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Franja Partisan Hospital

Date of Submission: 16/06/2000
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture, Cultural Heritage Office of the Republic of Slovenia, National Comm. for UNESCO
Coordinates: Long. 14°033' E ; Lat. 46°154' N In the western part of Slovenia, municipality of Cerkno, near the village of Dolenji Novaki
Ref.: 1433

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The Franja Partisan Hospital is a cluster of functionally arranged hospital facilities located in the narrow, barely accessible Pasica gorge, which is itself a natural attraction. The hospital complex is comprised of 13 wooden buildings and several small auxiliary facilities which were gradually set up in the period from December 1943 to May 1945. The hospital. was among the best equipped clandestine partisan hospitals, with an operating room, X-ray apparatus, an invalid care facility, and a small electric plant. Most of the equipment is preserved in situ. The hospital had a capacity of up to 120 patients, and provided treatment to a total of 522 severely wounded persons. Some 1000 wounded soldiers of various nationalities were treated in Franja and its dislocated units alongside Slovenes and citizens of Yugoslav nations, including Italians, Frenchmen, Russian, Poles, Americans and an Austrian. One of the patients, a captured German soldier, joined the hospital sta.ff after his recovery and remained there until the end of the war. During the entire period of the hospital's operation, 61 patients died. Conspiracy and security were of crucial importance to all clandestine partisan hospitals because, if discovered, they lacked effective defense mechanisms. Most of the route leading to the hospital ran along a stream flowing through the gorge. The wounded were blindfolded and carried to the hospital by its staff, most often at night. In selecting its location, consideration was also given to adequate self-defense in the form. of minefields and machine-gun nests, and for this purpose the hospital was accessible only by footbridges and drawbridges hidden in the steep Pasica gorge. Still preserved in the steep walls rising above the stream are several fortified bunkers and natural caves - hiding places for the wounded. Although enemy forces launched several searches for the hospital, it was never discovered.