How mountain huts became Slovenian

How mountain huts became Slovenian

How mountain huts became Slovenian

How mountain huts became Slovenian

How German mountain huts became Slovenian and how their names were changed

After the First World War ended, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, most Slovenian territory became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The operation of foreign societies was legally prohibited, including the operation of the branches of the German-Austrian Alpine Club (Deutscher und Österreichischer Alpenverein – DÖAV) or the Austrian Tourist Club (Österreichischer Touristen Club – ÖTC), which were very active in our Alps before the First World War. Their trails and huts were taken over by the Slovenian Mountaineering Association (SPD).

However, the Slovenian mountaineering organisation also lost numerous facilities, members, and branches that remained outside the new state’s borders after the Rapallo Treaty (with Italy) and the Carinthian Plebiscite (in Austria). The SPD lost 13 out of 27 branches, 15 huts were abandoned or destroyed during the war, and five huts remained on foreign territory. Establishing the state border with Austria in the Karawanks interrupted the connection of Carinthian branches with the headquarters on the Slovenian side. The same happened with branches on the Italian side of the Rapallo border.

DÖAV and ÖTC received compensation for the huts on the Slovenian side. Although it was small, it was given and accepted. However, the Germans accepted the compensation while simultaneously propagating that the huts were “robbed” from them after the war. In Munich, between the two wars, the “captured city” (die geraubte Stadt) was exhibited in the mountaineering museum, consisting of models of all the lost Austrian huts, which remained on the territories of new countries – Italy, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, etc.

In the first Mountaineering Journal (Planinski vestnik), published after World War I, in the report on general meetings, we can read how the president of the Slovenian Mountaineering Association, Dr. Fran Tominšek, emphasised in his introductory speech on December 27, 1919, at the general meeting of the Slovenian Mountaineering Association in the National Hall in Ljubljana:

“The success is that the association has freed itself from all old debts and could now also take over the huts of the German and Austrian mountaineering associations into its possession; he emphasises that we will also hospitably serve foreigners and guests in the taken-over huts and that former members of the German mountaineering association will by no means be prohibited from visiting these huts, only that we cannot tolerate any intolerance or discourtesy from German visitors; furthermore, he emphasises that now, when the national struggle in the mountains has ended, we can now with even greater joy undertake work for the development of mountaineering in the northern regions.”

One of the first measures was renaming existing German mountain huts and shelter names. For example, Vosshütte under Vršič — became Erjavčeva koča.

The renaming was done by a commission of Dr. Josip Ciril Oblak, Josip Wester, Dr. Anton Švigelj, and Rudolf Badjura.

How mountain huts became Slovenian

How mountain huts became Slovenian

Photo and article source: archive Peter Mikša

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Erjavceva mountain hut at Vrsic pass in summer

Erjavčeva mountain hut is open the whole year. Reserve your stay and spend some time in the natural paradise of Triglav National Park (UNESCO) near Kranjska Gora on Vršič mountain pass in the heart of Triglav National Park.

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