Partisan Hospital Franja

To keep in line with the Liberation day/May day spirit… Les Canadiens came up with the idea of visiting Partisan Hospital Franja. And so we did…


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Hospital Franja is located in the canyon of Pasica stream…

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… and is a part of European heritage


Partisan hospital Franja was in operation from 23 December 1943 until 5 May 1945. It got its name after chief surgeon dr. Franja Bojc Bidovec and is located in the canyon of Pasica stream, near Cerkno in Notranjska region.

The hospital itself had a couple of other (outer) units and took care of some 1000 wounded, but the core unit, which we visited yesterday, treated 522 wounded Partisan and Allied soldiers in a year and a half of its operation. It consisted of 13 huts and had an independent source of electricity and thus elied on the outside world just for food and medical supplies. The hospital treated mostly wounded from the field of operations of IX. Corps (this included areas west of Ljubljana all the way to Trieste and even Venezia region in Italy). The canyon as such was attacked twice by Nazi army, but was never taken and the hospital was never located by the Germans, in part thanks to its remote location and in part thanks to its intricate net of bunkers and minefields. The only was to reach it was upstream of Pasica, which I can tell you would be difficult even today. But back in 1944 they had to carry the wounded on stretchers, upstream, possibly during the night and in battle gear, under the constant threat of fire and/or betrayal. One of the security measures was also blindfolding the wounded on their way to and from Hospital Franja.

In terms of total was casualties treating 522 wounded is not much, but it was one of at least two such “field” facilities which were created by the Partisan Army immediately after Italy surrendered in 1943 and the only one to remain intact to this day. The other one was Partisan hospital Pavla, near Idrija, but was demolished shortly after the war.

Partisan hospital Franja was both an effort to treat the wounded and an effort to boost morale, letting the troops now that there is a place that will take care of them if they take a bullet. Of course it wasn’t a top-notch medical facility, but it was probably the best field medical facility in the area Partisans had. It recently became a part of European Heritage.


Oh, and here is a great VR tour of the hospital! Unfortunately only in Slovene

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pengovsky

Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

10 thoughts on “Partisan Hospital Franja”

  1. looks cool. I added it to my “to visit” list 😉 Would it be possible to add a link to google maps or something?

    I hope, when I’ll visit it some day, I won’t end up like back then when I went to baza20. I took a look on the map, saw that it was somewhere in the middle between Ribnica and Novo Mesto and decided to drive to Ribnica. There I followed the very first “Baza20” sign I saw. Not quite comfortable, if you’re in the forest and not sure anymore whether you’re still on the right path or not. I was that happy, when I again had asphalt under my tyres – approx 1 hour later. I eventually came out at baza20 and at the end only watched it, to not let the odyssey be for nothing. The “normal” way back to civilization was slightly quicker then… 🙂

    I assume, that some German troops did indeed enter the forest (my book says they didn’t), but didn’t find their way back out to tell anyone that they went in. It wouldn’t have surprised me, If I had met an old Nazi asking for the exit in there…

  2. Hmm. I remember visiting this place about 19 or 20 years ago. I didn’t realize it was that close to Cerkno though, I thought it was farther away.

    Well if you were in that region you were pretty close to the part of Slovenia that I’m most familiar with, and where most of my relatives live.

  3. Hmm, well I guess if I would have remembered the name I would’ve figured it out, since I pass the road to “Bolnica Franja” everytime I would drive into Cerkno. 🙂

    So then you must have passed through the town of Cerkno and into the beginning of Novaki to get there?? What did you think of the city? Was that your first time in that area?

    Mike

  4. @Dietmar: here’s the location. And yes, I have to “do” Baza 20 as well 🙂 But Nazis are not like Imperial Japanese soldiers, so I guess they would have settled by now and start a squirrel-farm 😀

    @Michael N: Yes, that’s the place… I’ve always just been through Cerkno, mostly for skiing – there are some nice slopes at Cerkno skiing centre. It’s a nice little town, which unfortunnatelly has the dubious honour of providing Slovenija with Marjan and Janez Podobnik 😀 Hope you’re not related to them (if you are, disregard this comment)… 🙂

  5. @pengovsky: Ah yes I know the ski center on Crni Vrh. My uncle actually is the person in charge of running that ski center. Last summer I went up to the ski center and looked at the new restaurant they built up there, it was pretty nice.

    Nope not related, If you know anyone with the surname Peternelj I may be related to them.

  6. @Dietmar: Just type in Cerkno, Slovenia and google maps and then zoom out a bit until you can see the town Dolenji Novaki to the NorthEast. On the road that connects those two towns (about half-way) there is a road that turns off to the left (not depicted on google maps) that goes to Bolnica Franja. You should miss it though there are a couple road signs in the vicinity pointing out the way to Bolnica Franja.

  7. hehe, oops sorry for the typo’s. I meant to say you shouldn’t miss it. Once you get to the center of Cerkno there are road signs pointing the way to Bolnica Franja.

  8. @Dietmar: Sorry! Hope this works

    @Michael N: Damn, this is a small country 😀 But than again, not so small that I’d know any Peterneljs 😀

  9. cool, thanks Michael and Pengovsky. In this case yahoo maps seems to be a bit cooler, as it updates the coordinates in the URL. But this part of Slovenia is an empty area without anything in it…

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