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The Province of Ljubljana ( , , ) was a province of the Kingdom of Italy and of the Nazi German Adriatic Littoral during World War II. It was created on May 3, 1941 from territory occupied and annexed to Italy after the Axis invasion and dissolution of Yugoslavia, and it was abolished on May 9, 1945, when the Yugoslav partisans liberated it from Nazi occupation. Its administrative centre was Ljubljanamarker.

Territory

The Province of Ljubljana was created on the territory of the Drava Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker, which was split between the Greater German Reich and the Kingdom of Italy in April 1941.

The bulk of its territory is:

Fascist Italy occupied Marindol, and other villages that previously belonged to the Banovina of Croatia, Milić-Selo, Paunović-Selo, Žunić-Selo, Vukobrati, Vidnjevići and Vrhovci. These villages were annexed to the municipality of Črnomeljmarker as part of Ljubljana Province even if the population of those villages was not and now is not Slovene but Orthodox Serb population.After the war the inhabitants of those areas demanded to be returned under the auspicies of the county of Karlovacmarker in the People’s Republic of Croatia . By the administrative organization of 1947 Marindol and the surrounding villages on the left bank of Kolpa was a local community in the composition of the county of Karlovacmarker. It was still constituent part of the county in the time of 1948 Census. After that complete area is under Slovenian authority.Also parts of Žumberak/Gorjancimarker area were anexed by Italy to the Ljubljana Province and parts of Gorski kotar mainly in the Čabar area (villages around Prezid), all from what was before then part of the Banovina of Croatia.This was an agreement between the Kingdom of Italy and the Independent State of Croatia on the border between the two Axis states during the Second World War.

Administration

The Italian period

The Province of Ljubljana under Italian rule
The area was first occupied by Fascist Italy in April 1941. It was subjected to military occupation but on May 1941, after the debellatio of the Yugoslavian State by the Axis Powers, it was formally annexed by the Kingdom of Italy under the name of Provincia di Lubiana. The province was created as a specific administration unit within Italy. Although considered as an integral part of Italy, it was treated as a corpus separatum. Unlike other provinces, it was administered by a High Commissioner, appointed by the Italian Government. The High Commissioner had a similar position as prefects in other Italian provinces, but was given wider competences.

The first High Commissioner was Emilio Grazioli.

Although the province did enjoy some political or administrative autonomy, several concessions were given to the local Slovene population. In the countryside, most of the municipal administrations, elected in general elections during the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker, could continue to funcion. Judiciary and local administration personnel were also kept.

Both Italian and Slovene were given the status of official languages and also the status of an administrative language.

Most Slovenian cultural and educational institutions of national importance, such as the University of Ljubljanamarker and the Academy of Sciences and Arts, were kept. Education in the Slovene language was kept, although Italian was introduced as an obligatory second language. The population of the Province was exempted from military service in the Italian Army.

Also, the Consult was created as an advisory council of the High Commissioner's office. It was composed by members of local economic and professional associations, as well as of those political party leaders that were willing to collaborate with Italian authorities.

The initial policy of the Italian occupation forces differed significantly from the violent Fascist italianization policies adopted in other non-Italian regions under Italian Fascist domination. It was also much more tolerant than the policies in Nazi-occupied Slovenia. Between April and June 1941, tens of thousands of Slovenes from German-occupied Lower Styria and Upper Carniola escaped to the Province of Ljubljana.

The initial tolerant policies of the Italian administration did however not last long. With the establishment of the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People and the emergence of the partisan resistance, the province was subjected to brutal repression.

The German period (1943 - 1945)

After the Italian armistice in September 1943, the province was occupied by Nazi Germany. The province was kept in its old borders, as was the basic framework of the administration. The province was included in the Adriatic Littoral. It was finally abolished on May 9, 1945.

Leaders

One of the leaders was former ban dr. Marko Natlačen who formed coalitions with other bourgeoisie parties. He subsequently left office because of repressions that Italian administration enforced on the Slovenes.

Some claims were laid that even bishop Gregorij Rožman of Ljubljana was a collaborator.

Armies

For the defence of the Province of Ljubljana and collaboration with Axis powers there have been organized several institutionalized guards. The main two were known coloquially as the White Guard (various militias and groups, most notably the MVAC, or Voluntary Anti-Communist Militia) and the Blue Guard (Slovene Chetniks, a smaller force which originally intended to fight against, rather to collaborate with, the occupying forces). These units were collaborationist political and military organizations.

One of the leaders of different military groups was Lambert Ehrlich who lead the Catholic Guards.

The leaders of those armies were members of conservative political parties and representatives of the Church before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Members of those units were recruited mainly from mislead youth and poorest peasants from the countryside. They came from all political groups.

In between a joint headquarter organization called the Slovenian Alliance was formed which signed contracts with the occupation forces.

After the capitulation of Italy most of the 'Blue Guard' was destroyed and most of the 'White Guard' were captured or destroyed. The remaining parts conjoined into the Slovenian Home Guard corps led by former general of the Royal Yugoslavian Army Leon Rupnik. He become chief of the puppet provincial government of Ljubljana Province and came into the service of the Third Reich.

While the war was still going on some of the leaders of the 'White Guard' and the 'Blue Guard' underwent a military court-martial in Kočevjemarker and were sentenced to death. The trial was organized by the Slovenian National Liberation Council.

On the Allied side there was the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People which was formed on 27 April 1941 by the decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia. Originally, organizations from the entire political spectrum participated, but as the influence of the Communist Party within the Liberation Front started to grow, some of them turned against it.

Ending

The area of the Province of Ljubljana after the Second World War were united with the rest of Slovene Lands that were under the control of Tito’s Yugoslaviamarker and formed the People’s Republic of Slovenia in 1947 that was in the mean time called the Federal State of Slovenia (short form: Federal Slovenia).

Some of its territory was returned to Croatia but some was subsequently claimed by Slovenia.

Bulk of its territory is now the Republic of Sloveniamarker.

References

  • Yugoslavian Encyclopaedia, articles Slovenci and Slovenija, Yugoslavian Lexicographical Institute, Zagreb, published up to 1990.


See also




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