SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Bantan Marjan - Stojan, greenhorn partisan

The time, when Marjan Bantan was a student at the State Classical Gymnasium in Maribor, was marked by an ominous prospect of war. In the city old resentments between the Slovene and German citizen sprung to life. Especially active was the German side, which was well prepared for the arrival of the German army and the seizure of power in the city. Shortly after the occupation, Maribor was visited by Adolf Hitler, who uttered ominous words: "Make me this land German again". Shortly after that, massive deportations of Slovenians in Serbia began, as well as confiscation of their property and the arrests of political dissidents.

At the same time with repression a partisan movement was growing, which in the first year of occupation carried out some resounding armed actions. The response of occupying authorities has been bloody. In 1942, in Maribor 866 people were shot, among them prominent members of Maribor resistance movement, which critically weakened it. For this reason, the Pohorje partisan battalion was formed in second half of this year. Stationed in Pohorje, they made some important actions in Maribor. At the end of this bloody year, the battalion was betrayed. In early January 1943 the battalion camp in Pohorje was surrounded by the German army. Among the dead were three children of legendary fighter Šarh. Innocent children, full of idealism, who accepted the unequal battle and perished.

A similar fate befell Marjan Bantan, who joined the partisans as an underage boy and got a new name - Stojan. When the charismatic and popular young man was 17 years old, he joined the Communist Party of Slovenia and also became Secretary of the Maribor District Committee SKOJ (League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia). Then he fell ill with typhus, but recovered and in April 1944 he was hiding in Rogoza for a shorter period in house of KPS District Committee Mica Rok. After that he was sent in the Slovenian hills(Slovenske gorice), where he worked as a youth activist. On 2 August 1944 he and his companion Ivan Šabeder - Slavko visited nearby Šentilj. At night, when they were returning home, they fell into a German ambush. Stojan was fatally shot, and Slavko was wounded, but he managed to escape.

This event is described in reports of both sides. The partisan side wrote:"On the night of August 3 in Vajgn near Jarenina a member of the district leadership and the Secretary of the District Committee SKOJ Maribor, a member of the Maribor District Committee of KPS, 18-year-old Marjan Bantan-Stojan, who was very popular among his colleagues in the liberation movement of Maribor was killed in an ambush. ".
In a report from German police station in Šentilj it is written that on 3 August 1944 from half past twelve at night in Cirknica in the municipality of Šentilj the provincial guard fought an unknown number of bandits, who were "armed with rifles, pistols and hand grenades. In the fight one bandit died and another, probably wounded, ran away. There were no own victims. "

The border, where a young life extinguished, was heavily guarded during the next decades. Today thankfully this is no longer the case. Time of tragic division is now history. Today we know that many centuries of peaceful coexistence and cooperation connect the Slovenes and the Germans.

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