Heritage Trails through Dolenjska and Bela krajina




For the new location of the political leadership, a deep Karstic hollow was selected just below the altitude of 708 metres not far from Červan road. The decision was influenced by the configuration of the terrain, thick vegetation, accessibility, possibility of bringing in supplies and, above all, security. During the Rog Offensive, the Jurče partisan troop set up camp in the hollow for several days, without being discovered by Italians.

The first building in BAZA 20 was constructed when the leadership was still stationed in Polhograjski Dolomiti. The leadership moved to BAZA 20 on 17 April 1943. The number of inhabitants grew steadily and new buildings were added. The first buildings were constructed with timber from the Italian Emona company, whereas for later buildings, material was secured in villages at the foot of Rog. Wooden boards were hewn at the Spreitzer sawmill in Stare Žage and at a sawmill in Soteska. Doors and already glazed windows were taken from the abandoned Götscher houses, but tools and other necessary material were procured in shops in the valley.

BAZA 20 provided home and working environment members of the Executive Committee of the Liberation Front, Supreme Council of the Liberation Front, Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia, Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ) and Agitation and Propaganda Commission, for editors of periodicals and others.

By the Italian capitulation on 9 September 1943, thirteen buildings had been erected. In addition to those accommodating the members of the leadership, a radio and telegraph building, a radio station, a kitchen and two dormitories for the kitchen staff and the guards were constructed. In 1944 a kitchen warehouse was built along with a separate kitchen and warehouse for the guard battalion, an electric power plant, two dormitories for the guards and propaganda activists and additional buildings for the Liberation Front and Communist Party of Slovenia.
The number of inhabitants of BAZA 20 kept expanding. In the summer of 1944 it accommodated some 140 individuals, while according to some estimates, by autumn the population had risen to as many as 180 people. Thanks to exceptional security and camouflage measures, BAZA 20 was never discovered.

BAZA 20 is the only such headquarters of a European resistance movement which is still preserved. It has become an important monument of the Slovene state. Together with the preserved hospitals of Jelendol and Zgornji Hrastnik it was declared a cultural monument in 1952. All 26 buildings still stand. They are maintained by the Novo Mesto department of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Slovenia, and the museum display has been provided since 1994 by the Dolenjska Museum of Novo Mesto and its Kočevski Rog branch at Lukov Dom near BAZA 20. With the financial assistance of the Ministry of Culture, two to four buildings are restored annually, depending on the condition of each building. The two hospitals are entirely restored; in BAZA 20 priority was given to buildings in the poorest condition. The biggest problem is humidity and the frequent damage caused by winter conditions. The most exposed parts are roofs and rafters.

Most of the timber is still original and it is our intention to preserve it as much as possible in the future. Small repairs and maintenance work are carried out when they are required. Another restored facility is Bunker 44 in the immediate vicinity of BAZA 20.

The role and significance of BAZA 20 are presented in a permanent display in building 16. Building 22 houses a display on the scope and variety of partisan activity in the Rog area. Particular attention is paid to Rog hospitals and workshops. Their beginnings date back to June 1942 when the first hospital was founded on Daleč Hrib and the first workshops were set up in the village of Podstenice. Both locations were destroyed during the Rog Offensive. For this reason, later hospitals were well camouflaged and workshops were moved to watermills and sawmills in Stare Žage. The display also features the activities of the Scientific Institute, Monetary Institute and the education and culture department of the Presidency of the Slovene National Liberation Struggle.

At Lukov Dom, visitors can see a short film about Kočevski Rog and hire a guide.