The Slovenia Times

Iconic partisan hospital badly damaged in storm

Culture
Damage at the Franja Partisan Hospital. Photo; courtesy of the BreĹžice Association for the Values of National Liberation Struggle.

The UNESCO-listed Franja Partisan Hospital, one of the most iconic monuments to the partisan struggle in World War II, has been badly damaged in a storm that swept through northern Slovenia on 13 July.

Three of the 14 wooden buildings have been swept away and another three damaged. The flood wave also destroyed the last part of the access path and electric infrastructure.

The museum, nestled deep in the narrow Pasica Gorge near Cerkno, is currently inaccessible and will remain closed indefinitely.

Once safe access is possible, the museum team will be joined on the ground by experts from the national Cultural Heritage Institute, the Culture Ministry has said.

This is not the first time the popular museum was damaged in a storm. In September 2007, a heavy storm caused flash floods in the narrow gorge, completely destroying all but one shed.

Apart from being on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, Franja is a national cultural monument and bears the European Heritage Label.

It was built in December 1943 and remained secret until the end of World War II, saving the lives of 500 out of its 578 patients. It was built to help heavily injured and severely ill soldiers.

The hospital was among the best equipped clandestine partisan hospitals, with an operating room, X-ray machine, a care facility for disabled soldiers, and a small electric plant.

About 120 partisan hospitals were operating on Slovenian territory during the war, but only a few have been preserved and none as well as Franja.

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