Memory Lane (photo by dr. fil)
where the Rog sawmill‘s timber railway used to run
Kočevski rog covers an area of over 500 square kilometres of Karstic terrain in Southern Slovenia. Human interventions in nature have been minimal over the centuries, so that the entire area is beautifully preserved in terms of nature and bustling with wildlife, including predators extinct in most other European countries. Bears, wolves, lynx and birds of prey abound. Hey, we even export them Three of the forests have been completely intact for centuries.
The first WW2 resistance fighter groups in the area were formed in 1941 already, with the famous Baza 20 (Base 20) set up in 1943. Wooden boards were hewn at the Spreitzer sawmill in Stare Žage and at a sawmill in Soteska. Doors and already glazed windows were taken from the abandoned Götscher houses, but tools and other necessary material were procured in shops in the valley.
BAZA 20 provided home and working environment members of the Slovenian resistance. By the time of Italian capitulation on 9 September 1943, thirteen buildings had been erected. In addition to those accommodating the members of the leadership, a radio and telegraph building, a radio station, a kitchen and two dormitories for the kitchen staff and the guards were constructed. In 1944 a kitchen warehouse was built along with a separate kitchen and warehouse for the guard battalion, an electric power plant, two dormitories for the guards and propaganda activists and additional buildings for officials.
The population of BAZA 20 kept growing with the base accomodating almost 200 people by the end of 1944, but thanks to exceptional security and camouflage measures, it was never discovered.
BAZA 20 is the only such headquarters of a European resistance movement that remains preserved. It has become an important monument of the state. Together with the preserved hospitals of Jelendol and Zgornji Hrastnik it was declared a cultural monument in 1952. All 26 buildings still stand.
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At Lukov Dom, visitors can see a short film about Kočevski Rog and hire a guide. Custodian & Information: Dolenjski muzej Novo mesto (offers guided tours for groups and individuals, Phone: +386 7 373 11 11)