• Museum of Hostages
The Hostage Museum, which is located in the Slovenian town of Begunje on the border to Austria, is dedicated to the 900 people who died in the Gestapo prison in the Katzenstein Mansion between 1941 and 1945.
Image: Begunje, undated, Cell block, Muzej talcev v Begunjah na Gorenjskem
Begunje, undated, Cell block, Muzej talcev v Begunjah na Gorenjskem

Image: Begunje, 2010, Exhibition in one of the former cells, Darrell Godliman
Begunje, 2010, Exhibition in one of the former cells, Darrell Godliman
The Katzenstein Mansion lies in the small town of Begunje (German: Vigaun) in the north of Slovenia, in the Upper Carniola region on the border to Austria. Before World War II, the mansion housed a women's prison. In April 1941, the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia and dismembered the country. Slovenia was divided into occupation zones and came under German, Italian and Hungarian administration. Begunje was in the German zone. The Gestapo set up headquarters and a prison in the Katzenstein Mansion. It arrested Slovenes who were suspected of cooperating with partisans or being in the resistance movement. Women and children were among the inmates at the Gestapo prison. Gau leader Franz Kutschera established a special tribunal in the summer of 1941, which sentenced many Slovenes to death for participating in partisan operations. The tribunal was supposed to legitimise the many executions of Slovenes. From the summer of 1942 on, the National Socialist leadership ordered to annihilate the Slovene partisans: SS units shot ten Slovene prisoners, who were held as hostages, for every killed German. In the entire Upper Carniola region, German units shot about 1,200 hostages, of which about 840 were shot in the mansion gardens of the Begunje prison.
Image: Begunje, undated, Cell block, Muzej talcev v Begunjah na Gorenjskem
Begunje, undated, Cell block, Muzej talcev v Begunjah na Gorenjskem

Image: Begunje, 2010, Exhibition in one of the former cells, Darrell Godliman
Begunje, 2010, Exhibition in one of the former cells, Darrell Godliman
A total of over 12,300 people were held at the Begunje prison between 1941 and 1945, including over 2,200 women and over 400 children. The prisoners were suspected of cooperating with the partisans. About 840 prisoners from Begunje were shot as hostages in »reprisal actions«. Some 5,100 prisoners were deported from Begunje to concentration camps.
Image: Begunje, undated, Tombstones, Muzej talcev v Begunjah na Gorenjskem
Begunje, undated, Tombstones, Muzej talcev v Begunjah na Gorenjskem

Image: Begunje, 2008, Exterior of the Katzenstein Mansion, Klemen Stefelin
Begunje, 2008, Exterior of the Katzenstein Mansion, Klemen Stefelin
The mansion now houses a psychiatric clinic. In 1961, the Musej Talcev (English: Museum of Hostages) was set up in one of the side wings. Between 1951 and 1954, three sculptures by artist Boris Kalin were erected in the mansion gardens - they depict hostages before being executed and a man awaiting deportation. Many of the victims from Upper Carniola were buried in the nearby Draga Valley. There, a cemetery complex by architect Edvard Ravnikar commemorates the murdered hostages.
Image: Begunje, 2010, Former cell in the Museum of Hostages, Darrell Godliman
Begunje, 2010, Former cell in the Museum of Hostages, Darrell Godliman

Image: Begunje, 2009, Sculpture in the mansion gardens, Andreja Korade
Begunje, 2009, Sculpture in the mansion gardens, Andreja Korade
Name
Muzej talcev
Address
Begunje na Gorenjskem
4240 Begunje
Phone
+386 (0) 4 533 3790
Fax
+386 (0) 4 531 5049
Web
https://mro.si/muzeji-in-zbirke/muzej-talcev-begunje/
E-Mail
mro@mro.si
Open
May to June and September to October:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Tuesday through Friday) and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays). March to April and November to December:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Wednesdays and Saturdays), 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays).

Closed in January and February.
Closed on Mondays.