Skip to main content

Peršmanhof / Peršmanova domačija

05 July 2024


8:00 p. m.  guided tour of the Peršman museum - Koprein-Petzen 3, 9135 Bad Eisenkappel

9:30 p.m. start of the performance next to the Peršman museum

event language: German

information:, +43 4238 25060 (office) +43 6643946782 (Eva)

thanks to: Museum Peršman / Muzej Peršman  

There is still snow at the top of Mount Peca/Petzen, and down at the mountain pass the museum is closed. I can't talk to anyone, so I'm a little disappointed because I would’ve liked to know more. With me I only have a few excerpts from an article and a photograph I found on the internet. I read with awe that the farm was made up of nine different buildings: besides the main building, now turned into a museum, there were three other small dwellings, a large agricultural building where the barn was, a stable for the livestock, a second stable for the horses and pigs, a wagon shack and a forge. The picture seems to have been taken from the east, near the forge, with the main house in the background. Compared to the structure we see today, the main house had a central body disposed on three floors in the form of a tower which protrudes significantly from the sloping roof. At the center of the picture there are around twenty people. They are the extended Sadovnik-Kogoj family, a peasant family like many others, but with the particularity of being Slovenians in a land which, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire, became simply Austria, finding themselves suddenly as a minority with all the ins and outs of the case. 

What strikes me most in the photograph is a very long wooden ladder, which enters the picture from behind the head of a newborn held in the arms of a woman, and ends beyond the edge of the frame, giving the feeling that it continues into the sky. 

It makes me think of Jacob's ladder, and in particular of one of its interpretation in the Midrash according to which the ladder represents the various exiles of the Jewish people before the coming of the Messiah.

During the war, the Sadovnik-Kogoj helped the local partisan groups, which were also made up mostly of Slovenians, giving them food and accommodation. On Wednesday April 25th 1945, Saint Mark's Day, around seventy members of the SS and police raided the Peršmanhof, surprising a group of partisans who, after an initial attempt to return fire, were forced to flee into the surrounding woods. The Nazis' chase in the woods failed, and upon their return to the houses, they killed all the family members they found, set fire to the farm and stole the livestock. As the plaque on the museum wall reads, those killed were: 

the landowners Ana (35) and Lukas Sadovnik (38) 

their children Gottfried (8 months) Viktor (4) and Franziska (13)  

their grandchildren Adelgunde (3) and Stanislaus Kogoj (9)  

the owner's sister Katharina Dobravc (44)  

her children Filip (4) and Albina (7) 

 the elderly landlady Franciska Sadovnik (77) 

From the photo I’m almost certain I can recognize only Gottfried and Franciska. I then read that three children, Ana, Amalja and Ciril, managed to save themselves by running into the woods. For a moment I think about how they were able to go back, what they felt, what life they lived, after that episode. For a moment I think of my old Arabic teacher, who still cried, at the age of seventy, thinking about his destroyed house just outside Jaffa, and I remember that there too, in an old black and white photograph, was a ladder suspended between earth and sky.