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A Decade of our Online Column Archivalia of the Month

In 2020, our online column Archivalia of the Month was ten years old. The decision to take on this project, whose aim from the start was to popularize archives and archival holdings, was made in November 2010. The column officially opened on the last workday of 2010, when we published the January 2011 article, the very first of many monthly articles that were to follow since then.

Even after a decade, the main purpose of the column remains the same – to present to the public a selection of our documents; either those interesting for their visual impact/content, or those newly acquired or thus far overlooked. Also published here are records related to various anniversaries and interesting current events.
Leather bound book.

Tax register for Carniola, [Ljubljana, 1546-1549] . SI AS 173, Imenjska knjiga za Kranjsko, glavna knjiga št. 2. | Author Arhiv Republike Slovenije

Archival documents in the column are presented in word and image. The number of reproductions we publish depends on the size and visual appeal of the document. The introductory text includes the following elements: title (original or adjusted), abstract, »legend« (where and when the document was created, its legal status, writing material, number of pages or pieces, language …), reference code, description of circumstances in which a document was created or description of a person, event or process to which the document refers, description of the document itself (especially its particularities), and, if needed, there is also a summary, abstract or translation of some particularly important part of a document that is being presented. At the end, there is always a list of literature and sources used.

Usually, new documents are published on the first day of each month. While published online, the original documents (if possible) are also being displayed in the hall of the Gruber Palace, just in front of the entrance to our reading room. If due to various objective reasons we are not able to display original records, then copies are used instead. The column has a status of electronic journal and is as such entered into Slovenian online library catalogue Cobiss.

The first 120 stories – diversity of content

So far, our column has told 120 different stories. They covered a number of various topics, celebrating important anniversaries or drawing attention to less known facts about well-known Slovenians. Stories told through archival records presented to their readers constitutional and administrative changes our country has gone through or described material culture of Slovenians as portrayed by probate inventories and last wills of individuals. There were also stories about religious conditions in our land, about migration, court trials, revolutionary events at the end of WWI (foundation of Yugoslavia, repression in occupied territories, our fight for state borders), about occupation, resistance, and multifaceted nature of World War 2 events, stories about post-war monolithic rule and those who opposed it, about injustices done (nationalization, staged political trials …) and their redressing (rehabilitation). Stories took us through democratization processes in Slovenia and the gaining of Slovenia’s independence, they dealt with different infrastructural project (such as construction of power plants, roads, bridges) and with economic conditions in various parts of Slovenia. They talked of traffic and traffic safety, of health and healthcare planning, charities, sports and tourism, they presented minutes of various state authority meetings, commemorations of more or less important events, they described films and some behind-the-scene goings on, contracts, protocol, and, last but not least, the profession of an archivist and the overall mission of archives. There were also some instances of conservation and restoration experts describing how to “heal the wounds” caused by use on some of the exhibited documents.     

The first 120 stories – a palette of genres and eras

Archival documents presented in the column came in different material forms. Most of them were documents on paper (official letters, private correspondence, court records, minutes, reports etc.). There were also some maps, charts, situation sketches, drawings, parchment charters and nobility diplomas with wax seals, manuscripts on various subjects, rent-rolls, birth, marriage and death records, photos and postcards, cadastral records, films (documentaries, cartoons, short films), personal records (such as students transcripts or employee ID cards), digital database and once even a forged coin collected as evidence in a court case.

The earliest document presented in the column is a letter by Ernest the Iron to Carniolan nobles, dating back to April 1415, and the youngest one is a document from November 2007, written by France Bučar, contemplating old age as an art of life.

A far as the time of their creation is concerned, the documents published are a fine representation of archival holdings kept at the Archives – more than two thirds (82) of them were created in the 20th century, eighteen of them are from the 19th century, seven from the 18th century, four from the 17th century, six from the 16th century, and two from the 15th century. As mentioned before, one is from the start of the 21st century.  

Updated image of the column

The beginnings of the column coincided with the updating of the Archives of RS website, so the initial concept of the column was expectedly dependent on technical possibilities and limitations of the platform Typo 3,which was used for our website platform at the time. By mid-2019, online content of the Archives was gradually transferred to a joint website of Slovenian state administration (Portal GOV.SI), which offered more options for such publishing (especially in terms of reproductions of material published), but still did not enable everything we would have wanted and needed. Our online column is now more user friendly, both for the readers as well as administrators, but by transitioning to a new platform some of the links to the column’s archive unfortunately got lost. In 2021 we are planning to redesign the existing archive of the column and place the already published article in an new environment.

Good co-workers are key to future success

In commemorating the first decade of our Archivalia of the Month I wish to thank all archivists for their ongoing dedication in selecting and presenting documents that are published in the column. Special thanks goes to our team of colleagues who make sure that articles are published regularly each month; to Alenka Hren, who translates the texts into English and enters the published articles into Slovenian online library catalogue Cobiss, and to  colleagues Borut Jurca, Anton Bajec and Primož Tanko (for film also Roman Marinko) for making reproductions of the documents published. Layout and online publishing of the texts had for a number of years been done by Borut Jurca, and this work has for the last two years been continued by Gregor Jenuš. The task of attractive and safe presentation of documents exhibited in front of our reading room has over the years been diligently carried out by Lucija Planinc and Darja Harauer.

Among our first 120 stories published, there were some serious and some less serious ones, some happy and some tragic ones-something for each individual taste. It is our way to offer to the public a glimpse into our work and to use text and image to gradually make a unique mosaic from documents stored among the archival holdings of the Archives of RS.    

To celebrate our work of the last decade, we have chosen ten articles, one from each year, and kindly invite you to have a look at them and take a trip down memory lane with us.

Andrej Nared

Selection of Archivalias of the Month

  • October 2020

    From the Life in the Himalayas

    The first "Yugoslav" Himalayan expedition (I. JAHO) was the longest Slovenian expedition. It lasted from March to August 1960 because the team travelled to their destination and back by ship. The expedition included seven Slovenian climbers and managed to reach the summits of Baraltoli (5720 m), Trisul II (6690 m) and Trisul III (6270 m). Preserved by the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia, among its records of the Alpine Association of Slovenia, are documents and photos from the expedition. This month's archivalia presents the journey of the expedition and provides a glimpse into the everyday life of the climbers.

  • March 2019

    »... Seven Eggs for Two Kilos of Rice and a Quarter of a Kilo of Coffee …«

    Demarcation line and later state (Rapallo) border between Italy and the new Yugoslav state cut through areas, municipalities and villages that once belonged to the same state. Many people who lived near the border found themselves separated from their forests, meadows or fields which remained on the other side of the border. Special passes were needed for people who owned real estates in both of the neighbouring states, as well as for those who made daily trips to help out on the farms. Massive daily crossing of the border led to thriving trade of smuggling and contraband. Although officially there is no distinction between the two terms, they were, however, perceived differently by the people.

  • January 2018

    Why Was Rašica on Fire in 1941?

    In September 1941, the village of Rašica was set on fire as retribution for the partisan attack in which six passengers had been killed in a black Horch with car registration number IA-24080. The Archives of the Republic of Slovenia keeps the original report about the incident written by the German criminal police in Bled on September 22, 1941. Enclosed to the report are sketches of the scene of the crime where the attack took place and eight rather self-explanatory photos.

  • May 2017

    300 Years After. Empress Maria Theresia and Her 1748 Imperial Seal

    May 13, 2017 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Austrian Archduchess and Empress Maria Theresia, who ruled between 1740 and 1780. This months archivalia presents the powerful monarch with her imperial coat of arms and her ruler's title as depicted by the beautifully preserved seal attached to her 1748 charter.

  • April 2016

    Bojan the Bear - The Bees

    Preserved in the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia is the legacy of the Slovenian filmmaker Dušan Povh, which among other things includes his correspondence, film related literature, contracts, personal documents, as well as original shooting books for Bojan the Bear series of animated films. Slovenian Film Archives keeps all 37 of the animated films on the cute children's character, who in his unique way uses colours and drawings to create various, often imaginary, situtions.

  • December 2015

    One Million 289 Thousand 369 for Independent Slovenia

    December 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of a milestone in the history of Slovenia - plebiscite for independent and sovereign Slovenia. When acquiring archival documents on the plebiscite in 2013, the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia also ingested the digital database "Plebiscit 1990", which was one of the first ingests of archival records in a digital form.

  • January 2014

    Urbarium of the Bogenšperk and the Lihtenberk Castles by Johann Weichard Valvasor

    The Archives of the Republic of Slovenia keep more than two thousand land registers in various holdings and collections. Urbariums were usually written by landowners and only exceptionally by the landlord himself. The presented urbarium of the manors of Bogenšperk and Lihtenberk is remarkable in this respect; it was written by Johann Weichard Valvasor.

  • August 2013

    Criminal Case File on Ivan Cankar

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the famous criminal trial against Ivan Cankar. Namely, in April 1913 Cankar held a speech Slovenians and Yugoslavs. He saw the solution to the Yugoslav question in a political union into a Yugoslav republic. “We are brothers by blood and at least cousins by language” was his view. But he also uttered famous words “let’s leave Austria in her own crap”. On August 21 he was sentenced to one week in prison due to his “offence against public order “.

  • June 2012

    Across the Pond

    June 2012 marks the 49th anniversary of the first charter flight across the Atlantic in the history of the Yugoslav civil aviation. An Adria Aviopromet plane, the predecessor of today's Adria Airways, flew across the puddle, setting a Yugoslav record in the length and uninterrupted duration of the flight.

  • September 2011

    Employee Card of SS-Oberscharführer Karl Josef Silberbauer

    After hiding in the attic of an old Amsterdam house for more than two years, the Jewish Frank family and their cohabitants were arrested in August 1944. Also arrested were Anne and Margot Frank, who eventually died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the spring of 1945. The one responsible for the arrests was the SS senior sergeant Karl Josef Silberbauer, an employee of the Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst in the occupied Netherlands. His employee card is preserved among the archival holdings of the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia.