Franja Partisan Hospital

The Second World War was one of the most difficult trials for mankind. Like other freedom-loving nations, the Slovenes organised themselves to struggle against fascism and nazism. Clandestine hospitals were a particularity of the Slovenian resistance movement. They were built in barely accessible forests, deep gorges and underground caves. They saved lives in circumstances that are hardly imaginable today.

After the capitulation of Italy in the fall of 1943, Dr. Viktor Volčjak and a group of combatants began to build a new hospital in the barely accessible Pasice gorge in Dolenji Novaki in the Cerkno region on the advice of a local inhabitant, Janez Peternelj. With the devoted assistance of the locals, the hospital was constructed gradually until the end of the war, when 14 wooden cabins and several auxiliary facilities were squeezed into the bottom of the hollow alongside the Čerinščica stream. Already during the war, the hospital was named after Franja Bojc Bidovec, a partisan physician who administered the hospital for the longest period of time. 578 severely wounded persons were treated in the central facility, today known as the Franja Partisan Hospital, and about 300 wounded persons were treated in other dislocated units. Among the wounded were, besides Slovenes, also members of former Yugoslav nations and the nations of the Soviet Union, Italians, Poles, Frenchmen, two Austrians, and two Americans.

After the war, the Franja Partisan Hospital became a symbol of the partisan movement and its extensive and extremely well-organised medical activities. Following the disastrous flood that destroyed the hospital in September 2007, the monument has been reconstructed almost in its entirety. Based on previously prepared drawings and documents, the cabins and auxiliary facilities were reconstructed, copies of objects were made, and substitute objects were acquired. In restoring the facility we were guided by the desire to preserve, to the fullest extent possible, the message conveyed by the monument and its symbolic value.

The Franja Partisan Hospital is a cultural monument of national importance, is entered in UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage. Due to its symbolic value and its role in the european history and culture, Partisan hospital Franja again recieved the European heritage label in the year 2015. You can read Panel report here.
Franja is an unique example of providing healthcare in special conditions and also a symbol of humanity, solidarity and comradeship among local people, hospital staff members and wounded soldiers, who fought against fasciscm nad nazism in World war II.

The European heritage label project was at the intergovernmental level initiated by a few european countries in April 2006. Initiative was later transformed into formal measure of European Union. European heritage label’s main concern is the symbolic meaning of individual heritage sites. Because of their special role in the european history and culture and also in the making of European union, these heritage sites represent landmarks of developement of modern Europe. The main purpose of the European heritage label is to promote these heritage sites, to enable access to general public (especially the young) and to provide quality information with the use of education and culture programmes, that stress their european dimensions.

The aim of measure is to strengthen the respect of national and regional differences and intercultural dialogue and also the sense of belonging to European Union among the european citizens, especially the young. This sense is based on common values, history and cultural heritage.

Franja Partisan Hospital video presentation

Here you can view presentations of all of the heritage sites, that recieved the European heritage label.

Cabin for the Wounded
Detail from the kitchen

Washroom and Invalid Care Facility
Room for the Wounded and Dining Room
X-ray Cabin, Surgery Cabin and Isolation Cabin

In front of the Dining Room
Electric Plant
Cabin for Hospital Staff, Washroom and Invalid Care Facility

The Franja Partisan Hospital received the European Heritage Label in 2007
European heritage label, 2015.