Skip to main content


Prešeren Evening with Vlado Kreslin on 6 February in London

By Articles, Events, First page No Comments

Saturday 6 February 2016 at the Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE (Nearest stations Russell Square, Holborn, Euston)

Reception with drinks from 6.30 pm, dinner at 7.20 pm.

This year, we are delighted and privileged to welcome as our special guest Vlado Kreslin, well-known Slovene singer, composer and poet.

Vlado Kreslin

Join us for the dinner, chat and networking in the company of Slovenes and friends of Slovenes. Let’s celebrate together and honour the great poet France Prešeren.

As usual, we will have a tombola with attractive prizes. The first prize is a washing machine by Gorenje!

Please fill in the attached Application Form and send it to the address given on the form by Saturday, 30th January 2016 and make your payment. Prior reservation is essential. As capacity is restricted, places are allotted on a first-come first-served basis.

For the menu and other details see the Application Form.

Our Lisa swims at 95 to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care

By Articles, Events, First page, News No Comments

Lisa is our oldest member

To celebrate her 95th birthday, Lisa will jump into water and swim 8 lengths at her local full-size pool in Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales. The event is sponsored locally to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of her eldest son Richard who died of cancer 30 years ago.

Lisa is the oldest member of the British-Slovene Society. In her youth she swam in Slovenia in the waters that flow to the river Danube, and is now reaching a total distance swum in her life of 3,000 kilometres, the length of the mighty Danube.

Lisa will swim at 3pm on Sunday 30th November, at the Splashland swimming pool, Bay View Rd, Porthcawl, CF36 5N

Everyone is welcome to come along and dive into the fun.

To make an online donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care please go to:

Marie Curie Cancer Care gives people with all terminal illnesses the choice to die at home. Their nurses provide them and their families with free hands-on care.


Christmas Carol Service

By Articles, First page, News No Comments

The Anglo-Slovene Carol Service will be held on 5th December at 6.30 for 7 p.m. at  St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, Queen Victoria Street and St. Andrew’s Hill, City of London, EC4V 5DE. The nearest underground station is Blackfriars. St Paul’s and Mansion House stations are not far away.

The Service will have readings and carols in English and Slovene.

Please feel free to bring any guests.

Christmas drink and potica will be served after the service.

How to get there


BSS member Lisa Hirsch celebrates 94 years

By Articles, First page, News No Comments

2013 Lisa Hirsch 94 years old

Lisa Hirsch spent her pre-war teenage years in Maribor, now Slovenia and then part of Yugoslavia. However that’s not where the family originated from. Born in 1919, she spent her first years in Fürth in Bavaria. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the family had to leave, for they were Jews.

As the war drew near, Maribor wasn’t safe either. Sponsored by her uncle, a founder member of Marks & Spencer, she was able to come to England at the age of 19 in 1938. Soon her family could join her in London. Lisa was supposed to study English, but applied for a job at the BBC.

After a brief interview to test whether she could speak clearly in Slovene, she landed a job with the Yugoslav section of the BBC, and was soon broadcasting back to where she had just come from. At the BBC, she met Anton, father of Diana Poberaj, who recounts this story of Lisa’s wartime years:

“One afternoon on a fire-training exercise, she was instructed to carry heavy pails of water. The Polish contingent at the BBC, by nature most gallant, rushed to her aid each time, as dignity would not allow them to leave a lady in such dire need. Finally a supercilious English voice barked out: ‘Gentlemen! For the purpose of this exercise, Miss Hirsch is NOT a lady!’”

Lisa converted to the Orthodox Church. In the 1950s she married Philip Houlton. She continued working for the BBC for many years and to this day remains in spirit the consummate journalist.

Lisa now lives in the seaside town of Porthcawl in Wales, near her son David and his wife Anne.

– Contributed by Diana Poberaj

Obituary: Canon Timothy Vincent Russ – 11.8.1943 – 29.6.2013

By Articles, First page No Comments

Canon Timothy Vincent Russ, an English Catholic priest, was a long-time friend of Slovenes, in the U.K. and elsewhere. He held a Mass of Reparation in 2010 to commemorate Slovene soldiers massacred in ex-Yugoslavia in 1945 after being returned by the British. He died on 29 June 2013 after a brief illness. Keith Miles, O.B.E. wrote this tribute:

Timothy Russ came from an old Catholic family and looked back to his forebears, the Huddlestons, with great pride. His family legend traced their Englishness back to the Anglo-Saxon King Athlestan in the 10th century.

Tim was born during the Second World War, in which his father died serving in the Royal Navy. After school, he went to Queen’s College Cambridge, where he read Economics and graduated with a First-Class degree.

To his mother’s surprise, after Cambridge he decided to study for the priesthood and went to St. Mary’s College, Oscott, the seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham serving the Church in England, Wales & Scotland.

After the six years of formation for the priesthood, he was ordained in 1972 and became assistant priest in St Lawrence Cambridge and St Martin Luton. He then became secretary to Bishop Charles Grant. Tim felt great affinity with Bishop Grant, who was born in Cambridge where the Huddleston ancestral home, Sawston Hall, is located.

He moved on to be the Parish Priest in Burnham, and in 1996 to the Church of The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Great Missenden, Bucks. He was also the Canon Theologian on the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese of Northampton.

He intensively studied the works of Bernard J.F. Lonergan, SJ, CC, a Canadian Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian regarded by some as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. Tim was probably one of the best-read persons on his works in England.

In recent years, Tim arranged for locum priests from Slovenia to run the parish during his annual three-week summer leave. As a result of this connection, he became aware of the massacre of young Slovene Catholic soldiers by the Communists in 1945 after being returned from Austria by the British Army. This inspired him to organise a special Mass of Reparation to bring reconciliation and give a spiritual compensation from the United Kingdom for the mistake made in returning these young men.

The Bishop of Northampton, the Anglican Bishop of Buckingham, the Archbishop of Ljubljana and many other dignitaries participated in the service held in Great Missenden, which was filmed for Slovenian TV. Cardinal France Rode, who lost a brother in the massacre, sent a personal message from the Vatican.

Tim felt that this was one of the more important things he did in life. One of those who took part said ‘celebrating the Reparation Mass was an important historical event, not only for all those who were present, but also for the relatives of those hundreds of thousands of victims in 1945, who will always remember his name.’

In recent years Tim showed his versatility not only as a keen fisherman but even establishing a vineyard near Little Missenden. Truly a man for all seasons.

Tim Russ died peacefully in his home on the feast of St Peter and St Paul. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The Bishop of Northampton spoke of the ‘great faith and equanimity with which Canon Timothy received the diagnosis three months ago that he was terminally ill’.

Talk by Marcus Ferrar “Writing about peoples with difficult histories”

By Articles No Comments

DSC06575Diana Poberaj wrote this report about a talk given by Marcus Ferrar at the British-Slovene Society Annual General Meeting in London on 21 June 2013:

I was very moved  how, in the final chapter of his book about Germany, A Foot in Both Camps, Marcus Ferrar describes how he wrote in the visitors’ book of the church in Dresden destroyed by the British air force in February 1945 and now restored: ” When my turn came,  I wrote in the book, ‘ I am British.  I am sorry my people destroyed this church.  It should never have happened. ‘”

The following paragraph, ending with the choice for peace over a penchant for war, is a sentiment echoed in the hearts of so many people, desperately searching for a route to reconciliation.

In his lecture, Marcus demonstrated his level of understanding of human conflict, how he understood the position of families separated by political threads endorsed by a position of no return, either on one side or the other. This is a huge burden for a new country. It faces huge challenges in a situation where there is no homogeneity.

He gave illustrations of where compassion and forgiveness had triumphed and led to peace of mind and heart.

Marcus spoke about the book Slovenia 1945, written by John Corsellis and Marcus himself. He reflected on how moved John Corsellis was by his personal experiences and observations of the suffering of prisoners which culminated in the massacre of 12, 000 Slovene soldiers upon their enforced return to former Yugoslavia.

His latest book, The Budapest House, due out this autumn, centres on the emerging story of a young girl in a boarding school in Switzerland, who at the age of thirteen discovers that she is Jewish. She is aghast and destroys a much treasured photograph of her parents. Her story moves on to her eventual inheritance of a flat in Budapest, the remnant of a building originally owned by her father.

Her tenant, himself a Jew, had been a member of the secret police and had participated in the torture of prisoners. Although he leaves the apartment eventually after some pressure to go, she questions herself and her soul about the flat and the implications of this inheritance. She has been sent back to Budapest by George Soros to help with privatisation of the state publishing system. It is at this time that Marcus Ferrar met her and encouraged her to allow him to write and publish her story.

Marcus commented in depth about the history of Hungary and reflected on their own genocide, that of their own citizens who helped to carry out sending Hungarian Jews to certain death. He went on to say that anti-Semitism is still part of a mind-set of a proportion of the population. Coupled with demands from some quarters for the return of Greater Hungary territories, there are still political and social issues which pervade and shape it’s modern history.

Marcus gave place in his lecture to Willy Brandt, the German Chancellor of reconciliation, and his prostrate figure kneeling before the Jewish Memorial in Warsaw. The impact of that picture worldwide was mind-blowing. Germans have been far more ready to accept their responsibility for the genocide of so many, they have done their ‘mea culpa’.

Britain’s inclination towards belligerency led to the relentless bombing of German towns at the end of the Second World War. It is still lodged in the minds of those who suffered it.

His simple offer of an acknowledgement of sorrow over the destruction of Dresden and its beloved church is what impressed a woman witness to history the most. That apology should be the inheritance of all children and people worldwide, because it is the wellspring of hope for the future of all countries in conflict.


Opening of art exhibition by Marija Mertelj

By Articles, Events, First page No Comments
Marija Mertelj - Opening of art  exhibition

Marija Mertelj – Opening of art exhibition

The opening of an exhibition of paintings at the Slovenian Embassy by Marija Mertelj from Gozd Martuljek, Slovenia, on 13 June was most successful. There were about 50 people attending. They were offered Slovene wine and home-made biscuits.

The paintings will be on display at the Embassy of Slovenia Embassy of Slovenia at 10 Little College Street, London SW1P 3SH until 7 July. See the artist’s website:

A Slovene shovel for English snow

By Articles, First page No Comments

When it comes to shoveling snow, everybody knows Slovenes are the champions. When snow falls overnight in Slovenia, by 5 a.m. the streets  echo to the sound of shovels.

England does not quite have that tradition. But here is a BSS member in England using a special ergonomic snow shovel “Efekt” made in Slovenia and presented to him for Christmas by Slovene friends. He had the path up to his house cleared in a few minutes (admittedly not at 5 a.m.)

2013-01-18 15.22.03

St. Nicholas visits Barka

By Articles, First page No Comments

The British-Slovene Society supports Skupnost Barka, a community of people with special needs in Slovenia. Participants in this year’s carol service in London gathered £307.50 for the Barka community. A few days later St. Nicholas went to visit the community, as is customary in Slovenia, and brought presents for everybody. Here is a report of the group which organised the visit:

Kako lepo je prejeti darilo! … Še lepše pa je, če si ti tisti, ki obdariš drugega. S tem stavkom smo se mladi iz Gibanja Fokolarov tudi letos pridružili Miklavžu in njegovi ekipi, ki je želela obdariti osebe z motnjami v duševnem razvoju, ki prebivajo v Skupnosti Barka v Zbiljah.

Na Miklavžev večer se nas je tako zbralo kar nekaj; zavili smo darila in se nato skupaj s kombijem in še nekaj avtomobili odpeljali v smeri Gorenjske. V prostorih delavnic Skupnosti Barka so nas že komaj čakali, polni pričakovanja in z nasmehom na obrazu. Takoj smo zapeli nekaj pesmi in poklicali sv. Miklavža. Ta je obdaril prav vsakega – oskrbovance in tudi njihove spremljevalce. Najlepše je bilo videti veliko hvaležnost vseh teh oseb; darila so bila skromna, lahko bi rekli, da nič posebnega, a oni so izjemno cenili našo pozornost. Ko se je sv. Miklavž poslovil, smo skupaj preživeli še kar nekaj časa ob piškotih in toplem čaju, »Barkači« pa so nam tudi z velikim veseljem razkazali prostore njihovih delavnic in nam pokazali, s čim se vsakodnevno ukvarjajo.

Barka_Miklavz_foto Janez Strah_01 Barka_Miklavz_foto Janez Strah_04

Ana Praprotnik

British-Slovene Society in Slovene Media

By Articles, BSS in the Press No Comments

The magazine Slovenija Danes published an article about the British-Slovene Society in Great Britain. The headline reads: “Once Anonymous, Now a Dynamic Group“. The photograph shows the traditional Slovene hayrack (kozolec) set up near Oxford.

In July 2012 Slovenia Danes published an article about Rok Sekirnik with the title: “Chemistry is his World, Oxford is his Second Home”