The prison cells at Beethovnova Street 3 in Ljubljana – preserving the memory
In the basement of the former building of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia, at Beethovnova Street 3 in Ljubljana (opposite the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia), are seven cells that supposedly served as post-war prisons of the Ozna (Department for the Protection of the People) or the Udba (State Security Administration). The prisons were supposedly in use until 1966, when the previous security service was renamed the State Security Service. The cells, which bear the name The Prison Cells of the Ozna and Udba, are part of the immovable cultural heritage of the Republic of Slovenia and have the status of a cultural monument of national importance.
The Study Centre for National Reconciliation manages the cells and plans to open a museum of totalitarianism in them, which is the practice of many European countries. The cells are located in the centre of Ljubljana at an accessible spot for visitors. They would be interesting both for the domestic and foreign public, as well as for primary and secondary school students, university students and the professional and scientific public.
We aim to equip the museum with the preserved materials, pictorial and archival material, documents, letters, preserved literature, and the testimonies of victims and their relatives. In the museum, we wish to present the various forms of violence carried out by the post-war authorities that affected various layers of the population. We aim to present the stories of the murdered victims’ families, convicts, political prisoners, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, landowners, farmers, intellectuals, Slovenians in neighbouring countries and in other parts of the world, members of religious communities, dissidents, defectors, and the stories of children and other victims that suffered under the non-democratic regime. Along with the pictorial material, we will offer audio and video recordings as well. The premises will also be used for cultural events or commemorative meetings. Such a museum will enable the Slovenian social and cultural space to contribute to the preservation of the memory of recent history as well as allow the younger generations to see the time in which severe violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms occurred. The museum will signify a step forward in discovering new facts and facing the historical truth and ultimately also a step forward in the civilizational culture of remembering our past.