© Manca Juvan

On postcards sent from the concentration camp Gonars, Karlo Boštjančič (1915-2003) wrote about conducting the choir and concerts. The existence of a choir named Gonarski zvonček (Small Bell of Gonars) was life saving during times of induced hunger and lice infestation causing rashes or in worst cases epidemic typhus.

“He told me the baton was made from a broom handle. You can see that this is a broom handle”, Ms. Stanovnik introduced her family heritage. We clearly saw carvings representing slovene ethnic symbols: heart, coronation and wheat plant. At the hendel’s end of a conductor’s baton was a small harp and a metal badge with an inscription: “Gonarski zvonček, to our conductor, companion number 5389, Boštjančič Karl, 4.10.42”.
Mr. Boštjančič’s baton is a unique representation of a cultural life in an italian fascist concentration camp in Gonars.
It is unknown what songs they sang and if they were in Slovene language. “What a pity that testimonies were not more accurate and that I didn’t take notes. You now, when you are young, it just touches you briefly”, Ms. Stanovnik expressed her regret for missing memories.

Before Italian occupation of Ljubljana, Karlo Bošjančič was developing his academic career as young biology professor and expressed his musical skill level at the Opera. “I know that he was arrested during a rehearsal. Italian officers aligned the artists on the stage. Someone, hiding behind the curtain, was indicating whom should they pick up”, Ms. Stanovnik told about her father’s past. She knows the exact days of his internment. It was June 28, 1942 when he was transported to concentration camp in Gonars and later transferred to Monigo and back to Gonars. He was released from there on June 12, 1943.

Asking about reasons for her father's interment she answered: “What reasons did they have? They took the students and young intellectuals because they thought they might be unruly and will join the Liberation Front.”

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