EDJC 2023 > Slovenian Schindlers – Slovenian righteous among nations

Slovenian Schindlers – Slovenian righteous among nations

Slovenian Schindlers – Slovenian righteous among nations”15.6.-15.12. 2023
We started announcing the program already in mid-June, when we opened the exhibition: “Slovenian Schindlers – Slovenian righteous among nations” on the benches on Križevniška Street in Ljubljana, where the Jewish Center is located, which is dedicated to 16 righteous Slovenians who Holocaust risked their lives to help Jews survive. The exhibition will be open all year until Hanukkah.
The limits of human responsibility for fellow human beings are one of the most important issues of our time. The notion of responsibility derives from human rights. How many times have we heard the words, “this is none of my business,” “I was forced into this”? Each time it’s about a man trying to shift responsibility for something he did to another. However, we should, at least in principle, always know what we are doing to ourselves and others.
The more responsible I am, the more human I am. Responsibility to others determines our identity. Where are the limits of my responsibility? In the Jewish tradition, people are social beings, and human life is the highest value: when a fellow human being is in danger, we must save him. If the life of either a family member or a stranger is in danger, religious law requires that human life must be saved. This is mitzvah: a good and just deed. The old Talmudic wisdom handed down to us through the centuries says: Whoever saves one life has saved the whole world.
Righteous among nations are people who have put responsibility to their fellow man before fear and concern for their own lives. The whole world must hear about their heroism.

Robert Waltl, director of the Jewish Center Ljubljana

Uroš Žun, a lawyer born in 1903 in Radovljica, rescued 16 Jewish girls who had fled to Maribor from Austria. In 1940, as a commissioner in Maribor, then on the route between Vienna and Trieste, an important outpost of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism to the former Yugoslavia, he stamped their passes, although he knew what punishment awaited him and his family for helping Jews. He found refuge for the girls in a hotel in Maribor, owned by a Jew, the factory owner Marko Rosner, who connected them with the Jewish community in Zagreb. Žun was aware that he was facing punishment, so he fled to Zagreb with his wife and son Igor before the war began, and immediately after arriving in Maribor, the Germans issued a warrant for him and a prize of ten thousand marks. The Žuns themselves became refugees. They withdrew from Zagreb to Bosnia before the Ustasha authorities and remained there until the end of the war.

Priest Andrej Tumpej, born in 1886 in Lovrenc na Dravskem polju, helped Antonija Kalef and her daughters during the war in Belgrade. The mother and daughters were left alone when the Germans took the father to the camp straight into the gas cell. He provided them with forged documents, with which they lived in Belgrade until the end of the war. He helped two other sisters who betrayed his name due to brutal Gestapo torture. The girls were shot, Pastor Tumpej was arrested and tortured.

Zora Pičulin, born in 1911 in Solkan, saved two-year-old Šaul as a nanny in Skopje in 1943. The parents were taken to the Treblinka extermination camp. Zora smuggled Šaul out of the hospital. After a long wandering, they arrived in the mountain town of Letnice and found refuge in the Catholic monastery there. After the war, Zora found Saul’s relatives, who adopted him and moved to Israel.

Ivan Breskvar, born in 1905 in Ljubljana, saved the children of Zdenka Hary and Renata Rosner in Varaždin. The mothers were taken to Jasenovac, the child was taken over by their Slovenian relative Milan Blass. Blass confided in his friend Ivan Breskvar, who took the child on a bicycle from Varaždin to Cerje Nebojse, where they waited for the end of the war.

Ivan and Ljubica Župančič saved nine-year-old Dan. The father was captured by the Germans, the mother Štefa Stockheimer, the grandmother and grandfather were murdered in Jasenovac. Dan was then cared for by his other grandfather, Dr. Joseph Stockhamer. The children were taken in by the railway worker Ivan Župančič and his wife. Dan’s father asked them from captivity to take him to Zagreb to Olga Rajšek, his brother-in-law’s fiancée. Olga hid Dan until the end of the war.

Ludvik Valentinčič, born in 1917 in Podbrdo in Baška grapa, and his wife Vera saved the ten-year-old daughter of the Pohoryles family in Zagreb. The couple managed to escape from arrest, but they were unable to obtain false documents for Suzana. They turned to the Valentinčič family, who took Suzana as a relative. The Ustashas executed Ludvik and arrested Vera, while Suzana was taken in by Vera’s parents.

Martina Levec Marković, born in 1922, hid and rescued Jewish illegals Josip and Benjamin Beherano and Danilo Fogl in Zemun for a good month. The house was also home to four German officers who did not know about the hiders. Martina tricked one, that he distracted the Ustashas from the investigation. In 1943 she joined the partisans.

Rudimir Rudolf Roter, born in the village of Potomje on Pelješac, saved the Jewish Koen family. He met his journalist colleague Abraham Abo Koen in Sarajevo and invited him and his family to Dalmatia, which was under Italian occupation. The whole village was involved in hiding the Koens. From there the family went to the partisans and to the liberated territory.

France Pančuh, born in 1902 in Gornji Logatec, was a Yugoslav diplomat and businessman in Warsaw, married to a Jew, Janina Glocer. After the Nazi occupation of Poland, he took care of the safety of his wife and son Andrej and helped many Jewish families by taking over their property and providing them with false documents. He hid many in his apartment. He supplied the Jews in the ghetto with food and bribed the Germans to allow some to escape. He was killed by a stray bullet in the street during the Warsaw Uprising.

Ludvik Cigut warned his friend Emerik Hirschl that Jews were being arrested in Murska Sobota. Hirschl was hidden by Andrej Žilavec, born in 1901 from Andrejevci, then betrayed and taken to a camp, from where he escaped during transport and returned home on foot, where he was hidden by the Fartelj family until the end of the war.

Elizabeta Savica Rožanc, born in 1920 in Ljubljana, saved her protégé Tomaž Zajc. When the Gestapo broke into his parents’ apartment in the middle of the night, she took the child across the balcony to the neighbours and then took him home to her parents, where they hid him until the end of the war. The Nazis took away Tomaž’s parents, uncle, aunt, grandfather and grandmother. The latter were immediately executed in the camp, and the father and mother were taken to the Dachau and Ravensbruck camps. They both survived.

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Date Start Date: 01/07/2023

6:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Type of event



Križevniška ulica,
Ljubljana, Slovenia




Jewish Centre Ljubljaa

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