Four-by-Four Line through Slovenia

  • Martina Grahek Ravančić Hrvatski institut za povijest, HR-10000 Zagreb, Opatička 10
Keywords: World War II, Slovenia, Croatia, Independent State of Croatia, Bleiburg, Way of the Cross, camps, victims, mass grave sites, hidden grave sites


After the negotiations in the Thurn-Valsassina manor near Bleiburg on 15 May 1945, it was decided that the armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia should lay down their arms and surrender to the units of the Yugoslav Army together with the civilians who had retreated with these soldiers from Croatia through Slovenia. Soon after that, these masses headed out on a long journey to their homeland in four-by-four lines. Today this long and painful extradition is known as the Way of the Cross or Death Marches. The prisoners, whom the British had soon after turned over to Yugoslavia from the allied camps all over Austria, walked the same path. The first and hardest path ran through Slovenia over Croatia all the way to the Romanian border. This article depicts the fate of the people who found themselves in these processions and the events in numerous camps they passed through.