Gottschee / Kočevska bleak and empty

The Fate of the German Linguistic Island of the Gottschee -

Kočevska after the Resettelment of the German population

Mitja Ferenc

The Fate of the Gottschee area and their inhibitions is the issue which was not present much in the consciousness of the Slovene inhabitants. Starting from the mid 14th century up to the year of 1942 there was a strong German linguistic island in the area of Kočevska. Gottscheer Germans were one of the oldest German national groups outside of Germany and Austria and the only agricultural German linguistic island in the Slovene area after the World War I. Relatively huge area in Slovenia experienced the special history from the new settlement of the lonesome and rough living area in the 14th century up to the massive resettlement of the German inhabitants during the World War II and the events that took place after that leading to nearly total and planned collapse of otherwise various culture.

Kočevska area is the example of the country, which was under the influence of the highest Nazi authorities and co-operative domestic nazified leaders, during the year 1941, suddenly and almost entirely abolished of the majority of its population. Contemporary Nazi politics which based on the destruction of Slovene nation as an ethnic entity actually destroyed the Gottscheer national group. Their cultural heritage was almost entirely ruined by the flames of the war fires and crude afterward national and ideological intolerance. Resettlement of the Gottschee Germans, war destruction and the afterward downfall along with the deliberate destruction were responsible for long-term and fateful consequences for this area. Extensive parts of prior cultivated land, today is overgrown by forest, villages destroyed and abandoned. Former inhabitant s culture was almost completely erased. All this changes in the whole area of Kočevska is the example, which is hard to match.