The burned farm at Radovna

I came across it half-hidden by snow
one sunlit winter evening
so peaceful that one could not hope to know
of horrors that once passed there.

But curiosity being what it is, I stopped
hoping to find out more, and when I did
I almost wish I hadn’t,
for now I cannot un-learn what I learned there.

The ruined Smolej farmhouse, sole remnant
of this small hamlet, nestled in a valley far from sight
atrocities well-hidden where
I read the legend in the waning light:

‘In retaliation for a partisan attack
on a group of German soldiers one week earlier
the Germans burned down the houses
and the outbuildings of Srednja Radovna.’

24 innocent villagers killed, trapped in the burning buildings
the youngest a seven-month-old child
the oldest an 81-year-old woman.
I wonder who survived to tell their tale?

The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep
beneath the snow and eighty-year-old ash
I cannot break their slumber,
nor un-remember tales of horrors past.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved


25 thoughts on “The burned farm at Radovna

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    1. I took a photo thinking it might be a ‘postcard from Slovenia,’ but when I found out the history it was too sad for that. I didn’t want to pass without saying anything though.

  1. Heartbreaking. 💔 Your curiosity may lead you to discover unpleasant and even horrific things, like this terrible scene, but keep looking and asking, and of course, writing.

  2. Atrocities like this have to be remembered for the people whose lives were lost and to remind us of what people are capable off so that we learn. Tragic. Heart breaking. Beautifully told.

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