ARCHIVALIA OF THE MONTH (FEBRUARY 2012)

 

Partisan Act

 

July 1941.

Draft typescript, 3 pages, 32 x 24 cm, restored by means of lamination.

 

Reference code: SI AS 1851, Headquarters of the National Liberation Army and the Partisan Detachments of Slovenia, Description unit 56.

 

At its meeting in Ljubljana on June 22, 1941, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia founded the High Command (Supreme Command at first) of the Slovenian Partisan Troops which was actually the military command of the armed struggle of the Slovenian people against the enemy occupying forces. The High Command consisted of the commander Franc Leskošek – Luka, political commissar Boris Kidrič (succeeded by Miha Marinko), deputy commander Dr. Aleš Bebler – Primož and the members StaneŽagar, Oskar Kovačič, Miloš Zidanšek, Dušan Podgornik and Dr. Marijan Brecelj. The decision to begin armed struggle against the enemy occupier was reached at the meeting on July 16, 1941.

 

The draft of the Partisan Act goes back to the time of the preparations for the struggle; although never issued, the document was sent by the High Command to the leading activists in the field. The Act was compiled by Dr. Aleš Bebler – Primož and Franc Leskošek – Luka in collaboration with Edvard Kardelj. It regulated the status of the members of voluntary units, their rights and obligations, the oath, organizational structure and the imposing of sanctions.

 

Articles 1 to 4 present the structure of partisan departments and explain who is allowed to enter them. Their duties are enumerated and there is also an instruction as to the recommended equipment (Article 3). The rights and obligations of the partisans are dealt with in twelve points in the Article 5. The partisan’s main duty is discipline. Among other things, the act also states that a partisan is to treat a wounded or a captured enemy soldier with decency and that “he must not insult religious feelings of his comrade-believer”. The partisan oath is included in the Article 6. By taking the oath, a partisan swears before the nation and his fellow fighters to devote himself entirely to the goal of liberating the Slovenian nation, to never leave the partisans or lay down his weapon until the Slovenian nation is free, and, if necessary, to sacrifice his life for freedom. The act continues with the description of the flag and the partisan salute. Articles 9 to 14 regulate the command in units, election of commanders, division of the partisan army into subordinate formations (squads, troops, battalions, and brigades), tasks of a unit’s political commissar, and the means of decorating soldiers. Articles 15 to 17 regulate the partisan judiciary (partisan court consisted of a president, four members of a jury and a partisan prosecutor), penalties (warning, reprimand, performing of hard and unpleasant work, execution) and supervision.

 

Aleš Bebler ordered the Partisan Act to be buried in 1942. The exhibited example is the second copy of the draft and it includes corrections made in pencil, changing the oath and the salute, and crossing out the Article 15, which regulates judiciary.

 

When the Partisan Act was excavated it was heavily damaged as were many of the other partisan records. Namely, as their records increased in number, the partisans no longer carried them along with them but decided to store them in a safe place. Location of such places was known only to certain individuals. The retrieved documents were taken care of by the conservation department at the Museum of the National Liberation, founded in 1956. Much of the hidden records were never found or were found by the enemy, who also translated some of the most important records. Such records have been preserved and are included among the so-called records of the occupying forces.

 

 

Literature:

- Guštin, Damijan: Konceptualni razvoj partizanstva na Slovenskem v letu 1941. Prispevki za novejšo zgodovinoXXXII, 1992, no. 1–2, pp. 109–123. (http://www.sistory.si/?urn=SISTORY:ID:2223)

- Klanjšček, Zdravko (ed.): Zbornik dokumentov in podatkov o narodnoosvobodilni vojni jugoslovanskih narodov. Part VI, book 1, Borbe v Sloveniji 1941. Ljubljana: Vojno-zgodovinski inštitut Jugoslovanske ljudske armade, Inštitut za zgodovino delavskega gibanja, 1965 (document no. 5, pp. 34 to 44).

- Gombač, Metka: Arhiv Inštituta za zgodovino delavskega gibanja. Zgodovinopisje v zrcalu zgodovine: 50 let Inštituta za novejšo zgodovino (ed. Aleš Gabrič). Ljubljana: Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino, 2009, pp. 163–184.

 

 

Polona Mlakar