Slovenia Revealed

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A clandestine radio station operated in the midst of Fascist-occupied Ljubljana

Slovenia Revealed
2. July 2015 ob 06:32
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

When the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia during World War II, Slovenian radio was taken off the air. The Germans bombed the transmitter in Domžale, and when radio transmissions from Ljubljana resumed, they were run under the auspices of EIAR, the state broadcaster of Fascist Italy. A unique Slovenian voice, first heard in 1928, was silenced.

But the silence did not last long. In November 1941, the Italian occupying forces were startled to hear a new voice on the radio dial. The clandestine station was called Radio Kričač (“Kričač” meaning “shouter” in Slovenian) and was operated by the anti-Fascist Liberation Font.

For months, the Fascist authorities tried to track down the station. However, even their best intelligence and tracking technology proved useless because the resistance kept moving Radio Kričač, and its bulky equipment, from house to house. Between November 1941 and April 1942, the station broadcast from 23 different locations in Ljubljana. The entire time, it aired news reports about the events on the frontlines and even Italian-language programming for the Italian soldiers. Radio Kričač was primarily a political instrument – it regularly published the names of “national traitors” --, but it also aired Slovenian poetry and other cultural content.

In their frustration, the occupying forces even cut power to entire districts of Ljubljana in order to silence Radio Kričač, but the station would always reappear somewhere on the dial. Finally, they issued a ban on all radio antennas in the city. As the ban went into effect, Radio Kričač found itself without listeners, and wound down its operations in April 1942.

But the legacy of Radio Kričač endured. Many of its staff went on to work for Radio Ljubljana after the war. The Slovenian national broadcaster recognized the legacy of the clandestine station not just by putting up a memorial plaque but also by naming its company journal “Kričač.” The station also lives on in history books, as the only clandestine radio of Occupied Europe – a lone voice of dissent during the continent’s darkest hour.

Jaka Bartolj

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