisoner #60974 was given to him in Dachau while in Natzweiler-Struthof's his Prisoner number was #10076.
"My father, Ivan Stular was first imprisoned (with about 19 others) in Vrhnika in early December 1943 and after a few days sent to a bigger prison in Ljubljana (present-day capital of Slovenija). I can still hear the heavy knock on our front door very early in the morning - it must have been about 6:00 am because my grandmother Marija had already gone to church to attend the daily Mass. When we opened the door, two German soldiers armed with rifles asked for my father who was told to get ready at once. They showed him a piece of paper saying that they are just carrying out their orders.
"As soon as we learned that my father was moved from Vrhnika's to Ljubljana's Police Station, my mother and grandmother had prepared a small parcel of food which I took to him. I was 9 years old at that time and had to travel 20 km on a local train from Vrhnika to Ljubljana. I clearly remember asking the guards at the Police Station to see my father but they refused to let me see him; however, they took the parcel and called me "another communist whore".
From Ljubljana my father was sent to a prison in Begunje - a well known prison where immediate executions of political hostages took place either by shooting or hanging. Last fall I visited the Museum of Hostages in Begunje (Slovenija) and among the hand-written records could find his name and the date of arrival: 21.12 (December 21) Johann Stuller (07), Prisoner No. 2676. For some unexplained reason, my father and others were not executed but moved to Dachau. (I have several letters from Dachau)."
Below: "My father's entry to Begunje prison. Slovenia north of Ljubljana became part of Germany during WWII - you will note germanization process in changing names such as Stular to Stuller; Ivan to Johann."
"I am enclosing two of my father's letters from Natzweiler to my aunt in present day Kamnik in Slovenija known as Stein in Oberkrain during the German occupation. His letters from Dachau were also mailed to my aunt Franciska Levstek who later forwarded them to my mother Danica Stular in Vrhnika through some underground connection. These letters had to be written in German and were censored by the camp command before they were forwarded.
You will note that the first letter was written by my father; however, the second one (the longer one) was written by an unknown writer. I can only assume that my father was already too ill and too weak to write. My father was transferred to Natzweiler from Dachau in March 1944 and in May 1944 he passed away. I am enclosing my father's personal information as is kept in the Natzweiler-Struthof museum.
Perhaps you remember me from last year when I was ... to travel to Natzweiler-Struthof Museum. I took the local train from Strasbourg to Schirmeck La Broque and then the shuttle bus (#253) to Struthof. After spending most of the day at the museum and trying to re-live the horrors of the camp I decided to walk back the 10 km highway to Schirmeck railway station, thinking and imagining what it was like for these undernourished and almost naked prisoners to walk up the steep road. Even in late September, the wind was cold and razor sharp.
Two letters from Janez (or Ivan) Stular from KL Natzweiler:
I do not speak German so I turned in August 2000 to Jewish Community Centre here in Vancouver, B.C. for translation. A very kind man, John Gort, provided me with translation of my father's letters from Dachau and KL Natzweiler. But first, excerpts from Camp Orders at KL Natzweiler [printed message at top]:
'The date of release cannot be specified. Visits to the camp are prohibited. Enquiries are futile. Every prisoner may receive or send 2 letters or postcards per month. Incoming mail may not contain more than 4 pages of 15 lines and must be clear and easy to read. Mailing of money is permitted only by means of postal orders that must list the prisoner's name, first name and number but no messages. Enclosure of money, photos and pictures in letters is prohibited. Acceptance of mailings that fail to comply with these demands will be refused. Unclear and difficult to read letters will be destroyed. Everything can be bought in the camp. National socialist newspapers are permitted but must be ordered personally by the prisoner in the camp. Food parcels may be received at any time and in any quantity.
(signed) the Camp Commandant.'
"I would also like to mention that back in 2000, the Jewish Community Centre in Vancouver lent me negatives of KL Natzweiler. I made copies of these negatives for my file. These negatives reveal the building that housed the actual crematorium. The pipe leading to the chimney is visible and whenever the inmates saw a puff of smoke, they knew immediately that another "brother" was incinerated.
Undated letter from: Stular Janez, born 12. XII. 1907, number 10076, Blod 6
B 17 KL Natzweiler Rotau Elsass
Up to now I have not received a letter or a parcel. I send best regards to your sick brother-in-law Ivan and hope that he will soon regain his health. I have already written to you for three weeks. Best regards.
My aunt forwarded this letter to my mother in Vrhnika with comments at the bottom:
'Letter arrived on Saturday, 10/6/44. I sent parcel to the camp on 5/6/44.'
My father never received the parcel - he died on May 29, 1944."
Mataya explains: "Reading his last letter (his handwriting) he tells her that her brother-in-law Ivan is not well and he signed the letter as Janez. He was, in fact, telling her that he was not well. I also notice that his handwriting looks rather shaky."
"The last two lines [above] written by my aunt Franziska Levstek: 'Arrived on Saturday, June 10, 1944. I had already sent 2 parcels to KL on June 5, 1944.'"My aunt's last name is Levstek; however, I notice that my father spelled it Leustek. Her first name is Frances or Francka in Slovenian or Franziska in letters."
"Undated letter written by someone (unknown) on behalf of my father Ivan Stular."
Translation of undated letter, not written by my father Stular Ivan, prisoner No. 10076, born 12. XII. 1907, Blod 12 from KL Natzweiler - Rotau in Elsass.
"Dear Danica! Up to now I have received two parcels through the Red Cross. The others I have received from Francka. Here you have my new address. Please write to me, it is permitted to send food and cigarettes. Dear wife, send me a parcel very soon. How are Andrejka, Mateja and Marko? I hope that you are all well, and how are you and my mother? Best regards to Francka and to my relatives. In anticipation of early news from you I remain with regards and kisses for you and the children.
I remember that a co-prisoner of my father's from KL Natzweiler returned home. His name (family) was STRZINAR. My mother used to visit him to hear "stories" from the camp. I recall that he was not always prepared to talk about the camp; however, he told my mother that when my father became ill and could no longer get up from the bunk bed, he knew what fate awaited him. He asked Mr. Strzinar to hug my mother and the children on returning home to Vrhnika"
Some examples of instant "liquidations" at Begunje, Slovenia.
OBVESTILO – NOTICE
Authorized by the chief of the civil administration, Special Court on 19. August 1941 on the basis of communist violence issued
SMRT NA VESALIH (DEATH BY HANGING)
for Stositch-a Milorada,
Night watchman born 9.2.1904 living in Naumarkti-u (Novi Vasi).
Sentence was carried out today, in public in KRANJ (Krainburg).
Stositch, member of the communist terrorist band killed Walter Hecker, a german citizen.
Veldes (Bled), 23. August 1941
Chief of Civil Administration
RAZGLAS – PROCLAMATION
Established by the Chief of civil administration in occupied territories of KOROSKA & KRANJSKA Special Court on 11.xi.1941 issued death warrants for the following persons on the basis of being members of the communist bands, of supporting these bands by providing shelter and food , by attacking motorized vehicles used by German militiamen, by carrying arms that is strictly prohibited.
30-year old Edward Giorgeoni from OSOJ
24-year old Mirkota Knapic from ASSLING
24-year old Martina Juric from ST. MARTIN-a
25-year old Leona Zajc from OBERGAMMLING-a
30-year old Stankota Cad from DOMSCHAL
52-year old Leopold Mis from GORJUSCH
25-year old Franca Maj from OBERJARSCH
55-year old Franca Mis from GORJUSCH
37-year old Andreja Jeretina from ZAGORITZ
19-year old Michaela Jermann from RADOMLE
19-year old Ivana Hribar from OBERZADOBRAVA
21-year old Rudolfa Bolka from HOMEZ-a
33-year old Franca Petric from LAASE
35-year old Josipa Cokan from STUDENZ-a
24-year old Pavla Porenta from RADMANNSDORF-a
SENTENCE WAS CARRIED OUT IMMEDIATELY
Convicted persons belonged to two bands that were almost all eliminated. Up until now 57 partisans from these bands were shot. Some of them were supporting and aiding these bands with arms, food or shelter.
Another 13 persons presently incarcerated will be tried on the basis of evidence.
The names of remaining band members are known to police. We are looking for the following persons named below. Anyone with useful information will receive appropriate reward:
Dr. Marjan Dermastian born in Ljubljana 23.7.1911
Semen Ivan, born in Preserje 24.2.1916
Starin Stanko, born in Schern-u 26.2.1910
Stangl Stefan, born in Presser 22.12.1913
Blikovec Franc, born in Stein 14.3.1910
Bradesko Ludvik, born in Tschirtschitsch
Burnik Vinko, born in Skarocni 24.3.1912
Kristan Franz, born in Selu 27.9.1912
Tomel Anton, born in Pristavi 30.5.1915
Veldes (Bled) 13. November 1941
Chief of Civil Administration
For occupied territories of Koroska and Kranjska
Above information obtained from MUZEJ TALCEV – Museum of Hostages
4275 Begunje na Gorenjskem 55, Slovenia
Phone: +386 (0)4 5333790
Guide: Svetislav Kostov
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