Accident or Premeditated Murder?

  • Ferdo Gestrin


The paper deals with the controversial death of Alojz Štrumbelj, a Liberation Front activist from Sarsko, a hamlet near the village of Ig, on the outskirts of Ljubljana. He was shot dead on the night of December 19, 1943, after a major German offensive, by which time the fratricidal war in Slovenia was ablaze. At his home, Štrumbelj was first wounded in an apparently accidental shooting involving civilian villagers and members of VOS (Security-Intelligence Service) who, after having decided to conceal their crime and present his death as a consequence of a German attack, carried him out of the house and finished him off with guns. Although a criminal investigation and judicial process began the following day, the verdict was not reached until the beginning of April 1944. A regular court sentenced two civilians and one VOS member to death, while two other members were sentenced to hard labour. As well as presenting one of the too many human tragedies of the Second World War, this paper sheds light on the structure and activity of the judicial power of the Liberation Front after the capitulation of Italy.